Gear Patrol Magazine, Issue Sixteen: The Summer Preview

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E VE RY TH IN G IS A ROAD Harley-Davidson.com/PanAmerica

©2021 H-D or its affiliates. Harley-Davidson, H-D, Harley, and the Bar & Shield Logo are among the trademarks of H-D U.S.A., LLC. Third-party trademarks are the property of their respective owners.




We don’t make moth food.


We make adventure wear.


Contents

ISSUE SIXTEEN

The Guide 28 Apple AirPods Max 44 S ea to Summit Telos TR2

56 J axJox DumbbellConnect

68 S teelcase Solo

Sit-to-Stand Desk

78 Cometeer 92 H ermès H24 104 Z enith

Chronomaster Sport 118 2 021 BMW Alpina XB7

TECH

18 The Case for Wired Headphones 20 Are Classic Cassette Tapes the New Vinyl? 24 Hack Your Way to a More Energy-Efficient Summer FITNESS

46 M eet the People and Brands Diversifying Cycling 52 W hy You Need More Running Shoes

HOME 58 C luttered Home? More Stuff Could Help 60 T he Pros and Cons of Building an A-Frame 64 A Quick Primer on Peculiar Cacti

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OUTDOORS 32 Outdoor Education — But Indoors 34 Archiving the History of Adventure Gear 40 How to Swing an Axe Like a Pro



ISSUE SIXTEEN

FOOD & DRINK 70 T he Bourbon Drinker’s Guide to Rum 74 N on-Alcoholic Booze Blows Up

The Guide

STYLE 80 Need Shorts for Summer? Buy Vintage 82 The Subtle Beauty of DIY Style 86 Q&A with the Collab King of LA

MOTORING 106 T he State of Self-Driving Cars 108 D on’t Buy an EV, Here’s Why 110 N ew Off-Roaders You Need to Know

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WATCHES 94 How Rick Marei Revives Beloved Dive Watches 96 The Latest Speedy, a Wrist-On Review 100 Vintage Chronographs Inspire New Reissues


T H E WAY L A N D R O S E W O O D + S TA I N L E S S

THEJAMESBRAND.COM


CONTENTS

Features

120

130

For years, a Nebraska transplant has quietly been crafting some of the world’s finest eyewear from a small factory in Japan. But what is it, exactly, about Tommy O’Gara’s touch that makes his frames so special?

The pandemic isn’t over, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend the whole summer indoors. Seek out your thrills close to home in the form of a microadventure. Here’s all you need to hike, bike, forage and more.

Seeing Differently

Gear to Get Out There

142

61 Father’s Day Gift Ideas Not sure what to get the old man this year? We’ve assembled a collection of go-to goods that honor his best qualities and quirks, no matter his age, interests — or your specific budget.

160

Detour At Canoe, a boutique located in downtown Portland, Oregon, founders Craig Olson and Sean Igo offer up a worldly assortment of homewares —like clocks, lamps and kitchen tools — poised to become future heirlooms.

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On the Cover: Mark Allen Alford riding in Los Angeles. Photo by Brian Vernor


TRAIL 2650 CAMPO Inspired by the hot, dusty stretches of the Pacific Crest Trail, the Trail 2650 Campo was designed for warm-weather hiking. Breathable materials and superior traction allow you to move confidently through a variety of terrain. DANNER.COM/TRAIL2650CAMPO


MASTHEAD

founder , chief executive officer

ERIC YANG cofounder , chief content officer

BEN BOWERS

deputy editor

senior staff writers

platforms editor

creative director

JACK SEEMER

TANNER BOWDEN

J.D. DIGIOVANNI

JOE TORNATZKY

coordinating producer

deputy photo editor

NICK CARUSO

HENRY PHILLIPS

platforms producer

art director

SCOTT ULRICH

SHERRY WANG

TUCKER BOWE

editors

WILL SABEL COURTNEY

staff writers

ERIC LIMER

TYLER DUFFY

STEVE MAZZUCCHI

ZEN LOVE

associate editors

associate staff writer

OREN HARTOV

TYLER CHIN

associate designer

HUNTER D. KELLEY

JOHN ZIENTEK assistant editor

WILL PRICE

chief commercial officer

product manager , growth

senior manager , revenue operations

ZACH MADER

CAITLYN SHAW

GENEVA AUDUONG

vp , commercial operations

sales marketing coordinator

campaign manager

senior content manager , gear patrol studios

MONICA HARE

JAYNE DEPONTES

DOMINIQUE GAGEANT

AJ POWELL

business development director

gear patrol store operations manager

sales planner

MIKE BAILEY

CHRIS HEALY

NGHI HO

associate content producer , gear patrol studios

pacific northwest advertising director

NANCY O’CONNOR Gear Patrol Studios is the creative partnership arm of Gear Patrol. Select advertising in this magazine has been crafted by Gear Patrol Studios on behalf of brands to help tailor their message specifically for Gear Patrol readers. These sections are demarcated with GEAR PATROL STUDIOS.

SCOT BONDLOW southwest advertising director

JUSTIN PARKHURST

To learn more visit, studios.gearpatrol.com

account executives

BETH CHROBAK-MARCHESE

or reach out to us: advertising@gearpatrol.com

TIM MURRAY

cfo

head of commerce

CUSTOMER CARE

CORRECTIONS & REPRINTS

BRANDON FRANK

BRIAN LOUIE

support@gearpatrol.com

sayhello@gearpatrol.com

commerce editor

CAREERS

STOCK THE MAGAZINE

RYAN BROWER

gearpatrol.com/jobs

wholesale@gearpatrol.com

commerce writer

STORE

WILL PORTER

gearpatrol.com/store

MARISSA ALVES @marissa_alves

GRACE J. KIM @gracej.kim

KAILAH OGAWA @kailahogawa

MAX BERLINGER @berlinger

GUI MARTINEZ @guimartinez

CHASE PELLERIN @chase_pellerin

STINSON CARTER @stinsoncarter

MARĺA MEDEM @mariamedem

BRIAN VERNOR @vernor

issue 16 contributors

INDEPENDENTLY PUBLISHED IN NEW YORK 236 5TH AVE, FLOOR 8 NEW YORK, NY 10001 © 2021 GEAR PATROL, LLC ISSN 2381-4241 PUBLISHED BIANNUALLY PRINTED in USA by AMPER LITHO on SUSTAINABLE PAPER

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The evolution of Hi-Fi Evo is everything you’ve always loved about hi-fi, evolved to suit your needs. An elegantly crafted amplifier and streamer, offering compact simplicity and exceptional performance. All from a single box, designed and engineered in London. Just add speakers. Discover more at: cambridgeaudio.com/gearpatrol


