Many Thanks to Menlo Park TechShop

Tech Shop

TechShop’s motto is ‘Build your dreams here’.

Although our standing policy is not to read or follow instructions and to be generally distrustful of mottos, TechShop really is a place to do just that.  Man Crates might not exist, or at least we wouldn’t be where we are today, without the incredible service that TechShop provides to builders, makers, dreamers, and aspiring entrepreneurs across the country. Here’s the freshly installed laser bay at Man Crates headquarters, just completed this week:

Laser Bay at Man Crates
You mean you don’t get to slice stuff up with a laser beam at your job?

Each of these lasers can run up to $30,000.  We won’t bore you with too many company financials, but suffice it to say that’s more than the combined Blue Book value of most of our cars.

Man Crates beaters
The men of Man Crates roll in style. Form a line, gold diggers.

If you’re a brand new company (read: two guys working out of a garage) that can be an impossible amount of cash to front for one piece of machinery. There is no way we could have offered our legendarily awesome, Personalized Laser-Etched Barware  Man Crate, or our distinguished Whiskey Lover’s Sets without the help of TechShop.

Because if you’re just one or two guys with an idea, TechShop provides the lasers. And the table-saws, plastic benders, 3D printers, emotional support and training to help you get up and running, no matter what your idea is. Instead of dropping an ungodly sum to own your own expensive, hard to operate hardware, you can pay a monthly membership fee, schedule time to use the shared equipment, and get all the help you need from TechShop.

TechShop is also and incredible community hub. It was through TechShop that we came to know Insanely Great Products (IGP)- world-class laser specialists and a flagship partner to Man Crates. During the early days when we needed expert help tuning laser settings to get the absolute best possible etch, for months of production support, and especially during all the crazy holiday spikes IGP has had our backs and made our success their mission. Without TechShop, we might never have met Richard Ford and the IGP team.

So, like a baby raptor finally leaving the nest, we’ve finally officially moved our lasers out of TechShop. It seemed like the perfect time to say a huge thank you to everyone at the Menlo Park TechShop– thank you for your hours of help, thanks for your patience and your expertise.  Thanks for helping us build our dreams.

-Team Man Crates

The Nastiest Player in Tecmo Super Bowl

The Deadliest Wayne

Wayne Haddix

You’ll never hear his name mentioned as one of the old greats on Monday Night Football, but his name is a shibboleth of the Tecmo Super Bowl (TSB) ardent- a passphrase to identify the most die-hard fans of the greatest 8-bit sports simulation ever created. Utter his name around anyone who grew up playing TSB and a mix of fear, reverence, and envy washes over their face.

In the real world, Wayne played only a few seasons of professional football and had precious few post-season appearances.  In the TSB world, Wayne Haddix is a god- an Olympian immortalized in a low-resolution,  frozen snapshot of terrifying physical prowess.

  • 44 Hitting Power
  • 69 Quickness
  • 75 Maximum Speed (Tied for highest)
  • 75 Interceptions (Highest)

Here’s a single game highlight video showing Wayne picking off Steve Walsh eight, yes eight (8!) times.


Where’s Wayne?

How is the best defensive back in the best Nintendo game ever created totally unknown in real life?

Check out Wayne’s Wikipedia page.  It’s like a stub, there’s nothing there.  Scroll over to the history section however, and you can see the ongoing edit controversy. It’s a waging war between those of us that understand Tecmo Super Bowl’s importance in the history of humankind and the tight-pantsed dorks that refuse to acknowledge the value of Wayne’s impressive virtual accomplishments.

From what we can tell, Wayne had exactly one stellar season playing for Tampa Bay in 1990.  

  • He started every game
  • He had 7 interceptions
  • He returned them for 231 yards and 3 touchdowns

If Michael Lewis (The BlindsideMoneyball) was available he might do some digging into Tecmo Super Bowl’s programming and release history.  Could we back out the Japanese number-crunching formula that turned 1990 football stats into Tecmo Super Bowl player stats?

