Gift for an old school manly man?
December 1, 2010 11:39 AM   Subscribe

Gift ideas for my manly man husband: hunting gear and/or classic old school stuff 'like my dad used to have'?

I have a $150 budget to get some gifts for my husband's birthday and Christmas. He fancies himself kind of an 'old school' type of guy (his father was one of these) and admires, only half jokingly, grumpy and hardened but somewhat sentimental types like the Clint Eastwood character in Gran Torino. I want to get him some items that embody the 'old school man' and maybe also some sort of hunting gear. We're in Canada, where deer hunting is a winter activity. He'll be going after some coyotes in a few weeks, as there is a problem with aggressive coyotes where his family lives and where we are spending Christmas. I've already got him a big classic coffee thermos. He already has a good hunting knife. He refuses to wear scarves and mittens. What else can I give him? Tongue and cheek is perfectly ok. Movies are an option too, but not books.
posted by kitcat to Shopping (50 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: One more thing: please give me brand names where possible.
posted by kitcat at 11:40 AM on December 1, 2010

A man's not a man without his own designer axe.
posted by cyndigo at 11:42 AM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here's a gift guide published on the Art of Manliness web site which may help your effort.
posted by Agamenticus at 11:43 AM on December 1, 2010 [5 favorites]

Some sort of straight or safety razor shaving kit.
posted by ghharr at 11:44 AM on December 1, 2010

If he drinks, he might like this Stanley Flask. It's got a basic, old-fashioned look and is probably more durable than the shiny, fancy flasks you usually see on "gifts for men" lists.
posted by wryly at 11:46 AM on December 1, 2010

You can buy that designer axe, minus the fancy price and paint, for much less
posted by ghharr at 11:47 AM on December 1, 2010

Does he have a Stormy Kromer?

How about a Jerky shooter?

If he's crafty, perhaps he'd like a Beginners Scrimshaw Kit.

I'm an old-skool manly man that hunts. Any of those things would make me smile.
posted by bricksNmortar at 11:53 AM on December 1, 2010

Ah, Filson...

Double Mackinaw Cap
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:56 AM on December 1, 2010

Best answer: Filson has that old school, turn of the 20th century look down pat. For hunting in particular, my wife loves the Tin Cloth chaps. (they're too short for me, and I prefer pants and gaiters for upland hunting anyway)

Duluth Trading Company
is sort of a higher end Carhartt, but their Ballroom Jeans are comfortable and awesome. They have lots of other good hunting/utility accessories.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:58 AM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Filson is the go-to for old school hunting apparel.

Levergun Leather has some nice custom rifle slings.

Cabelas also has some nice wool hunting clothing.
posted by electroboy at 11:58 AM on December 1, 2010

These are a classic.
posted by blaneyphoto at 12:00 PM on December 1, 2010

He may disdain mittens but every cold-weather hunter I know wears something like Glomitts: keeps the fingers warm enough so you can pull the trigger in a timely fashion.

If he's going out coyote hunting, he'll want to disguise his manly scent with some Scent-Away and Howlin Heat Coyote Attract.

And as studly as eyepatches are, protective eye gear are essential part of kit and will cut the glare as he stares down his prey.
posted by jamaro at 12:00 PM on December 1, 2010

If it's to be an axe, it should be a Gränsfors Bruks axe!

Otherwise a wooden pipe, a plaid flannelette shirt/jacket and a lambskin hat with earmuffs.

On a slightly more serious note, a leather ammo belt or bandolier fitted to whatever cartridges he shoots?
posted by Ahab at 12:02 PM on December 1, 2010

Sorry, clicked too soon. Have a look at:

Filson hunting gear

Duluth Trading Co. -- Outdoorsman

Vermont Country Store: Men's Red Union Suit or perhaps an Irish Cotton Flannel Nightshirt (cap optional)

Sandalwood soap
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:02 PM on December 1, 2010

Classic Shaving has straight razors, brushes, soaps, etc.
posted by electroboy at 12:04 PM on December 1, 2010

One of my dad's favorite items when winter hunting are hand warmers and seat warmers of this sort here.

