Dr, Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #278

As promised, here are more gifts for Dads, Grads, and (belated) Moms. Check out Gifts for Moms, Dads, and Grads: Part I for my earlier suggestions.

Backpacks Make Great Gifts for Anyone

After trying myriad attaché-style briefcases and messenger bags, I decided the backpack is a much more practical form. After trying dozens of ‘em over the years, here are a few of my faves:

If your loved one tends to be rough on his or her electronics, the Griffin Survivor backpack is large enough to use as an overnight bag and includes a crushproof armored compartment and 16 other compartments and pockets, many with cable pass-through grommets. It sold for $225 but is out of production. That being said, I found a few of these virtually indestructible backpacks (new) on eBay and other online retailers.

I’m also a fan of backpacks from Solo NY, which offers at least a dozen different backpacks in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. They’re good looking, well-made, and affordable, with prices starting at just $39.99.

I am partial to the All-star Backpack Duffel ($79.99), a cross between a backpack and a duffel bag, big enough for everything I need—clothes and electronics—for a weekend on the road.

All-star Backpack Duffel from Solo NY: Affordable, and big enough for a weekend away from home.

All-star Backpack Duffel from Solo NY: Affordable, and big enough for a weekend away from home.

Last, but certainly not least, check out the hand-made in San Francisco goods from Waterfield Designs. backpacks starting at $319, Waterfield’s backpacks are not for everyone. But, for the discriminating traveler, Waterfield products are elegant, beautiful, super-functional, and built to last a lifetime.

Which is why my Waterfield Bolt ($329), a waxed canvas and sturdy leather backpack that’s both beautiful and functional yet big enough for a weekend’s worth of clothes and electronics, is my all-time favorite.

Waterfield Designs' Bolt backpack is a beautiful, premium backpack that's also big enough for a weekend away from home.

Waterfield Designs’ Bolt backpack is a beautiful, premium backpack that’s also big enough for a weekend away from home.

If the backpacks are too rich for your blood, check out Waterfield’s iPhone and iPad sleeves, wallets, pouches, and other leather goods starting at under $100.

Two More Awesome Gifts

If your dad/grad/mom is into cooking, the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker with Bluetooth (see Dr. Mac 1-9-18) is a $129 gadget roughly the size of an immersion (stick) blender. Clip it onto the side of any vessel filled with water and use the companion iOS (or Android) app to set the temperature and cooking time for perfectly cooked meals.

Finally, if you’re short of cash but still want to honor your mom, dad, or grad on their special day, here’s a gift idea that won’t cost you a dime. Rather than buying a gift, offer your time and services to:

  • Backup their Mac.
  • Teach them to improve their photos using the Photos app.
  • Show them how to make their own movies using iMovie.
  • Clean the cat hair out of their keyboard.
  • Organize their Photos.
  • And so on…

Remember: Offering your time and expertise can be so much more valuable than a store-bought gift.


Griffin Survivor backpack. SRP $225. (Out of production, but worth looking for).

Solo NY backpacks from $39.99. www.solo-ny.com/backpacks-1

Waterfield backpacks from $319. www.sfbags.com/collections/laptop-backpacks

Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker with Bluetooth. $129.  https://anovaculinary.com

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