Father’s Day is coming, and for many men, that means they’ll get a new tie, a bottle of cologne, or worse — socks. Instead of giving dad (or your husband) yet another predictable gift, why not surprise him with something out of the ordinary? I’m talking about one of the many available Man Crates gift boxes.
Man Crates are curated gift sets that have been thoughtfully put together to fit just about interest and every budget. Some of them arrive in actual wooden crates, some come in recycled ammo cans, and some come in regular cardboard boxes. While they say that these are for men, there are more than a few that piqued my interest.
Let’s take a look at a few of my favorites in varying ranges, and then I’ll show you the one I was sent.
In Texas, we have a saying that you can fix just about everything with some duct tape, WD-40, and baling wire; Man Crates got two out of three right for this $19.99 Ultimate Tool Kit gift box.
$24.99 gets you the Baconology Kit, which includes a bacon curing instruction manual, secret bacon rub, bacon cure, a hickory smoker bag, and a dial meat thermometer.
The $49.99 Gin-Fusion Kit includes everything dad will need to create two bottles of his own flavored compound gin from a 750mL bottle of vodka. Read the comments on this one — people are saying that the gins they create by infusing vodka with this kit taste better than anything they’ve bought in the store. I’m probably going to have to order this one to try for myself (see, these are not just for men!).
Also priced at $49.99 is the Ramen Connoisseur Crate; this isn’t the stuff you buy at the grocery for $5 a case, though! Included in the wooden crate are packs of Shin Ramyun Ramen, Ottogi Jjangjang Ramen, Neoguri Ramen, Sapporo Ichiban Ramen, Hikari Menraku Ramen Tonktufu, and Hikari Menraku Ramen Shio; it also comes with a set of chopsticks, chili oil, chili seasoning, and Japanese pepper; you’ll have to supply your own bowl, though. 😉
For $64.99, you can get the Personalized Golf Ball Mini Crate, which includes a set of 30 personalized golf balls — with dad’s initials on one side and his photo on the other. That’s different, right?
The $69.99 Hot Sauce Making Kit gives dad a chance to make his own pants on fire hot sauce. included in the box are 2 ounces of Carolina Reaper Pepper Puree, 2 ounces of Naga Morich Pepper Puree, and two ounces of Habanero Pepper Puree. You also get a reusable pull-handle food processor, a stainless steel funnel, chemical resistant gloves, three 8-ounce Boston round bottles to hold your hot sauce creations, and an instruction/recipe book. Cool. I mean, hot. 😉
The $59.99 Coffee Ammo Can set comes with a 12 ounce package of Alpha Warrior select coffee, two full pot packages of Double Barrel Black (dark roast) and Smooth Operator (light roast), a Clif Bar, a Fruit & Nut Kind Bar, and a stainless steel carabiner mug — all packed inside an air-tight, waterproof, and virtually indestructible NATO spec. ammo case.
For $79.99, you can get the Personalized Growler Crate, which includes a 64-ounce personalized mini-keg growler (perfect for taking on visits to your favorite local brew house), a white chalk pencil (so you can label the growler’s contents), and two classic pint glasses. You also get a copy of the 33 Bottles of Beer book, and an assortment of brew candy. All of this is delivered in a sealed wooden crate with a laser-etched crowbar.
There are four $99.99 kits that I especially like. The first is the Ammo Can Poker Set; it comes with two decks of custom playing cards, 300 casino-weight (11.5 gram) composite chips, and an exclusive poker chip holder. This would be perfect in anyone’s game room or man cave.
The $99.99 Golfer’s Crate comes with a stuffed “Chuck Rodent” head cover, a DIVPro 6-in-1 tool, a golf towel, a sleeve of Soft & Longs, and a bag of golf tees. You also get a 16-ounce Arnold Palmer drink (half iced tea & half lemonade (yum)), two packs of sunflower seeds, and a “Caddyshack instructional DVD”.
The $99.99 Dutch Oven Kit comes with a Campmaid Dutch Oven, a Campmaid lid lifter/kickstand, a Camp Chef chain mail scrubber (I need one of these for our cast iron), pitt mitts, and a Man Crates Dutch Oven cookbook. Think of it as a crock pot that you use outdoors to cook everything from stew to peach cobbler. Kev is a pro with our Dutch Oven; if you’ve never cooked with one (or tasted something that came out of one), you’re missing out!
The last $99.99 kit I want to tell you about is the New Dad Tactical Bag; while it’s perfect for Father’s Day, it’s also brilliant for any new dad. Included in the 17″ long x 10″ tall x 3.5″ deep “Advanced Tactical Attaché” (a.k.a. baby bag) are a baby owner’s manual, a can of Red Bull, some Perky Jerky, Military Edge gum, and ear plugs for dad; for baby, there’s a Mustachifier, a camo blanket, and a camo beanie for the baby. Cute!