In fairness, there was no way to know at the time that Wayne’s stellar season was a fluke and not indicative of his future career. Michael Lewis would dig into the human story around Wayne’s 1990 season, culminating in a trip to the Pro Bowl.  When he was flying back from Hawaii, tanned, laughing and on top of the world, where was he in his contract with the Buccs? Did he have a Jerry McGuire-esque agent go to bat for him? Maybe he secured a lucrative 5 year, $40 million contract that the Bengals, his next team, had to negotiate him out of after his completely lackluster follow-on season?

The story is out there, but unfortunately we’re not professional journalists with that kind of time, so with the rest of the Tecmo Super Bowl world we’re left asking:

“Where’s Wayne?”

Awesome Gifts, Not Easy Gifts

Pry and Pry Again

We’ve seen a few shake-ups among gift giving services this year. Facebook dropped all the physical products from the catalog of gifts that they conveniently recommend I buy for each of my friends birthdays. Plastic Jungle pivoted away from their gift card exchange service. The gift selection service Wantful suspended operations after a strategic partnership with Nordstroms fell through.

Some people are putting these points in a line and asking if gifts are still relevant. Is buying goods for other people a dated, economically inefficient transaction that’s outlived it’s purpose? Are physical gifts the snail-mail of social pleasantries?

It’s Not About Easy

Maybe the focus has been on the wrong aspects of gift giving. Maybe people don’t want another safe option, another trusted recommendation for a store where your friend is likely to use a gift certificate. Sure, I might never snub a free Starbucks gift card, but getting a digital notification that someone’s put $10 towards my coffee-filled future doesn’t really deepen my relationship with whoever put that money there. The exchange of digital currencies and gift cards on our birthdays may never go away, but let’s never confuse those lazy social observances with giving great gifts.

Gifts aren’t about reminders, cash or convenience. Not if you’re doing it right.

People that understand gifts, that really love gifts, delight in finding and sending something unexpected, something that’s fun and memorable. Gift giving isn’t an obligation that we’re trying to fulfill as painlessly as possible, gift giving is an opportunity to share an experience with our friends and loved ones and ultimately be closer for it.


Exceeding Anticipations

Gift giving is, almost by definition, an emotional, sometimes challenging search for the right gift, and when you’ve taken the time to find and choose something you think that your friend will like, you’re taking a risk and putting yourself out there- will they actually like it? What if they don’t like it?

Taking a risk builds up your expectations. You picture them opening the gift and you imagine their response. You’re impatient for the gift to arrive and excited to see them open it, because when you’ve found the right gift that risk pays off. Great gifts create and then exceed anticipations.

Anyone can put money toward your Starbucks tab.

Only people that know you can find something that you love but maybe never knew you wanted.


Our Never Ending Mission

We are Man Crates, and we’re dedicated to delivering awesome gifts, not easy gifts. In fact our flagship product is a wooden crate chock-full of awesome gear and grub, fiendishly sealed shut and delivered with a crowbar.  It might be one of the most inconvenient gifts on the market, but since our launch in 2012 we’ve helped tens of thousands of customers send fun, unexpected gifts that bring people together. We’ve grown from a three man garage start-up into a profitable, 5,000 square foot operation- largely through the word of mouth recommendations from happy customers, one gift at a time.

So if you ask us if giving gifts is dead or dying, we say no.

We say awesome gifts now, and awesome gifts forever. Awesome gifts will never die.

If you’re as passionate about bringing people together through fun as we are and you’re looking for a job, we have lots of openings. Check them out at And if you’re looking for an awesome gift for a guy, we’re always here to help-

Happy St. Palentine’s Day!

We all know about Valentine’s Day–the holiday when couples gather together to celebrate their love while everyone else debates how much the pizza guy will judge them for ordering two large calzones. What you may not know about this traditionally feminine holiday is that it actually has its roots in a much more pure and underrepresented holiday celebration–St. Palentine’s Day.

