With all of the cheap disposable items out there, it’s easy to believe that nothing’s made to last anymore. That durable, long lasting gifts are a thing of the past.
But the truth is that you can still find plenty of well-made, durable goods — they’re just buried under a mountain of stuff that’s made to be used a few times and then tossed.
And in many cases, people are getting tired of having to routinely replace their most commonly used stuff. Earbuds, sunglasses, and other mass-produced disposables seem to break, unravel, or otherwise fall apart before they’re halfway out of the box. That’s just annoying.
So we’ve scoured the web to find the best affordable, durable, gift-worthy items that are meant to last for the long haul, with a special emphasis on stuff that usually wears out fast. And here are some of the best of what we found: 9 gifts that prove that sometimes they really do still make ‘em like they used to.
1. Duluth Pack
Backpacks and tote bags may seem like simple items to make, but in a lot of cases, you’re lucky to get a few years out of a bag before it starts to leak, tear, disintegrate, or otherwise head toward obsolescence.
Duluth Pack makes an impressively diverse list of outdoor packs and tote bags (among other things). Each bag is hand constructed from sturdy materials like high-quality canvas or bison leather, and held together with durable leather straps and easy-to-use metal buckles. Duluth Pack makes items that are both ruggedly cool and meant to outlast their owner, and they’re all backed by a lifetime warranty.
2. Stovetop Espresso Maker
Coffee addicts love their espresso, and there are plenty of countertop espresso machines on the market that can make not only a single or double shot, but all kinds of espresso-based drinks like lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, and so forth.
These machines are great, but there’s one major problem — they’re famous for breaking (not to mention that most of them will run you a good month’s rent or more in the first place).
The stovetop espresso maker, on the other hand, requires no complicated daily maintenance, and it will last forever as long as you don’t run it over with your car. Purists will argue that it’s not a true espresso maker (true espresso is only made at 9 bars of pressure or above, far beyond what a stovetop maker produces), but these sure do make a great espresso-like cup of coffee. If nothing else, they’re great as an emergency backup for when the regular espresso maker (inevitably) breaks down.
3. Raw Denim
Faded, worn-looking jeans may be all the rage, but after a while even fashionistas get tired of having to replace their pants every few months. Raw denim lasts longer because it hasn’t been beaten and sandblasted half to death before it gets to the store.
For men, the Swedish brand Nudie Jeans makes great jeans using Japanese selvedge denim made from organic cotton (you don’t need to know what that means, except that it’s good). And while true raw denim jeans are a little harder to find for women, the brand 3sixteen makes a line of women’s jeans that are as sturdy and reliable as anything on the men’s side.
And don’t forget about the timeless denim jacket, forever a cool weather staple. Trendy Canadian brand Naked and Famous makes a line of denim jackets that will last as long as a good leather jacket.
4. 1000 Mile Boots
When it comes to boots, there are a few companies that really carry the torch in terms of making footwear that’s both durable and comfortable. There are plenty of boot makers that can claim to check one of those boxes, but not too many that check both.
Wolverine’s 1000 Mile Boot is both of those, and also happens to have a classic look that never goes out of style. The 1000 Mile Boot comes in men’s and women’s versions, and is made with good old fashioned made-to-last craftsmanship. That includes a classic Goodyear welt, meaning the soles can be easily replaced by a cobbler when they wear down, a key component in keeping your boots for the long haul.
And while you’re at it, you might as well throw in a pair of the longest lasting boot laces (reinforced with kevlar) for good measure.
If there’s one item that men everywhere are guilty of holding onto long after its expiration date, it’s a wallet.
Part of the problem is that most men buy the kind of $5 wallets you can find in a mid-aisle kiosk at any department store.
If you’re looking for a classic style leather wallet that will last for years and years, you can’t go wrong with a durable full-grain leather wallet from Saddleback Leather.
However, if your gift recipient is okay ditching the leather for an even more durable material, The Ridge makes a series of aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber wallets that are sleek, tactical, secure (with RIFD-resistant plates to prevent in-pocket credit card scanning), and truly built to last for life.
6. Wooden Hangers
This may be one of the least likely gifts on this list, but that’s part of what makes it a good one.
Plastic hangers break, look tacky in your closet, and eventually add to the mountains of non-biodegradable materials piling up in the world’s landfills.
Wooden hangers, on the other hand, are the opposite of all that.
7. A Great Travel or Outdoor Hat
Canada’s Tilley Hat Company is a favorite among travelers and outdoors types, making super high-quality men’s and women’s hats that are meant to last a lifetime. Handmade, uber comfortable, and among the most durable in the world, a Tilley hat might just become their new favorite travel companion.
But if you’re buying for someone who prefers the more modern look of a baseball cap, we’ve got them covered too. Findlay hats, out of Portland, Oregon, makes baseball-style hats that beat the crap out of anything you’re going to find at the Lids store at your local mall.
And they’ve come up with an ingenious solution to the number one problem plaguing active hat wearers: the scourge of wind-related hat loss. Their patented stampede laces can be used as a neck strap to hold the hat in place while skiing, skateboarding, biking, or otherwise running amok.
8. Lifetime Warranty Socks from Darn Tough
Yes, they really make these. Regular mass-produced cotton socks wear out faster than you can say “hole-in-the-toe.”
Darn Tough Socks of Vermont makes merino wool socks specially designed for active people who tend to be hard on their footwear, with a special emphasis on hikers, endurance sports lovers, and outdoor athletes and enthusiasts of all kinds.
What’s more, every pair comes with a 100% unconditional money-back guarantee, so you know they’re serious.
9. Davek Umbrella
A good umbrella is a necessity for anyone who spends a lot of time outside in a rainy (or unpredictable) climate, but they almost universally suffer from two problems. First off, most umbrellas collapse or turn inside out in gusty conditions. And second, even if you do find a decent one, you’re probably going to leave it somewhere.
Davek of New York uses high-quality materials and superior reinforcement to make what might just be the most durable umbrella in the world. A Davek umbrella will withstand just about anything short of a hurricane. And if it doesn’t, their unconditional lifetime warranty means you get a new one for free.
But that’s not where the warranty stops. Davek also includes a nifty loss protection clause, which allows you to get up to 50% off a replacement when you finally and inevitably leave your umbrella at a coffee shop or in the back of a bus.