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March 16, 2011 10:50 AM   Subscribe

Gifts for a manly boyfriend's 30th birthday - to be mailed to him. Ideas?

My boyfriend's 30th is in the 1st week of April, and he's currently on the other side of the country for a military training course until the 22nd. I'll be flying out to see him 2 weeks after his birthday (not earlier because of scheduling conflicts), and the week after that he's returning home to me, at which time his family will be in town for a big birthday celebration.

But I'd still like to send him a present for his actual birthday. Knowing him, the best options go in two directions - either something sweet and sentimental, or something rather manly, well-made, and useful. I'd like to keep the present under $75 and non-bulky, travels well. Please give me suggestions for either a) things I can make within 2 weeks, or b) items which I can procure online and have shipped to him.

I should mention that I already send him pretty scented letters at least once a week with little extras inside - he adores it, makes the other guys jealous like a bunch of office ladies crowding around the girl who just got delivered a huge bouquet. Besides baking, what else can I send to my guy that would make all the other guys jealous?
posted by lizbunny to Shopping (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
"Manly" doesn't give us a whole lot to go on. Can you give us a little more about what he likes?

Off the top of my head, I'd say a new merkur safety razor with a badger hair brush and some good soap.

The art of shaving is a great place to start.
posted by TheBones at 11:01 AM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

A challenge coin.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:10 AM on March 16, 2011

posted by pianomover at 11:19 AM on March 16, 2011

The Art of Manliness puts out an annual Holiday Gifts for Men Guide. It's a good starting point for ideas.
posted by chrisulonic at 11:22 AM on March 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

"Manly" is a little broad.

Amongst my "manly" friends, a great gift is a throwing tomahawk, especially if he is anywhere with some space and a log, dead tree or old telephone pole section. It doesn't hurt to have an appreciation for frontier culture and history.

Throwing a hawk is something that takes a few minutes to teach yourself and practicing the skill can bring hours of fun. It takes fine and gross motor skills and is hella fun.

For $75 you can get a decent hawk, one or two handles and shipping.
It's a little bulky, but pretty damn cool.

Ragnarok has some nice ones and some great customer service.
Ragnarok's Ragweed Forge
I'd suggest the Apache, the Iroquois or the Old Reliable.

Do you have any further input on the kinds of things he already likes and has?
posted by Seamus at 11:24 AM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding a Leatherman. I'm fond of the Skeletool; it was actually recommended by my fireman brother-in-law's fire safety teacher.
posted by notsnot at 11:25 AM on March 16, 2011

I came in here to recommend a multitool like the Leatherman too. Some of the Leatherman series come in pink too, if you want to go that route ;)
posted by Salvor Hardin at 11:38 AM on March 16, 2011

He's an outdoors-y type, is involved with Search and Rescue (survival stuff), hunting, camping, antiques, cars, intends to read more classic literature, works out a lot (weights, running, swimming, climbing, etc). Takes pride in his appearance, keeps clean-shaven. I've been getting him into books like Ender's Game, and Preacher, Fables (graphic novels).

He also appreciates handmade items quite a bit, like turned wood, wrought iron, knitted things, etc.
posted by lizbunny at 11:40 AM on March 16, 2011

Leather pants.
posted by sninctown at 11:41 AM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Good answers thus far, I think the tomahawk's what I will give him for christmas. He's got a few leathermans and a shaving kit, and at least a dozen knives, otherwise those would have been easy choices. The challenge coin is an interesting suggestion.

I'm still looking for suggestions for handmade things because I think that would be his preference given the choice, though. What artisan-type things would a guy (any guy) appreciate?
posted by lizbunny at 12:17 PM on March 16, 2011

Hobo knife and fork set? I'm on a mobile and can't seem to dig up the link, but amazon and I believe Duluth Trading Co had them ---- amazon had a rave review about the one I got from a ranger in Afghanistan. Basically they're like a Swiss army knife but with a near normal sized fork and spoon, sturdy and handy for eating outdoors.

Also, Duluth trading co basically exists for this category of gift --- you might have a browse around there and see if anything tickles your fancy.
posted by Diablevert at 12:24 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Survival bracelet!

There are lots of others on that site as well.
posted by cyndigo at 12:34 PM on March 16, 2011

Depending on how long he has been away...and how long you've been together, why not pick out some sexy items from Victoria's Secret and mail it to him, with a note that says "Here's your gift. Can't wait to try it on for you." I know I'd like that.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 12:55 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Panties and a picture of me in them are going in the next letter, thanks QueerAngel28 ;)
posted by lizbunny at 1:04 PM on March 16, 2011

How about a "regulated" LED flashlight ?

These have an electronic circuit between the battery and bulb so that the light output is maintained at a relatively constant level as the battery drains down.

Typically the output level of models running on 1 or 2 AA's can be switched from very low to much brighter than the traditional double D flashlight. Depending on the power output and complexity, these can be had from, say, $40.00 to several hundred.

A little googling will reveal many sources and models. I have a couple of quark models from here:

Of course, if he is in the military, he may already be well supplied in this area.
posted by Kevin S at 2:17 PM on March 16, 2011

Hip flask. Engraved.
posted by meerkatty at 2:42 PM on March 16, 2011

Send him daily packages of 30 things. 30 M&Ms in a padded envelope, 30 pixie stix, 30 sping clamps, 30 homemade cookies, 30 piece socket set?, 30 quarters for tolls and meters, 30 condoms if you guys use them. A good candy store and a good hardware store have lots of items that will work here.

Make him a go bag for home, and 1 for the car. And/or a good 1st Aid kit.
posted by theora55 at 2:47 PM on March 16, 2011

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