Terrific tech gifts for the outdoorsy dad

Terrific tech gifts for the outdoorsy dad

Credit: Task

This phone case comes stocked with a full set of screwdrivers, pens, a nail file, tweezers, scissors, a screen protector, and a kickstand for easy video viewing.

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by Jennifer Jolly, Special for USA TODAY

NWCN.com

Posted on June 12, 2014 at 7:32 AM

Dads are notoriously difficult to buy for. That goes double for the outdoor/adventure types. Whether he's into mountain biking, kayaking, triathlons, fishing — or just planning the next big adventure — this Dad's Day gift needs to be as rugged, resourceful, and all-out rad as he is. Here are several year's worth of tech tools that take a modern spin on the old Father's Day stand-by:

1. Instead of a tie…

Save: You want your dad to look sharp, but instead of the old fall-back of buying a tie, get him something that will really catch everyone's eye, like the GoMotion Synergy LightVest ($79.95). Whether he's an after hours hiker, biker, or just enjoys a leisurely stroll on a local trail, the LightVest will let him light up the night and stay safe.

Splurge: Save Dad's noggin with a brain-bucket with brains. The Lifebeam/ Lazer Smart ($249) bicycling helmet is equipped with biometric tech that monitors his heart rate without any external sensors, using Bluetooth and ANT+ compatibility to track all his data with his cycling computer and smartphone apps. Combined with Lazer's Genesis helmet foundation, this helmet is both a formidable training tool and a solid safety choice.

2. Instead of a watch…

Save:The Garmin Vivofit ($129) will tell him the time, but it also counts his steps, tallies burned calories, and syncs with his smartphone to help him track his fitness goals. It comes in a bunch of different colors so if dad doesn't dig the deep purple you can always go with the dark grey or black versions.

Splurge: The Garmin Forerunner 620 GPS ($400) watch is like having a coach on your wrist. The touch screen sports a bright display showing everything from his distance, elevation, and VO2 Max. It also syncs with his smartphone so that he can track his trails, and always find his way home.

3. Instead of a wallet…

Save: Does it seem like dad always picks up the check? Toss the idea of a fancy leather wallet and give him a Coin ($50) instead. Coin is a high-tech credit card alternative that stores all his payment information on a single credit-card-sized gadget. It can be used just like a debit or credit card but it offers an added layer of security, and it stores up to eight different payment accounts at a time.

Splurge: Make Dad feel like 007 with this dual-purpose pocket accessory that holds his cash and caches his files. The Ravi Ratan money clip ($80) is a silver keepsake that doubles as an 8GB USB flash drive. He can store up to 1,750 songs, 10,000 photos or up to 10 hours of video, and no one will have any idea he has all of that … right in his back pocket.

4. Instead of a flask...

Save: Flasks have old school flair, but the Miir Growler ($59) is like a flask from the future. This crazy beverage holder secures 64 ounces of hot or cold liquid within its steel walls and vacuum-sealed compartment. Its threadless lid means no twisting, while the airtight seal ensures his brew won't just be cool at the end of a long day, it'll still be fizzy, too.

Splurge: Make sure he quenches his thirst without bringing any bugs home from the Outback with the SteriPEN Sidewinder ($99.95). This handy water purifier is small and light, and helps to destroy waterborne microbes that could make him sick when he's out hiking or camping.

5. Instead of a photo album…

Splurge: The Sony Cyber Shot RX100 III ($799.99) is a ridiculously capable point-and-shoot camera that can snap some seriously professional-looking photos. It's fantastic even in low light, and has a host of both basic and advanced features that will give dad plenty of ways to experiment with his shots. For bonus points, load it up with some cute selfies before dad's big day!

Save:Incipio's Focal Camera Case ($69.99) lets him use him take great photos in a snap with no add-on lenses, all while helping protect his precious smartphone. The dedicated shutter and zoom buttons turn his phone into a hand-held point and shoot, without having to tap the phone's screen. Perfect for his selfies on the go.

