Here at Men’s Journal, we constantly test the latest gear to find the best new products you should know about to take your next adventure, workout, wardrobe, and every other part of your life to the next level. That includes everything from the best new adventure gear like a kayak that can double as a fishing boat to the absolute coolest gadgets and innovative tech you should own like a must-have soundbar to upgrade your home theater setup or a pair of bookshelf speakers. Here, check out our editors’ favorite picks for Gear of the Week.

[Editor’s Note: Check back each week to see an updated list of our favorite new products, along with all the previous weeks’ gear picks.]

Cooper & Thief x Recreation Center Carafe Set

With this collaboration between Cooper & Thief and Recreation Center, you can support a local artist and try a distinctive sauvignon blanc unlike any you’ve tried before. It’s a cheeky wine, having been aged for three months in añejo tequila barrels. That process gives it a kick (and not just in alcohol percentage: 16.5%). There’s a hint of heat and acidity that complement the more classic citrus and fruit elements. The carafe set is just as special, playing off the idea of traditional Mexican Talavera-style serving ceramics. The handmade, wheel-thrown cups make striking additions to your bar cart or kitchen, and have way more character than your typical glassware. — Brittany Smith, Senior Editor

[Carafe Set, $175; recreationcentershop.com]

[Cooper & Thief Sauvignon Blanc, $29.99; cooperandthief.com]

 

Courtesy Image

Blundstone Active Series

If you’re not a flip-flop or sandals kind of guy, Blundstone’s new Active Series is a summer godsend. They boast the same aesthetic you’ve come to know and love, only the boots are way lighter than the originals. Enjoy greater breathability and flexibility without sacrificing comfort and durability. There’s a steel shank for stability, a footbed designed to absorb shock, and a rough-and-ready outsole. Take them from the beach to the trails to the brewpub. You just might not want to take them off. — Brittany Smith, Senior Editor

[$169.95; blundstone.com]

Courtesy of Blundstone

Arc’teryx Riel Shirt LS Men’s

It might seem counterintuitive to embark on a long, sunny, hot hike in a long-sleeve shirt, but it’s actually strategic if it’s the Arc’teryx Riel Shirt. The breathable woven nylon has a slight stretch to it, with gusseted underams that keep you unencumbered when maneuvering trekking poles and grabbing the occasional hand-hold. The pack I was wearing made my back super sweaty (not a huge surprise), but during rest stops and water breaks, the shirt was quick to dry. Not having to reapply sunscreen half a dozen times to my arms and chest was a relief, too. It also meant my skin could breathe more and ultimately keep me cooler. When I got back to my tent in the late afternoon, I rinsed the Riel Shirt in cold water and hung it up to dry. It was ready to hit the trail again the next day. For what it’s worth, I got some nice compliments on the styling, too, so if you’re on a trip that’s work and pleasure, this shirt can do double-duty. The other great part about buying Arc’teryx is you’re supporting a company that’s investing in its consumers and the planet. Check out their Rock Solid Used Gear program, where you can buy discounted, refurbished gear for around half the new price. Or, sell your old Arc’teryx apparel and gear back to them for a break on a future purchase—if you can part with it, that is. My Riel Shirt isn’t going anywhere. — Marjorie Korn, Senior Editor

[$109, arcteryx.com]

Courtesy Image

Cardo PackTalk Bold

Helmet-to-helmet motorcycle comm systems have improved tenfold over the years, with more reliable connections, clearer microphones, and easier interfaces. One of the leaders in the industry, Cardo Systems has now joined forces with audio specialists JBL to provide more powerful, bass-driven speakers. The sound quality is remarkable. Thanks to voice commands, I can play and pause music; take and make calls; and talk with my riding buddy, whether it’s a passenger on my bike or someone else riding a hundred yards away. It brings a whole new dimension to motorcycling. For some (myself included), the solitary nature of motorcycling is part of what makes riding so special, but you can’t deny the sense of security and convenience that comes with being connected. — Jon Langston, Commerce Editor

[$340, single unit; $600, duo; cardosystems.com]

