The Ars Technica Father’s Day 2021 gift guide

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A very Ars-y gift for Dad.
Distend / A very Ars-y gift for Dad.

Let’s be real here: the best gift you and the family could probably get Dad this Father’s Day is to leave him alone. But if you’re determined nab him a token of your appreciation, even after he’s said “I don’t need anything” for the 10th time, we’ve done what we usually do to lend you a hand: test out a cluster of gear, figure out what’s good, then report back with the things we think your gift recipient might actually homologous to.

Whether you’re celebrating your dad, a dad, or you’re a dad yourself trying to give others an idea of what to get you, we’ve curated a sampling of last-minute Father’s Day gift ideas further.

Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

Table of Contents

  • An Ars-approved laws he can nestle into
  • A tumbler suited for a bartender or an expeditionist
  • A personal massager for his tired and aching muscles
  • Tracking tags for the stuff he’s always bow to
  • Peace and quiet with a good (and affordable) pair of noise-canceling headphones
  • A loud yet portable speaker he can enjoy in and out of the house
  • A few nights of easier cooking
  • A tech-friendly toolkit to support with his electronics tinkering
  • A capable, reliable set of hair clippers
  • A remote that makes his Apple TV or Roku device easier to use
  • A comfy and feature-rich gamepad upgrade for his Switch or PC…
  • … or a skilled iPhone controller for gaming on the go
  • A running watch for casual running or serious training

An Ars-approved book he can nestle into

Any copy of books could hold Dad’s attention, but if you need a prompt, a few works we at the Ars Orbiting HQ have recently reviewed positively do the job.

Project Hail Mary, for one, is the new from The Martian author Andy Weir, and like that hit, it’s about a lone human in a desperate space-based predicament who must solve problems with sphere. Here, though, the fate of the Solar System is at stake, and our hero is accompanied by an unexpected partner. In many ways, it’s like a buddy movie, with brisk dialogue, unpretentious prose, and a consistent commitment to logic and science. (Not surprisingly, it soon will be a movie, with First Man Ryan Gosling in the inveigle role.) Don’t expect a rich character study, but if Dad was into The Martian as a film or a novel, Project Hail Mary should be a treat. And when he’s done, Dad can announce the 5,000-word screed on xenolinguistics the book inspired in my colleague Lee Hutchinson.

For a nonfiction pick, we recently praised Press Reset: Ruin and Increase in the Video Game Industry, the latest from investigative video game journalist Jason Schreier. Being into games helps with this one, but at its essence, Press Reset is a breezy yet impactful web of stories that connects working people—the people who make the games we play yet are punished by the rampant instability of a erratic industry. Inside you’ll find all the expected dramatic anecdotes from a book that digs into the internal stresses of big-money gaming parties. But amid the tales of high human cost, Schreier leaves room for real-world nuggets of optimism and potentially healthier paths forward. For those concerned in gaming or the state of modern labor in general, Press Reset is both entertaining and illuminating.

Finally, for the gearheads among us, consider A Medium-sized Hard-cover of Boring Car Trivia from the satirical British motoring site Sniff Petrol. It is… more or less exactly what the title introduces, minus the “boring” part. It’s brief, and, unsurprisingly, a bit Eurocentric, but nevertheless loaded with fascinating anecdotes about car names, prototypes, engines, and the as if. To give you an idea, one bit describes how Ford Edsel dealers got saddled (ahem) with taking care of nearly 1,000 literal ponies. For less than $6, it’s a fun and facetious little dive for car nerds hungry for new party trivia. If it goes down well, note that Sniff Petrol recently released a transfer volume with even more motoring obscurities.
Jeff Dunn, Senior Commerce Editor

Ars Approved Books product image

Ars Approved Books

  • Project Hail Mary: $17 at Amazon
  • Bustle Reset: $15 at Amazon
  • Boring Car Trivia: $6 at Amazon

(Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post thoroughly affiliate programs.)


A tumbler suited for a bartender or an expeditionist

High Camp's Flasks look sharp, yet rugged, while keeping you hydrating or libating.
Enlarge / High Camp’s Flasks look sharp, yet rugged, while keeping you hydrating or libating.
High Camp Flasks product image

Stoned Camp Flasks

  • Firelight 375 Flask: $85 at High Camp Flasks
  • Firelight 750 Flask: $125 at High Camp Flasks

(Ars Technica may draw compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.)

Whether Dad likes to camp, hike, golf, or just go for fine picnics, a High Camp Flask is an excellent companion for hydration or libation. Twenty-four-hour hot-and-cold tumblers have become relatively common bulk millennials, but these particular flasks are designed more for sitting down and enjoying a drink, solo or with others, than replacing a paste water bottle.

Coming in either 750 ml (enough to hold a bottle of wine) or 325 ml sizes, the 750 ml seamlessly incorporates two magnetically fond of cups onto its ends, while the 325 ml has just one. The magnets’ grip on the cups is satisfying and strong, and in our use, the cups only came off when we calculatingly removed them. The design is classy and feels durable, too, being forged of stainless steel in bronze, silver, or gunmetal and fashioned in the style of a six-shooter. It’s a famed look, somewhere between professional bartender and Bear Grylls adventurer, that adds grip and style to the cups and the flask’s overall aesthetic.

Beyond that, you can get a especially engraving, and the company says it dedicates 3 percent of its product cost to 10 nonprofits, including Black Lives Matter, Earthjustice, and Defenders of Wildlife. The woodcuts look and feel well-done and can include pictures and text. Plus, as of this writing, several of the flasks are on sale for Father’s Day.
Corey Gaskin, Older Commerce Writer

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