There are two Zombie crates that I thought were practical, yet fun at the same time. For $119.99, you can get the Zombie Suppression Crate, which includes a 12.9″ 3mm stainless steel Elk Ridge Machete (this is not a toy) and an 11″ MTech USA Axe (also not a toy). Packed inside the wooden crate, you’ll also find the Zombie Survival Guide, a zombie flashlight, a first aid kit, duct tape (you can never have too much of this stuff), and Spam (yes, Spam).
If you want to be a little bit more extravagant as you prepare dad for the zombie apocalypse, you can get him the $149.99 Zombie Annihilation Crate. This crate includes everything in the previous zombie crate, but it adds a Gorge folding shovel and a combination paracord knife with a built-in fire starter.
The $169.99 5 Gallon Home Brew Kit includes everything dad needs to brew his own in your kitchen or garage. Inside the box are a 5-gallon carboy, a 5-gallon brew pot, a brewing bucket, two airlocks, a pump siphon, a thermometer, and a home brewing instruction manual. Don’t worry — you don’t have to make a run to the home-brew store once dad receives this because it also comes with a SMaSH IPA kit, a bottle capper, sanitizer, a bottle filler, tubing, and bottle caps. Prost!
And now … the moment you’ve been waiting for, right?
What was in MY Man Crate?
Check this out — I got the $179.99 Damascus Chef Knife Making Kit!
I love to cook, I love to make things, and I love making cool things that I will actually use when I cook!
The exterior cardboard box may be somewhat plain for shipping, but once you open it up things get much more festive. So, what came in my kit? The box held an 8.5″ long VG-10 Damascus chef knife blade blank, a black and red Micarta handle scale set, and mosaic pins (with stars on each side!) to hold the knife and handle together.
In order to put it all together, the kit includes a 2-ton syringe epoxy, a rasp and file set, a graded sandpaper set, a bench vise, a drill bit, and a Man Crate chef knifemaking guide. Inside the guide, there was a bookmark that included a link to the Man Crates library; check it out. In it, you’ll find many (if not all) of the guides included in their do-it-yourself kits
The Damascus blade is gorgeous!
This is the book that came with my chef knife set; you can see that every step is laid out, and the instructions are easy to follow.
Here’s how my particular project went: I started the process on the picnic table in our backyard …
I needed to move to Kev’s blacksmithing sculpture studio for the next part because it involves drilling; using the pre-drilled holes in the knife tang as a guide, Kev drilled through the newly attached Micarta handle for me; that’s the only part of this that I didn’t do myself.
Now that the first side of the knife tang has been cured and drilled, the second side needs to have the other piece of the Micarta handle attached with epoxy and clamped; then it needs another two hours to cure.
Now it’s time to use the holes already in the knife tang and the first side of the Micarta handle as guides to drill the final two holes through the newly attached handle side.
Now I’m ready to insert the decorative metal pins. Knowing that the epoxy is going to get everywhere, I laid the downside of the handle on a piece of cardboard. I’ll tear it off after everything dries and file off any residue as part of the finishing process.
Next, I coated the pins and the holes with epoxy and inserted the pins. The pins protruded a little bit, and that is okay; I will file them down later.
After waiting 24 hours for everything to fully cure (they recommend at least 12, but I was trying to be extra safe), it’s time to shape the handle! This is an extremely messy part of the process, and it is very elbow-grease intensive. As in, my arm is going to be sore for days …
…and then I got wise.
If you’ve got access to a grinder and a belt sander, don’t be ashamed to take advantage.
First, you’ll need to file off all the Micarta until you hit the metal edges of the knife handle. I tried doing this with the hand file, and while it was going fine and I could do it, I had access to an electric grinder and brush, and it just seemed silly not to use it.
Once the handle has been filed and shaped, you have four different types of sandpaper you’ll need to use on it: 100, 220, 400, and 600 grit.
You’ll have to sand for what feels like days to get all the gouges and scratches out of the handle and the metal. Just stick with it, and you’ll love the result.
And now — without further ado — my gorgeous finished Damascus Chef’s knife!
I love this knife as much (if not more) than the fancy Japanese chef’s knife Kev gave me years ago for my birthday. It’s gorgeous, right?
As with any other fine knife, the only special care it needs is that you never put it into a dishwasher; after using it: you should always hand wash it, dry it, and then store it in a butcher block, sheath, or drawer tray. I keep my knives on magnetized bamboo strips that hang on the cabinets at either side of our oven; this knife is stainless and won’t hang there, so it’s going in a special drawer tray.
The Damascus chef’s knife will need occasional sharpening which you can either do yourself or pay a professional to do, but otherwise — there’s no special upkeep.
Did I mention how proud I am of this knife? I’m looking forward to being able to tell people (those who notice it; I’m not going to be that person!) that I made it myself.
Dad would be proud to make and own this; you would be proud to make or own this, too.
If you’re looking for something unusual, something that will really bring a smile to even the hardest to please gift recipient, then Man Crates are definitely worth your attention.
Things to know: You can choose your delivery date when you checkout; Man Crates offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee; they do same day shipping for crates ordered before noon EST; they use four different shipping methods to ensure you get your crate by the date you need it; they offer a 10% discount for verified military purchases;
Source: Manufacturer supplied sample