LETTER FROM THE FOUNDER

Why the Hell Not? As a curious person who often asks, “Why the hell not?” I was recently thinking about all the great people I surround myself with who say, “Well, this is why.” Besides a natural need for balance, this past year has been in a state of repose — going about life dutifully managing for the “why not.” As I sat down to write this column, I started thinking about just how excited I am for warmer months ahead. It feels like brighter horizons are giving us a chance to explore life anew — a convenient segue to talk about the latest issue of Gear Patrol Magazine. Here at Gear Patrol, summer previews have always been about ideas and products. But after a year like no other, I find myself craving something else: motivation. It’s a good thing, then, that the issue you’re holding is full of it. One of the greatest gifts is an unexpected upside, and you’ll find much of that in the pages to follow. If you’re itching to look at the world beyond the screen, I’ll point you straight to “How to Pack for a Microadventure” (p. 130). Our deputy editor, Jack Seemer, went all out drafting buyer’s blueprints for near-home pursuits — from cycling a “century” (that’s bike speak for 100 miles) to overnight overlanding. Turn to page 120 and join us in Japan for an exclusive look behind the scenes with Tommy O’Gara, a native Nebraskan who has spent the past 40 years of his life crafting a reputation as one of the most inspired designers in eyewear. And speaking of inspiration, our outdoors and fitness editor, Steve Mazzucchi, an avid cyclist himself, takes a timely look at the people and brands paving new roads in the cycling world. His story, “Cycle of Change” (p. 52) goes inside the burgeoning movement to make

the sport more diverse. It’s gear. It’s inclusive. And it’s refreshingly colorful. In that same vein, I wanted to share a personal note: As a person of color working in an industry with a homogeneous reputation, I, too, have been on a personal journey of race and understanding. Not just as an individual but also as a dad and an Asian-American leader of an organization in a position to do better. The past year has heightened my sense of awareness and responsibility, but it’s also forced necessary discussions that have, at the very least, greased the wheels of progress. At Gear Patrol, that dialogue began last year through questions, conversations and pitches. Today, it continues through journalism, resources and internal stewardship. I can do better. Gear Patrol can do better. But as a person of color working behind the scenes to help foster an environment of change, I can personally attest to our entire team’s commitment to be more mindful, inclusive and equitable — and I hope you’ll continue to see that in the work we do and the service we provide. With that said, welcome to spring. It’s been a long winter, so I hope you’ll be inspired to pursue something new or get out there. Safely. And perhaps, you can start to look at life with a welcome sense of “why the hell not?” yourself.

Eric Yang FOUNDER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER @hashtagyang | eyang@gearpatrol.com

Kind of Obsessed Ergotron LX Dual Side-by-Side Arm, $320 Before the pandemic, the last time I thought about one of these things was when I noticed that they seem to be standard-issue for bankers and gamers. But here I am, dutifully praising the Ergotron LX Dual Side-by-Side Arm. So, what does it do? Well, it magically suspends two large monitors in a nearly infinite number of positions. (I’ve only recently realized how much I desire to adjust my monitor whether I’m standing or sitting for work.) And because both monitors are suspended in the air, I get to reclaim a big swath of my desk. The arms also function as cable organizers to reduce clutter. That’s right: more space and better ergonomics.

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The Guide 18

GEAR PATROL SUMMER PREVIEW 2021


Sometimes we need to look back to remember how to move forward. That sentiment has perhaps never been more relevant, as we steadily emerge from a year of lockdown into a brighter, more open future. This Guide encapsulates the duality of the moment. On one hand, we document throwbacks on the rise, such as cassette tapes (p. 20) and oldschool outdoor catalogs (p. 34), plus vintageinspired chronographs (p. 100) and affordable A-frames (p. 60). On the other, we explore what is now and what is to come, including non-alcoholic spirits (p. 74), self-driving cars (p. 106), cycling’s inclusive moves (p. 46) and altruistic collabs (p. 86). What’s it all add up to? One cool, smart and healthy summer.


the guide

Technology For extra longevity and customization, the comfy earpads of the 6XX are replaceable and upgradable. A new pair of velour or sheepskin pads can refresh your favorite cans for a much lower cost than a whole new pair.

It’s about more than just audio quality and comfort. A nice pair of wired headphones is truly a vibe.

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text by

Eric Limer

photo by

Henry Phillips

The Case for Wired Headphones Bluetooth earbuds are nice when you’re out and about, but at a desk, nothing beats a pair of giant, wired cans. My favorite headphones don’t adhere to recent trends. They’re the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XXs, and unlike the latest from Bose or Sony, do not ‘actively cancel’ noise; they just blast it into my ears. And with their open-back design, not all of it gets there. Unlike AirPods (vanilla or Pro), they do not play nice with an iPhone at all. Wireless protocols? Please, these babies are wired into my desktop with a 3.5mm plug. And while some headphones will contort into compact shapes and fit inside a carrying case, these cans are remorselessly large and unbending. It’s a decidedly low-tech experience. I can’t recommend it enough. Don’t get me wrong, AirPods are great. But like many modern gadgets, they’re designed for a specific purpose. When the iPod and its ilk made music mostly mobile for a whole new generation, headphones evolved to match that mobility. Wires that snag on doorknobs gave way to Bluetooth. Form factors shrunk to better suit backpacks and pockets. Once specially designed for pilots, active noise cancellation was turned to attack the sounds of the modern commute. But if you, like me, have not made a commute in over a year, it might be time to re-evaluate your priorities. Once you’re tethered to a desk with no coworkers in sight, a great number of the advantages of highend wireless headphones evaporate and a different animal reigns supreme. Wired headphones never run out of battery life. They’re impossible to misplace. Giant ear cups are almost cartoonishly comfortable. And the massive drivers they accommodate sound effortlessly better than anything you can squeeze into a “bud.” Open-back headphones, the king of the form, take the logic to its excellent extreme. With skeletonized ear cups to let the air flow freely, the speakers

can operate at peak efficiency, at the cost of a little sound leakage no one will be around to hear. And they are almost always more affordable than their more portable cousins to boot. Top of the line, wireless noise-cancelling cans like Bose’s Headphones 700 and Sony’s WH-1000XM4 will run you well over $300, even on sale. AirPods Pro clock in at a more modest $249, full price. But for just $220 you can get a roomy pair of HD 6XXs that you will literally never have to charge. And options like the honkin’huge Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X get you all the way down toward $120 without throwing quality or comfort out the window. Word of warning: going this route can open a Pandora’s box. A pair of nice wired headphones may lead to a dedicated headphone amp, and the next thing you know, you’re spending four figures on a portable music player with multiple DACs so you can listen to your FLAC files on the go. Maybe that’s a bottle you’ll enthusiastically uncork. For me, though, it’s about more than just audio quality and comfort. A nice pair of wired headphones is truly a vibe. When I sit down at the desk in my home office, there’s a dozen different things I might do. Maybe I’ll bleed a few hours of my life into Twitter, or stare blankly at my inbox as the number ticks up. Maybe I’ll get right back up, or sink into my phone despite the giant screen in front of me. But when it’s time to actually get to work, the first order of business is always the same: take my big, old headphones off their nail on the wall, pin the wire under my arm and start typing. At home, surrounded by distractions like the cat and the fridge and literally everything besides what I need to be doing, this ritual is an invaluable part of getting my brain into second gear. No fancy wireless pea-sized jobby can do that.

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the guide

Technology

The Comeback of the Classic Cassette The cassette tape’s rewind isn’t just vinyl all over again.


text by

Tucker Bowe

photos by

Henry Phillips

RecordingTheMasters manufacturers some 30,000 compact audio cassettes per month. The company uses a ferric oxide construction to rival the quality of now-extinct chromium dioxide tapes.

