GIFT IDEAS FOR THE OUTDOORS FATHER
YOUR OUTDOORS DAD IS GOING TO LOVE THESE
It is that time of the year. Fathers' day 2021 is not too long to go. When I was growing up my parents did a lot of travelling. It was in these early days I caught the bug to overland. So even though my parents are no longer with us, every overlanding trip I do today brings back many memories of my parents.
So even though I no longer have a father of my own to buy gifts for when Father's Day comes around I have many fathers in the family and amongst friends. Most of them are outdoor enthusiasts. So every year when this important day comes around I get my nephews and nieces asking me what would be a good gift idea (for their respective fathers). "You know our dads quite well" they say.
This year I see my self doing the same again. So in preparing a list of ideas for my nieces and nephews I thought I'd share these same ideas with the rest of the overlanding community incase any of you are in the lookout for a Father's Day gift idea.
In this post I have handpicked from some of the products I have personally used and found to be very useful for the overlanding lifestyle. For ease of browsing I have put these into three different categories - Books, Cameras and Camping gear.
All these products are available through Amazon Australia. Use the clickable links (or click on the image) to go to Amazon.
Maps, Off-Road Tracks and Camp Sites
I am a sucker for technology. So when civilian use GPS units first came out I was amongst the first to rush out and get one. However, to this day, my primary navigation aid has been printed maps. There is something about printed maps I simply love. So over the years I have accumulated many printed maps. Out of all these, one book I have found very useful when doing my pre-trip planning and also to permanently keep in the fourbie (4x4) is Where to Camp Guide Australia by Hema. This book has over a 1,000 free and budget camp sites from around the country, detailed maps, caravan parks and much much more.
Complimenting the Camp Guide book is Hema's Australia Road and 4wd Atlas. If your dad happens to love venturing off-road then this book is a must addition to the collection. This too stays permanently in my fourbie. The atlas provides details off-road maps along with supporting details and bush camp site locations.
Something To Read About The Outback
As much as I enjoy travelling to far flung places in Australia to take in the sights, I also enjoy reading about the history of the land. Having that knowledge makes my travels that much more interesting. Whilst I have quite a number of books I enjoy reading I have listed here two of my favourites.
Pubs are synonymous with the Australian outback. Sadly many have faded away into history over the years, but a good number of these historically iconic watering holes still stand tall in the outback offering the tired traveller a much desired, shall we say, refreshments.
Believe it or not, I carry my copy of the Australian Bush Pubs whenever I travel. The book is lavishly illustrated with striking and fascinating full-colour photographs of each pub. Every time I visit one of these pubs I mark the date on the respective page, attach a picture of me in front of the pub and where possible get the autograph of the publican. I keep thinking of the sentimental value once all the pubs in the book have been ticked off.
We all know of the Royal Flying Doctor. It is part of the fabric of Australian culture. To say this organisation provides an invaluable service to remote communities is an understatement in my opinion. Travellers too benefit from this service where such services may be needed. Whilst it is all very serious stuff, Bill 'Swampy' Marsh shows us the lighter side of the service through his book The Complete Book Of Australian Flying Doctor Stories. It is a fascinating collection of moving and often hilarious true stories about the life in the Australian Outback. Like the man suffering from extreme burns who rode his motorbike eighteen kilometres back across his property to get help while opening and closing every gate along the way because you 'always leave gates as you find them'.
From my experience there are two types of cameras for anyone looking to get high quality video and photos. These are a mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses and action cameras.
Some of you may wonder why I am not mentioning DSLRs. Well these are great too. However, with the mirrorless technology the cameras are much smaller and lighter as compared to a DSLR, yet offering the same level of image quality.
Whilst you need a good camera to capture great images, it also depends on the type of lenses you use to bring out that creativity in you. So having a camera with the option to change lenses helps in building up a collection of lenses as one progresses in their image making. For travel I always recommend a good zoom lens. Wide enough at the lower end to get those landscape pictures, a good midrange for taking portraits and the long end for capturing those far away subjects. As you progress with your photography you can add a much longer zoom lens to your collection if you intend on capturing distant subjects such as wildlife or birds.
There are many good branded mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses in the market. I have a number of different types in my collection. However, the most useful camera I have come across for travelling is the Canon M50. This camera weighs less than 400g, easily fits into a small space (for easy access I put mine in the glove compartment or the centre console of the fourbie) and offers brilliant image quality. I have to emphasise the Canon colour science is excellent. Canon has a wide range of native lenses they offer incase you decide on building up or upgrade your lens collection.
