Best Father’s Day gift ideas for travel and family adventures 2021

We have to start these Father’s Day gift ideas with a confession: Anthony can’t stand most gift ideas for dad.

For starters, Anthony doesn’t golf, so all those golf gift tropes go right over his head. And ties? Um, no. It’s been years since he last wore a tie.

Anthony’s a pretty simple guy. But you know what? We know he’s not the only dad who would like to have some realistic, cool, actually useful unique gifts for dad he’ll actually like this Father’s Day. That’s why, for our inaugural 2021 Father’s Day gift guide for family adventure travel, we are going to do something a little different from other Father’s Day gift ideas…

What are good Fathers Day gift ideas?

We’re going to suggest things the not-exactly-typical dad in your life might actually want—and use. We’re also going to focus mostly on simple Father’s Day gift ideas for things we either already use and love (or that Anthony might have snuck into this post as not-so-subtle hints to Jodie).

Maybe some of the items below are perfect, meaningful Father’s Day gifts for the dad on your list. Or, at the least, maybe you get ideas to find that perfect Fathers Day present.

Affiliate disclosure: When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. Learn more about our affiliate policy.

On the water

Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayaks

Whether Dad likes to paddle alone or in a tandem, Sea Eagle’s IKs are a sweet spot of durability, portability, storage, and cost. They track well. It’s easy to find the right amount of leg room. And with only a few minutes setup, Dad can always be ready to hit the water—no roof racks required!

Check out Sea Eagle’s IKs and other inflatable watercraft

Direct from Sea Eagle


Astral PFD

Kayaking dad? An Astral PFD is a great Fathers Day gift idea.

Anthony loves the pockets on his PFD. The compact design also helps his paddle stroke and he can comfortably rest against the seat back of our IK.

Check out Astral PFDs


Water Outfitters

Cooking at home or at camp

Lodge 10” cast iron skillet

Cast iron is a great addition to your camper or RV kitchen (and for your home kitchen too, for that matter). The 10” is our camp and home workhorse, and it’s one of those affordable yet timeless great Father’s Day gift ideas. At home, this skillet doesn’t even go into a cabinet. It lives on the stove.

Up your cooking game with cast iron cookware



Our new camp stove: The Eureka Ignite Plus Camp Stove

Whether at camp or in the backyard, the Eureka Ignite Plus is a get-it-done camp stove.
Whether at camp or in the backyard, the Eureka Ignite Plus is a get-it-done camp stove.

We didn’t need a new camping propane stove… but we needed a new camping propane stove. It took some searching, but our new Eureka Ignite Camp Stove has 10 great things we’ve been loving, plus it’s been ticking our boxes for what we need in a durable, budget-friendly, efficient stove that we can use anytime we camp. Read our full review here

Get this camp stove


Amazon: Other camp stoves

Power anything, anywhere, with Jackery Portable Power Stations

Jackery's power stations pack a lot of power but are lightweight, portable, and compact.
Jackery’s power stations pack a lot of power but are lightweight, portable, and compact.

Sure, you can customize your camper with solar panels and inverters and all that. As long as you want to bust out some tools, and take the time to research, purchase, install and test stuff. Oh, and to make sure you sealed any holes in the roof. Because, obviously, leaks suck.

Or you can skip all that.

Our new Jackery Explorer 300 Portable Power Station gives us rehargeable power… Anywhere. About the size and weight of a well-packed lunchbox, the Explorer 300 can charge up our computers, phones, tablets… even Jodie’s prosthetic leg.

And all we have to do is move it around.

The Jackery itself can charge on the 12V outlet in the cargo bay at the back of our Subaru Outback. So while we’re driving somewhere, the Jackery can get all juiced up.

Jackery has a line of solar panels you hook up to the power stations too. We haven’t gotten one yet… but there’s always next Father’s Day.

Ours: Jackery Explorer 300 Portable Power Station

Find your power at Jackery

Solar panels

Cook everything, everywhere, with the Camp Chef Explorer Two-Burner Stove

An honorable mention, if you want something heavier-duty (and set up to work with a regular propane tank, not the 1-pound disposable bottle).

Before we got the Eureka stove above, Anthony was really, really drooling over the Camp Chef. Ultimately we decided the dimensions weren’t a good fit for packing in the camper. However, the Camp Chef is powerful, sturdy, and can work cooking magic at camp or at home.


REI: Other camp stoves

Documenting life, work, and travel

Annual subscription to the DayOne journaling app (Apple devices only)

DayOne helps Anthony capture all this thoughts and the moments that matter.
DayOne helps Anthony capture all this thoughts and the moments that matter.

Anthony has carried a journal since he was 17. A few years ago though, he made a huge decision: He stopped carrying a pen and paper journal, and switched to an online journal instead.

The reason was simple: One less thing to carry.