Courtesy Image

Best Made Co. The Quick Dry Ball Cap

I’ve been stopped on the streets and asked by men and women alike where this hat is from more times than I can count. It’s not because it’s outlandishly trendy; it’s style is pretty utilitarian, but that’s the beauty of it. You can wear it every day, whether you’re running errands or hauling it up a mountain. Its nylon makeup really lets it breathe, too, so it’s quick to dry even if it gets soaked from sweat or a rain squall. Take it paddleboarding or kayaking; it’s floatable and crushable (thanks to a foam brim), so it’s a breeze to cram in a pack when it’s not on your head. This is the adventure cap of summer. — Brittany Smith, Senior Editor

[$38; bestmadeco.com]

Courtesy Image

Victorinox Fieldforce Watch

The latest watch from Victorinox wears its utilitarian Swiss Army heritage on its, er, sleeve. The Fieldforce Collection blends iconic design with more modern displays. The watches are bright, clear, and readable, with bold numerals and large super-luminescent hands. It comes in chrono or standard faces, in either black or white. And you can choose from a classy silver bracelet or a rugged leather band in black or brown. Confident, classic, and comfortable, the Fieldforce is just as at home on the trail as it is in the office. — Jon Langston, Commerce Editor

[Chrono, $450; standard, $350; swissarmy.com]

Courtesy Image

Aura Frame

A digital picture frame isn’t a new idea, but the Aura Frame looks good enough to leave out anywhere. With smart features, it’s a build that makes it easy to interact with. To start, the Aura is big: The 9.7-inch LED-backlit panel has about the same pixels as a larger iPad Pro and its 4:3 aspect ratio lets you situate it in either landscape or portrait mode. All the tech is wrapped a handsome wood or modern matte colors.

The frame stores some photos locally, but the magic happens when you connect it to a cloud and then beam photos to it from your phone, making updating the slideshow finger swipe easy. Once you download the Aura app, you’ll use it to select photos from your phone, then upload to the frame, where they’ll stay even if you delete the shots from your phone (as long as they remain in the Aura app).

You can tell Aura to automatically upload photos from iCloud or Google and if it comes upon an image of poor quality, it’ll skip it or let you crop them. But don’t worry, it won’t broadcast what is recognizes as an important document. Friends can also pop photos onto the Aura once they download the app. But the oddly satisfying feature is the motion sensor: Wave your hand forward or backwards in front of the Aura and it will scroll through the slideshow accordingly. See a photo you like? Swipe up to give it some love (you’ll get a notification on the app as to which photos have likes).

The Aura frame looks sharp but what sets it apart is the user interface that makes it simple to update, so it becomes something you look at daily. — Sal Vaglica, Senior Editor

[$399; auraframes.com]

Courtesy image

Halo Top Pops

It might be that National Ice Cream Day is fast approaching (Sunday, July 21) or that the country is getting a massive heatwave this weekend (90 percent of Americans will face temperatures at or above 90 degrees), but frozen treats are all I can think about. Thankfully, Halo Top’s launched pops that’ll help squander the heat. Featuring some of their most popular pint flavors—mint chip, chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter swirl, strawberry cheesecake—and coming in at 50-60 calories a pop, these are more important on a sweltering summer day than just about anything. Well, except for maybe air conditioning. — Brittany Smith, Senior Editor

[4 boxes for $48; 8 boxes for $68; halotop.com]

Courtesy Image

Kitsbow Ventilated Cycling Liner

When the liner under your bike shorts is doing its job, you’ll never even notice it. That’s exactly why we love the Kitsbow Ventilated Cycling Liner—they somehow have a barely-there feel that’s also supportive. Mesh panels on the thighs and the small of the back help to dump heat and keep things dry. The quick dry compression panels feel supportive and grippy silicone on the thighs keeps the liner put so it never bunched up on us during our 40-mile ride. Made from seven panels, the shorts never felt restrictive. The Cytech chamois is beefier right where it needs to be under your pelvic bones. You’ll want to pay attention to sizing as these tend to run small. — Sal Vaglica, Senior Editor

[$155; kitsbow.com]

 

Courtesy image

JBL Flip 5

The latest iteration of JBL’s Flip bluetooth speaker makes you a backyard and beach hero. It’s easy to stow away in a backpack and bosts 12 hours of play time, a waterproof design (submergible up to 3 feet), and impressive sound. Play tunes vertically or horizontally, whether you’re at a lake house or hanging out in your own home. It’s as rugged as your adventures. — Brittany Smith, Senior Editor

