7 gifts for the wannabe lumberjack
Maybe it started with the hipsters’ co-opting of flannel shirts, but over the past few years, there’s been a big movement where city dwellers are adopting the out-in-the-country lifestyle. Some might call it inauthentic, but when you spend your days trapped in an office, the windows showing a lovely view of concrete, it seems only natural to pine away for some pine trees and a lake view and, ideally, a place with no cell phone reception.
That’s why your friend dresses like Paul Bunyan even when he’s carrying a laptop bag instead of a sleeping bag. That’s why he’s carefully crafted a “rugged” personality that makes you (and, more specifically, potential dates) believe that he’s capable of “roughing it” in nature, and not just in his studio apartment.
Here are some gifts that will help him keep up this charade while in the city, and also come in handy if he ever actually decides to get lost in the woods for a weekend or two.
1. Reunion T-Shirt ($15, Timber! Designs): There’s nothing wannabes love more than a good, topical t-shirt, and this one doesn’t disappoint, depicting a bunch of real lumberjacks who would definitely school your friend in the fine arts of being legitimately “outdoorsy.”
2. Elkskin Chopper Mitts ($82, Best Made Co): Despite the fact that he has never swung an axe in his life, he’d sure like to say he did. Something that’s considered a thankless chore out in the country is considered a point of pride for the wannabe lumberjack. Chopper Mitts were once the staple of every outdoorsman and lumberjack in the Northeast, providing warmth and protection during entire days spent out in the cold. These updated, presumably more fashionable Chopper Mitts, are made of Elkskin (which stays warm even when it’s wet) and lined with polar fleece, keeping him warm while frolicking in the snow in Maine and trudging through the streets of NYC.
3. How to Stay Alive in the Woods ($15, Amazon): When your wannabe lumberjack does end up camping, it’s usually in a state park that’s about 20 minutes away from the nearest Starbucks. Not the exact definition of being “off the grid,” but it’s still a stark difference from the “nature” he experiences on his Brooklyn rooftop. Perhaps this wildlife guide, which reveals things like how to catch game without a gun, what plants are safe to eat, and how to build a warm shelter, will inspire him to get out further than the wilds of Connecticut.
4. Woodcut ($20, Amazon): Since he spends way more time in the city than in the forest, he’ll appreciate something “woodsy” to spruce up his apartment. With Woodcut—a gorgeous tome featuring large-scale relief prints from the cross-sections of trees—he’ll get a coffee table book that’ll make women he brings home from the bar think that he’s a real Renaissance man.
5. Topo X Woolrich Duffel ($189, Topo Designs): Ah, flannel. The material of the lumberjack, co-opted by hipsters. Your friend, of course, fits squarely in between lumberjack and hipster, which is why this duffel bag is perfect for him. It’ll look great whether he’s camping in the Catskills or stowing it in the overhead bin on his flight the next time he’s visiting home.
6. Butcher Apron ($67, Broken Cleaver): A real renaissance man knows how to cook, and the man’s man that your friend wants to be knows how to butcher things (namely, things that he caught with his own bare hands). Your friend better get started. A whole chicken is a good place to start, and he can wear this classic Butcher Apron while he’s prepping it. Bonus? Whole roasted chicken is the perfect meal for literally any occasion, whether he’s cooking for the new girl he’s dating or his mother. Both will be impressed.
7. Opinel Knife ($19, Olympic Provisions): Your grandfather would have told you that everyone should carry a pocket knife, and that’s a true and useful bit of advice. But aside for the knife and the bottle opener, the other tools on your typical Swiss Army knife largely go unused. That’s why your friend will appreciate this simple Opinel Knife, with a sleek wood handle and quality, decent-sized knife. It’s perfect for BBQs, picnics, cutting rigging on a sailboat in a particularly tricky moment, and threatening surly patrons at the local tavern.
Amanda Waas is the creator of You’re Welcome, a gift guide site for all of life’s awkward occasions. Her writing has appeared in Every Day With Rachael Ray, Glamour, Time Out New York, AOL’s Shelterpop and DIY Life, and various others. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.