St. Palentus stained glass window
St. Palentine with his famous stick used to defend the weak and throw down with Roman bandits

St. Palentine was originally a Christian priest who preached illegally to Roman civilians. Palentinus (his Latin name) practiced Christianity because he dug Jesus’ instructions which he basically stated as, “be excellent to one another.” Of the many citizens he converted was a man named Valentinus, who quickly became his most ardent follower. It was with Valentinus that Palentinus gained sainthood, after performing three miracles:

  1. Driving his chariot fifty miles out of Rome to pick up Valentinus from that sketchy party out in the burbs
  2. Helping Valentinus somehow install a Brazilian Teak deck out back in his Domus, elevating his legendary grill master status
  3. Saving Valentinus’ life.

The last miracle Palentinus performed was to push Valentinus out of the way of a runaway horse cart, allowing himself to get run over. When Valentinus knelt next to his dying friend and master, he asked what he should do with his life. Palentinus responded, “just be a good dude.” Valentius bowed his head to pray, and upon opening his eyes, Palentius had disappeared.

Entitled “The Rescue of St. Valentine,” this mosaic portrays that one time Paletinus saved Valentinus from that super skeezy party in Tivoli.

For many years, men from all around Rome would gather on the spot of that last miracle, crack an ice cold beer, and talk about how good of a dude Palentinus really was. It was from these discussions that the term “being a Pal” arose.

Eventually, Valentinus became St. Valentine, dedicating his life to performing weddings for Roman soldiers. St. Valentine helped many of Rome’s brave soldiers finally seal the deal with the comely ladies of antiquity.

Vibia Sabina. Quite the catch.

But none of this, including the much more famous St. Valentines Day, would have been possible without our man St. Palentine. So before we soon forget, let us celebrate the life and sacrifice of a real ‘pal’ with an ice cold beer by the barbecue pit that Ted helped you build. Oh and don’t forget, Mark loaned you his truck so you could pick up grilling gear. Maybe you should just firet that thing up and invite all your buddies. Why not? It’s St. Palentine’s Day!

Men with Moxie: Peter Lemon

The Vietnam War wasn’t the best war. No, that honor definitely goes to WWII. Now that was a war. Larger-than-life villains, espionage, codes, submarine warfare? Yeah, fighting in a bug-ridden jungle was no WWII. But that doesn’t mean the Vietnam War wasn’t chock full of just as many heroes as every war before it.

One such hero is our Moxie Man of the Week, Medal of Honor recipient Peter Lemon. Before you read on, not that he was not born an American, rather, a Canadian. Born on June the 5th, he is the 3rd youngest medal of honor recipient.



During a fierce battle near the Cambodian border in 1970, Lemon single-handedly fought off a group of enemy soldiers. He shot at them with  his rifle and machine gun until both broke, then moved on to grenades. When there was only one soldier left, Lemon chased him down and killed him with his bare hands.

During a lull in the action, though he was himself injured, Lemon took the time to carry a wounded comrade to an aid station. It was during this that Lemon picked up his second bullet. But was he done?

Our Men with Moxie never are.

Returning to his post through a hail of gunfire, continued to fight off the enemy with grenades until they began to retreat. Then he found another machine gun, ran up a nearby hill, and stood there like freaking King Kong firing down on the retreating enemy soldiers. Until he passed out right there from blood loss.

I mean really, with a fistful of shrapnel and a couple bullets in him, our moxie man decides he needs a new position to better represent the enormity of his manliness.

But that’s not even the best part. The best part is that Peter Lemon fought off two waves of Viet Cong while stoned off his gourd. Like many other American troops at the time, Lemon was regularly smoking locally-grown marijuana. And while the craziest thing most people have done high was eat an entire carton of ice cream, Lemon killed two platoons of soldiers single-handedly. 

And that takes some serious moxie.

Max Brooks World War Z – Exclusive Give Away

Man Crates has teamed up with World War Z author Max Brooks to equip the freedom fighters of the pending zombie apocalypse. Armed with the definitive guidebook on zombie survival and a ton of other zombie survival gear from Man Crates, we’re helping those bold, brave few defend humankind from extinction.