After looking into various options, he decided to go with the DayOne journaling app—and he hasn’t looked back once. Inside DayOne, Anthony can do everything: bullet journal his day, bring his diary to life with embedded photos and videos, record audio, keep tracks of the day’s tasks, and have long-term planning and ideas for the future.

Even better? Along with DayOne’s commitments to privacy, the app syncs across all his Apple devices (it’s not available for Android at this time). Whether he’s on his phone, table, or laptop, his notes are at the ready.

DayOne has transformed Anthony’s journaling. He loves looking back at past entries, seeing what he was up to with his family and friends, and knowing that he’s keeping his head wrapped around his busy days.

When you’re looking for Father’s Day gift ideas that are a little different, an annual subscription to DayOne is a thoughtful surprise.

Raise your journaling game with the DayOne app

About DayOne

Apple App Store

Better with Hindsight: GoPro HERO9 Black Action Camera

Our GoPro adventures began in 2018, when we got a GoPro Session before traveling Kauai in Hawaii. Anthony was immediately hooked. Now, whenever we go on an adventure, odds are the session is alligator-clipped to the front of his left backpack strap.

However, GoPro has done some major updating since the long-ago days of 3 years ago. As of this writing, our new GoPro HERO9 Black is on its way to us, and we can’t wait to try it out in the field. The HERO9 is packed with better image stabilization, front and back screens, and higher resolution. But forget about all that.

For Anthony, the HERO9 is all about the Hindsight. With this feature, the HERO9 does what you’ve always wanted to do: Wish you’d hit the record button just a few seconds earlier. When Hindsight is enabled, your HERO9 regularly takes up to 30 seconds of video, but only saves it when you hit record.

Anthony is the king of starting the camera just a little too late, but we’ve got a feeling Hindsight is going to really change his video game: He’ll never just miss that magic moment again.

Always get the moment with the GoPro HERO9 Black Action Camera

Direct from GoPro




Lounging at camp or in the backyard


Our comfy camp hammock was a Father's Day gift to Anthony from Jodie, Connor, and Aster.
Our comfy camp hammock was a Father’s Day gift to Anthony from Jodie, Connor, and Aster.

A great way to show Dad you love him? Give him a hammock and let him chill. (Even more bonus points: Set up the hammock in advance and lead him to it, with his favorite book and beverage at the ready.)

Our hammock packs up about the size of a rain jacket, and it’s easy to stow in the camper. Plus, even on a hot summer day the lightweight material breathes well, so your back doesn’t get all sweaty.

We’re especially partial to our model’s simple straps-and-carabiners tie-it-up-most-anywhere system: We can go from hanging the hammock to chilling in it within minutes. If the kids don’t get there first.

Time to relax in a hammock



Other Father’s Day gift ideas, travel or otherwise

Eagle Creek Wayfinder backpacks: Mobile office, gear stash, and picnic basket

Winter day picnic spread all fit into Anthony's Eagle Creek Wayfinder Backpack: mobile office, trail supplies, and picnic basket, all in one!
Winter day picnic spread all fit into Anthony’s Eagle Creek Wayfinder Backpack: mobile office, trail supplies, and picnic basket, all in one!

Anthony is a fool for a good backpack. Has been ever since his Scotland and India backpacking days, when he would wander about wearing a pack nearly the same size as him.

When it comes to a good backpack, Anthony’s always looking for the right mix of storage and organization. Especially now. As a writer, content creator, traveler, and dad, he’s got to have a backpack that can be a mobile tech office, a quick-access stash for trail essentials, and a picnic basket—all at the same time.

That’s why, when Anthony found his Eagle Creek Wayfinder backpack, it was the blue that stopped him, but it was the compartments that made him stay.

The front side-zip pouch is where he keeps gear like first aid kits, bandanas, the compass, and a spare mini-multitool. Our tripod, camera accessories, and snacks fit in the large central compartment. And the back’s padded areas are perfect for his laptop, tablet, e-reader, and work or travel materials.

Eagle Creek has been long known for its solid gear, smart design, and innovative materials. Their Wayfinder bags and packs are a great line to find your way to.

Check out Eagle Creek packs and bags

Direct from Eagle Creek



Ergo: The gift Future Dad You will tearily thank New Dad You for

Tired toddler while traveling in Japan? That's what the Ergo is for.
Tired toddler while traveling in Japan? That’s what the Ergo is for.

New dads and dads-to-be need Father’s Day gift ideas too! Babywearing was a big, big part of our early parenting years. Jodie did her share of babywearing. But for Connor and Aster’s first couple of years, they practically lived on Anthony’s chest or back.

We used ring slings and wraps, but Anthony’s favorite carrier was an Ergo. He mastered putting a baby on his back and gearing up. He once wore Connor—who was not exactly a lightweight toddler—for most of a flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo. When Aster was learning to walk, if she needed a snuggle, she would drag the Ergo around the house, looking for Anthony and calling out, “Ah-ee! Ah-ee!”

We’re not crying. You’re crying. Shut up.

