Even though I’m female and childless, I think I am actually a Dad on the inside. I can talk to uncles for hours about power tools, cargo pants, boltless storeroom racks, aquarium fish, and the latest in rust removal techniques.
If you’ve ever watched King of the Hill, the main character is basically me:
Since Father’s Day (16 Jun 2019) is coming up and you’re most likely scratching your head wondering what the hell to give to that reticent macho man in your life, may I point you to my favourite “dad gear” store: Hock Gift Shop.
Huh? What on earth is Hock Gift Shop?
At this point, I won’t blame you for your confusion, because I haven’t come across anyone else who has heard of Hock Gift Shop either.
It’s described as an “army online store” but that doesn’t really do it justice, because it’s nothing like the SAF eMart or even the army market at Beach Road.
Instead of no-brand army stuff, Hock Gift Shop brings in “branded” gear, typically stuff you can only otherwise get on Amazon. You can find cult tactical gear brands like 5.11 Tactical, Condor, GoRuck and Helikon-Tex here, plus outdoor/sports brands like Camelbak, Black Diamond and Nalgene.
In fact, I stumbled upon this website entirely by accident while looking for Nalgene water bottles. I believe Hock Gift Shop has the cheapest ones in Singapore: $12.90 for 400ml and $18 for 1l.
But back to Father’s Day – or any other occasion when you find yourself stumped for gift ideas – Hock Gift Shop has tons of premium gear that would make manly men (and some women, or possibly just me) very happy.
Here are 7 affordable gifts I found on the website for Dad, regardless of whether he’s into cars, bikes, gardening, fishing, bird-keeping, or [insert uncle-ish hobby here].
This is not a sponsored article, by the way. The last time I visited the Hock Gift Shop store, they wouldn’t even acknowledge my existence, let alone bribe me to write about them…
SMITH & WESSON EXTREME OPS 3.25″ LINER LOCK KNIFE ($22.40)
The main reason why I’m obsessed with Hock Gift Shop is their collection of sexy army-grade folding knives.
You might be asking, “Wah lao, Swiss army knife not good enough for you ah?”
Well they’re very pretty and all, but in my experience, all the tool functions seriously compromise the main function of the product: the knife part. Ever tried using a Swiss army knife to cut something with resistance, like, I don’t know, a banana tree stalk? There’s just no force there.
So if your dad is into anything that involves a blade, I highly recommend getting a dedicated folding knife that can stand up to hard use, like this black-bladed beauty from Smith & Wesson.
What makes the knives at Hock Gift Shop different from, say, Daiso’s kitchen knife collection, is that the blades are usually made of high-carbon steel, which is way stronger than the usual stainless steel. It takes a LOT of heavy use to dull the blade.
Pop this in your dad’s waist pouch and he’ll be all set for any gardening, camping, fruit-cutting* or Lazada package opening challenges coming his way.
*Wipe the blade dry after use. High-carbon steel corrodes easily.
MIL-SPEC COIN PURSE / CARD CASE / KEY WALLET ($18 to $28)
Giving men wallets as gifts is a time-honoured tradition. And far be it for me to suggest that you break from tradition.
But if your dad has a somewhat active lifestyle, you may want to consider swapping out those boring leather Goldlion folding wallets for something a little more outdoorsy.
Apparently Hock Gift Shop designs and manufactures their own line of military standard (“mil-spec”) wallets, and they look really good! It’s like someone put my wallet dreams in a Pensieve and decided to make them real.
“30 yrs ago, most families were very poor back then, our parents do not have $$ to buy my brother & me fancy wallets. So our mum made these kinda coin purse using scrap fabric, for us to bring to school. I love these coin purse forever.
“So now I’ve made them using 1000D Cordura, your kids can use these coin purses until they become grown up adults, also cannot spoil, just need to change the velcro every 5-6 yrs due to daily usage.”
I love it since it’s basically just a pouch that velcros shut, but it’s really for the most minimalist of dads.
I imagine most people want more organisation and space, so there’s the more conventional MIL SPEC CARD CASE ($20) and MIL-SPEC KEY WALLET WITH CARD POCKET ($28) too. Both are pleasantly nondescript (think Muji) yet made of cordura so they should last a lifetime.
COLEMAN GO QUAD CHAIR WITH ARMS ($39.90)
I have never met a straight man who doesn’t like these foldable field chairs, director’s chairs, or whatever you call them.
Since sitting down is one of the average Dad’s favourite activities, I think this makes a nice gift, and he can take it along when going fishing or hanging out with the other uncles at the songbird club.
This particular camping chair is a little bit pricey since it’s by Coleman – yeah, the American camping/outdoor company that does ice cooler boxes too – instead of some no-brand Chinese manufacturer.