You could also get all fancy and order something like this

You also can't go wrong with an extra good flashlight with extra batteries.

If he regularly hunts with other people, some fancy GPS walkie talkie things are cool. Not so much old school, but my dad and the guys he hunts with all love them because they can coordinate on catching game pretty efficiently.
posted by zizzle at 12:04 PM on December 1, 2010

Lee Valley has lots of neat stuff. They're based in Ottawa, but have stores nationally and do mail order. They sell the axes Gränsfors axes too, if that's of interest.

Similarly, Garrett Wade. Great for a specific tool or item, but anything in the "Outdoors" section would probably be interesting.

Survial gear (for purpose, not fakey "tactical" or "survivalist") from Doug Ritter. His pocket survival pack is pretty good for what it is and his new exanded one looks interesting.

MEC sells some stuff you might like. At a quick glance, the Zippo Hand Warmer, good for the gloveless, and this combo flashlight/charger/radio dealie is pretty useful.
posted by bonehead at 12:06 PM on December 1, 2010

Does he like to make his own sausage from the game he brings down? What about a hand-cranked meat grinder?
posted by BZArcher at 12:08 PM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Saddleback Leather is a hit on the Art of Manliness blog.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:08 PM on December 1, 2010

Here's a gift guide published on the Art of Manliness web site which may help

How weird I just ordered the Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails book for my daughter (who isn't very manly, but does like to drink).

Anyway, a good old school manly activity is fly fishing. $150 can get a nice begineer's setup at places like Bass Pro Shop
posted by rtimmel at 12:09 PM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

We do make our own sausage, and, having used both, I'm much happier with the mechanical one, frankly. You can get these in almost any hardware store under a variety of different brand names.
posted by bonehead at 12:12 PM on December 1, 2010

You need to get him the Foxfire books. It teaches him useful things like, "Hog Dressing, Log Cabin Building, Mountain Crafts and Foods, Planting by the Signs, Snake Lore, Hunting Tales, Faith Healing, Moonshining, Ghost Stories, Spring Wild Plant Foods, Spinning and Weaving, Midwifing, Burial Customs, Corn Shuckin's, Wagon Making and More Affairs of Plain Living, Animal Care, Banjos and Dulcimers, Hide Tanning, Summer and Fall Wild Plant Foods, Butter Churns, Ginseng, and Still More Affairs of Plain Living."

Get the whole set.
posted by Sassyfras at 12:17 PM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

He must, of course, have an Uzi Tactical Pen.
posted by Addlepated at 12:18 PM on December 1, 2010

A nice belt: (a), (b).
paying $350 for a $50 axe is typically frowned upon by "old-school guys".
posted by zamboni at 12:26 PM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

This Sweet Juniper post has a rundown of some old school manly man camping gear, and is highly entertaining.
posted by sararah at 12:28 PM on December 1, 2010

Also, Duluth Pack. A lot of my manly men friends swear by the equipment when they go camping/canoeing.
posted by sararah at 12:31 PM on December 1, 2010

Alpaca Socks
posted by Bonzai at 12:43 PM on December 1, 2010

If he likes the outdoors, you might consider a high end flashlight. Not the kind that you'd find in a department store - a really nice one. The latest LEDs lights combine high tech brightness and long runtimes with old school toughness and style.

Try something like:
-The 4Sevens Quark Turbo
-The Fenix TK20
-The Surefire E2L Outdoorsman (Made In USA, but warning, takes special Lithium batteries for higher performance)
-Or other lights from these manufacturers.

Any of these will absolutely destroy the Maglite flashlights that most people consider to be the gold standard - both in terms of their brightness, features (ex. waterproofness, toughness) and battery life. These are useful for outdoors, hunting, power outages, emergencies and general use around the house.
posted by Diplodocus at 12:48 PM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

On the shaving front, I have not tried any yet myself but folks at places like Badger & Blade consistently rave about Truefitt & Hill shaving creams. (Raves are always immediately defended by "Yes, it's $30 a tub but that will last you a year and it's well worth it!"
posted by usonian at 12:50 PM on December 1, 2010

SOG knives and multitools.
posted by zippy at 1:01 PM on December 1, 2010

Get him a Filson wool vest. It'll eat up two thirds of your budget, but it'll be worth it.