6. Instead of cigars…

Splurge: Here's a way for your Dad to light up the entire backyard party. Sur La Table's Pizzeria Pronto ($299.99) fires up perfect, homemade pizzas in as little as five minutes. And it is portable, so he can take it tailgating or to the beach. It runs on propane, and comes stuffed with innovative features like cordierite stones, a reflective heat shield, and a moisture vent for perfectly crisp, mouth-watering pizzas every time.

Save: If your dad's mancave smells of stale cigars, help him create a more pleasant kind of smoke with the BBQ Dragon ($50). This fantastic little grill fan targets a jet of fresh air right where it's needed, drastically shortening prep time on the way to a tasty dinner.

7. Instead of breakfast in bed…

Save: Make dad forget about his morning Starbucks habit by letting him make the best coffee he's ever had right in his own kitchen with the AeroPress ($25.95). Unlike a regular coffee pot that drips hot water over ground beans, the AeroPress totally immerses the tasty ground coffee and lets you press your drink through the mixture, resulting in what many say is the smoothest, most perfect brew they've ever tasted. Dad might even impress himself.

Splurge: Dads aren't usually ones to be waited on, so give him the tools to impress the family instead. The BioLite CampStove ($129.95) not only converts the heat from simple campfire into electricity to power gadgets, but it can also be used with the portable grill accessory to turn dad's campsite into a 5-star BBQ joint.

8. Instead of a tool-box…

Save: Take two of the handiest tools ever made, the Swiss Army knife and the smartphone, put them together and you have the ultimate in true MacGyver goodness. The In-1 Multi-tool Utility smartphone case ($44.95) comes stocked with a full set of screwdrivers, pens, a nail file, tweezers, scissors, a screen protector, and a kickstand for easy video viewing. And it's TSA-approved. Currently this case is available for the iPhone 5/5S, with other models expected out soon.

Splurge:A truly life-saving tool in the backcountry, the Spot Gen3 Satellite GPS messenger

($150 plus one-year data plan) is a personal locator device that transmits your location as often as every 2.5 minutes. The battery keeps going strong for 12 days without a change or charge, and it even has a panic button, so if Dad's lost in the wild, it won't take long to come to his rescue.

9. Instead of golf club…

Splurge: Encourage Dad to take a swing at a new hobby with a video-camera equipped quadcopter like the Parrot-AR-Drone ($349.99) with WiFi Return. The drone features a 4-propeller design and can even record HD video of its flight. If Dad is ready for the next step up, the Blade QX 350 GoPro drone ($470) is an amazing aerial photographer. The QX has more bells and whistles than the Parrot, with GPS/Altitude Hold, and a SAFE Circle feature that protects novice pilots from expensive crashes or dings to the ole' noggin.

Save: Download the free MobiCoach app on Dads smartphone and he can get a lesson with a world-class coach anywhere in the world via his iPad or iPhone. The device automatically captures video of his swings and sends them to the coach for instant feedback and analysis. Just pick a coach from the roster and book in either 15, 30 or 60 minute sessions starting at just $20/lesson. You can also throw in the optional SwingTIP motion sensor ($99) for dad to get even more robust analysis and feedback on his swing during the lesson.

10. Instead of anything else that you're considering…

Splurge: Here's a gift that's just so cool, it's worth thinking of getting your outdoor Dad, or Mom, or self: the ultimate treefort tent. With the Tentsile Stingray 3 ($749), Dad gets a spacious tent, big enough for three adults and its triple-hammock interior promises to keep him up off the ground and safely away from any creepy-crawlies. The Stingray comes with a suspension system of ratchets and straps so that all he needs are three trees and a good adventure to live out his childhood dreams.

Save: The Kaito BT409 Anti-Shock Hiking Pole with 9-LED Flashlight is a great trekking tool for long and hilly hikes. Promising increased balance, traction and stability, this particular pole has an antishock system to that reduce stress from the knees, feet and lower back. It can also help light his way with five super bright LED lights concealed in the handle.

I love digging deep for Dads everywhere to find the newest, best, and most fun outdoor adventure gadgets. What's on your list for pops this June 15th? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below. Happy Father's Day to my own Action-Hero Dad too.

Jennifer Jolly is an Emmy Award-winning consumer tech contributor and host of USA TODAY's digital video show TECH NOW. E-mail her at techcomments@usatoday.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JenniferJolly.

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