Every time a gift-giving holiday rolls around, media outlets everywhere scramble to assemble gift guides to aid in the hunt for the perfect present. In Portland, our job is easy—we can simply point you to the killer boutiques offering hundreds of creative handmade goods from local makers.
One of those shops stands tall above the rest when it comes to gifts for boys of all ages: Boys Fort, a tribute to fun, folly, tradition, and great ideas from designers, curators, and "manthropologists" Richard Rolfe and Jake France.
The pair dreamt up Boys Fort as a holiday pop-up shop in the Galleria Building (now home to downtown Portland's Target) in 2011. Their unique aesthetic—a mix of scout nostalgia, artisan gruff, and smoking-jacket cool—earned them near-instant legions of fans, who followed their escapades through more pop-up events and, eventually, into their permanent home at SW 9th and Morrisson, in the heart of the Pioneer Shopping District. That brick-and-mortar location just celebrated its one-year anniversary of bringing vintage finds and small-batch, artisan goods from wacky and whimsical local craftsman to the downtown shopper—and they've got us hooked. Check out the slide show above for a tour of the shop, and stop in soon to spend a few hours exploring. The "Guardians of the Fort" will be more than happy to lend a hand.
We checked in with France and Rolf to get their picks for perfect made-in-Portland fathers day gift for any budget:
1. Archie’s Press Portland City Map, $22
There's no better way to say "You Are Here" than with one of Archie Archambault's high-style letterpress maps of Stumptown. The circle-based designs aim to install a "Map from the Mind" for each city, simplifying structures and districts into simple forms for easy understanding.
2. Hand Forge Bottle Opener, $36
A Boys Fort bestseller, this hardy bottle opener would be a perfect gift alongside a six-pack of local brews. Here are a few we like—okay, maybe 50.
3. Boys Fort Red Rubber Slingshot, $16
Remind dad that he's still a kid at heart with an old-fashioned slingshot—recalling those handmade versions fashioned from forked tree branches and "red rubber" inner tubes.
4. The HuMn (Human) Wallet, $75
Protect your pop's primo personality from identity thieves with one of these ultra-thin RFID-blocking wallets. Cash fits into the band on the outside, and cards stay safe between two aluminum plates.
5. Jonny Sport Little Shaver Bag, $95
Got a traveling basketball fan at home? This shaver bag is made from vegan basketball "leather" for a sporty shave. (No actual basketballs were harmed in the making of this 100% vegan bag).
6. Boys Fort Patchouli Slab Soap, $7
Move over Old Spice! It's about time for dad's aromas to level up with some cold process soap in a classic manly-man scent.
7. Sterling Silver Lego Cufflinks by Ruby Girl, $102
For the grown-up gamer: silver cufflinks in that oh-so-recognizable four-pegged shape. Real legos easily attach to the metal links (cast from original Lego pieces using the lost wax method), so you can add on colors to match the ties that dad's bound to get on June 15.
8. Harding & Wilson Bowties, $65
These turn-of-the-century-style, large-weave wool bowties handmade in PDX come in styles named for Portland neighborhoods, from Kenton to Richmond. Most are made with Pendleton wool for bonus Oregonian points.
9. Constellation Pond Yachts, $55-$89
Dad asking for a boat this Father's Day? Make those dreams come true (albeit on a smaller scale) with one of these charming model yachts that actually sails— guaranteed. Hand-assembled from cotton, Douglas Fir, and Port Orford Cedar, these works of art are ready for a dip in a swimming pool or park pond.
10. Schutten Works Wooden Acoustical i-Phone Docks, $49.50
Lo-fi tech yielding hi-fi amplification? It's possible with this cleverly designed wooden dock, complete with adjustable brass slider to accommodate any size case, that makes dad's music louder and clearer thanks to the shape of two carved acoustic elements.
902 SW Morrison St
Tue–Sat, 11 am–6 pm; Sunday, 12– 4 pm