Everything old is new again, and has been for a minute. The staggering resurgence of vinyl, with sales increasing every year since 2006 to a peak of 27.5 million LPs sold in the United States in 2020, is so cemented that it hardly seems fair to describe it merely as a “trend.” Now the humble cassette tape is starting to see a renaissance, drafting in vinyl’s enormous wake. Sales of cassette tapes in the U.S. have increased by double digit percentages in recent years, according to Nielson reports, and now number in the six figures annually. Though still peanuts compared to vinyl, it’s a marked upswing. And the cassette tape’s comeback is shaping up to be as different as the two formats are. When the cassette came to prominence in the ’70s and ’80s, it was as much about function as it was about sound. The practical alternatives of the time, reel-to-reel and vinyl, were expensive and bulky where cassettes were affordable, portable and quickly

ubiquitous thanks in large part to the invention of the boom box in 1966 and the iconic Sony Walkman in 1979. But the cassette was doomed to be crushed by what was essentially a better version of itself. CDs were just about as cheap and mobile, with no need to flip or rewind. Even though tape technology eventually grew to match CDs in sound quality, the damage was done. By 2000, cassettes made up less than 5 percent of the market, and the iPod was on the horizon. Barely anybody was buying, selling, making or listening to tapes, much less doing it on principle. These days, even as the smartphone has essentially become a smaller, better Walkman, the format is beginning to find an audience of enthusiasts. “The way the tape slowly rotates is just mesmerizing,” says Can Kuang, founder of the Just-Cassette blog and Instagram account, which has 25,000 followers. The comparative warmth of analog sound is part

of the draw but, much like vinyl, so is the experience, despite or even because of its flaws. “You get to touch it, hear the mechanical clicks of the cassette player.” It’s a nostalgia cycle that both feeds on and is fed by some pretty prominent roles in some of the biggest movies and shows of the past several years, including Guardians of the Galaxy, Stranger Things, 13 Reasons Why and Better Call Saul. Some of the world’s most popular artists — such as Lady Gaga, The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Dua Lipa — have all released cassette tapes of their newest albums. (Sure, plenty of these get no more use than other, non-interactive memorabilia, but plenty of LPs never touch a turntable either.) Tapes are more widely available than they have been in decades, and in increasingly high- quality forms as well. Manufacturers like RecordingTheMasters produce bulk tape and blank cassettes that use a ferric oxide construction to rival the quality

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the guide

Technology

of now-extinct chromium dioxide tapes that defined the format’s heyday. The company now produces 30,000 compact audio cassettes per month, up from just 9,000 per month in 2019, according to Jean-Luc Renou, CEO of the Mulann Group, which owns RecordingTheMasters. “Duplication companies are by far the main consumer of our ferric oxide tapes,” Renou says. “Labels and artists are driving the comeback with more and more recorded cassettes.” Less advanced tapes are also increasingly easy to come by. Taylor Swift’s Folklore album is available for just $13, and there is no shortage of actual vintage cassettes floating around, though the prices of some are going up. “I know that cassettes from certain artists such as Michael Jackson, Madonna and Whitney Houston are selling for much higher prices than the others,” Kuang says. “If you search on eBay you’ll see that most of the old cassettes go for around three dollars, or ten dollars for ten. The ones I mentioned usually go for [between] ten and forty dollars.” Quality players, however, are much scarcer. While the vinyl resurgence motivated manufacturers like Pro-Ject, Technics and Marantz to build new-age turntables, Kuang says the only sources of new cassette tape players are crowdfunded projects and small Chinese manufacturers. It’s a chicken-and-egg problem that has sent diehards toward vintage tech, which can be a bit of a crapshoot. You can find refurbished cassette tape players on auction sites like eBay and Yahoo Japan, as well as on social media like Instagram and Facebook. But most vintage cassette tape players are pretty difficult to come by at the moment. Worse yet, they are generally much more complicated and expensive to repair than a turntable. “I’ve seen prices of high-end Walkmans such as the Sony DD9, DC2, DD100 triple in the last two years,” Kuang says. You can find budget alternatives at retailers like Urban Outfitters and Tesco, but these options are only really suitable for dabblers, not audiophiles. It’s a conundrum that may explain why the cassette’s rebirth has been more muted than vinyl’s, so far. You may not be able to add a new tape deck to your home stereo just yet, but there’s never been a better time to dig up that old Walkman for a nostalgic spin.

“The way the tape slowly rotates is just mesmerizing. You get to touch it, hear the mechanical clicks of the cassette player.”

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the guide

Technology

Energy Saver Planning to blast your A/C this summer? A few simple tweaks and smart appliances can help balance out your electrical bill.

When summer hits in full force, there’s no shame in eschewing the sunshine to spend a little time appreciating the great indoors. Air conditioning is a modern marvel, after all. But it’s not without its cost, which can be annoyingly high during a heat wave. Fortunately, you can balance out your A/C’s enormous appetite for wattage by making some adjustments to the rest of your home. The savings from any one change will likely add up to only double or triple digits on a year-long time frame, but the more tweaks you make, the faster that figure grows. So follow these tips for a more energy-efficient — not to mention earth-friendly — abode, one that may even be a bit “smarter” when all is said and done.


text by

Eric Limer

i l l u s t r at i o n s b y

María Medem

Turn On Power-Saving Modes The first (and simplest) thing you can do is enable power-saving modes on power-hungry devices that feature them. • If you’ve never delved deep into your television’s settings before, now’s a great time to go spelunking. Almost all modern TVs include a variety of power-saving options, like Energy Saving modes on Samsung and LG TVs. If yours lacks one, you can achieve similar effects by pulling the curtains and lowering the brightness levels. Handy “sleep timer” settings will ensure that if you doze off, the TV does too. • Game consoles are constantly sucking down watts — especially the latest Xbox and PlayStation consoles that feature convenient always-on functionality. But the energy-saving mode on the Xbox, for instance, can reduce power consumption by up to 98 percent, according to EnergyStar. Gaming PCs and other desktop computers can be similarly persistent power hogs, unless you set their sleep settings aggressively.

Use the Right Tool for the Job If you’re looking for energy efficiency as your excuse to buy some new gear, you’ve come to the right place. More efficient new gadgets can even pay for themselves... eventually.

• Using your game console as a streaming box? Knock it off. A streaming stick or the built-in software of a smart TV can reduce that power draw by up to 15 times, according to EnergyStar. And if you’re watching alone, grabbing a tablet takes about seven times less power than turning on the TV. • Motion-triggered light bulbs are more dad-tech than they are hip, but for basements and garages, they’re a simple, terrific convenience even beyond their energy savings. Brands like Feit Electric even build motion-sensing smarts right into the bulb — no smart home required. • A smart thermostat is an upgrade no “dumber” alternative can beat. Google’s Nest is among the flashier options, but even rudimentary programmable thermostats are far better making calls than you are; the EPA estimates that any programmable option can save you as much as $180 per year.

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Splurge on a Surge Protector Surge protectors can do more than just keep your gear from frying; smart ones can pay for themselves by disabling outlets entirely to eliminate “vampire loads” that can cost you up to $200 a year, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

• Power strips with “master-controlled” outlets can detect whether the primary device plugged into them is on or off by monitoring its power draw. When the master goes off, the strip shuts down power to the rest, as well. That way, when you turn off the TV, the sound system and game consoles go with it. • Motion-detecting power strips like the Trickle Star come with an attached motion-sensor and cut the power to their outlets after a set period of stillness, usually between a minute and a half hour. • Programmable power strips allow you to set a schedule for your outlets to be off and on. Some models, like GE’s 7-Day surge protector, even have programmable outlets mixed in with others that are always on.

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the guide

Technology


text by

Tucker Bowe

photo by

Henry Phillips

Apple AirPods Max Apple’s first-ever pair of over-ear headphones have been years in the making and they’re well worth the wait ... if you can afford them. $549

The AirPods Max have an edge over Sony’s WH1000XM4 or Bose’s Headphones 700 in terms of sound quality and active noise cancellation, but that’s not why they’re great. It’s the spatial audio, support for Dolby Atmos and easy iPhone pairing — traits they share with the AirPods Pro.

There’s no getting around the price tag. At $549, the AirPods Max are so much more expensive than comparable noise-canceling headphones, many of which cost $200 less. The all-metal design is novel and all, but the material makes these cans incredibly heavy.

“The case that comes with the AirPods Max is, well, strange. It looks like a sports bra and offers no real protection. The only benefit is that it initiates a low-power mode, something my review pair had no trouble entering on its own.”

GEAR PATROL SUMMER PREVIEW 2021

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i n pa r t n e r s h i p w i t h

G-SHOCK

produced by

Gear Patrol Studios

Show Stopper G-SHOCK’s Rose Gold ORIGIN GMWB5000GD-4 is a modern take on a heritage silhouette that highlights color, material, and finish without sacrificing durability and toughness.