[$99.95; jbl.com]

Courtesy Image

Gap Icon Denim Jacket

A denim jacket is timeless, and easy to work into your wardrobe regardless of the season. Though this style from Gap is ideal for summer; it’s the perfect blue hue and made from 1969 non-stretch indigo denim. Best of all, it’s part of Gap’s water-saving Washwell program that uses 20 percent less water than traditional methods. You’ll never leave home without it. — Brittany Smith, Senior Editor

[$79.95; gap.com]

Courtesy Image

California Cowboy High Water Shirt

Honestly, don’t go to the beach without California Cowboy’s High Water Shirt. If you like to rock Hawaiian shirts (they’re trending this summer), this one’s ingenius. It has a terry-cloth lining, so it’s not just soft as a baby blanket, but also super absorbent. Pop it on when you get out of the surf to protect yourself from the sun’s rays and dry off sans towel. There’s a special interior pocket with a bottle opener—perfect for day-drinking—as well as an exterior pocket designed to mimic a koozie. We love the additional dry pocket. It boasts a hydrophobic zipper and waterproof fabric to keep your phone dry against ocean spray or errant cannon balls (just make sure you’re not the one jumping in; it’s not meant to protect against total submersion). To top it all off, there’s also a sunglasses loop along the shirt placket, so they won’t fall off when you’re playing Kan Jam—or reaching into the cooler for another beer… — Brittany Smith, Senior Editor

[$135; californiacowboy.com]

Also available at Huckberry

Courtesy Image

Hurley x Carhartt Phantom Hyperweave Board Shorts

At first glance, they look like a pair of standard Hurley board shorts: A woven, flexible adaptive waistband in a cool neo-camo colorway. But look closer: Carhartt’s influence is all over the design. The lightweight Phantom fabric has been replaced with a tougher ripstop that’s water-repellent and stretchy. It’s as at home working on projects around the house as it is in the waves. It won’t snag, and while it might not be as cozy as cotton, it dries faster. And check out the Carhartt-classic drawstring. —Jon Langston, Commerce Editor

[$100; carhartt.com]

Courtesy image

Bose Frames

If a pair of sunglasses that double as Bluetooth speakers seems a little gimmicky, you’re in good company. That was our first impression—until we tested Bose Frames, that is. There are two options, and neither skimp on style: Alto is a classic rectangular frame that typically suits men’s faces, while Rondo is a rounder, smaller choice. You can also swap out the UVA/UVB-blocking lenses (more color options will be available soon). The tech is even more impressive. A motion sensor detects when you take the specs off, pausing your music to preserve the battery life (typically 3.5 hours while playing tunes). In the future, the sensor will be helpful for navigation. For instance, it can detect your location and give you a review for a restuarant you’re intrigued about. The sound is also top-notch (this is Bose, after all). Speakers embedded in either arm are angled in such a way that sound travels directly into your ears, minimizing spillage to your neighbors. One singular button on the right arm lets you control the music, as well as take calls or ask Siri/Google Assistant a question. Best of all, the sunglasses are perfectly balanced and surprisingly light (they weigh the same as a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers), perfect for all day comfort. — Brittany Smith, Senior Editor

[$199.95; bose.com]


Lululemon Selfcare

Earlier this week, Lululemon launched a line of unisex self-care items, including a dry shampoo, deodorant, face moisturizer, and lip balm. They were designed with the athlete in mind. The spray-on dry shampoo sops up a sweaty scalp using tapioca starch, and it won’t whiten hair like some other brands. Plus, it spritzes on cold, which is refreshing post-workout. Same goes for the face moisturizer, which contains menthol to cool, and pomegranate enzyme to open up pores and release oil and grime. I’ve also been enjoying the spray-on deodorant; it contains prebiotics, which Lululemon says lessen bacterial growth and odor. Everything but the lip balm comes in both a full- and travel size, and the packaging is thoughtful, with a rubber bumper on the bottom so it doesn’t go sliding off bathroom sinks. These have become a gym-bag staple. — Marjorie Korn, Senior Editor