All that babywearing added up to a decent bit of exercise, major dad points, and above all, the foundation of some serious bonding between Anthony and each child. If you’re a new parent or new to babywearing, an Ergo, or whatever carrier works for you, will raise your dad game like nothing else. Plus, you can keep your hands free, work your core, and still do a lot of the things you need to do—all while also keeping your child safe, close, and snuggled up to you. It’s awesome.

Yeah, we’re totally crying now. Happy, happy times.

Raise your dad game with an Ergo infant carrier

Direct from Ergo


A gift card to his favorite coffee shop, brewery, restaurant etc… where he can go alone, with partner, or the whole family, his choice

Pizza break?
PIzza break?

‘Nuff said. Sometimes Dad just needs a gift card wrapped in a note: When he needs a little time alone—or a family outing, up to him—he can bust out a gift card for his fave spot.

A complete set of Doctor Who

We are a family of glorious, unabashed nerds.

Over the past year, we’ve watched a little Doctor Who with the kids (though only the Classic Doctors at this point, especially Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor).

Not only is it an incredible show, but we like to think Doctor Who imparts some pretty important character-building observations about life. About how it can be better to wonder instead of fear. How you can always give someone a chance to do the right thing—and be ready to follow through if they don’t. And how you should never eat pears, but always throw down with some fish fingers and custard. And a bow tie. Or a duster. Ah, heck, or all of the above, tied together with a scarf longer than Tom Baker is tall.

Take your family on adventures through all of space and time with Doctor Who



A book about the dad who does it all… dwarves and trolls and cursed valleys or not: THUD! By Terry Pratchett

Sam Vimes is the ultimate dad. He might be the Commander of the City Watch, but no matter how crazy the day—or what creature is trying to stop him getting to the bottom of a murder case—he will be home by six o’clock sharp to read to his son.



Apple Books

The world’s kitchens come to you: Milk Street subscription

Milk Street has fast become one of Anthony's favorite cooking resources.
Milk Street has fast become one of Anthony’s favorite cooking resources.

All around the world, we have something in common: Everyone is just trying to get dinner on the table.

Christopher Kimball, originally of Cooks Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen fame, started up Milk Street a few years back. Focused on learning from cultures and cooking traditions all over the world, Milk Street serves up diverse podcast interviews, an engaging travel-tinged TV show, engaging and useful magazine articles, and must-try recipes and techniques that have become some of our family favorites.

Anthony always looks forward to a new Milk Street, and it’s perfect for the cooking dad on your list.

Check out Milk Street’s magazine, TV show, podcast, and more

Lord of Maps travel maps and stickers, Middle Earth style

This combo of geography and nerdy fantasy brings such joy to Anthony’s geeky heart, and it will for yours too. Image: Lord of Maps.

Prepare this Venn diagram: “Lord of the Rings fan” overlaps with “loves cool maps.” After all, Tolkien’s maps of Middle Earth are as iconic as the books and films themselves. And now, you can get your own, non-Middle Earth in map form. Lord of Maps draws stunning maps of real places, such as Oregon, Colorado, and New Zealand.

New for 2021: They’ve also started making wee yet durable sticker versions of their maps. The Oregon and USA map stickers already decorate Anthony’s travel hydration cylinder, and our Oregon wall map just further reinforces the fact that the Northwest is actually Middle Earth. (New Zealand, sorry not sorry.)

After all, nothing says “travel” like real maps done up like some of the best fantasy ever.

Bring home the real world with a touch of Middle Earth

Lord of Maps

Get Dad a gift he will love (but he’ll still love you no matter what)

Happy Dad in Eastern Oregon's Painted Hills.
Happy Dad in Eastern Oregon’s Painted Hills.

Father’s Day gifts can take so many forms. Every dad is different. Some love ties; some will be about as interested in cooking as Anthony would be in football. That’s okay.

The main thing? You can show your love for the dad (or dads) in your life in a way that shows you care. For a lot of us dads, just like for people in general, a lot of what we do can be under the radar. Often that’s by design. We don’t want a spotlight, we want to get things done for the people we care about.

Final thought: The best Father’s Day gift ideas

The best Father’s Day gift? It’s actually the same thing as the best Mother’s Day, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or Diwali gift: Sure, it’s nice to have the acknowledgement that comes with a special day.

But far more important?

Throughout the year, on all those other non-special-occasion days, appreciate each other.

Do the little things that matter.

Tend to the small stuff and the big stuff.

Show you care.

Show that the person matters, and show that what they do and who they are makes a difference to you and your family. That’s the Father’s Day gift that keeps on giving, all year round—but hey, a few cool bits and bobs certainly come in handy too.

Happy Father’s Day to you and yours!

About the author
Learners and Makers
We are the St. Clair Family: Anthony, Jodie, Connor, and Aster. As Learners and Makers, our family of four slows down, connects, and enjoys the world and each other's company. We have been traveling full time since 2022.

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