FRANK SARGEANT/Tribune correspondent
Published: June 8, 2013   |
Updated: June 8, 2013 at 11:41 PM
It can be tough being a dad, but it can be even tougher figuring out what dads want on their special day. My pop always had two of everything he could use already, and he didn’t want much else. But, that said, there are a lot of new toys on the market that your special man probably does not have — and probably would enjoy a bunch.
Get the picture? One of the more useful gadgets devised for boating dads of late is the iBall trailer hitch camera. A tiny magnetic camera attaches to the tow-vehicle bumper just above the hitch ball, and the video camera plugs into the cigarette lighter outlet. You can see exactly where the ball is in relation to the trailer coupling on the boat or camper as you back up. It’s a simple, wireless, seemingly foolproof system. It costs about $150. For more information, visit www.iballhitchcam.com.
Power up If Dad likes to take his electronics on the water or in the camper, Energizer power inverters feature multiple AC and USB ports and ultra-silent fans. The Energizer Cup Inverter ($44.99) is designed to rest in a cup holder and power multiple mobile devices in a car, boat or RV, via four USB ports and one AC outlet. The larger, Energizer 1100W Power Inverter ($119.99) features two USB ports and two AC outlets and is suited for larger devices such as TVs, gaming consoles, power tools and small appliances. Visit www.energizer.com.
Right up his alley If your dad tends to break things such as sunglasses, Costa del Mar’s Tuna Alley line might be the ticket. The hinges are integral, molded into the heavy, tough nylon frame. The glasses have broad ear pieces and curved lenses to cut glare and maximize vision though the surface of the water, and they’re available in plastic (which is lighter) or glass (which is tougher and nearly scratch proof). The lenses come in a variety of shades from amber to green to gray, and the frames are available in five colors, including white. They cost about $250, but the company also makes many lower-priced glasses. A full line of prescription sunglasses is also available. Visit www.costadelmar.com.
Seeing the light If your dad is a fan of “Swamp People” or is an air-boater, night snooker, or simply likes to hike the woods after sundown, the Pelican 2720 LED Headlight would probably be appreciated. The unique feature is you can turn it on with the wave of a hand in front of the lens — very useful when you need light in a hurry. It operates on three AAA batteries and has a powerful LED main beam that can be set at varying levels to extend battery life. It also includes white/red flashing SOS lights for emergency highway use. It costs about $50. Visit www.pelicanprogear.com.
A no-lose situation T-Reign makes a line of tethering cases that will keep you from losing anything from keys to cameras and cell phones overboard. A 36-inch Kevlar tether, spring-loaded, automatically retracts the device if you drop it. They’re also impact resistant and allow one-hand release. The cost is about $35. The same company also makes tethered fishing pliers and other goodies. Visit www.t-reignoutdoor.com.
Daddy’s little grill If your pop is a grill master, a Grill Daddy steam-cleaner for the grill is a nifty gift at $14.95. You fill the brush handle with water, apply it to a pre-heated grill and the water turns to steam as you brush away the crud with the replaceable stainless steel brushes. Visit www.buygrilldaddy.com.
In this same vein, Grate Chef’s Non-Stick Grill Wipes are a nice “stocking stuffer” for Dad. The wipes come coated with a non-stick oil that cleans and oils the grill grate, preventing meat from sticking and enhancing the grill marks on meat. You put one of the wipes on the hot grill, press down the bristles of your metal grill brush into it, and work it back and forth across the grate. The cost is $8.99 for a three-pack, six wipes per pack. Visit www.gratechef.com.