Welcome to the first installment of the Man Crates 8, our quick insider guide to the stuff we’re digging at the moment. We pretty excited to bring you this new series, thus the air kicks and punches. As you might imagine, in our quest to source the coolest gifts for men, we come across all kinds of products from some of the most innovative companies. So consider this your peek behind the curtain to see some of our favorite gear, gadgets and grub. This first edition has a bit of an outdoorsy theme. So read up and stock up for your next outdoor adventure.
VSSL First Aid ($66.50)
Most first aid kits we’ve ever had come in those flimsy, easily warped plastic boxes. Snapping the lid shut is more of a pain than the actual pain of the injury. Inside the box, there are just flimsy Band-Aid knockoffs and an antiseptic pad that expired three years ago. VSSL to the rescue! Their first aid kit comes in a 9" x 2" cylinder made from seamless extruded military specification anodized aluminum. That’s not gonna warp. Bonus: There’s an emergency whistle and dual-mode LED flashlight in case you get stranded. Batteries ARE included.
Other possible use: 4x4 100 relay baton.
NRS 110L Bill's Bag ($140)
Summer is time for river rafting, canoeing and getting out on the water. Don’t let your get gear soaked. You like your gear. This bag can hold a sleeping bag, a tent, gadgets and clothes and is easy to carry around (shoulder straps!). Because no one wants soggy s’mores.
May not be used as a flotation device in the event of a water landing.
Campfire Defender Pro Camper Kit ($250)
Only you can prevent forest fires. But your gear can help, too. The Defender Pro is made with a woven-glass fabric that can withstand temps up to 2,500°F. That’s like surface-of-the-sun hot. We just tossed it on top of our coals before turning in and this torch-proof tarp kept the coals hot while preventing them from blowing away and setting our campground ablaze. Rest easy knowing the only glowing bits floating around will be the stars above.
If there's already a wet blanket in your party, this may be overkill.
FKANT Solar Charger ($22)
Getting away from it all doesn’t include electronics that might just save your life. The last thing you want is for your phone, GPS device or GoPro to run out of juice. This solar charger will keep your batteries powered up while also doubling as an emergency flashlight. It’s got six high-bright LED lights indicating battery charge. This rain-resistant rugged charger holds from 10-12 hours of battery life and is compatible with most portable devices.
Thanks for the charging assist, Sun.
Prefer the smooth sounds of Kenny G to the sounds of nature? That’s totally okay. No, really. We mean it. But if that’s your thing, you’ll need a good speaker. This one can withstand nature’s fury and has survived a tornado (seriously), so it’s likely tough enough to take on the sweet strains of that tenor sax and emerge unfazed. Oh, we also like that it’s also waterproof and delivers great sound.
Speaker softly and carry a big stick.
Anyone who doesn’t have Riddick’s permanent night vision is going to need a little help in the dark. This magnetic light can help illuminate your adventures, whether you need to see how that jambalaya is cooking up in your camp stove or if you feel like catching up on some reading in your tent. It runs for up to six hours and puts out up to 600 lumens on high. That’s a lot of lumens.
Look, you can run over it in your car...not so sure if it can withstand a moose trampling though.
Good-to-Go Oatmeal ($6.50)
Instant oatmeal has a bad—but kind of well-deserved—reputation. It can be gray, gluey and gross. But it’s easy to prepare and inexpensive, so oatmeal’s a staple of camping fare. Thankfully, Good-to-Go has created a version that will shake that bad rep away, thanks to its whole oats, seeds, fruits and actually good flavor. It takes about five minutes to prepare in its own bag, and won’t be confused for spackling paste.
Perfect for campers who don't like washing dishes
Fat Head’s Trailhead Pale Ale
Nothing goes quite as well with a good view as a good brew. When you’re headed to the backcountry, a beer available in a can is way better than a heavier, breakable glass bottle. Brewed with four kinds of hops, Fat Head’s Trailhead Pale Ale has quenched our boozy thirst brilliantly. We also like that downing a can of Trailhead helps maintain more than 270 miles of trails in and around Cleveland. That’s pretty cool even if you’re not from Ohio.
Smashing an empty Fat Head on your forehead is not advised.
PRO-TIP: Once you’ve got your view and your brew set, add in some jerky, which doesn’t rhyme but still goes well with the other two.