It should never be hard to shop for a firefighter, we are all gear junkies. But just in case you are having some trouble, I have created Part One of the ultimate gift guide for the firefighter in your life.
How do you know if someone is a firefighter? Because all their shirts say so.
But seriously, firefighters love cool t-shirts. And nowadays there are so many cool firefighter owned companies making wicked t-shirts. Don’t settle for boring. This is an easy gift-able item, as sizing is pretty easy to find out or guesstimate.
Here are some of my favourites:
You can check them out/shop here:
Black Smoke Apparel
Black Helmet Apparel
Salty Dog Apparel
Recycled Fire Hose Belt:
Maybe your firefighter needs something to hold their pants up? There are all sorts of awesome belts on the market made out of retired and cleaned fire hose, but my favourite is from The Rustic Firefighter.
They have all sorts of different belts, ranging from casual to belts that, dare I say it, could be worn with dress pants.
No, not the delightfully seasoned potato. Wedges are an incredibly versatile tool that every firefighter should carry on them. Wedges range in size and from wooden triangles cut out of 2×4 to my favourite, the Wedge It.
The Wedge It is brightly coloured and designed to hold a door open three ways. My favourite way to use it is to hook it over the hinges and it props the door wide open. The bright colours make it noticeable, and harder to forget. Which is pretty important when you have 101 things on your mind.
Growing up, my dad always had a multi tool on his belt and could fix pretty much anything on the go. I learned from a young age that a multi-tool was something that you should have on you at all times. This belief was re-enforced on my very first duty shift at the fire hall. I found myself constantly scrambling for this tool or that tool, when if I had been carrying a multi-tool I would have been all set.
Not all multi-tools are created equal. In my opinion, Leatherman are the best of the best. Made in the USA, and backed by a 25 year guarantee. My personal favourite Leatherman is the Surge. The Surge is rugged and large, but feels like your holding something real. There is nothing flimsy or delicate about this tool.
My second favourite Leatherman is The Raptor, perfect multi-tool for medical calls. The Raptor tool is essentially an oxygen wrench, ring cutter and window punch built into a heavy-duty set of medical shears.
There are so many variations on a rescue tool, but most of them do the same basic things: Cut seat belts and break windows. My favourite is another Leatherman product, the Z-Rex. What I love most about this tool is the shape. It makes it easier to use than any other rescue tool I have gotten to use. Its also pretty reasonably priced and you can get replaceable blades for the seatbelt cutter portion.
Globe Fire Boots:
Now this present is for the firefighter in your life whom you love more than anything. It is pricey, but I have learned that you don’t f around with footwear in any part of your life. Blisters can wreck your best day and make you perform sub-par. This winter I broke down and bought myself a pair of the 14” leather pull on fireboots from Globe and they are absolutely incredible. They are so comfortable, and come with two different insoles to customize the fit. No more sloppy fitting boots.
There is nothing worse for your feet than cheap socks. I used to be totally okay with buying 12 packs for $9.99 at Walmart, but nowadays I am a bit of a sock snob. Good socks insulate when its cold, wick moisture when its warm and stop you from getting blisters. My personal favorites are Darn Tough and IceBreaker. At $15-$30 a pair of sucks, they are pretty pricey, but 100% worth it. Both of these brands make mostly merino wool socks, which means they also cut down on foot odor. What makes the price really worth it? Aside from no more stinky feet, no more blisters and the most comfortable socks you’ve ever owned? The fact that they are guaranteed for life. Both Darn Tough and IceBreaker will replace your socks if you manage to wear them out. It does not get much better than that.
So I mentioned IceBreaker in the sock section, but what is it? IceBreaker is a brand of clothing out of New Zealand whose clothing is made almost entirely out of Merino Wool. Merino wool feels like the softest of cotton, so it is not itchy. But it is so much more breathable than cotton and last a lot longer. Merino wool doesn’t get stinky when you sweat into it and it can be washed in a sink and will dry within hours. Merino is also anti-flammable. You can light it, but it wont burn (within reason). This makes it great as a gift for wildland firefighters who have to wear natural fibers under their gear. I know what you are probably thinking, ‘Wool? In the summer?’ and yes, I am saying you should wear wool in the summer. Merino wool insulates in the cold but breathes when its hot, so it is much better at regulating your temperature in all weather. IceBreaker makes a wide range of clothing: baselayers, to t-shirts, to jackets. All of it is worth its weight in gold.
Recycled Bunker Gear Bag:
There are a bunch of companies that make things out of retired fire service gear, and love the variety of bags that are on the market. Most are customizable with your name or department, and some can even be made out of your, or a loved ones, gear.
Past Into New, a company out Ontario makes some pretty cool bags, as well as a bunch of other neat recycled items.
Halligan Bottle opener:
A halligan is known as a tool that is meant to FSU (abbreviating in case kids read this, I’m sure you can figure it out). It’s a super versatile tool that can open pretty much anything, even your beer. Well, at least this mini version can. This is a pretty sweet little gift for an beer loving firefighter (me!). Buy yours here.
My favourite vehicle extrication gloves were a gift from my parents. Schmitz Mitts are virtually indestructible, yet incredibly comfortable to work in. There are a couple different variations, from the basic to the waterproof to the winterized, so you can pick the pair that is perfect for you. I have an incredibly hard time finding gloves that fit me (being a woman and all…) but my pair of Schmitz Mitts in a size small are perfect. They took some breaking in to get them to the point where I have full dexterity, but they are now perfect.
How many times have you dug through the med bag, looking for that crumples piece of paper so you can record vitals? It happened enough to me that when I saw the ‘Rite In The Rain’ Vitals notebook that I grabbed it, bought it, and put it straight in my grab bag for fire. The pages are sturdy and virtually indestructible, they are waterproof and easy to tear out and hand over to EMS. Check them, and their other First Responder notebooks out here.
Seriously. This company is amazing. It was started by paramedics in Ontario as a social movement to raise awareness around mental illness, specifically PTSD in First Responders. It serves to remind all of us that we are not alone, we are a family.
They have an awesome assortment of clothing and gear, some of which can be customized based on your designation.
Well that is it for part one, stay tuned for part two!