Porches, decks, patios, balconies, terraces. Places for dads to find solace from the world around them. Those spots, and backyards overall, are excellent places to cook a meal, have a drink or simply relax. We’ve compiled a list of the best backyard gear for dads this Father’s Day, from smart grills and pizza ovens to fire pits and drinkware. There’s something that can help all dads enjoy a little time outside.
If you’re going to be outdoors during the summer, you're going to need some bug protection. If your dad is like me and mosquito spray just doesn’t seem to cut it, Thermacell’s products offer protection from bites. I’ve used the E55 and the Patio Shield, and they both work well. However, I prefer the E55 because it’s rechargeable battery powered where the Patio Shield burns liquid fuel. With the E55, you only have to worry about the repellent cartridge which can last up to 40 hours if you opt for the high-capacity refill. There’s no spray, no mist and no excess smoke – just a 20-foot bug-free zone.
Maybe dad doesn’t need a new grill, but could use some help perfecting his skills or would enjoy monitoring food from afar. Meater+ is a wireless probe that sends food and ambient temperature readings to your phone via Bluetooth. Both sensors are in the same probe, further cutting down on any clutter and giving backyard cooks free access to everything they’re cooking. The Meater software can guide you through the cooking process and provides estimated completion times. And with a rated range of 165 feet, dad can relax and still keep tabs on everything.
Brumate Hopsulator Trio
Every dad can use a way to keep canned beverages cold on a hot day, but Brumate’s Hopsulator Trio functions as a koozie and a travel mug. There are a few different models, but I prefer the Trio’s 3-in-1 abilities. For 16 ounce cans, it’s an insulated aluminum holder. For 12 ounce cans, the Hopsulator comes with a reusable cold puck for even more efficient cooling. And as I mentioned, it comes with a lid so you can use it as a cup if you want. I use mine year round, but it gets the most work during the warmer months when I’m out at the grill or sitting on the deck.
TP-Link Kasa outdoor smart plug
What do you get the dad that has seemingly everything already? Something to make his life easier. TP-Link’s Kasa line offers a range of smart home products, including smart outdoor plugs. These work well for things like patio string lights and other items you’d rather not venture outside to simply plug in. You can control the outlets via the Kasa app or with your voice via Alexa and Google Assistant. The app gives you the ability to set timers to automate things and the IP64 rating means you won’t have to worry about dust or rain.
When it comes to smart grills, Traeger’s pellet models are among the most versatile. They allow you to do everything from low-and-slow barbecue to hot and fast high-heat searing. The company’s app is a wealth of information, with recipes and step-by-step guidance right on dad’s phone. For 2022, the company completely redesigned its Timberline grills, making them a full-fledged outdoor kitchen with the addition of a side-mounted induction burner. Traeger also made changes for better heat distribution and cleanup. So not only can your dad cook a feast, but he shouldn’t have to spend as much time on maintenance afterwards.
Weber brought its smart grilling platform to its gas grills in 2021, putting a sous chef on every dad’s phone. With the 2022 models, the company made some design tweaks to make the grills more versatile, but Weber Connect remains. Via an app, dad can access step-by-step cooking guidance, estimate completion times and even monitor fuel levels (propane models). Weber’s new line of accessories also expand what you can cook, adding things like a pizza stone, roasting basket and flat-top griddle as optional gear for the new Genesis smart grills.
Solo Stove fire pits
I’ve had several fire pits since I bought a house in 2014, and none of them can compete with Solo Stove. The company’s products are designed to channel smoke upward, keeping you from being choked out while you’re trying to enjoy some time outdoors. The pits come in various sizes, so you have options if dad goes camping often or just needs a place to chill in the backyard. The interior design of the Solo Stove pits also facilitates proper airflow, so fires always burn nicely.
UE Wonderboom 2
An essential part of any dad’s backyard setup is the ability to blast some tunes. A portable Bluetooth speaker also gives him the ability to take his yacht rock playlist on the road. UE’s Wonderboom 2 is a compact and affordable option with big sound. It’s also IP67 rated and protected against drops of up to five feet. What’s more, you can pair two units together for stereo audio and an outdoor mode adjusts the mids and highs for better sound in open air.
Ooni Karu 16
It’s no secret that Ooni’s pizza ovens can help you make restaurant quality pies at home. They’re well built, easy to use and reach cooking temperatures in just a few minutes. The Karu 16 is the company’s latest model, and it’s also one of the most versatile. You can cook with wood or add a gas burner in order to power your pizza parties. Plus, there’s a viewing window in the front and an ambient temperature display that comes in very handy. The Karu 16 is more expensive than some Ooni models, but it also makes things easier on dad when he’s launching pizzas on the patio.
Ember Mug 2
Few things are better than morning coffee on the back porch. Few things are worse than picking up your cup and taking a swig of cold coffee. Ember’s heated mugs can help dad escape this fate by keeping coffee and other beverages set to a desired temperature. I’ve been using one since I got it for Father’s Day on a near daily basis and I can attest it is much better than microwaving cold coffee. However, the battery life isn’t great: 1.5 hours with the Ember Mug 2 10 ounce and up to 80 minutes with the 14 ounce. I’d love it if those times were a bit longer, but these cups can still get the job done.