Gear Review

Celebrate Father’s Day the Bucket List Way

Hilton Hawaiian Village Pool

I usually forget holidays, birthday days and pretty much every other day that most people celebrate. I rarely cook dinner and the house is never spotless. I’m more of an “experience” type of person. I’d rather celebrate life every day and take in as much as humanly possible on a regular basis rather than waiting for a specific day like Christmas. I’d prefer to spend time with my family than to make sure my house is always clean. Who cares if the bed is made? We’re going to mess it anyway. Who cares if there are a few dishes in the sink? They are not going to grow mold and contaminate the house in a few hours. This Father’s Day, though, I decided to get Darren a gift but I want to make it something that he could enjoy and use all year. I want it to be something more suited to our experience type of lifestyle. Below, I’ve listed the things I’ve considered. I won’t be getting all of them but what do you think is the best gift? If you’re a man, what’s the one you’d like the most? If you’re a woman, what would you consider most for a man in your life? Do you prefer experiences over things?

Here are the choices: 

1. An Experience Gift from Great American Days

Biplane Flight, Great American DaysAt Great American Days, there are more than 6,000 amazing experiences for every budget, taste and occasion. From riding in a race car to relaxing at a day spa, their experience gifts create memories that last a lifetime. Great American Days is America’s leading experiences company.

There are tons of experiences to choose from and Darren loves a good adventure. I bought him a biplane flight a couple years ago and he still talks about it.

It’s just for him and reflective of our adventurous lives.


It’s a one time adventure. While the memories will last a lifetime and it’s on the right track with experiences over gifts, it’s just one day in time.

It could be a gift for any time. It doesn’t reflect Father’s Day. I think a Father’s Day gift should have something to do with Athena. That’s why we’re celebrating in the first place.

2. Backpacking Gear from GSI

GSI Backpacking Gear

At GSI, it’s all about the outdoors and there aren’t too many things that Darren enjoys more than the outdoors. He has been doing a lot of hiking and camping since we moved back to California and there are a few key pieces of gear that he’s missing. He thinks I haven’t noticed him hemming and hawing about the size of our Pinnacle Camper cooking set. It’s a fantastic set but I bought it with car camping in mind. When he’s in the mountains with only a backpack, he could really use the Pinnacle Backpacker. If I added a destination kitchen set and a new water bottle, he’d have everything he needs to enjoy cooking on an outdoor adventure. Cooking and Father’s Day seem to go hand-in-hand.


GSI is one of Darren’s favorite outdoor gear companies. Their products last forever and are backpack friendly.

Darren will get multiple uses out of the gear and it leads to more experiences.

We can use the gear on family hikes and adventures together. Increasing family time lines up well with Father’s Day.


It may seem a little selfish since I want these pieces from GSI as well. They won’t only be used by him. I will benefit from them too.

3. Plan a Beach Camping Weekend as a Family

Tent Camping in Southern CaliforniaShouldn’t Father’s Day be about having amazing experiences with your kids? Darren loves to camp, especially if it’s on the beach, and it would be quality time for us as a family.


We get to spend time together. Athena and Darren have been talking about having a camping adventure together for months, but it has yet to be planned.

Darren gets to go camping without worrying about any of the planning.


We’re moving in to our new house this month. We may not want to spend the first weekends away from our new home. (If we plan it before the move, I will need to find all of our camping gear that is already packed.)

4. A Handmade Craft or a Shutterfly Photo Book 
Father's Day Shutterfly

Athena is still young so handmade crafts and photo books can be cute and thoughtful.


It will be made with love.

Darren can keep it as a reminder of how cute Athena is at this age.

Athena and I get to make something together.


We’re not the most sentimental family and it will most likely be put in a box somewhere and forgotten.

It’s not in the experience direction that I was hoping to go in.

5. A Pair of Hammock & Palms Sunglasses

Hammock & Palms - Father's Day Sale

We’re both obsessed with sunglasses. I have two pairs that are my go-to favorites, but my Hammock & Palms are definitely my beach glasses. They are super light-weight and they float. Darren is always asking if he can wear mine when we’re boogie boarding; it’s rare that I will give them up though, which is why I picked a girly color in the first place. It’s time he has his own.


He can wear them all year round, especially living in California.

I know that he likes them because he wants to wear mine.

Hammock & Palms is running a 30% off sale for Father’s Day.


They could be purchased any time of year and aren’t as Father’s Day specific.

It’s not an experience that we can share as a family or related to being a great Dad.

What are your go-to ideas for Father’s Day? Do you make a big deal or celebrate it the same as any other day of the year? How can we celebrate Father’s Day the bucket list way?

Maybe we should go big and do them all or maybe I should start celebrating today and plan a weekend other than Father’s Day. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way and I know Darren will be happy regardless.

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