An action camera is very useful to have in your camera bag. These are small enough to capture pictures and videos from just about any angle or point of view. They are built to take a lot of punishment and are also water and weather proof. When not travelling it can also be used as a dashcam. Most good branded Action cameras these days offer a high level of image quality. The two main contenders in this market space is GoPro and DJI OSMO ACTION.
My favourite has always been the DJI Osmo Action. I have a number of these which I take along. If you watch any of my travel videos on my YouTube Channel I would say around 65% of the video content is from the action cameras. I have two mounted on the inside of the fourbie. One looking inwards and the second looking forward out of the windscreen. I also have two more. One to capture b-roll video footage. This i do by placing the camera outside of the fourbie from various different angles. The fourth camera I use for vlogging.
The DJI Osmo Action has incredible image stabilisation. Capable of shooting video in 1080HD as well as 4k. Can take good quality pictures too. A very valuable feature to me is, this camera has a front and rear facing screen. So you can see how you are framing an image no matter in which direction the lens is facing. It also has voice commands which makes operating the camera quite easy.
Now, at the start of this section of the article I did not mention a drone. That's because a drone is not a must have. Depending on the type of travelling, it may not even be necessary. Having said that, a drone offers an amazing perspective of certain settings such as landscapes.
There is no arguing, the best consumer use drones are manufactured by DJI and whilst they have a wide range of drones to choose from the most ideal for travel is the Mavic Air. It weighs only 500g, can easily fit into a handbag when folded, has a 48MP sensor for great picture quality and can capture video in 1080p as well as 4k.
When it comes to camping gear we are spoilt for choice these days. There is so much available. We can now actually carry everything including the kitchen sink.
My advice on this is pick and choose the gear that will make your overlanding enjoyable. Don't buy gear just because others have it too. Their needs and requirements may be different from yours.
I have to admit, I too have gone overboard from time to time buying gear which end up stacked away gathering dust at some obscure corner of the shed. So if I am to look at my own collection of overlanding gear there is not a whole lot I can say are extremely useful. So, here are three of my favourite and most useful items which practically goes on every trip.
The folding car doorstep is an inexpensive yet one of the most useful pieces of gear you can have if you have a roof rack. Especially in taller vehicles such as a 4x4s or SUVs. Quickly accessing the roof does not get any much easier.
All you have to do in hook the doorstep on to the vehicle's door latch and gain access to the roof. Easy as that!
When not in use the doorstep's hook folds away flush into the step making it easy to store away without much space being taken up.
You may wonder if this can end up damaging the door latch. All I can say is, I have been using my doorstep for several years now, with no damage to the latch at all.
When I travel, whether it be a long extended off-road trip or a short on-road weekend camping getaway I like the things I carry to be organised. Makes the packing so much more tidy and easy to access when I need to.
Whilst there are several different types and makes of storage solutions out in the market I have found the Front Runner Wolf Pack Boxes to be my absolute favourite. At 3kg (empty) they are very light weight and the size makes it a perfect fit for me. Not too big, nor too small (510mm (20.1") L x 400mm (15.8") W x 230mm (9.1") H). By design they interlock when stacked on top of each other.
Whilst these boxes are not weather proof, I have not found any dust or water coming in. I have been using my Wolf Pack Boxes for almost ten years now. Two of these sit on the roof exposed to the elements.
If you want a bit more storage volume you can purchase the optional hi-lid which replaces the flat-lid that comes as standard with the box.
Camp chairs are a must for any traveller. It goes without saying. Folding camp chairs come in various shapes, sizes and comfort levels. I have sat on some amazingly comfortable camp chairs.
With storage space in our vehicles being the limiting factor, when making the final purchase decision it is a bit of a compromise between comfort and space. This is where I found the Front Runner Expander Camping Chair the ideal. Whilst there are chairs a lot more comfortable, this chair does a pretty good job too.
Its unique expanding design means very little storage space is taken up. 1/16th the size when folded. Since it folds flat you can stow it under just about anything. I have my two chairs under my swag at the back of my fourbie. If you are into walking and hiking, this chair can easily be strapped on to your back or backpack).
Its sturdy construction is from alloy steel and the chair weighs under 5kg.
So there you have it. My list of recommendations for the outdoor loving dad this Father's Day. Hope you found it useful.
If you have any questions or would like more details please contact me.
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