Jun 092019
 

Father’s day is almost upon us. A bunch of products are on sale and I am getting hit with questions on whether something is a good deal.

Then there is a whole slew of question along the lines of: “I want to give my dad a nice optic (riflescope, bunocular, etc) for under $100, what would you recommend?”

Well, I have some bad news for you. If you look at a list of recommendations I have, there really isn’t much in terms of optics that you can get around $100 that is actually worth it.

If that is all the budget you have, I can still come up with some recommendations, but they are not really going to have much of anything to do with optics. For that stuff I mostly draw on my quirkly lifestyle: I travel a lot, so I pay a lot of attention to thinks that make my travelling life easier.

If you have budget flexibility and you are set on getting some optics, peruse my list of recommendations and see if there is anything there that might work for you: riflescopes, binoculars, spotting scopes. If you see any of the products I mention there on sale for Father’s Day and within your budget, that’s your best bet.

For those on a $50-$100 or thereabouts budget, here are some ideas.

First of all, I know I talk a lot about riflescopes, but I will not list a whole lot of riflescopes here. If Dad wants a riflescope for a hunting/plinking rifle of some sorts, your viable options start in the $150-$170 range with Sightron S1 3-9×40 or 1.75-4×32 versions and Burris Fullfield II 2-7×35. These are simple, but fairly robust scopes.

With binoculars, interestingly, there are more options, but I do not like most of them. With budget options usually less is more, so I’d be taking a good look at Leupold Yosemite 6×30 and Kowa YF 6×30.

With spotting scopes… this is the wrong price range. Decent stuff starts a bit higher up (above $300) which is a bit outside of the scope of what I am looking to cover here.

Moving a bit away from things optical, there are some tricks of the trade I learned from all the travel I do. One is to have a very thin wallet. I switched to a front pocket wallet after travelling in Europe where they will brazenly steal anything you put in your back pocket. It is also worthwhile to not have anything in your pockets that will make your life even more uncomfortable than a 15 hour flight already does. However, most of the ultra slim wallets I have tried have flaws: no space for cash, no ID window, fragility. This one from All-ett is very slim (although not as slim as some really tiny ones I have seen), and it addressed the three issues I listed above. It is a good compromise.

And now for something way into the left field… I am a life long martial artists, which is simply a nicer way of saying “aging martial artist” who does not practice enough. As I got older I learned the value of working on the fitness of some parts of your body that you pay no attention to when you are younger. One of them is the whole foot and ankle structure. As you get older, this is one of the parts of your body that really takes a beating and starts getting injured. Once your ankle is beat up, everything else you do gets even more tricky and even as you heal, you can have balance issues that effect your other joints. There really isn’t a lot out there specific for foot and ankle strengthening, so after some research I stumbled onto the AFX. If you are worried that your Father’s Day gift is too passe and same thing as everyone else gets, this one is for you. I bet noone else will be getting one of these: http://www.afx-online.com/store/

Lastly, something I found on Kickstarter, but have not yet seen. It will not get there for Father’s Day, but since I am touching on subjects normally do not address, I figured I should mention it. Here is what my typical travel week looks like:

-five hours on the plane in an economy seat that is designed to be uncomfortable for people half my size and downright torturous for.. hmm, let’s just say full-size people (you do not want to be in a seat next to me; I take a lot of space).

-five nights in hotel beds that are engineered to closely replicate Soviet gulag experience

-many hours in a rental car going from place to place.

-another five hours on the same plane flying home

By the time that is all done, if you do not have back pain, you are tougher than I am. In principle, going to a massage therapist would help, but I do not like anyone other than my wife touching me and there is no chance she can work through any of muscle aches (I am close to 300lbs, she is 120lbs on roller blades; she can pretty much practice tap dancing on my back and not wake me up). Exercise helps, but I am always looking for something else and this weird back massager from a company called Backmate caught my interest. That will be interesting to try. Given my weight class, it will also be a good stress test for my door frame.

And lastly, as far as I am concerned, you can’t have too many folding knives. One of the reasons I, specifically, can’t have too many folders is that I end up occasionally losing them, and I have (and had, unfortunately) some really nice ones. I tried to use cheaper knives for general purpose daily carry, but most of them were not particularly comfortable in the hand and used cheap blade steel that either dulled or rolled far too quickly. While I have used ESEE fixed blade knives quite a bit over the years and had nothing but good things to say about them, they are folders are new to me. They got my attention because they are inexpensive and some use D2 steel for the blade. D2 has been around forever and a day and is still one of the better general purpose steels (I have been collecting knives with different blade steels for solid 25 years, so I have tried them all). I just started carrying these, but my initial impressions are extremely good. ESEE Avispa is a little larger with a 3.5″ blade, while Esee Zancudo blade length is a hair under 3″. Both are under $50, while sporting intelligent geometries and durable materials. I bought both and will be using them as my EDC blades for the next few months.

 Posted by at 9:02 am

  2 Responses to “Father’s Day Gift Guide. Sorta.”

  1. Good tip on the knives ILya. I’m getting an Avispa as a gift for a friend.

    Doug

    • Thanks, Doug. I am always on the lookout for moderately affordable folders with decent blade steel. The same people who are behind ESEE have made designs for the Ontario RAT knife line (or it is two brother working with different people, or something like that), that are also decent and affordable. I’ve had a couple here and there. Everything I see coming out of collaborations with these survival training people and simple and functional which is all I want out of a daily carry folder.