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G-SHOCK is the go-to brand for watches providing durability and indomitable strength, and the new Rose Gold ORIGIN GMWB5000GD-4 is no different — but it does bring something a bit different to the table. This watch is not unlike a restomod Land Rover — rugged and technical in its bones but refined and elegant to the eye. It has the same core DNA that made the original resin G-SHOCK famous for absolute toughness, but with a new stainless steel case and band that’s anything but delicate. The beginning of GMWB5000GD-4’s list of features isn’t unlike that of a high-end watch — one-touch three fold clasp, an automatic calendar (accurate to 2099) and mineral glass. But that’s where the GMWB5000GD-4 starts to deviate a bit. It’s drop- and shock-tested (to withstand whatever bumps and collisions you may encounter in your day), offers wireless linking to the G-SHOCK Connected app using a Bluetooth LE connection (so you can seamlessly set time and track data on your smartphone without completely draining your watch power) and is kitted with a highly visible STN LCD and a fully automatic super illuminator LED light that provides selectable illumination. Plus, with 39 time zones (up to 300 cities when using the app) and Multi-band 6 atomic timekeeping, the GMWB5000GD-4 will keep you in sync and on time anywhere — 365 days a year. But perhaps the watch’s most striking feature is its color, an ion-plated rose gold with mirror finish. It’s immediately eye catching, to the point where you’ll likely find yourself looking at your wrist for more than checking the time. It’s the type of watch that you’ll be proud to have show up on your next video conference, and will be sure to have your colleagues jealously inquiring about it. With the ORIGIN GMWB5000GD-4 you don’t have to choose between practicality and style.


G-SHOCK GMWB5000GD-4 Case size: 43.2mm Water resistance: 200m Connectivity: Bluetooth LE Battery life: Solar powered with 10 month reserve $600

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the guide

Outdoors

Welcome to the Great E-Outdoors Burgeoning online platforms propose a new way to learn how to rock climb, mountain bike and take epic adventure photos — without ever leaving the house.

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Last spring, MasterClass’s celebrity-upholstered e-learning platform attracted $100 million in investment. Lockdown helped: with time to kill and nowhere to go, self-appointed students enrolled in courses on DJing with Questlove and dealmaking with former FBI negotiator Chris Voss. The course catalog leans toward the theoretical (and entertaining), but one that stands apart is a class on adventure photography taught by climber and photographer Jimmy Chin. Chin’s syllabus leaves the cerebral space where leadership and creativity might bloom and goes into the backcountry. It suggests something after the end of the videos: an adventure (and a decent photo to commemorate it). Now, a host of new MasterClass-like online learning platforms have arrived to do the same. These new online curricula make a hammer-to-nails promise, whether it’s explicit or not: Wanna be a mountain biker? A fly fisher? An adventure photographer? Start here, they say. Secrets of skill and etiquette once guarded by experienced guides and cranky locals are now accessible for a monthly fee. And while we can debate how much one can really expect to learn about the outdoors from a computer, tablet or phone screen, the following three options sure aren’t short on production value — or big-name caché.


text by

Tanner Bowden

i l l u s t r at i o n b y

Grace J. Kim

Roam Roam was a digital media company before it was an online learning platform, and its roster of founding members-turned-instructors is a who’s who of A-list adventurers. Each lesson’s production quality is high, incorporating impressive b-roll from Roam’s library of expedition footage. The site itself isn’t as polished — there’s no way to track which lessons you’ve already watched, for instance. Roam’s curriculum features snippets of tutorials — Joey Schusler teaches you how to pop a wheelie, and Conrad Anker demonstrates essential climbing knots — but most of the content takes on the preparatory and mindset aspects of activities like surfing, climbing and mountain biking. The standout is Mark Smiley’s class on route planning, which incorporates screen recordings highlighting obscure websites and tools only a guide licensed by the IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations) would keep in his bookmarks tab. Price: $15/month or $149/year

Crux Academy Traditionally, knowledge of outdoor activities percolates through communities via coaching, mentorship and partnership. Crux Academy recreates that more than any other program through an easy-to-navigate interface reminiscent of social media; you can publish posts on course feeds and comment on lessons where instructors, called “guides,” will respond. Crux’s courses are still limited, though each one is robust, with as many as 50 video lessons that include additional resources like articles and videos for further reading and watching. Participation (via comment) and reflection are encouraged at every step. Course content is all-encompassing, too — Fernanda Maciel’s course on trail running, for example, includes discussions on how to manage training while keeping a day job and dealing with post-race depression. Price: $10/month (billed annually) or $49 per course

Wildist Wildist hones in on the intersection of the outdoors and photography with a series of workshops that caters to snapshooters, both amateur and experienced. It recruited the best adventure photographers in the biz to create course content that guarantees you’ll up your Instagram game and suggests that you, too, can get paid to take photos around the world. It’s easy to navigate the platform and keep track of your progress, and though the workshops are pricey, they’re both varied and comprehensive. Examples include Aaron Brimhall’s lessons about automotive photography and Chris Burkard’s inside scoop on the business side of the job. In addition to photo content, Wildist is beginning to create outdoor-specific workshops too. Price: $99 to $299 per course

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the guide

Outdoors


text by

Tanner Bowden

photos by

McKay Jensen / USU

From the Archive Utah State University curators are preserving the history of adventure gear — one catalog at a time.

Utah State University’s Special Collections division wants your junk mail. No, really — a bevy of shelves in the Merrill-Cazier Library’s lower level are now home to 2,700 catalogs from L.L. Bean, REI, Coleman and over 400 more outdoor gear companies. It’s become Clint Pumphrey’s go-to line: “I collect people’s junk mail.” Pumphrey is the manuscript curator at USU’s Special Collections and Archives, a role that entails managing the school’s historical document collections, most of which relate to the history of its surrounding region of northern Utah and southern Idaho. But ever since administrators from the university’s Outdoor Product Design and Development (OPDD) program approached the library in 2018 with a request to build an archive relating to a unique curriculum that preps students to make gear, he’s been gathering catalogs and magazines that date back to the 1960s, too.

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Nowadays, company promotions beam into our inboxes, where the common fate is instant banishment to a spam folder or an eternity of remaining unread. But in the not-so-distant past, an announcement of a new season’s camping equipment showed up in your real mailbox as a well-designed, photo-filled book folded and stapled down the middle. Rescued and subsequently digitized, they’re revealing: decades-old Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs expose the brand’s now-forgotten outdoor roots, while those for Snow Lion and Cloudveil eulogize companies that sadly no longer exist. Just about every cover, it turns out, makes for a great Instagram post. Chase Anderson, the program coordinator for OPDD, has given the archive a second life that few if any such collections get by posting cover scans to @outdoorrecarchive at a moment when curator accounts and vintage outdoor ephemera are en vogue. “We need to reach people where they’re looking for design inspiration,” he says. Anderson notes that most fans of the account aren’t directly connected to camping or climbing — “We have a big hypebeast community,” he says — a detail that speaks to the timeless universality of the outdoors. It’s that transcendent and, okay, cool quality that allows a 40-year-old catalog cover to serve student researchers and Insta fiends at the same time.

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In addition to catalogs like the Kelty one above, the Special Collections division is now home to stacks of old issues of magazines like Backpacker, Summit, Climbing and more.


To track down catalogs, Pumphrey (left) and Anderson (right) rely on company founders, early executives and designers who were integral to the creation of specific products that have since become iconic. Of course, eBay comes in handy too.

