In gadget land the manly gadget holds a special status. While other gadgets shine and glitter but don't amount to much, the manly gadget helps men get stuff done end of story.
The designers of these appliances know what we are looking for. Manly gadgets have an element of danger about them. Not real danger of course; nobody wants to make a product that leads to a lawsuit, but at the very least, when you pick it up you can imagine the possibility
Manly gadgets also tend to look rugged. This makes sense. The question you want your mates to ask is "What does that bad boy do?" not "Is that a Philippe Starck design?"
And of course, wherever possible, the manly gadget must turn men into Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor. The best gadgets for guys elicit grunts ("hrrr hrrr") and cries of "more power".
So, what toys or tools are we hoping to find under the tree this Christmas?
Black & Decker GW2200-XE Blower Vac
It sucks and it blows but in a good way. It may be an entry-level machine but with a cranking 260km/h blow speed and 2200-watt motor, the Black & Decker Blower Vac puts you in control of your garden mess.
The Blower Vac has a three-in-one system enabling quick conversion between blowing, vacuuming and shredding. It's so powerful and simple to use you may be tempted to use it to vacuum your car, or even your lounge. This is not recommended. Ear plugs are recommended though, this is a noisy beast.
At just $131 with a two-year warranty it's an affordable addition to every guy's power-tool range.
Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Knife
Is there anything meaner looking than a survival knife? When I was a kid they were called Bowie knives, then they became Rambo knives. Now, TV's greatest survivalist, Bear Grylls, has put his name to this stainless steel, serrated edged wonder from Gerber (via Amazon
More than just a blade, the rubberised handle has two holes in it, allowing you to lash it to a stick to create a spear, if you need to. The bottom of the handle has a solid pummel so you can use it like a hammer. Finally, the waterproof sheath contains a firesteel that you can strike against the blade to create the sparks needed for a roaring campfire.
Of course the irony is that if you were in a wild environment and were attacked by a real bear, a knife like this would be virtually useless. For that scenario experts recommend bear spray. Yes, bear spray
Kodak Playsport ZX3 waterproof HD camera
This is the camera you need if you want to record wild experiences extreme sports, deep-sea fishing trips, stag parties, that kind of thing.
The Kodak Playsport ZX3
is a pocket-sized HD video camera that can take virtually anything you throw at it. Its soft-touch rubber exterior helps advertise the fact that it is waterproof (down to a depth of 3m).
You can preview your recordings on the 5cm colour LCD and rest assured that the images will look just as good on a large flat-screen HDTV, thanks to the in-built image stabilisation controls.
Wenger Compass Navigator Watch
How does a real man tell the time? He looks at the dial on his watch, not the face of some silly smartphone. Presumably.
Anyway, the Wenger Compass Navigator Watch
is the epitome of the manly watch. It is made by manufacturers of the genuine Swiss Army Knife. As well as being chunky and
stylish the large round bezel and brushed steel military-style case contains a MacGyver-like surprise. It features a flip-open case that reveals a fully functional rotating compass with map window.
Well, that's it. Now you know what to ask the missus for instead of socks this Christmas. Happy holidays.
John Buckley is a tech commentator and TVNZ gadget reviewer