Yes these are early this year. But by now you’ve probably heard the phrases “supply chain uncertainty” and “back ordered” more times than you had in all of your previous living years combined. So being early is the name of the game in 2021. Instead of doing a highly generalized, throw-everything-against-the-digital-wall gift guide, we’ll be breaking it up by category. Gifts for the guy who likes to suit-up. Or the rugged type. Or the guy who’s really into shoes. Etc. We’ll cover all those, and hopefully a few more over the next week or so.
NOTE ON BUYING SIZED ITEMS: Make sure you time this correctly. Pay attention to the return/exchange time-frame & policy. Lots of retailers are doing extended return windows this year, but far from all are extending that courtesy. The last thing you want is to stick your giftee with something that doesn’t fit, and can’t be returned.
Goodfellow & Co. Moroccan Mint & Cedar Beard Balm – $7.99
A solid stocking stuffer, and something to make his beard smell less like… a stocking. While the hair on your face is different than the hair on top of your head, gently conditioning it every once in a while is a good idea. Softens without greasing down. Smells good without being over powering. Cheap.
Butcher’s Crossing by John Williams – $13.99
From our Books Correspondent Jeremy, who also has his own newsletter: I’m guessing you haven’t heard of this classic Western novel, which is a damn shame. Considered one of the first of the genre to de-romanticize life on the frontier, the story is set in the 1870s and follows young Will Andrews, who has ditched Harvard to head to the hills of Colorado for an end-of-season buffalo hunt. Andrews and the party he tacks on to deal with everything the Old West has to offer: extreme dehydration, stubborn animals (both domestic and wild), and heavy snows that come far too early in the season. Really, though, it’s a coming-of-age story. Andrews learns some hard truths, not only about the land, but about his own make up. What he finds out will change the course of his life thereafter.
Duluth Pack Canvas Coffee Sleeve – $15
Better than your average coozie. Unique, with that artisan crafted feel. Because it is. An excellent stocking stuffer for the caffeinated man on your list.
Bravo Sierra Deodorant Discovery Bundle – $27
A grooming goods company built “with and for the U.S. Military to meet the needs of all those who lead active lives.” Aluminum-free and baking soda-free Deodorant. Product is filled and assembled California. Vegan. Cruelty free. 15% discount on all products on their site for all active-duty, veterans, and military family members through GovX, while 5% of sales go to “Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs. The M.W.R. offers quality of life programs dedicated to the well-being of U.S. service members, veterans and their families.”
YETI Rambler 20 oz Tumbler with Magslider Lid – $29.99
Thirty bucks for a freaking insulated tumbler might sound ridiculous… until you use one. You’ll never go back to cheaper alternatives. Built like a tank but not overly weighty. Magslider lid “action” has good glide and secures, well, securely. Dishwasher safe. And holy crud do these keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold for an unusually long period of time.
Made in the USA Best Made 6″ Strongbox – $34.95
“It’s just a metal box.” Indeed it is. But it’s perfect for storing small, important things in.
Leatherman FREE T2 – $40.95
There’s an argument to be made that every home should have one of these… on every floor. It has everything you want/need, and nothing you don’t. Opening packages, cutting apples, poppin’ bottles, securing loose screws both regular sized and tiny… it does it all. One handed operation. Looks pretty good too.
Naval-Style Brass Oil Lamp – $44
Originally designed to keep upright on a ship as it pitched and rolled at sea, this copper & brass lamp has a virtually tip-proof rounded, weighted bottom. Weebles wobble and all that. Just a warning: oil lamps can get hot. Real hot. Those glass chimneys/bulbs can really focus the flame’s heat. Makes you almost wish the power would go out. Almost.
Filson Watch Cap Beanie – $45
Made in the USA with USA sourced wool. Multiple colors, although a few are backordered at post time. One size fits most… so if he’s got a gargantuan melon (we melon-heads are out there in spades)… might want to opt for something else.
Nitecore P12 Flashlight – $48.24
Every man needs a bright, small flashlight. They’re great for tossing in a hiking backpack (look for one with an SOS setting), toolbox, car, first-aid kit, or just keeping on your person throughout the day. I carry a version of this Nitecore light on me, and it has pumped out reliably bright light for years. Comes with the aforementioned SOS setting, as well as a bright strobe setting.
Duluth Trading Co. Fair Isle Angry Beaver Sweater – $49.50
What an odd mascot to end up with. But he’s festive this time of year! Look at that hat! Eat your heart our Ralph Lauren teddy bear!
