Father’s Day 2020 Gift Guide

Here’s a selection of thirteen sure to be appreciated gift suggestions for the Dad on your list. Prices range from free to $349.00.

Orange Screw — the ultimate ground anchor

Tired of those whimpy ground stakes pulling out in the slightest wind. With these Orange Screws, that’ll never be a problem again. Designed of recycled materials right here in the good ole US of A, these are the real deal. One screw in each set comes inside a clean plastic tube that acts as a T handle to help screw them into the toughest soil. Using a luggage scale, I applied 65# of pull and it didn’t budge an inch. Available in small and large models to hold whatever you want securely held.

Tin Lid Hats

Buy a hat, have a place to stick a pencil, and have a tree planted in your honor. Such is the story of the Tin Lid Hat Company. It started out on a disc golf course when the founders thought of incorporating a pencil loop on the side of the cap. Since then, they’ve sold more than 100,000 caps with a pencil loop and have planted 100,000 trees through their partner “Trees for the Future.”

The one I’m sporting here is the Excursion 5 panel, but they’ve got almost four dozen models to select from.

[Thanks to my friends at DeepCreek PR for turning us on to the products above.]

Video2Digital Converter 2.0 by ClearClick

Dads of a certain age certainly have some old video tapes laying around. Before they degrade, you need to convert them to digital. With the Video2Digital Converter, I get great quality copies from my VHS tapes, easily converted onto SD cards or USB sticks. I love that you can actually see and hear what’s being recorded on the device screen before or as you are recording.

There’s also a great auto-shutoff feature, so I can load a two-hour videotape and go to bed, knowing that the recording process will stop when it’s complete. I had some issues with my old VHS machine and a bad codec on my PC, but together with ClearClick’s really helpful and responsive tech support team, I was up and recording in the same day.

Lenovo Smart Display with Google Assistant

Google Assistant has always been a good idea, but in Lenovo’s newest 10" Smart Display — it’s amazing. No matter if you use it to check sports scores, the weather, or play cooking videos from YouTube; it’s always ready for you to say “Hey, Google.” Got a tricky math conversion? — “Hey, Google.”

Want to see your latest photos? “Hey Google.” I’ve got a folder of my latest favorite photos and it automatically does a slide show of those images when it’s inactive.

Or, what I’ve been doing lately is Chromecasting some long-form recordings from my phone to the Smart Display. The sound quality is so much better. It’s simple to set up and you’ll wonder how you lived without it.

I normally use it in the horizontal mode, but if you get a video chat, it’s a breeze to stand it up to match your caller’s screen. Lenovo offers its Smart Displays in 7″, 8″ and 10″ models depending on the space you have available. Check out all the models here.

Klein Rechargeable Wireless Jobsite Speaker

There’s nothing that helps to pass the time when working, like listening to your favorite music or podcast. But in a work environment, you need a speaker that can take the bumps and bruises that are bound to happen. Introducing one tough little Bluetooth speaker with great sound.

The rechargeable battery is powered by a USB-C connection and lasts up to 10 hours. It’s IP54 dust and water-resistant, and can handle a 10' drop test. Best of all the speaker can hang from its built-in strap with magnet and nail hole. You can even clip it to your work belt.

Mu6 Bluetooth over-the-ear headphones

Last week I got hold of a pair of the new Mu6 Space2 headphones and I’m loving the fit. The ear cups are actually large enough to go around my ear without compressing it. And, the sound is terrific.

The Space2 headphones have ANC (Active Noise Cancelling) technology that automatically comes on when the headphones are turned on. I can’t see that it drops the battery life — so that’s a plus. ANC can also be set to Transparent or Off (for conversation) if desired by the simple press (or two) of the button right next to the volume control.

Read the whole review on my blog.

Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L

This latest release from Peak Design is just the thing for taking my Nikon D500 DSLR and Mavic Pro Platinum drone out together to do some quick photoshoots. It’s just big enough to comfortably hold all this gear in its center pocket, while protected from each other.

The origami-inspired dividers in this bag are quite unique and offer the option of stacking one item on top of another, yet providing padded protection between them. My extra batteries can go below, while my drone controller is handy sitting on top. There’s also a stretch pocket inside, perfect for extra flash cards, lens clothes, pens, etc.