Dry shampoo: $18 and $34; lululemon.com 

Deodorant: $12 and $18; lululemon.com 

Face moisturizer: $28 and $48; lululemon.com 

Lip balm: $14; lululemon.com

Courtesy Image

Nalgene Water Bottle, 32oz Wide Mouth

This summer I’m skipping the plastic water bottles when I’m on the go and always packing this Nalgene. It can carry 32 ounces of water, plenty to get me through a short hike or a workout and back home. The mouth is big enough that I can fill it with large ice cubes and I don’t have to worry about water getting everywhere when I try to fill it up. It’s free of those three letters, too: BPA. I recently took it on a cliff camping adventure, and the cap easily attached to clips on my portaledge so I never had to worry about it falling off. This is what an essential piece of gear looks like. — John Lonsdale, Deputy Digital Editor

[$12; nalgene.com]

Courtesy image

Lowa Lynnox GTX Lo Shoes

When I slipped on a pair of the Lowa Lynnox GTX Lo, the first thing I thought was how damn comfortable they are. Unlike a lot of technical footwear that often involve an onerous and blister-ridden break-in period, the first time I wore them felt like the 25th time. The injection molded midsole provided great stability on the uneven and pebble-laden terrain of the Grand Canyon, where I put them to the test, plus they feature a secure yet breathable and weather-resistant GORE-TEX membrane. They didn’t skimp on feel, with padding in all the right places, especially the tongue and along the sides of the feet. At 1.65 pounds per pair, they’re about on par with other shoes in this category, but it didn’t seem like you’d need to swap them out a few days into a long hike, and they can go from trail to dinner pretty well, too. All in all, the type of shoes that you keep going back to. — Marjorie Korn, Senior Editor

[$195; lowaboots.com]

Courtesy image

The James Brand Folsom

Based on the adage that if you can’t find what you want, you might have to make it yourself, The James Brand from Portland crafts knives and tools with premium materials, a minimalist design aesthetic, and clear attention to the details. The ultra-slim, ambidextrous Folson is the ultimate EDC knife. Fluid, simple, sleek, and subtle, it features a steel liner-lock and a reversible clip. The stainless steel blade holds an edge, resists corrosion, and is easy to care for. This is a knife I intend to own and use for a lifetime. —Jon Langston, Commerce Editor

[$99; thejamesbrand.com]

Courtesy image

REI Co-op Link Double Bike Shorts

I wore these on a 40-mile bike ride that seemingly vacillated between driving rain and harder driving rain. In those conditions, it would be hard for any pair of shorts to stay bone dry, but for a few of those early miles in a light rain, the Link Double’s mostly nylon shell and DWR held up as the weather beaded off. Finding shorts for larger waists isn’t always easy, but these fit well with a nice 10-inch inseam and hook and loop fit adjustments. The zippered pocket on the thigh was the perfect place to stash a phone or snack, and the two-way stretch, courtesy of a smidge of spandex woven in, never felt restrictive. The polyester liner underneath is comfortable and while the rain got to me, it dried quickly. The two layers are tethered together, but you can snip the connection and wear them independently. — Sal Vaglica, Senior Editor

[$69.95; rei.com]

Courtesy image

Nespresso Vertuo

If you think Nespresso is some super-fancy—and super-pricey—espresso machine that only movie stars can afford, say hello to the new Nespresso Vertuo. Yes, it’s pricier than your standard drip coffee maker. But damn, this coffee is worth it. (Hot tip: They’re all on sale right now.) Smooth, rich, and creamy, every time—no matter if you make a short espresso, a smooth gran lungo, an indulgent mug of coffee, or a tall glass of iced Alto.

Unlike original Nespresso machines that just make espresso, the Vertuo accepts 24 coffees in various sized (and color-coded) pods. It reads each pod individually—the barcode system is genius—and the machine adjusts accordingly. It knows just how much water to pour through, the right flow rate, the exact pressure, and the perfect infusion time. And it all works with a single touch: All I have to do is drop the pod in and push the button. Perfect coffee, every time. —Jon Langston, Commerce Editor

[$140, was $200; nespresso.com]