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Archived catalog covers prove playfulness and whimsy are nothing new; just witness that tent-happy Sierra Designs husky, circa 1977 — or REI’s pre-Photoshop rendering of Old Man Winter pulling back the curtain on Spring 1980. Perhaps more importantly, these images depict the evolution of adventure-ready gear — it wasn’t so long ago that backpacking packs had bulky, external metal frames, or that wool sweaters counted as technical ski outerwear — and the lifespans of the companies that influence and shape outdoor culture. Snow Lion no longer exists, but it isn’t hard to imagine the brand developing a cult following based on its imagery alone. Meanwhile, covers from Chouinard Equipment and Great Pacific Iron Works are historical breadcrumbs that showcase the roots of one of today’s best-known outdoor companies, Patagonia.

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How to Swing an Axe You too can master the physical alchemy of turning one piece of wood into two.


text by

Tanner Bowden

photos courtesy of peter buchanan-smith

Bucking (above left) is the process of cutting a tree into shorter segments that can then be processed into firewood (right). It’s best accomplished with a saw, but Buchanan-Smith recommends giving it a whirl with an axe at least once.

“The first thing that I would do is inspect the axe,” says Peter Buchanan-Smith, author of the new Buchanan-Smith’s Axe Handbook ($19) and founder of Best Made Co., a brand known for selling axes with painted handles that was recently acquired by Duluth Trading Company. Many of us don’t have experience wielding this ancient implement, but if we show up at a friend’s place for a weekend and there’s an axe and some wood, chances are chopping will occur. This makes the first step crucial, albeit boring. A quick once-over should do: “Make sure it’s not broken and about to fall apart.” Next, make sure the blade, called the bit, is sharp. Buchanan-Smith doesn’t expect the occasional swinger to search for a sharpening stone and spend an hour or two honing an edge if it isn’t, but the mantra bears remembering: A good axe is a sharp axe. As you approach the chop log — which, ideally, is 18 to 24 inches wide, and level — take it slow. Properly handling an axe demands and deserves patience, respect and common sense. Plant your feet firmly on the ground, which will almost always be uneven outdoor terrain. They should be wide apart, with knees slightly bent. With your dominant hand holding the axe handle, called

the helve, just beneath the head, and your other hand on the butt, lift the axe across your body until its head is above yours and square to your body. From here, bring the axe down to its target, sliding your dominant hand down the helve to meet your other hand. Don’t lock your wrists — the action is more whip than arc. The goal, Buchanan-Smith says, is to bring the axe straight down, “like a guillotine,” rather than with a sweeping motion. Taking a few slow-motion practice swings is a good idea. If you misjudge the distance to the target too short, you could end up striking the lower portion of the bit, called the heel, or the part of the helve where your dominant hand just was, which runs the risk of breaking. Misjudge the distance too long and watch the axe head go into the ground, or worse, your boot. “An axe is not indestructible,” Buchanan-Smith notes. “Neither is your foot.” Like golf, getting good at swinging an axe relies upon muscle memory. It’s less about brute strength than an efficient and precise movement — gravity will do most of the work. You want to swing through the target instead of merely at it. Swinging the axe too hard is one of the most common mistakes beginners make. Another failure is not noting

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Sharpening an axe to a razor edge and mirror finish takes time. Buchanan-Smith writes that his friend Nick Zdon (right) might spend close to a week reviving a badly neglected bit. That effort is easy to avoid, though — all it takes is regular, attentive maintenance.

CHOPPING LIS T Check out Buchanan-Smith’s best axe-buying advice, some of his favorites — and his book. As detailed in Buchanan-Smith’s Axe Handbook, the tool has a surprisingly vast taxonomy — there’s the double-bit, the maul and the Pulaski, among others, and variously shaped heads that aren’t easily differentiated by monikers like the Maine Wedge, Narrow Wisconsin or Baltimore Jersey. The American felling axe is an excellent place to start. Buchanan-Smith notes that a wellmade example can serve for limbing and bucking as well as splitting wood for a fire. Whether you buy a new axe or an old one, sizing is a crucial consideration. Place the butt in your armpit and hold the head with the same hand; you should be able to wrap your hand around the metal and hold it up without strain. Oh, and steer clear of plastic helves.

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GRÄNSFORS BRUK SPLITTING MAUL “Most of my axe work is splitting wood. [For that job, this axe is] one of life’s greatest pleasures to swing — it’s highly efficient and a wonder to behold. I could chop cords for days and never get tired of swinging this beauty.” ~$205

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HOFFMAN FARM AXE “This is my favorite Americanmade axe. Made in limited quantities with long lead times that are well worth the wait. Supremely versatile, exceptionally crafted — if I could only buy one axe, this would be it.” $435

HUSQVARNA MULTI-PURPOSE AXE “Good luck finding a good axe these days under $100, and even better luck finding a Swedish-forged axe for under $100. One of the best bangs for your buck would be [this one]. Simple, versatile and affordable. I keep one in my truck at all times.” $100

BUCHANAN-SMITH’S AXE HANDBOOK That “handbook” designation only applies to the practical nature of the info inside; at more than 200 pages, this is truly a tome of axe lore. Fear not, however — there are plenty of gorgeous images and helpful illustrations, too. $19


BLAZING WOOD.

BRILLIANT FLAMES.

AND A PRIMAL SENSE

THE GAUCHO GRILL

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the guide

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photo by

Tanner Bowden

Chase Pellerin

Sea to Summit Telos TR2 For its first tent, Sea to Summit brought an inventive approach to the design of every feature — from custom poles to the stuff sack — making the Telos TR2 one of the most habitable on the market. $499

An inverted crossbeam pole that lofts the ceiling higher and pulls the walls vertical — maxing out liveable space without extra weight — is impressive enough. But then there are also vents that reduce condensation, a stuff sack that doubles as indoor storage and Hangout Mode, by which the rain fly becomes a semi-open shelter for group hangs.

Because the design that makes the Telos roomier is asymmetrical, proper setup necessitates attention, and you’re stuck sleeping with your head(s) at one end. It’s also pricier than tents of similar weight, and some accessories — like a mesh gear loft and poles for Hangout Mode — cost extra. (Your own trekking poles will work too, though.)

“Is it crazy that I’m as obsessed with this tent’s stuff sack as I am with the shelter itself?”

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Cycle of Change After decades of spandex-clad elitism and impenetrable bro culture, the bike world is finally becoming more inclusive. Meet some of the people, brands and organizations pushing for progress.

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When the Black Lives Matter movement rose to the forefront of American culture last summer, and countless brands started issuing mea culpas and promises to get better with respect to diversity, equality and inclusion, I distinctly recall making a mental note: How many of these entities, I wondered, will actually follow through and, you know, do something? As a cyclist active in New York City’s thriving bike-tivism community (shout-out to Riders for Black Lives), I was particularly curious how bicycle brands might evolve. Both road riding and mountain biking can be notoriously exclusive — and by that, I mean well-off and white. Amidst an unprecedented, pandemic-fueled bike boom, could things finally start to open up? Now, nearly a year after George Floyd’s murder, encouraging signs abound. I’ve come across a number of people, brands and organizations who are pushing toward a more colorful, inclusive bike world — including some who got started long before “I can’t breathe” was on everyone’s lips. What follows are just a few examples worth recognizing, celebrating and emulating.


text by

Steve Mazzucchi

Cannondale Inspired in part by St. Augustine’s cyclists (see facing page and page 51), Cannondale has teamed up with EF Pro Cycling and USA Cycling to sponsor co-ed teams at multiple Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and Tribal Colleges & Universities (TCUs) for at least three years. After a raffle headlined by a Giro d’Italia collab SystemSix road bike raised nearly $100,000, the program expanded from two schools to three — with plans to get rolling and racing this fall. Cannondale will provide bikes and gear, EF Pro Cycling will supply coaching support and input from pro riders, both will kick in some financial aid — and the sky’s the limit. “Everybody grows up riding a bicycle, but somewhere along the way, cycling is not seen as a path for BIPOC athletes,” says Dennis Kim, VP of marketing for Cycling Sports Group, Cannondale’s parent company. “If these programs can live on for years and years, and if people out of these groups can go on to influence others in their communities, or even pursue professional track cycling, that would be an amazing win.”