But it’s not THAT much more expensive than the chairs from budget sporting goods shop Decathlon, for example. I think the Coleman one might be more worth it because there’s a full fabric back (not split into two, hence more comfortable), is extra wide since it’s made for fat Americans, and can confirm support heavyweights (up to 102kg).
If you want to splurge, the next level up is the HELIKON-TEX RANGE CHAIR, but it costs an insane $126.
HELIKON-TEX TACTICAL T-SHIRT ($26.90)
“Best t-shirts I’ve ever worn” and “i went down to get helikon tex tactical t shirt.quality very good” were the glowing endorsements given by Hock Gift Shop’s Facebook fans, so I had to check this brand out.
Available in a variety of dad-friendly colours (i.e. nondescript earth tones), this tactical t-shirt looks like your regular athleisure-style dri-fit, except for a few cool details on the sleeves: 2 small pockets for random Dad things, and a small fabric loop glasses.
The “TopCool” material, which supposedly keeps you cool in the heat, also seems like a good feature in Singapore, but I can’t personally vouch for its efficacy.
At $26.90 a shirt – that’s, what, the price of a t-shirt at Uniqlo? – this probably won’t break the bank either. Plus it has velcro on the sleeves so you can customise it with “Super Dad” patches ($10 each).
5.11 RAPID EXCURSION PACK ($36.90)
Most Dads I know would rather die than be parted from their waist pouches (also known as fanny packs), in spite of the entire family’s repeated exhortations.
But the slim and lightweight 5.11 RAPID EXCURSION PACK might be just the thing for times when he needs a bit more luggage capacity, like, say, going to the gym or going fishing.
It’s one of those drawstring bags with no structure, so it’s not ideal for heavy stuff, but for small items like towels and water bottle, it seems way more comfortable than carrying a full-on backpack.
Unlike the normal drawstring gym bag, this bag has wide, padded mesh shoulder straps for maximum comfort, plus it’s military-grade, so less likely to burst apart when you stuff it with freebies from the community centre.
Also available in khaki.
CAMELBAK EDDY WATER BOTTLE ($20 to $26)
If your dad drives around a lot – for work (e.g. as a taxi driver) or otherwise – this Camelbak water bottle makes a boring but very practical gift.
Camelbak is the company that makes hydration bladders. You know, those big rubber bags that you can fill up with water, which you sip from a long tube? I’m not a fan of those things, but I like that their water bottles are designed like a sippy cup, except for adults.
This water bottle has a built-in straw (the top of it is a bite valve, so it won’t leak) which is really good for drivers. You can take a sip of water anytime, without having to take your hands off the wheel to unscrew the cap, as you would with a normal water bottle. So it’s both safer and less prone to spills.
$20 to $26 (depending on capacity, from 600ml to 1L) seems to be a reasonable price for a water bottle to keep your dad safe from accidents. It’s not the cheapest water bottle you can find online, but I don’t think there are cheaper versions for this type of design and quality.
HELIKON-TEX LIGHTWEIGHT SOCKS ($16.90)
Just like wallets, socks are the go-to gift for men who don’t seem to want anything in particular. It’s not the most inspiring gift to give or receive, but at least they’ll come in useful.
So of course I had to poke around in Hock Gift Shop’s sock section. Though bland-looking, these socks from Helikon-Tex actually seem pretty good, specs-wise.
Yes, there are specs for socks. Mind-blowing, I know. You should believe me, because I absolutely despise most socks. Most mass-market socks are poorly made and either droop/sag or make my feet sweaty, which feels like absolute hell in Singapore.
What I look for in socks are quality design (the kind that grips every curve in the foot), elasticity retention, and the most important thing – Coolmax material. It’s some kind of synthetic wool that dries in a flash and doesn’t smell. Which is something that all human beings should appreciate when engaging in sweaty activities.
Anyway, the Helikon-Tex socks appear to fulfil all my sock requirements. I’ll still kick and scream if you try to put me in them but if your dad wears socks, then they might do the trick for Father’s Day.
Hock Gift Shop address & opening hours
Hock Gift Shop is primarily an online store. They do have a physical outlet but it’s more like a warehouse. For the full range of products you will want to browse their website. Either purchase it online and self-collect, or have the product specs handy when you go down to visit.
Hock Gift Shop Pte. Ltd.
61 Kaki Bukit Avenue 1
Shun Li Industrial Park
Monday – Friday : 11am – 730pm
Weekends & PH : 12noon – 6pm
Calling all Dads: Tell us what gifts you would like to receive in the comments!
All product images courtesy of Hock Gift Shop’s website.