Being a dad is complicated. Buying gifts for dads, on the other hand? Not so much, because dads need a lot of stuff. From the practical — diaper bags and baby monitors — to the downright cool (iPhone projector, anyone?), being a dad requires the right mix of necessary evils and brag-worthy possessions.
All dads come equipped with their own unique bag of life hacks, and your fatherhood-optimization routine only gets more advanced as your kids get older. Dads don't need the help of the modern world to get things done, but it can sure make getting things done more fun... and efficient. So, instead of mass gifting all the dads you know with a cheesy tactical tie, hook them up with something that'll actually do them good.
Philips Norelco Shaver 9700, $349. Whether or not you like shaving, it's necessary. Close shaves are all well and good, but clean, pain-free shaves are to die for (not literally, mind you). Thankfully for dads' necks everywhere, the Philips Norelco Shaver 9700 does both and does them excellently. Its V-Track Precision Blades cut closer than other razors, and its Contour Detect Technology lets it trim regions of your face and neck that are too hard to reach with lesser razors. Upkeep on electric razors can be a pain, but this one comes with a cleaning system that does the heavy lifting for you. And, since it's waterproof, you can use it just about anywhere — perfect for the dad-on-the-go.
Cardsharp 2 Credit Card Knife, $15. Even in the modern age, knives are still one of the most versatile tools when it comes to the needs of a dad hacker — but carrying them around isn't always convenient. With this credit card-sized knife, you can avoid the concerns of carrying a full-sized Swiss Army tool.
Smartphone Projector, $27. Gone are the days of sitting in the living room watching a slideshow of baby pictures projected onto the wall... or are they? This clever contraption lets you share the best your phone has to offer with an entire room, minus the extra wires and large screen. Bond old school style, with new school delivery.
Bluetooth Tracking Tab, $40. Fact: Your remotes and keys are going to get lost. They're probably lost as you read this — kids are great at that. But with the help of a simple, yet elegant tracking tab, you can beat your kids (and your lost keys) at their own game. Your phone can help you track down your tab (and any attached item) — the tab can even help you track down your phone if you've managed to lose it. Just don't lose both.
GrooveBook app, $2.99 a month. The main reason we have smartphones is for taking pictures of our children (also, you know, keeping in touch), but I actually miss having physical photo albums to pour over. That's where GrooveBook's app steps in and saves the day. It allows you to easily gift yourself with amazing photo albums each month featuring the best smartphone-snapped pictures of your family, all for the cost of a small cup of premium coffee.
Smart Diapers, $10-$2,500 (IndieGoGo). You might not have known that you needed diapers with more intelligence, but you do now. Your kids' current diapers just indicate when they're soiled, but Pixie Scientific's diapers are designed to let you know if your baby/toddler is showing signs of UTIs, dehydration, and even kidney problems. If there's one thing almost all dads have in common, it's an incredible protective instinct. Smart Diapers could be another link in that chain.
BUNN Single Cup My Café® MCU, $160. It's no secret that the secret to surviving as a new parent is a steady flow of caffeine. You'll forget overpriced lattes and finicky pod machines, though, once you see how BUNN can improve your life. This little trooper of a machine can make your coffee, your spouse's tea, and your child's Cup of Noodles — all in less time than it takes that one guy at a chain coffee shop to finish ordering his triple shot one shot decaf two shots regular extra scalding cappuccino with an add protein shot double blended.
Withings Smart Baby Monitor, $250. Parents love to be able to watch our children at all times, especially in the beginning when you need constant reassurance that the tiny creature you created is, in fact, real. Not only does this smart baby monitor feature night vision and audio capture that lets you hear your baby's precious little breaths, but it allows you to keep tabs from your smartphone. Oh, did I mention it can also play lullabies, doubles as a night light, and works as a walkie-talkie? Not to mention that it monitors temperature and humidity levels.
Bag of Holding, $50. Carrying capacity is incredibly important to dads, yet too often overlooked. The Bag of Holding brags about its usefulness for nerds, but it's dads who are really cleaning up here. The deceptively spacious design allows dads to carry all they'll need for a fun daytime outing without having to rent a U-Haul. Plus it's stylish enough to be worth toting around.
4moms Origami Stroller, $850. The origami stroller is so plush that you may wind up preferring it over your car. It sports both daytime running lights and pathway lights for when the sun goes down, folds on its own at the push of a button, recharges itself as you push it, and will even charge your phone for you. It has an LCD screen that'll give you more specs on your daily walks than you ever knew you needed before, and, while it may not have a Hemi, it does have plenty of space for storage.
Jake Roberson is a writer and social media strategist living at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. When he's not in the middle of enjoying them, he writes about tech, pop culture, food, and being a dad.