p h otos co u rt esy o f jos h ua st e a d m a n , b r i a n v e r n o r , p e da l t h ro ug h , r i d e l i k e a g i r l

Filmed By Bike This Portland-based festival that screens the world’s best bike movies has taken two proactive steps toward more inclusive cycle cinema. First, Filmed By Bike recruited NYC cycling advocate Courtney Williams, a.k.a. The Brown Bike Girl, to co-produce the first-ever Hi-Viz Film Festival, which showcases BIPOC bike movies. “Courtney got us thinking about additional focus on people of color in the United States,” FBB creator Ayleen Crotty says. “She helped us shake out of our nineteenyear-old realm of ‘We know what we’re doing.’ ” (The festival is still available online, at pay-what-you-wish pricing.) Second, FBB launched a BIPOC filmmaker grant, awarding $1,500 cash plus help from veteran bike filmmaker Manny Marquez to three emerging creators. Their projects will be screened at this year’s festival May 20– 23, and the deadline is June 15th to apply for the next round of grants. “We’ve long thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could fund an initiative to help tell these stories?’” says Crotty. “Now we’re doing it. And we are seeing a change — more people are being represented. We’re getting somewhere.”

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SBT GRVL × Ride for Racial Justice

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RFRJ founder Marcus “Big Legs” Robinson, for one, can’t contain his excitement. “What’s about to occur on the fifteenth of August, twenty-five people of color on a start line for a major bike event,” he says, “[that’s] never happened [before].” As the program’s driving force, Robinson is now prepping the riders with help from sponsors like Wahoo — and getting equally stoked about ripple effects. “Each athlete is going to

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go home and create more programs ... using the bike as a vehicle to start conversations and be that voice in the community that’s not been heard.”

cloc k wise f rom top le f t

KC Cross; Krystal Salvent; Thomas Lai; Jené Etheridge; Dwayne Burgess; and Diana Diaz are just six of the 25 stoked riders SBT GRVL and RFRJ are bringing to town to race over rocky roads this summer.

photos courtesy of ride for racial justice, sbt grvl

Steamboat Springs, Colorado’s upstart gravel event prides itself on welcoming everyone. This year, it’s going further, by partnering with Ride for Racial Justice to bring 25 BIPOC cyclists to the competition. “We thought it was a great chance for us to drive inclusivity and diversity in our race,” says SBT GRVL owner Amy Charity, who says she sees this as just the beginning. “We’re really shifting what cycling culture is about, in a good way.”


“Each athlete is going to go home and create more programs ... using the bike as a vehicle to start conversations and be that voice in the community that’s not been heard.”


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Leo Rodgers As so many of us seek ways to open up the bike world, Rodgers simply does it. After a 2007 motorcycle accident left him with one leg, pedaling became his salvation. “Cycling definitely changed my life, got me over my slump of being disabled,” he says. “It’s a drug for sure … you start nic-ing for a bike ride.” Discovering he could replace a wheelchair with a fixed-gear bike, Rodgers started ripping around his native Tampa, leading a Wednesday-night ride that welcomed riders of all kinds. Then Brooks brought him to Emporia, Kansas’s Unbound Gravel (formerly Dirty Kanza), where he fell in love with gravel racing’s off-road action and positive vibes. Now sponsored by Crust Bikes and Ron’s Bikes and living in Southern California, Rodgers is prepping for San Diego’s big gravel race, the original Belgian Waffle Ride, dreaming of running his own shop and hoping others can follow his take-life-as-it-comes lead. “My advice is to have fun first,” he says. “It’s just a bicycle, bro, it’s not a car. Just go out and ride, go see some stuff.”

Founded in 1976, ACA’s claim to fame is the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail, a 4,000mile route created to celebrate the country’s 200th birthday. But that route — and more than 50,000 others the organization has mapped — have historically appealed mostly to an older, white male demographic. The Montana-based organization aims to change its complexion with the Short Trips Initiative. “We want to make bike travel more accessible,” says project manager Eva Dunn-Froebig. “So we’re focusing on routes around cities, plus resources to help people travel by bike.” The program begins this summer in eight metro areas, accompanied by educational materials and stipends to help BIPOC Ambassadors and riders pedal off on overnight trips across the country. To form authentic connections, ACA is hiring consultants like Devin Cowens, an Atlanta-based advocate for QTIBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Intersex, Black and Indigenous People of Color) in biking. “They’re putting money behind it, which is great,” Cowens says. “It’s nice to have these conversations even though they are uncomfortable. BIPOC folks have been saying stuff for a long time, but it’s white folks who can move the needle.”

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Rodgers hopes to add an actuator to his bike’s crank arm to hold his pedal flat so that he can “get a little sendier” on downhills.

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ACA’s efforts to reach a wider audience kick off June 4–6 with Bike Travel Weekend. Cowens (left, in orange shirt) is stoked to help make it happen.

p h o t o s c o u r t e s y o f j a m e s l u e d d e , a d v e n t u r e c y c l i n g a s s o c i at i o n , j o s h u a s t e a d m a n , a n i ta n a i d u

Adventure Cycling Association


Canyon Bicycles In the spring of last year, the German brand began outfitting the country’s first HBCU cycling team, North Carolina’s St. Augustine’s University, with cyclocross bikes and filmed a YouTube series to promote the squad. “Most new riders have no idea who [pro cyclists] Mathieu van Der Poel or Jan Frodeno are,” says Canyon USA president Blair Clark. “But if they see something like St. Augustine’s team, they begin to see a place for themselves.” Partly funded by the raffling of custom Canyon Ultimate CF SLXs, the team is the brainchild of professors-turned-coaches Mark Janas

and Umar Muhammad. Muhammad draws inspiration from Major Taylor, cycling’s first African-American world champ. “One surprising lesson I have learned so far is being the first at something [matters],” Muhammad says. “Even if it’s not perfect.” The 12-member co-ed crew isn’t fazed by the challenge of starting from scratch, either. “You can’t be around the team and not develop a six-pack from laughing too much,” quips Falcons rider Brandon Valentine-Parris. “We’re a fun group that knows how to work hard and produce positive results.”

Anita Naidu Pro mountain biker, humanitarian, engineer, anti-racism educator — Naidu has been all these things for years. “Just lining up at races beside confident white guys was my first way to challenge inherent bias,” recalls the Whistler, BCbased powerhouse, who is now sponsored by Liv Racing, MEC, Troy Lee Designs, Industry Nine and others. “I was compelled to smash the narrative of what small brown girls are capable of.” These days, Naidu runs clinics where she shows riders how to bust huge airs by day and dismantle institutional racism by night. And she finds her corporate DEI consulting services are in higher demand than ever. “During all my years of activism, this is the first time I’ve witnessed industries shift hard and fast,” she observes. “Brands that don’t embrace anti-racism and diversity as core values will become extinct.” Still, it’s the groms she mentors that give her the most hope. “I am moved to the very depths of my core when young dark-skinned women tell me I’ve ignited the fight in them,” she says. “Their ambition and refusal to play in margins signal [that] we have every reason to hold a bold vision for the future.”