Outside, there’s another zipped pocket for extra DSLR batteries, filters, etc. And, if you want to take a ground cloth or blanket, there are removable carry straps that let you clip those below the bag. This is one well thought out bag.

For those who already have the Peak Design Capture clip, or are thinking about getting one, there’s a section of the outside of the bag intentionally set up to accommodate it. With the Capture clip and its quick release bracket, you can easily slip your camera into the Capture Clip and not worry about dropping it — yet it’s immediately accessible when that perfect shot presents itself.

Swiftwick Pursuit Business Socks

These aren’t your ordinary old socks — these are some of the best Merino Wool socks with moderate compression and no-slip cuffs. They’re made to keep you feeling great for all-day comfort in the office or on the go. The moderate compression provides just the right support for best blood circulation, while the Merino Wool feels great against the skin. Southwick is made in the USA and offers socks for every occasion, in multiple sizes for both men and women. Check out their full collection here.

Learn First Aid and CPR via an online class.

Be prepared to provide care at home, at school or in your community by learning the appropriate care to provide for first aid, breathing and cardiac emergencies. Taken entirely online only, these courses do not include the opportunity for you to demonstrate skill proficiency to a certified instructor, and therefore may not meet requirements for workplace safety certification.

Learn Psychological First Aid — supporting yourself and others during COVID-19 — FREE

The uncertainty associated with a global health crisis like COVID-19 challenges everyone’s ability to cope. This course will help you to build resilience and support yourself and others through this crisis by reviewing basic principles of providing psychological first aid, including how to recognize and manage stress in yourself and in others and how to lend support to family members, friends and coworkers during and following the COVID-19 outbreak.

iRig Video Creator Bundle

I had the chance to try out their iRig Video Creator Bundle and I’ve got to say, it’s a compact bundle of goodness like I’ve never seen before. Forget expensive lightboxes and studio booms to make you look good. This small, six-inch ring light will light up just you or a whole room if you need it to.

The camera phone holder, iKlip Grip Pro, expands to accept any current cellphone available and holds it securely in place. Mine works even with a rather bulky case surrounding it, so I don’t have to remove the phone from the case before I start filming. The tripod is compact enough to fit in a standard camera bag, yet it can be twisted open to reveal four extensions enabling the camera to be elevated up to 24 inches above your desktop. Shoot standing up or sitting down, whichever works for your broadcasting style.

The third component is a quality lavalier microphone, the iRig Mic Lav, that can be clipped to your shirt or jacket. Sound quality is excellent and you have more freedom to move with the lav clipped to your clothing.

For compactness sake, I chose the iRig Video Creator Bundle, but there’s a big brother if you need more light or prefer a handheld microphone ( the Video Creator HD Bundle.) Whichever you choose, I’m sure you are going to appreciate the improvement in your video productions.

Abode Iota — home security and automation

Motion alerts and video recordings are all available without a contract, while with a $8.33/month subscription, you can add 24/7 professional monitoring. The Abode Iota comes complete with 1080p camera, door/window sensor and a key fob to control home/away/disarm functions. Iota also interfaces with IFTTT, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Home Kit, ZWave, Zigbee and more.

pHin Smart Monitor — for pools, hot tubs and swim spas

pHin (pronounced Fin) tells you when and which chemicals need to be added, and if your treatments are having the desired effect. Works with chlorine, salt and bromine. Plug in any of hundreds of pool treatment chemicals into the app and it will accurately tell you how much to add based on pool readings. See full list of supported chemicals here.

I hope something appeals to you from the above selections. If you buy one, let me know how much your Dad liked it.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there.

Disclosure: Some of the products shown above were supplied by the manufacturers so we could do reviews and include them in this gift guide. No financial remuneration was involved, and opinions expressed are always our own.

Also published on Medium.

Originally published at https://dougbardwell.com on May 28, 2020.

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Doug Bardwell

Writer & photographer in print & online. Proud husband, father & grandfather. Engaged volunteer with Red Cross, human trafficking prevention & social concerns.