Also, damn Saddleback Leather. I have one of their wallets. It *is* beautiful, but the leather is so thick that every damn one of my credit cards is quite literally snapping half just under the mag stripe (where the leather strip at the edge of the card pocket sits). I have to email them about this: I might just get my money back.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:01 PM on December 1, 2010

Get him another high quality knife, 1 knife is never enough. I'm saying this from the position of a man having nearly $2000 in knifes :)
posted by DrJoshCutts at 1:03 PM on December 1, 2010

A nice sharpening kit would be good if he doesn't have one already, especially if he only has "a" good hunting knife (dressing big game dulls knives like you wouldn't believe, and a dull knife is dangerous). This one from Lansky is a classic, and as a bonus, you guys can use it to put a wonderful edge on all your kitchen knives. I suggest combining it with this pocket sharpener from Smith's -- he can take along the pocket sharpener for field-dressing/quartering the game, and then switch to the larger version in camp or at home.
posted by vorfeed at 1:05 PM on December 1, 2010

I've always wanted a ghillie suit. Sportsman's Guide has a lot of fun stuff, and often at great prices. Looks like they ship to Canada, too.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:07 PM on December 1, 2010

I have some old-school tastes, and second the Classic Shaving stuff. A good safety razor and assorted blades (try the Feather blades) and top quality shave soap/cream with a good badger hair shave brush will come close to your limit but will provide a better and cheaper shaving experience.

If he doesn't already have it, cast-iron cookware is good for carnivores.

When carving the beasts he brings down in them thar woods, the last thing you want to do is ruin your meat with sloppy carving. Can I suggest a no-nonsense Granton Edge carving knife?

Also, there's nothing more old-school than to provide light with a good old-fashion kerosene lamp.

I am not sure about a safe online source, but you could also probably find a Laguiole pocket knife & corkscrew near the top of your budget. It's no hunting knife but it is an elegant pocket knife. I've had mine for years and love it.

You could give the gift of fire.

Also, consider flasks. There are many varieties such as the "DUI on a Key Chain" flask of yore, though the glass flask is less likely to taint his drink of choice.

And finally, why not a hat?
posted by Hylas at 1:13 PM on December 1, 2010

Since you mentioned him, did you see the Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years collection? There is also an accompanying book.
posted by I am the Walrus at 1:13 PM on December 1, 2010

Since tongue-in-cheek is OK: If he's got a truck and will be spending time in the woods, he would benefit from a Bumper Dumper.
posted by bgrebs at 1:14 PM on December 1, 2010

There is very little old-school-manlier than shaving with a badger brush and non-cartridge razor. Truefitt & Hill made mine. Be aware that there are things to know and I can vouch for the different kinds of hair making a real difference. People geek out like you wouldn't believe over these things. I've read analyses of minutia like the specific shapes of brush handles, but I'm not quite that into it.

My razor is an Evershapr Hydro-magic 500. It's not rare or anything, but some people seek it out specifically for its shave. I've used a bunch of different generic safety razors and with the exception of one that was bent they all shave fine and certainly better than any of the Machn cartridges I've ever used. Plus it's like five bucks for a billion double-edged blades as opposed to a billion for five cartridges. I guess it's conceptually somewhat manlier to use a straight razor, but I've never used one and am not aware of a consensus on any advantages it brings.

If this sounds like something good, then Badger and Blade is where the shaving nerds are.
posted by cmoj at 1:38 PM on December 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Awesome suggestions. This should keep me going for at least a couple of years!

Does anyone know where I could buy a winch?
posted by kitcat at 3:24 PM on December 1, 2010

2nding a good knife. It's a necessity.
posted by Gilbert at 3:47 PM on December 1, 2010

Does anyone know where I could buy a winch?

