8 Great Father's Day Gifts for the Military Man
Cool gifts for those in service have to meet a higher standard - just like our men in uniform. Cherry-picking the many military websites out there would be too easy and besides, I'm the Japanese Innovations Writer here at InventorSpot.
With that in mind, I've chosen to follow up my 7 Gadget Gifts to Get Dad to Like You Again posting from 2007 with a selection of neat Japanese gadget gifts any military man - past or present - would find useful and, er, amuse-ful on Father's Day 2008.
1) Laser-Guided Pool Cue Makes Every Shot Count
You don't have to be Minnesota Fats to appreciate the beauty of this high-tech laser-guided pool cue but it does help to have been in the Air Force where laser-guided munitions are the "smart" way to win wars. Aim it at the white of the cue ball, not the whites of someone's eyeball, by the way. Just $80 from Amazon. Bandits at 6 o'clock, rack 'em up!
2) Cranking MP3 Player Gives You the Power
Long drives across the desert wastes in a Humvee or even longer road trips in the Hummer with complaining kids, wife & dog can take a lot out of a guy. Break times go better with musical accompaniment but electricity to power your player isn't always close at hand. That's why the Cranking MP3 Player is the perfect gift. Before you crank it up, crank it up!
This rugged, hand-powered MP3 player embodies that self-reliant, deal with the situation, MacGyver-meets-Crusoe ethos that gets drummed into any service's recruits during basic training. His for 3,980 yen (about $38) from Thanko's Rare Mono Shop in Japan - you can order online.
3) Lifeguard Floating Keychain - Unsinkable at Sea!
Most military men are active outdoor recreation fans, so the Lifeguard Floating Keychain might just come in handy while white-water rafting, kayaking, building a pontoon bridge or any other activity that takes them into, over and around the wet stuff. Endorsed by the United States Lifeguard Association, this inexpensive (840 yen or $8.30) gift will pay for itself the first time his keys hit the water. (Update: This keychain is no longer available. A good alternative is this keychain.)
4) Pentax Waterproof Digital Camera Shoots Even When Wet
While we're on the topic of water, take the new Pentax Optio W60 digital camera - and if he drops it in the drink, no worries! Resistant to pressure up to 12 feet deep and boasting 10 megapixel resolution, the Optio W60 can even record in 720p HD video. Plus, it looks cool, especially in Ocean Blue - just right for naval servicemen. Cost? A reasonable $329.99.. Print him a pic so he'll know what to expect in the APO mail. (Update: This amazing underwater digital camera may be a better updated option.)
5) IronKey USB Flash Drive - We Never Rust
Though a product of the good old US of A, the IronKey USB flash drive is a class leader and stands head & shoulder above the thumb-drive crowd when it comes to protecting mission-critical data. Get him the Government version at prices that range from $79 for the 1GB key to $299 for the largest capacity 8GB key. (You can also find these at Amazon.)
This ain't no toy - take it from IronKey: "With the support of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the industry's leading cryptography and Internet experts, and years of research and development, IronKey has developed the world's most secure flash drive. The IronKey drive combines high-speed, hardware-based encryption in a hardened-case to thwart even the most sophisticated attacks." Whoa... bring it on, Osama!
6) Wii Hero Pack for Living Room Sabre-Rattlers
Even the toughest soldier needs to wind down, and what better way than with the Wii Hero Pack? The nice folks at Camy Intl have created a neat sword & shield combo that works with standard Wii-motes that allow the player to swing, block, even shoot! The Wii Hero Pack will bring a smile to any knight, medieval or modern. (Update: The Wii Hero Pack is no longer available. Other Wii Packs are available here.
7) Isaburo Rucksack Stows Gear in Style
Lugging heavy backpacks over difficult terrain is part & parcel for servicemen in the Army, Navy, Marines and Special Forces. Their civilian-issue rucksack had better perform to that level. Here's one that does: the Isaburo City123 Rucksack. "Available in Crocodile, Snake, or Lizard!"... sounds good already! Seriously though, this is THE way to carry your gear through jungles natural or concrete.
Good looking, built to last and tough as nails, the Isaburo City123 Rucksack goes for $699 to $799 - a hefty chunk of change to be sure, but that's what you'll pay to get the very best, custom-made, exclusive backpack on this or any planet. (Update: This rucksack is no longer available. Other well rated high performance rucksacks are available here.)
8) Soldiers Egg Holder Guards Your Rations
It's said an army travels on its stomach, but I don't mean those grueling obstacle course crawls featured in Full Metal Jacket. Lighten up breakfast time with the Soldiers Egg Holder created by noted creative artist Reiko Kaneko. This "Battle on the Breakfast Table" will be sure to raise the level of egg-citement to just above shell-shock. Don't shoot 'til you see the whites of their eggs... and that's no yolk! Only £9.95 (about $22) plus international shipping from NOTCOT in the UK.
Well, that wraps up this year's list of 8 Great Father's Day Gifts for the Military Man. Thanks guys, have a great Father's Day wherever you are and know that the greatest gift of all is the freedom you've fought for us all to enjoy!
Updated: November 2013