Proof 72-Hour Merino LS Henley – $83.30 ($98)
This stuff is called 72-hour because the 87% 16.5 micron merino, 13% nylon blend fabric fights stink, breathes, and wicks moisture so well, that one can wear it for 3 days in a row… comfortably. Without scaring children and riling up animals. Spendy even on sale, but worth it for many of us. Give me one or two of these, and you can have 20 cheap cotton henleys. They are that good. Also available in short sleeve and long sleeve t-shirt form, polos, and socks.
Kuhl Silencr Rogue pant – $85
Your outdoorsman deserves a good-looking functional pair of hiking pants. and these are a personal favorite. They don’t scream OUTDOORS!, but function as such while still looking nicely tapered and polished enough for running errands after your descent. Not the warmest pair of hiking pants, so save these for Spring/Summer/Fall. Available in either a full fit or a tapered fit.
Made in the USA Brass Embassy Pen – $98
A beast. And I can’t imagine what sort of damage Martin Blank could have done with one of these instead of a lowly bic. Blue oil lamp not included. Sorry.
Banana Republic Knit Cuff Leather Gloves – $98.50
Not waterproof or heavily insulated, but they do look great for both casual wear and dressing it up a bit… which is perfect for the nice boots and quality flannel “types”. Also shown at the top of the post. With an axe. Don’t split wood with these. Too nice for that, and they’re not gonna offer much protection. You (read: me) will probably go right through that knit. But they look good next to an axe head!
An Upgraded Version of his Favorite Booze (price varies)
What’s he drink? Bourbon? Scotch? Irish? Canadian? Micro-brews? Everyone is doing upgraded releases these days. Find out what his base-spirit is, do a bit of googling, and find whatever limited-edition/experimental/high-end release that brand does, and then pop for that top shelf price. He’ll love you for it.
Give’r 4 Season Glove w/ Wax Coating – $110.50 ($135)
Spendy, but you can pick up a flaming log with them. Maybe… don’t make a habit of that. But it’s nice to know that if you ever needed to, you could! 15% off through today thanks to the Huckberry sale.
Lands’ End 100% Cashmere Hoodies – $135 w/ GIFTS ($224.95)
Big thanks to reader Chris P. for the tip on this. He says: “The cashmere hoodie from Lands End is surprisingly great. Just got mine today. It feel like a semi-corporate acceptable way to wear a hoodie to Zoom work as we point toward the office. The best part is that it comes in big and tall sizes.” LE cashmere is, as Chris points out, surprisingly great. Given a few cashmere sweaters to Mrs. Dappered over the years from LE, and I’ve got a V-neck in my own personal stash. And what rugged guy (who also likes to dress well) doesn’t like a little bit of luxe every now and then? Code GIFTS is good for 40% off. No idea when it expires though.
Filson Mackinaw Wool Vest – $165
Vests are hugely underrated. For everything from chopping wood to walking a 55 pound dog with the musculature of a pitbull and the never-stop energy of a border collie, freedom of movement while maintaining warmth is crucial. And vests give you that. That, and if you start working up a bit of a sweat, your pits can breathe, while your core stays warm. Made in the USA, and all kinds of hard-working heritage style.
Banana Republic Italian Wool Blend Utility Shawl-Collar Cardigan – $200
No clue what makes it “utility”… but it sure looks great. Fabric is from Italy’s Filpucci mill, with the mix being 80% recycled wool and 20% nylon. Zig-zag stitch at the shoulders, cuffs and collar for a bit of extra texture. Will drop to $120 when BR decides to run another 40% off promo. Fingers crossed for Black Friday?
Danner Mountain 600 Hiking Boots – $190 – $210
Gone are the days when a good hiking boot had to weigh as much as the moon. No longer. Durable. Waterproof. Lighter in weight but still supportive. Size down by half. More than a few colors to pick from, including a pretty sweet looking black w/ electric blue laces combo.
Wallace & Barnes Lined Brushed Wool Shirt-Jacket in Plaid – $248
J. Crew’s Wallace & Barnes line really is an upgraded branch of their inventory, which focuses on heritage workwear designs AND better construction and fabrics. Geeze I sound like a corporate shill. But look, with past experience (I’ve had this W&B boiled wool shawl collar for 7 years, have beaten the crap out of it, and it’s doing great), thems be the facts. And whereas some shirt jackets are really just shirts masquerading as outerwear, this thing is a wool/poly blend, has a quilted interior lining, and the all important hand warmer pockets up front. Even comes with a throat latch under the collar if you’re wearing it as outerwear, and some nasty gusty winds kick up.
