Finding the right gift for Dad can be elusive; ties, golf clubs, and a good set of knives feel kind of tired by now. So we rounded up 8 gifts that transcend the standard gift box and fit a variety of budgets and personalities. Whether you pick a tiny timber cabin for your backyard or a palm-sized solar lamp for nighttime adventures, Dad will love that you went the extra mile for a sustainable, stylish present.
1. Sustainable wood “blocks”
Building block love is enduring, and Kengo Kuma’s Japanese spin on the all-age, favorite toy will be a hit with every member of the family. Using FSC Japanese cedar and a triangular shape, Kuma collaborated with conservation group More Trees to create the Tsumiki (which is the Japanese word for building blocks). Dads (and their kiddos) will love to arrange the Tsumiki into architectural configurations as well as whimsical animals and myriad creative designs.
2. Shoes partially made with recycled plastic bottles
Perhaps Papa needs a new set of kicks. Gift him a pair of these versatile canvas shoes created as a collaboration between Timberland and Thread, a responsible fabric company. The outsoles comprise 15 percent recycled rubber and the uppers are crafted from 50 percent recycled PET bottles found in the streets and landfills of Haiti. The venture not only yields lightweight, stylish shoes, but also job opportunities and a cleaner environment in Haiti.
3. Electric bike
The Propella 2.0 rides and feels like a traditional bike, but it’s got plenty of tricks hidden in its design. What looks like a water bottle is actually a battery that will help power Dad on a commute or joy ride around town. The bike’s lightweight design and pedal-assisted electric power means that riders can top out at 20 mph, a boon when it’s time to pick up the kiddos from childcare. Electric blue rims add a playful element to the otherwise minimalist design. Preorder the Propella 2.0 here for a September delivery.
4. Portable solar lamp
The Little Sun Original, designed by Olafur Eliasson, resembles a flower, and it is powered by the sun. Ideal for camping trips, taking midnight walks on a beach, or reading after the kids go to bed, this dimmable lamp comes with an affordable price tag ($25) and can stay charged for up to 50 hours. This gift for Dad also pays it forward: for every Little Sun sold, another goes to rural Africa to be sold at a locally affordable price by trusted partners.
5. Mini aquarium ecosystem
Aqua Design Innovations’ EcoQube C was the most popular aquarium ever on Kickstarter, and the allure is understandable. This portable ecosystem uses an integrated aquaponics filter to turn fish waste into plant fertilizer. The fertilizer fuels the growth of the plant, which then cleans the water, reducing the need for filter changes and also reducing energy and water usage. The same company recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign for the EcoQube Frame, a vertical veggie and sprout garden. It’s available in December, so we now also know what Dad is getting for the holidays…
6. A jacket and a backpack in one
It’s a jacket, it’s a backpack, it’s a RuckJack, and it goes from one to the other with a zip, flip, and clip. Dad can start off an adventure wearing the RuckJack as a backpack; if the weather gets cool or rainy he can quickly convert it into a jacket and use the extra cargo bag on the back panel and extra pockets to distribute the rest of his load. RuckJack has partnered with WeForest to plant 10 trees in deforested areas around the world with every RuckJack purchase.
Image via Agenzia Del Demanio
7. A free Italian building
An Italian castle, farmhouse, inn, or monastery for FREE? Sounds like the best, gratis Father’s Day present for an entrepreneurial DIY dad. 103 historic buildings are up for grabs with the caveat that new owners have to restore the sites and transform them into a tourist-friendly destination, such as a restaurant or hotel. If the family has ever dreamed of moving to Italy and setting up a picturesque B & B or trattoria, now is your chance. Our only suggestion: run this one by Dad before committing to this exciting and challenging effort designed to promote slow tourism. Apply (in Italian) here.
8. A MUJI mini house
If you’ve got a tiny backyard and a spare 27 grand and change (and live in Japan), you can gift Dad with the ultimate tiny escape. Courtesy of cult minimalist company MUJI, these tiny timber cabins are sleek and simple…especially if it’s a kid-free zone and the floor isn’t littered with toys and clothes. One side is comprised almost completely of a sliding glass door; it’s almost as if they designed it so Dad can lay in a comfy position inside while watching the kids play just outside the door.