Made in America Gift Guide
Buying American-Made gifts is one of the most patriotic things you can do as a citizen of the US.
Not only does your hard-earned money go into the pockets of other hard-working Americans, but chances are, that money is also going to stay right here in America, further building the economy that has slowly, but steadily recovered from the Great Recession.
Buying American is also better for the environment–shorter distances required for goods to be shipped domestically means less energy consumed in the process, which leads to a smaller carbon footprint, and thus less damage to the environment.
And beyond that, products manufactured here in America often meet rigorous standards of excellence that are not often found in other manufacturing countries (we’re looking at you, China). So you can be sure what you buy here is built to last. To truly be an American Made product, the Federal Trade Commission states that “Made in USA means that ‘all or virtually all’ the product has been made in America. That is, all significant parts, processing, and labor that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. Products should not contain any – or should contain only negligible – foreign content.”
Here are our top picks for this year’s Made in America Gift Guide:
Shinola’s Runwell watch is a perfect example of American craftsmanship. Hand-built in Detroit, Michigan, the 47mm edition features Shinola’s Argonite 1069 quartz movement, a sapphire crystal face, Super-LumiNova printed dial details, and a stainless steel case with screw down crown. The strap is made from premium American leather, made by Hadley-Roma. The classic, simple styling of this watch means you can wear it wherever you what for whatever event you’ve got. And, at only $550, this watch is a steal when compared to high-end luxury timepieces that often don’t offer the same vintage-aesthetic appeal that Shinola provides.
If you’ve got a fisherman father, grandfather, or brother in your family, then look no further because this is the gift for them. Hand-made in White Lake, Wisconsin (how appropriate), with a solid ash bow, and walnut handle, this fishing net is sturdy and large enough (at 23 inches) to handle even the biggest of fish. This gift also offers your raconteur relative a little background for a big fish story.
Nothing is more American than a pair of Levi’s–except maybe apple pie (but that’s debatable). In 1872, Jacob Davis, a taylor from Nevada teamed up with San Francisco merchant Levi Strauss to develop a riveted pair of denim intended to last longer than other work pants of the era. Originally dubbed the XX, the pants gained their current name of 501 in 1890. Since then, very little has changed with these jeans. Get the classic cut, clean fitting Levi’s for yourself, your dad, or your son. Throw in a white t-shirt and you’ve just gifted not only a piece of Americana, but also classic American style.
Pendleton Woolen Mills’ iconic wool blankets have been produced in the good ‘ole USA for over 150 years. This particular blanket is part of Pendleton’s National Parks Collection, reissued to celebrate the centenary of the park system. According to Pendleton, the blanket’s “historic markings and colors date back to the frontier trading posts. Traders would indicate the weight of the blanket offered in exchange for furs by holding up one finger for each pound. The original blankets incorporated three, four or five black stripes in the design, which indicated the value of the blanket.” The Glacier blanket is made from 100% virgin wool and, although it’s a little pricey, will undoubtedly last a lifetime.
Commemorate and honor the ferocity of mother nature with your very own eruption-mimicking Mount St. Helens candle by Cascadia Candle Company. This 3D topographical concrete base was created using LIDAR scans of the current Mount St. Helens and a 3D printer to create a mold in which to cure the concrete. As for the candle portion, Cascadia Candle Company founder Brad Swift says, “The candle insert is an accurate recreation of the portion of the mountain that was ejected on May 18, 1980,” and was created using historical topographical data gathered prior to the eruption. While this candle may not celebrate the happiest of events, it certainly is a conversation-starter and would make an amazing gift for geologists, vulcanologists, or, you know, candle lovers.
Nothing beats a classic brown, leather built. Billy Kirk’s Center Bar belt is the perfect gift for the man who has everything–because everyone can use another way to hold his pants up. Sporting hand-stitched detailing and center bar buckle, you have the option of choosing from solid brass or nickel plated brass for the buckle. Tried and true, this American-made belt will stand up to anything that tries to take your pants down.
Every working man knows and loves Carhartt. Sturdy, iconic, and durable, these quintessential bib overalls are the perfect gift for the man who is always in the field, on a tractor, or in his workshop. Adjustable straps provide for the perfect fit, while reinforced knees make certain these bibs will stay fully intact, no matter how many hardwood floors you lay. For a splurge, go for the lined version and wear for outdoor winter work.
Danner has been producing high-quality leather hiking and work boost since 1932. The Forest Heights II pair is a refined, streamlined hiking boot perfect for hitting the streets or the trails of your local urban park. Made with a Vibram 232 mini-lug outsole designed for comfort and durability, along with a vintage 270 outsole construction method, these boots are unlined and lightweight for all-seasons comfort. The leather of the Forest Heights II boot is much more supple and soft than Danner’s line of traditional hiking boots, making this pair a breeze to break-in and a dream to wear for years to come.
Field Notes tells its own tale best: “In 2006, Aaron Draplin, a designer and collector of American ephemera, decided to create an homage to the utilitarian pocket notebooks found in the first half of the 20th century…From the very beginning, every Field Notes paper product has been manufactured in the U.S.A. From the paper, sourced from some of the finest mills in the Midwest, to even the inks used, the production of Field Notes has never required travel on a cargo ship or plane; just the roads crisscrossing the country.” The Lunacy notebook celebrates the Harvest Moon and is Field Notes’ first ever foray into die-cut covers–used to create the phases of the moon on this three-pack. Go from full moon to crescent while writing that Great American novel.
Made in Los Angeles and named for famed rocker, Lou Reed (RIP), these slim fit jeans are a slim, American-made denim alternative to Levi’s. With a button fly, lack of logos, and slim straight leg, others will be wondering what you’re wearing and where you got them. Nearly $200 might seem a little steep for a pair of jeans, but buying American Made comes with a premium–and this hand-sanded, slow-woven, no-break-in-needed jeans are worth it.
Light up your loved ones’ lives with this Black Crackle Zippo 1941 Replica Lighter. Constructed to light in any weather condition (extreme wind included) Zippo lighters were a favorite of WWII soldiers since they held up on the battlefield and almost always worked. During WWII, Zippo actually ceased production, instead turning to manufacturing for the war effort. According to Zippo, “The military initiative led to the production of the steel-case Zippo lighter with black crackle finish.” So get your favorite smoker, soldier, or veteran a lighter that pays homage not only to American manufacturing ingenuity, but also to our great military.
Yes, it’s $35,000. We get it. This isn’t your everyday gift. But if you want to truly go all-out all-American, what better way than with a completely American-made travel trailer, used for that most American of all events: the road trip. Travel the country in style with the Airstream Basecamp, which features a bathroom, kitchen (with panoramic windows), adjustable tables, and two benches that can convert to a full-sized bed. The Basecamp also comes pre-wired for solar inputs, allowing you to power up without fossil fuels. Small and nimble, the Basecamp is easily towed and easily turned–making it the perfect gift for the just- or soon-to-be-retired.