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Heavy Rotation It may seem like an extravagance, but rotating your running shoes is better for your body — and your wallet. To many treadmill jockeys, multiple pairs of running shoes may seem like pretentious overkill — akin to the mediocre pool player who shows up to the billiards hall with his own cue in a black case. But here’s the thing: if you’re even the smallest bit more serious about your running regimen than those workaday joggers, a regular sneaker rotation is the smarter play over the long run. Just ask Mario Fraioli, running coach and founder of the newsletter and podcast The Morning Shakeout. “Rotating your running shoes can actually help them last longer,” he says, “allowing the midsole foam ample time to fully rebound between runs.” A similar logic applies to your feet. Not unlike how switching up weight training workouts hits your muscles in new ways, different shoes stress your feet differently, which can keep them fresher — and make them stronger. There’s a mental benefit, too. “Wearing different shoes for different types of runs can help put you in the right mindset for the specific task at hand,” Fraioli says. “When I pull out my lightweight trainers for speedwork, I know I need to focus because there’s a tough workout on tap, whereas sliding on my heavier everyday trainers for an easy run puts me in a more mellow, relaxed mindset.” So how many shoes are ideal? Fraioli recommends three: one pair for speed days, another for long/recovery days, and a third for tempo runs — those sustained, near-max efforts that make your body better at moving blood and oxygen. Granted, springing for three pairs of shoes at once can feel like a big hit to your wallet. But considering the fact they should last at least three times as long as a single jack-of-alltrades pair, while also making you a better, healthier runner, the question you should really be asking yourself is, Can I afford not to begin a little rotation?

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text by

Steve Mazzucchi

photos by

Henry Phillips

RECOVERY RUNS Asics Gel-Nimbus 23 You don’t make 23 editions of a shoe if it isn’t pretty damn beloved. The latest round features a stretchy midfoot panel, foot-hugging sockliner and softer gel cushioning in the heel for maximum comfort. Meanwhile, a gender-specific forefoot provides articulated support and Flytefoam Propel, an energy-boosting midsole foam, encourages smooth, stable transitions. $150

Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Nike’s latest injury-prevention shoe features the same foam as the brand’s record-breaking Alphafly NEXT% and a sole that expands out beyond a normal footprint, particularly at the heels and the balls of the feet. That makes for a stable, supportive base that’ll help your feet tread safely and smoothly, mile after mile. $180

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TEMPO WORKOUTS New Balance FuelCell Rebel V2

Hoka One One Carbon X2

Light, springy, comfortable. The first FuelCell Rebel was one of the running shoes of 2019, and New Balance didn’t mess with a winning formula for this 2021 update. It features a flared midsole design (something it shares with New Balance’s 5280 racing flat, which inspired the Rebel), offset medial lacing and mesh upper. This smooth ride likes to go fast — no carbon-fiber plate required. $130

The original Carbon X was the first shoe with an energy-returning carbon plate designed for everyday runners, a distinction that earned it a place in the GP100. Its successor helped Jim Walmsley run the second-fastest 100 kilometers ever, thanks to Hoka’s beloved lightweight foam and an oversized, rockered heel that encourages a rolling stride. $180

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SPEED DAYS Brooks Launch 8 These 8.6-ounce speed demons boast lighter cushioning than their predecessors, plus a new air mesh upper that provides a secure, comfortable and breathable fit. They also feature additional blown rubber in the forefoot to simultaneously speed transitions and increase durability. The price is quite nice, too. $100

Reebok Floatride Run Fast 3 They don’t make shoes much more streamlined than these PR magnets, which boast a breathable mono mesh upper, ultralight but responsive Floatride Foam cushioning and a weight of just 7 ounces. When it comes time to pull out all the stops, they’ll be right there with you. $140

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text by

Steve Mazzucchi

photo by

Tanner Bowden

JaxJox DumbbellConnect The makers of the celebrated KettleBellConnect packed 16 dumbbells into a digitally adjustable pair, bringing new-school flare to the old-school pump. $449

Accessing between 8 and 50 pounds of resistance is as easy as tapping a button to make the bar extend or retract with a satisfying click. Tackling the corresponding workouts via the JaxJox app ($12.99 per month) is tougher, but stashing a robust, rugged dumbbell set that tracks your progress in the corner of your living room? Priceless.

As smooth as the tap-and-lift setup is once you get it going, the not-totally-intuitive initial pairing process can be a bit buggy. And the app-based classes are cool, but there’s no live streaming. Besides, you can only do so many of them without the other items in JaxJox’s InteractiveStudio system.

“Pricier than the analog equivalent, but the sharp looks and seamless functionality are tough to beat.”

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Home

Buy More to Stress Less In a cluttered home, the key to organization may be to get more stuff.

With the Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, a self-described “tidying expert” managed the impossible: convincing Americans that cleaning could “spark joy.” Kondo, the series’s star, radiates calmness. Her general thesis: with time, dedication and less junk, any home, and life, can be put in order. But the launch of an e-commerce website, KonMari, the same name of Kondo’s tidying up method, seems to run against everything she stands for. Why is the queen of tidying up trying to sell us more stuff? Kate Lester, a Los Angeles-based interior designer, says that organization doesn’t mean throwing things away; it means building a system to make life easier. “There are so many other things to stress about these days. Finding your keys shouldn’t be one of them,” Lester says. And organizational tools and storage solutions are key to keeping the chaos at bay. Kondo agrees. “The aim of storage and organization tools is to give every item a home — a designated spot for it to rest and recharge when not in use,” she says. “Ensuring that each one of your belongings has its own spot is the only way to maintain a tidy and clutter-free home. Clutter has nothing to do with what or how much you own — it’s the failure to put things back where they belong.” In January 2021, Kondo widened KonMari’s reach by collaborating with The Container Store. The collection of more than 100 pieces features wicker baskets, desk

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“The aim of storage and organization tools is to give every item a home. Clutter has nothing to do with what or how much you own — it’s the failure to put things back where they belong.” organizers and other miscellaneous storage options for every room, and corner, of the home. “The way you store your items is an expression of gratitude for all the support they provide. Giving them a cozy spot to kick back and relax is the least you can do,” Kondo says. “This is why I recommend investing in storage and organization items that are both functional and joy-sparking.” In the midst of a global pandemic, finding


text by

Tyler Chin

p h o t o s c o u r t e s y o f t h e c o n ta i n e r s t o r e

The collaboration between Marie Kondo and The Container Store yielded more than 100 different products, each working toward finding a forever home for your things. The aesthetics are simple and blend well with a variety of interior design styles, and most items can be had for $25 or less.

joy feels like striking gold. For Lester, organizing is a way to have power over something tangible. “This is a way for me to have some semblance of calm and control among the chaos,” she says. If you can’t control your emotions, the least you can do is control your clutter. Lester’s own tidying method is a threestep process: sort, purge and regroup. She evaluates the items that survived the purge, figures out the best ways to store them, then shops the storage items that will grant her easiest access. Organizing is having its big moment right now. The Container Store’s collection with Kondo is its second collaboration with a juggernaut organization brand. The Home Edit, made up of organizing duo Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, who have their own books

and legion of decluttering-obsessed fans, launched a line with The Container Store in 2020. And people are buying. In the second quarter of 2020, The Container Store had its best second quarter sales in the company’s over-40-year history; in the third quarter of 2020, the company’s net sales were up over 20 percent and online sales nearly doubled compared to the same timeframe last year. With Kondo helping The Container Store kick off its 2021 with a bang, there seems to be no slowing down in the push to get organized. Maybe it’s time to get the kids in on the fun, too. Kondo certainly has. “As I tidy, I explain what I’m doing so [my daughters] can learn from me,” she says. “If children see their parents tidying regularly with a smile, they will think of tidying as a positive everyday activity.”

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The Good, the Bad & the A-Frames Consider the pros and cons of buying into A-frame hype before you find yourself in a legal battle over where to put a septic tank.

Discussions around A-frames and kit homes have been punctuated with the same, resigned tone for years: it would be nice but it’s not realistic. The pandemic changed that. Once Instagram fodder, A-frames now represent a place to escape from the rigors of urban life and a slightly more affordable path to home ownership. Here’s what you need to know.


text by

Will Price

While there are more A-frame options than ever, many modern designs — like Den Outdoors’s A-Frame House (this page) — reference those popularized in the 1950s, with classic shapes and clean lines.