So enter the giveaway below to win an exclusive Max Brooks signature Zombie Annihilation Man Crate, including a signed copy of World War Z, and take a stand for humanity:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Father’s Day Advice: Act Like a Man For Your Kids

The pursuit of manliness. It seems to come naturally to most but in reality, for most men it is a constant and never-ending journey. Like when a bartender serves your cocktail with a straw. You throw that on the bar because men don’t need sipping accessories. Unless you are in Cabo and they have cool twisty color straws. Those are worth it.

However, there are also times in which you’re going to need to go the extra mile and put on a brave face. This rule applies almost anytime your kids are around. Like when you hit your finger pounding in nails.

Without Kids Around: profanities, followed by squeals of pain and suffering.

With Kids Around: smile and ignore the blood welling under your fingernail

Same with spiders, rodents, etc. As a father the expectation is that you are the brave one.

Or how about when you find yourself in a spicy food situation. What if your kids get you a Hot and Spicy Man Crate for Father’s Day?  But you don’t like spicy sauce. Well the crate is certainly sweet. But the contents… you can’t just ignore it–that’s rude. Your only option is to hitch up your dad-jeans (or perhaps overalls) and load up a mouthful of spicy tastebud-pounding goodness. There will be no crying (false) and don’t you dare utter, “this is too spicy.” Nothing is too spicy for you dad. It’s just perfect and what you always wanted. Keep those sugar packets handy (best remedy). Hey, strong men also cry.

As in all things, play it cool, bite your tongue, and think of your kids.

You think Timmy’s going to come out 100% okay if he’s raised by the kind of a father who can’t even handle his hot sauce? Chances are your ability to tolerate hot sauce will have minimal effect on his ability to handle life’s curveballs.

Or what if you end up with a fish hook in your ear? (Something we discussed earlier.) The only option is to calmly push it back into your own skin, clip the barb and pull it back out. Or don’t, maybe you want to be that new cool dad in the carpool line with the fresh piercing.

This is much more likely to happen if the kiddos get you a Gone Fishin’ Crate for Father’s Day, so brace yourself.

Father’s Day is here.

Men with Moxie: Alexander Selkirk

By now, you’ve all heard of our Man of Moxie series. Does the name Alexander Selkirk sound familiar? No? How about Roberson Crusoe? Because Selkirk was the guy Daniel Defoe based his famous island survivor on. Often truth is stranger than fiction. Such is the case with Mr. Selkirk.

The Man, The Myth, The Legend.
The Man, The Myth, The Legend.

Fighting on orders of the Queen, Selkirk fought as a buccaneer, pilfering Spanish ships in the South Pacific Ocean. However, on one expedition, he expressed a lack of faith in the vessel he was sailing on. In an act of supreme foresight, Selkirk proclaimed that he would rather stay on an unoccupied island in the South Pacific than continue on in the rickety vessel. Such Moxie…

So the captain obliged, stranding him on Juan Fernández Islands with his gear and nothing else. (Turns out Selkirk was right, as the ship sunk off the coast of Columbia. The crew ended up in Spanish prisons.)

His first days on the island were spent miserably eating shellfish and regretting his decision. Then, to add insult to injury, a bunch of sea lions moved onto the beach and forced him from his recent home. This turned out to be a boon for Selkirk, however, as he soon discovered feral goats that past sailors had introduced to the island.

So, like Greg from Meet the Parents, our survivor man decided to milk these little goats.

Selkirk and Goat
Selkirk and Goat

Oh then he found some wild white turnips, cabbage, and peppers.

So he was eating like a king, but then another problem crept up–rats. Aggressive and hungry rodents began hassling Selkirk at night once he moved inland. So he did what any Moxie Man would do–he domesticated a grip of feral cats to defend him.

You read that right, our man who was living in the lap of luxury, eating goat cheese over a bed of cabbage and turnips, had his own personal “kitty Secret Service.:

At one point during his exile, a Spanish galleon came ashore. Preferring his island prison to a real one back on land, Selkirk managed to evade the Spanish until they gave up looking for him. How did they know he was there? Because he had built himself two huts. The man had a bloody guest hut. I guess it’s true about the British always being ready to entertain company.

