I’ll tell you a secret: the dad in your life doesn’t want anything for Father’s Day. Yes, golf clubs are beautiful, and if you want to get him a new mountain bike, you should definitely do that. But what he really wants is a little order in his life. Because fatherhood is chaos. There are shoes everywhere. My basement is basically just a sea of Legos, stuffed animals, and Nerf guns. For some reason someone put a hairbrush and hair ties in the fridge. And don’t get me started with the car, this is a superfund site. My family consists of two kids, a dog, a geriatric cat, a woman with an affinity for kitchen appliances, and we’re all crammed into a house about the size of a work cubicle in the United States. That’s why I dream of books alphabetically arranged on shelves and a robot butler who follows my kids to pick up all the half-eaten sandwiches and dirty glasses that they have put down all day. Bringing order to parental chaos is an uphill battle, but there are a handful of products out there that can help organize certain aspects of a father’s life, from the garage to the campsite.
Organization for the car: Decked D-Bag ($ 175)
(Photo: Courtesy Decorated)
Don’t think of the D-bag as an expensive travel bag. Think of it as a go-bag for the funniest aspects of your life. This expandable hardshell / softshell dumper came with a 42 liter outside pocket full of organizational functions such as a tool roll with slots for wrenches and screwdrivers and two zippered pockets for loose items like batteries or snacks. The tool roll snaps onto the hard shell plate, but can be folded out and rolled up to be carried separately. There is also a smaller travel bag that clicks in and out of the bag, like the organization’s Russian nesting dolls. The D-Bag was designed for work that requires tools, but I’ve found it to be perfect for storing all of my mountain bike gear (helmet, shoes, gloves, extra layers, snacks, tools, pump, and tubes). The flat, hard-shell shape of the bag makes it easy to stow in your truck or trunk so it can stay in your car.
Organization for the garage: Front Runner Wolf Pack ($ 40)
(Photo: Courtesy of Frontrunner)
People have used the “container system” for garage organization since Caveman times, so the concept at stake here isn’t groundbreaking, but Overland brand Front Runner’s Wolf Pack is a superior container. It’s made of plastic tough enough to stand on, with lids that close tightly. The containers are stacked like Legos, which makes storage and packaging more orderly. At 31 liters, it’s the perfect size in my opinion – big enough for a whole camping kitchen, but not too big to overfill with unnecessary crap. I have two of these: one for all of my camp kitchen items and the other for my lighter, kindles, matches, a small ax, and work gloves. If I could, I’d stack a dozen of these in my garage, each with a different aspect of my outdoor life.
Organization for the backpack: Peak Design Packing Cubes ($ 30 and up)
(Photo: Courtesy Peak Design)
Not all packing cubes are created equal. Peak Designs are packed with intelligent functions and are made of super light, recycled, weatherproof and abrasion-resistant nylon. It has the typical main compartment for filling shirts or socks, but the back of the cube has a second expandable compartment that separates dirty clothes from clean items. It also has an expansion zipper that doubles the size of the cube but then closes back down to compress the contents inside. The small version fits nine liters of clothing (approx. 10 shirts) and the medium one is twice as large. There’s also a shoe-specific bag that rolls up tightly when not in use. When I travel again, I organize my pack or rolling luggage with these nifty cubes. (I can say nice because I am a father.)
Organization for workouts: Garmin fēnix® 6 Pro Solar ($ 799.99)
(Photo: Courtesy Garmin)
If your dad is the best, his watch should be too. The fēnix® 6 Pro Solar Premium multisport GPS watch has a solar charging lens with a customizable power manager mode to stay ready for weeks.
Organization for the campsite: NiteIze Gear Line ($ 20)
(Photo: Courtesy of Nite Ize)
My family brings a lot of things to camp. I somehow manage to wear the same shirt and shorts for six days in a row, but my son burns an entire closet before breakfast. For organizational reasons, we hang dirty clothes on the tent poles outside the tent – not a pretty sight. And then there are water bottles, lanterns, cups, toys and other random items that are thrown around the camp. Enter the NiteIze Gear Line, a 1.2 meter long tape with D-ring webbing and integrated carabiners. It lets me hang up clothes, hats and all the little things that clutter a campsite. I wish the Gear Line was twice as long, but this makes it the perfect length to hang in your tent or between two trees.
Lead Photo: Mick Haupt / Unsplash