Best Made Painted Hudson Bay Axe – $274.95
Years back when Best Made debuted, their spendy “hipster axes” were all but laughed off the market. But the weird thing is… they make amazing gifts. This, coming from a guy who has given one, received one, and also owns a super utilitarian, fiberglass handle splitting maul. (And a pickaxe. Don’t forget the pickaxe.) I use my Best Made Hudson Bay Axe far, far more than the other two. Not quite a big-arse felling axe, but much larger than a hatchet. It’s perfect for standing back and splitting, as well as grabbing the thing up near the head and using it to split kindling. It is, frankly, a perfect tool. And it looks great too. Was just down to $206 during their “famous red sale”, but now might be excluded from promos moving forward. Drat.
USA Made Flint & Tinder WOOL Lined Waxed Trucker – $278.80 ($328)
The original, with its poly flannel lining is plenty warm too, but the wool lined option is a step above for those who live in particularly cold climates. Construction and quality are sublime, this will likely become the favorite jacket in your giftee’s (or your own…) closet. On very, very rare discount through today, 11/16/21. But you probably knew that already.
Benchmade 535-3 Bugout – $300
The fancy knife that “knife people” drool over. You know it’s fancy when it costs more than a freaking fancy axe. This is the elite form of Benchmade’s mega popular line of ultralight EDC pocket knives. Milled carbon-fiber handle, premium S90V super steel, made in the USA. It’s any wonder they don’t pull these out, one by one, from some rock.
Grant Stone Cap Toe Boot in Forest Kudu – $340
Grant Stone is well loved around these parts and for good reason. They’re Goodyear welted, use terrific materials, the build quality is solid, and they’re reasonably priced compared to the market. Micro-stud sole keeps water and filth at bay, but they’re slim enough in profile that they’ll still do best dressed up a bit. Protip: Pick up a belt while you’re there (or anything else that’s $60+ or more) and you’ll trip the 25% off $400 deal they’re running. Even with a $95 belt, you’ll end up paying less. $340 + $95 = $435. Take 25% off $435, and your total ends up being $326.25. Nifty. UPDATE: A heads up on the color. Jason got these for himself and they showed up looking much darker in person than they do on the Grant Stone site. Could be a lighting thing and a characteristic of the Kudu leather? Just so you’re aware.
Spier & Mackay British Millerain Waxed Jackets – $348
Spier & Mackay’s outerwear lineup really is a home run this year. And what you get for the price, with these jackets, is impressive. British Millerain waxed exterior. Corduroy collar with throat latch. Four pocket design with lower hand-warmer pockets. Detachable zip-out waistcoat (!) which basically makes for 3-in-1 utility. As is the case with all sized items, make sure you know the return policy. Spier has extended theirs until January 15th, but it’s worth a reminder for other retailers. Last thing you want to do is get him something that doesn’t fit AND can’t be returned.
WP Standard Military Duffel – $398
When is a gym bag more than a gym bag? When it’s this gorgeous. Has that slightly unusual, but classic, top loading design. Great for getting your athletic gear to and from your chosen location to sweat buckets. Obviously can also be used as a weekender.
Hamilton Mechanical Khaki Field – $495
Full review here. Nobody quite does a relatively affordable military-inspired automatic like Hamilton. Field style, field functionality. For $500 (and available for less when on sale), you get an in-house movement with 80 hour power reserve and Super-LumiNova. If you’re adorned in rugged style more often than not, this might be the only watch you ever need.
Timex Made in the USA “American Documents” Collection – $495
Meanwhile, for when he had to (or wants) to dress up. Timex does make a hell of a case for the American Documents project. Made here in the USA with a Swiss movement, but everything else (case, glass, leather band, etc) has all been sourced from here in the States.
Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 600 – $1015
Christopher Ward’s flagship Trident diver checks all the right boxes, at a proper price (when compared to the big name luxury brands). Swiss-made Sellita SW2000-1 movement, ceramic bezel, 600m water resistance, C1 Super-LumiNova which is brighter than you might think. Designed in the UK and built in Switzerland, down the street from Omega. Smart, sharp British styling with Swiss mechanics. An excellent pairing.
Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer – $1295
New from Hamilton, even though it looks anything but new. Vintage military aviator style, based off of “The Model 23” pocket watch Hamilton produced in WWII. Rotating bi-directional bezel. Big, easy to grip crown. Textured dial. Available in either 38mm (shown above) with a Swiss automatic movement, or a larger 43mm model with a small seconds dial powered by a Swiss made mechanical hand-winding movement.
Want more gift guides? Head here for the growing archive of our 2021 gift guides.
About the Author(s): Jason P. spends his days working in the creative marketing department of a big telecom company. He also does a bit of real estate investing on the side. He believes in curating a timeless, classic wardrobe with subtle modern touches for today. He and his wife love hiking with their dog and shopping at local small businesses and antique stores when they travel. Jason is a practitioner of muay thai and traditional boxing, and his favorite drink is a hoppy New England IPA. Meanwhile, Joe is the sentient tumbleweed that runs this popsicle stand.