Courtesy image

Arc’teryx Cormac Crew Shortsleeve Shirt

While it’s billed as a trail running shirt, the Cormac crew is my new go-to any time I’ll be working up a sweat. The knock against some engineered fabrics is comfort next to skin, but this knitted polyester’s 3.7 ounces nearly melt away on the body, as it did during a recent bike tour. It pulls sweat off the body and it dries pretty quickly, too, so you won’t get that clammy feeling. The hand is very soft, and the way the panels are stitched together, it doesn’t restrict movement. While it’s a technical top, the design doesn’t scream that so it’s a discrete option for the bike, trails, or the gym.  — Sal Vaglica, Senior Editor

[$69; arcteryx.com]

Courtesy image

Hydro Flask 12 oz Insulated Cooler Cup

Who doesn’t love multipurpose gear? This handy little beverage buddy has a silicone bumper to protect surfaces and budge-proof your drink, helping to minimize slippage. You can also pop a can or bottle inside so it acts as a mini cooler and koozie, protecting your hands from cold and condensation. Some people like to take the sleeve off, flip it, and place it over the top of the cup, but in my opinion that can get a little unsanitary if you’re putting it down in the sand or setting it atop dirty tables. I do, however, recommend getting the 10 oz Wine Tumbler Lid, which fits perfectly. You can keep wine cold or cappuccinos hot and mitigate the risk of spills. — Brittany Smith, Senior Editor

[$24.95; hydroflask.com]

Courtesy Image

Linksoul Bamboo Stretch 5-Pocket Pant

Cali brand Linksoul makes casual, beach-inspired golf gear for the rest of us: real, practical, and natural. It’s pro-level golf gear—clothes, to be sure, but also golf bags, umbrellas, and even amazing woods handcrafted from North American persimmon trees—that never takes itself too seriously. (Their motto is “Make Par Not War.”) But I’m loving these Bamboo Stretch 5-pocket Pants. They’re cut to a modern fit, with narrow-ish calves and leg openings but with plenty of room in the rear and crotch—the perfect amount of give and stretch for grinding out the last ten yards of an approach, or just lounging around the yard. They’re made of 69 percent garment-dyed cotton canvas, with a touch of spandex for stretch; 29 percent bamboo makes them incredibly soft. I’d walk 18 in these, any day.Jon Langston, Commerce Editor

[$130; linksoul.com] 

Courtesy Image

Montblanc Trolley

My excitement about traveling usually gets dampened by my hatred for packing, so finding a bag that actually makes me excited to pack? Sign me up. This hard shell carry-on from Montblanc is lightweight, durable, and does all the organizing for you thanks to its multitude of removable zippered compartments. It’s perfect for business travel, but it has a polycarbonate exterior that is hardy enough to take on an adventure as well. Its spacious interior was enough to accommodate luggage for two for a long weekend trip with room to spare. Its four-wheel design and multiple length extender bar made it easy to transport, and it fit perfectly into the overhead cabin on my flight. To top it all off, the meticulous leather details, built-in TSA lock, personalization options, and overall sleek design make it a stylish, but practical, accessory for any trip. —Elizabeth Yun, Associate Editor

[$645-$900, Montblanc.com]

Courtesy Image

Char-Broil Commercial TRU-Infrared 4-Burner

Any grill that can survive Memorial Day Weekend with my family and friends deserves a special mention in Gear of the Week. With it’s Tru-infrared cooking technology (which delivers even-heat and prevents flare-ups) doing most of the work, The Char-Broil Commercial TRU-Infrared 4-Burner made even a novice griller like me look like a world-class chef. The huge cooking space allowed for mass quantities of burgers and dogs, so my party of 25 didn’t wait long before their next bite.  Additionally, The side burner was a new feature for me personally, and a fantastic addition that allowed me to stay outside while boiling the baked beans that no one other than my friend Chris ate.

Like most commercial propane powered grills, it can get smoky pretty quickly if not cleaned properly. Fortunately the porcelain coated cast iron grates are durable, rust-resistant and easy-to-clean. Just don’t wait three weeks like I did.  It’s also missing a space to hang your tools, which is pretty annoying, but there’s plenty of room on the side table to keep them close by. That said, If you’re looking for mid-range propane grill that’s easy to use, has tons of space, and cooks a mean cheeseburger as well as it sears a bitchin’ sirloin this one’s for you. —David Schlow, Creative Director

[$569.99, Charbroil.com]

Courtesy Image

The post The Coolest Pieces of Gear We Tested This Week appeared first on Men's Journal.



Source link

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *