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Gettin’ Hitched: Gifts For Groomsmen

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If you do it right, you only get one opportunity to get married in your life. So with a wedding in my near future I’ve been spending some serious time pondering things like gifts for my groomsmen.

These aren’t the kind of guys that would have much use for things like cufflinks. We’re talking a scruffy, fun bunch of dudes who surf, snowboard, sail boats and catch fish.

Digging into some of my favorite brands, I found a ton of cool gifts that pretty much any guy with a love of the outdoors will be happy to add to his collection of stuff. Most of these are based on a small budget as, well, you’re getting married, so most of your money is probably already accounted for (aka gone).

These are some products I’d love to receive and make me happy to give. —Sean McCoy

Fire! Make them know you care enough to give them the gift of fire! The nanoSTRIKER is a Ferrocerium fire starter that, when stuck by metal, emits a shower of blazing hot sparks to light your tinder. It’s tiny, light and $26.

Survival: Of course you want your best buds to stay alive! Give them the basics they need to get out of a jam. Two good choices are the SOL Pocket Survival Pack ($27) and the
Gerber Bear Grylls Basic Survival Kit ($23).

Light! Much like knives, it’s hard to own too many headlamps. They are often borrowed and regularly not returned. They also are easy to lose and do wear out over time. For $39.95, the Black Diamond Spot is a sweet little light packing up to 130 lumens of illumination and “PowerTap” technology that allows quick, on-the-fly brightness adjustment with just a finger.

Playtime: When it comes to fun with your buddies, disc golf is a great way to spend an afternoon and can be played just about anywhere. Set them up to drive for show with the Vibram Lace ($18), a distance driver that is highly regarded as great from the tee.

Ice: Keep your boys’ beverages frosty with a small travel cooler. It’s useful for everything from beer drinking to hauling fish from the lake and camping. If you’ve got the funds, the Yeti Roadie ($250) is a really solid piece of equipment that will last a lifetime. For more budget-minded grooms, Mountainsmith’s The Sixer soft cooler works great and takes up little storage space at home. Make the gift truly special — fill it up with a six-pack of your favorite beverage.

A big box of toys: The Survival Mancrate can only be opened with a crowbar and contains all kinds of fun goodies. While the company makes several different crates for different personalities, the Survival Mancrate seems sweet and even contains some quality gear like the GSI Outdoors single person cook kit. Not bad for $109.

Knife: This is a classic groomsman gift for a very good reason: What guy doesn’t want another knife? Plus, they are easy to engrave and personalize. But please don’t give your best buds some useless trinket — make it a real knife. A few good, inexpensive options come from Gerber (the Paraframe is a nice, light daily carry for $25), Buck (the Bantom BHW is made in the USA for $32), and Bass Pro Shops’ brand Redhead has some good blade bargains.

Higher-end brands like Benchmade offer beautiful knives for those with a more robust pre-wedding budget.

—Editor Sean McCoy is getting married this weekend, on June 21, 2014.

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