Selkirk's Huts
Selkirk’s Huts

Selkirk was eventually rescued by another British privateering ship. Well, they were actually rescued by him. After the crew came ashore suffering from scurvy, Selkirk caught 2-3 goats a day, feeding them and restoring them to health. He probably would have built them all a hut if he’d had the time.



Man Crates Brings Back Gone Fishing

It seems these days that less and less do you hear of men going fishing. Hell, it was a classic joke, “a bad day fishing beats a good day at work.” But why?


Did fishing become somehow less appealing? Were fathers not passing it on to their sons? I don’t know why, but I just can’t shake the feeling like I’m one of the last anglers out there. Is this how the last of the mohicans felt?

And I am sure if you fish I’m sure you feel the same way. If you don’t fish, allow me regale you with all of the reasons you should at least give fishing a chance.

Clear your head. Seriously, when was the last day you actually relaxed? I don’t mean relaxed like, browsed Reddit, checked emails, or watched Game of Thrones. I mean a full day in which you make “just kickin’ it” a priority. 

Well that’s what fishing is for, my friend. You find a comfortable spot to sit or stand, you get your rod set, and get to it. I myself am a fly fisherman (a superior breed to be sure), so my fishing experiences are peaceful and melodic. Find a great spot, pull out some line, and cast. Rinse and repeat. And catching a fish beats yard work, if you ask me.

But I’m also a fan of ice fishing. Cut a hole in the ice, bait your hooks, and just drink beer until the sun goes down. Hey, you might even catch dinner while you’re at it. Most likely you will just be cold, but the sweet gear you can use and the tales you will tell make it worth it!

If you don’t fish, now’s a great time to wrangle up some of your bros, scare up some nightcrawlers, and head to the nearest body of water. Why not get matching Gone Fishin’ Crates while you’re at it? And definitely don’t forget the beer. Because that trout koozie will just look ridiculous.


Ten Manly Movies to Win Back Your Man Card

Your BBQ is winding down. The cooler finally has more ice than beer and everyone’s looking to crash on the couch with a cold one and a manly movie to doze off in front of. Unfortunately, the best you can do is Dances With Wolves. So it’s safe to say that now you’ve definitely lost the respect of your buddies. But maybe it’s not permanent.

The fact is, if your friends find out your manly movies are limited to Michael Bay films that aren’t The Rock, you’re going to have to make a pretty grand gesture to stop the endless jokes. So hit up the local Best Buy (oh who am I kidding, you probably only shop on Amazon, because you’re under 70).

  • Braveheart – they cannot take your freedom. To just put this on loop for the next three days straight.


  • Rocky – I mean, this is a pretty standard manly film, but whatever. The only reason I watch it is for the part at the end where Rocky just yells “ADRIAN!” over and over. Shit gets me every time. [youtube][/youtube]


  1. Rambo – I really want to drive home the point that if a movie has Sylvester Stallone, it’s probably manly enough.

  • Independence Day – Will Smith punches an alien in the head, makes a pithy comment and then smokes a cigar. ’nuff said [youtube][/youtube]
  • Die Hard – I think the letter Homer Simpson wrote to Die Hard sums it up best: “Dear Die Hard. You rock. Especially when that guy was on the roof. P.S: Do you know Mad Max?”


  • Literally any movie with Clint Eastwood in it. You name it. (Except Pink Cadillac. Don’t name that. It sounds like a drink- and unfortunately is a movie) 

  • The Mask of Zorro – the best part about having a copy of Zorro on-hand, is that if anyone criticizes it, you get to punch them right in the mouth.

Honorary Mentions:

  • Terminator I, II and III
  • Mongol
  • Tombstone
  • FightClub
  • The GodFather
  • Rudy
  • Gladiator
  • Animal House

There you have it. With even one of these flicks in your collection, you can make sure to impress your dude friends with your manly cinema knowledge. Oh, and stash that copy of Notting Hill/Love Actually under your bed, or they will find it.

I am sure you all have better idea– hit us with them @mancrates (yes we tweet)