Canadian Tire
posted by jamaro at 3:59 PM on December 1, 2010

Jumping in here late, but Russell Moccasin makes boots for true killers of big game.

My favorite.
posted by pianomover at 4:10 PM on December 1, 2010

Does anyone know where I could buy a winch?

Powered or hand? You won't find a decent electric winch in your price range, but you can buy him a kick-ass hand-powered winch (for a hundred times more manly points): Wyeth-Scott More Power Puller, pretty much the same rugged and overbuilt design since 1934. I've pulled out trucks and stumps with mine.

For more money, less overtly rugged manliness, but honestly they are a better design, buy him a Tirfor hand winch.

Either of these will last him a lifetime of hard use.
posted by Forktine at 5:04 PM on December 1, 2010

Response by poster: Ummm. Do you buy a winch by itself, or do you need to purchase winch mounts and cables with it?
posted by kitcat at 5:18 PM on December 1, 2010

Handwinch? You just buy it (the Power Puller comes with a cable (you can choose a couple of different lengths and options); for the Tirfor you need to also buy the cable at the same time).

Electric, you need to buy all the mounting gear, and for many vehicles that means buying a winch-mount bumper, possibly a second battery or better alternator, etc. Check out the winches and extras at Warn for an example of what's involved. These are great to have, but we're talking big money, probably heading towards or past a couple of thousand dollars by the time you are done if you are buying high-end stuff.
posted by Forktine at 5:30 PM on December 1, 2010

Even if he's already got one (...or several...), another multi-tool is usually welcome.

The Old School version of a multi-tool is a pair of
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 6:11 PM on December 1, 2010

Some good suggestions here. I agree with the multi-tool suggestion, though it might be more new school, depending on his age and his fathers age -- I think Leatherman brand may be the original. I think a nice compass (screw GPS, or use in conjunction with) Silva comes to mind, would be good. I'm sure you could find one more old school looking. Also, maps! Maps friggin' rule. Every outdoorsy guys-guy loves pouring over maps. If he doesn't have good maps of the areas he regularly goes gets those -- or just somewhere that he likes even if he doesn't need maps for hiking or hunting there. Maps are so awesome.

Other good stuff for his truck (he has a truck, right?) is "recovery" gear that isn't as expensive or less likely to get used as a winch. Does he have a good tow or snatch strap? I'd recommend a 30' long snatch strap like this one. If he doesn't have a recovery point on the back of his truck but does have a trailer hitch - get this, too, and he will need the pin, too. You might think that guys wouldn't like something that just rides around in their truck with them behind the seat and almost never gets used - but, not true. We love that shit.
posted by fieldtrip at 10:26 PM on December 1, 2010

Northern Tool has winches. My husband says cable comes with; mounts are a separate issue.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:05 AM on December 2, 2010

Check out this beard oil from MCMC Fragrances. It smells really good, and I think it does a good job of being manly, old school, and current, without being too metro :) A little pricey though, depending on your budget.
posted by jacquilinala at 9:56 AM on December 2, 2010

Response by poster: Follow up: all of these ideas are awesome and really should keep me going forever. I've ended up getting him a hoist and gambrel system (no truck, so no winch), a coyote and white tail buck call (he has to take out some coyotes on his mom's property back home and the buck call is to see what he can draw out on the property - just for fun, really) and a backtracker (which helps you find your way back to your car, as we have no GPS or smartphone. Actually, I might reconsider and take it back, since the suggestion that he might actually get lost will not go over all that well). I really wanted to get him the zippo handwarmer someone mentioned above, but it was on backorder at the Sportsman's Guide online and I can't find one locally. I'm getting his thermos engraved with one of his favorite sayings, and I'm seriously thinking about getting him that Clint Eastwood collection also mentioned above. There was a strict "no clothes" rule this year, but l love the chaps and all the leather bags and the Stormy Kromer hats and all the stuff from Filson. Oh, and the fly fishing set with some lessons for us both will be awesome in the future.

Thanks! No more Home Depot gift certificates!
posted by kitcat at 11:28 AM on December 4, 2010

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