You might think that things for prehistoric dads were much simpler than they are today: There was no struggle to get the kids into the right pre-cave; keeping them entertained was less complicated and less expensive—”Look, Og, fire.”; and getting them to spend time outdoors was a given seeing as how prehistoric people lived in caves and temporary camps and there wasn’t TV or La-Z-Boy recliners. And while prehistoric dads were more, well, primitive, than today’s dads, some of those eons-old dad instincts remain: Hunting, fishing, foraging, not dying. Indeed, today’s outdoor-loving dad is not that far from his ancestors. In honor of this, and to help you prep for Father’s Day, we present our prehistoric-man-approved Father’s Day gift list that will appeal to his hiking, camping or general outdoorsing modern self.
Everything old is new againLooking to the past can help give a clearer picture of the present when it comes to finding the best outdoorsy gifts for dad. Here are some facts to support that fact.
THE HANDYMAN CAN
Dad’s desire for tools didn't come out of thin air. Crafty cave-dads were tool originators and innovators. They made tools from stone flakes, bones, antlers and wood held together by sinew and resin. The earliest stone tools, the Oldowan toolkit, date back 2.6 million years and were pretty basic: Hammerstones, stone cores and sharp stone flakes. Eventually they got a little more creative, making large cutting tools and hand axes. These tools were used to hunt large game and cut meat and skins for food and clothing. Think what they could’ve done with a serious axe forged from cold, hard steel. Wooly mammoth burgers, coming right up.
In fire, there is life. Or at least heat. And protection. So yeah, life. Early man learned to control fire—not in a Drew Barrymore, Firestarter sort of way, which really would’ve been a game-changer. But understanding how to control natural fire, and later, learning how to create fire, was a serious turning point in human evolution. It kept humans safe, it allowed them to socialize more and it gave them the ability to cook. When early man first began to use fire for cooking isn’t certain, but being able to cook food was huge. You see, early man sometimes scavenged for meat from carrion, which, as you can guess, probably had a fair amount of bacteria in it. Roasting meat would’ve killed most of that bacteria making it safe for consumption. A culinarily inclined cave-dad could have really gone to town with a campsite Dutch oven, inventing stew, keeping the family healthy and safe with some well-cooked meals.
HOOK, LINE AND DINNER
Prehistoric food wasn’t a one-note affair. Early man was carnivorous, but research shows they also ate nuts and other edible plants. There is also evidence that early man in some areas went deep-sea fishing, beginning the beloved dining tradition of surf and turf. Cave-dads used early fishing tools, like hooks made from bone, to snare tuna, sharks and rays—and probably without any bait or lures. Now, modern dads who are fish whisperers may not need anything but a bare hook to catch dinner, but why risk it? A good set of fishing tools will ensure dad’s domination over any slippery sea creature. Well, some of them.
SURVIVAL OF THE DAD-EST
As the title “caveman” suggest, early humans were all about the cave. They didn’t create permanent settlements, opting instead for using seasonal shelter and/or temporary sites (nomadic groups may have followed herd animals as they hunted for food). But they would either select a good cave when they came across one or make shelters, like earthen mounds, huts or bone covered by stretched animal hide. No matter what the structure, there obviously weren’t any deadbolts on the doors, or doors necessarily, so cave-dad would’ve needed to keep an eye out for danger or trouble. This is where all their tricks came in handy—tools, fire, grunting. And while many were obviously savvy enough to stay out of trouble, a survival kit, especially one that contained jerky, sure would have helped. At the very least, a good knife in a good hiding place would’ve been handy.
For more outdoors gifts that both cave-dads and modern dads would love, check out our awesome collection of outdoors gifts for men.