The Good Quick to Assemble Though some designs are more intensive, few homes can go up as quickly as a prefabricated A-frame. If you have the land and various approvals and permits from your local municipality sorted, actual build time could be as short as a few weeks. This is especially handy if you’re taking the “going off the grid” message to heart, where site building could be extraordinarily expensive. Instead, A-frames can be (mostly) pre-built in an offsite location, then brought to their eventual resting place. This also means less construction waste.

p h o t o s c o u r t e s y o f d e n o u t d o o r s , b a c k c o u n t r y h u t c o m pa n y

Endless Vibes The A-frame shape is synonymous with the wealth and excess of mid-century America, when, as architectural historian Chad Randl puts it in his 2004 book, A-Frame, “postwar prosperity made second televisions, second bathrooms, and second cars expected accoutrements of middle-class American life.” Homes, Randl wrote, were a natural extension of that. But A-frames are not excessive; they’re the opposite. The building forgoes extra rooms and space in the name of logic and sound design, which all comes together at the joint and base of the home. It’s the reverence for mid-century modern design, an easy-on-theeye building shape and a rose-tinted view of the ‘50s and ‘60s that keeps the A-frame relevant. Though it would likely cause consternation among the neighbors if placed in the suburbs, few deny its aesthetic, and historical, charm.

Material Requirements With A-frames, the walls also function as the ceiling. Plus, A-frame homes are typically much smaller than their traditional home counterparts. Where the average square footage of an American home hovers around 2,250 square feet, the majority of A-frame designs — DIY kit homes, prefabs or custom-built — are roughly half that size. A material-efficient blueprint and smaller living spaces add up to a much smaller construction footprint.

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Home If you’re willing to sacrifice square feet and don’t mind an inflated build cost, readymade designs offer unique living quarters in remote locations that can be built more quickly than traditional homes. Pictured: the interior of Backcountry Hut Company’s two-story System 02 cabin.

The Bad Hidden Costs Many home buyers latch onto the idea of the A-frame because of its affordability. A good rule of thumb: don’t fall for it. Yes, kit homes, prefab buildings and A-frame designs are, relatively speaking, more affordable than a classic home. But have you considered where your septic tank will go? What about the building foundation? If the design you’ve purchased doesn’t jive with local code, how much will it cost to get it tweaked to fit? Each of these issues could easily cost thousands of dollars and none are included in the list price of an A-frame. A-frames are cute and small, but they’re still beholden to the same rules as traditional houses.

Space for You, Me and No One Else While the size of these homes is part of the draw, most incarnations of the A-frame are no bigger — and often quite a bit smaller — than the average American apartment (about 900 square feet). There is nothing inherently wrong with slimming down, but it’s worth doing the napkin math. In almost any building project, more square footage means a lower cost-per-square foot. So while a 750-square-foot mini-cabin is more affordable than a 2,000-square-foot house, you are paying more for less with the former option.

“The Grid” Isn’t So Bad Trying to get “off grid” is a common sentiment in the A-frame world. The appeal of getting away from other humans grows as more humans live close to each other. The apotheosis of this yearning came during the COVID-19 pandemic, which found millions of city dwellers indefinitely stuck in their tiny apartments. And while that may sound grim, it could be worse. Is the land you plan to build legitimately off the utility grid? You’ll either need to pay to get connected or, if a connection isn’t feasible, buy a stand-alone power-generating system. The cost of building the home only rises as you remove yourself further from population centers, too. You’ll also find fewer contractors willing to take on a kit, prefabricated or traditional A-frame home the farther you distance yourself from the world, though as the popularity of these homes grows, that’s changing.

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Look, But Don’t Touch

The cacti-collecting community is getting bigger, and these freaky-deaky plants are ready for their close-up. Cacti are photogenic in the most unphotogenic way. Bending arms, misshapen pads, random bumps — these are features that solidified the cactus as a plant to be cursed at, not owned. But now cacti’s unpredictable weirdness has people embracing them with open (albeit covered) arms. “Plants are all unique and imperfect and the shapes are what makes them so wonderful,” says Christan Summers, cofounder of the Brooklyn plant store Tula. When it comes to cacti, their all-around resilience goes a long way, too. Cacti are capable of living and growing in extreme environments and on apartment windowsills alike. What’s more, they can live to be incredibly old, and they wear their age like a badge of honor. From scars to growth patterns, a cactus’s life is reflected in its looks. There’s gratification in watching them slowly grow into the looks that are unique to their upbringing. Summers also thinks the sheer variety of species and shapes has drawn a new wave of prospective plant parents to cacti. And with upwards of 2,000 species to choose from, there’s a cactus for everyone. “It expands far beyond the common plant or tropical-oasis vibe into a world of shapely, blooming beauties that don’t demand too much attention to thrive,” she says.

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text by

Tyler Chin

photos by

Henry Phillips

Here, see select pieces of the desert that Summers brought into a little corner in Brooklyn.

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Cereus forbesii ‘spiralis’ Things are spiraling out of control. This cactus without a trunk will form numerous twisting blueish-green stems.

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Mammillaria polythele ‘toluca’ Like cactus royalty, Toluca’s flowers bloom in a circular pattern around the top, resembling a crown.

Astrophytum myriostigma Also known as the Star Cactus or a Bishop’s Cap, it’s defined by three to seven vertical ribs that grow with the cactus, which can develop more ribs with age.

Myrtillocactus geometrizans ‘Fukurokuryuzinboku’ This cultivar of the myrtillocactus geometrizans comes from Japan. Fukurokuryuzinboku can be hard to say, so it also goes by the Boob Cactus.

Opuntia cochenillifera variegata Perhaps the most famous cactus of them all, the Prickly Pear is as good on tacos de nopales as it is on your windowsill.

Echinocereus rigidissimus var. rubrispinus Found in the deserts of Mexico, this columnal cactus is sometimes called the Rainbow Hedgehog cactus, thanks to its colorful spines .

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cloc k wise f rom le f t

Euphorbia eritrea variegata Science tells us it’s not technicall a cactus, but considering it’s known as the Candelabra Cactus, we’ll make an exception.

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Tephrocactus molinensis What it lacks in a fun, memorable name, it makes up for in strangeness. As it ages, the cactus forms tiny mounds that eventually fall off, reach the soil and grow again.

Ferocactus glaucescens inermis A spineless version of the Blue Barrel Cactus gets its name from its blue hue and low-tothe-ground growth pattern.

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Euphorbia meloformis variegated The gorgeous stripes on this almost-cactus known as the Melon Splurge have made it a hit among plant nerds.

Myrtillocactus geometrizans crestata A hyper-rare cactus that grows upward in a fanlike shape with a very topographical map-like pattern.

Eulychnia castanea spiralis A funky, spiky popsicle you should not put in your mouth. The rarity of this specific type is sometimes called the Unicorn Cactus.



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Zen Love

Steelcase Solo Sit-to-Stand Desk More things in life should be as solid and uncomplicated as this adjustable desk by Steelcase: no bells, whistles or smart-home integration means just a workspace that can be whatever you make it, and whatever height. $599

The controller requires only a gentle push to set your work surface gliding up or down to the sound of a reassuringly whirring motor. Incorporated within, a sensor detects obstructions that could damage the desk or be damaged by it when adjusting the height. In any position, it boasts a clean aesthetic and sturdy feel.

The flip side of simplicity is no pre-programmed settings, so you’ll have to learn how to get the right height each time you adjust it (tip: your belly button is a handy guide). You’ll also want to find a solution to organizing the cords, which become particularly exposed when the desk is extended to its standing position.

“All an adjustable desk needs to be is what its name says, and the Steelcase Solo does its job well and without fuss. Just don’t expect it to do anything else.”

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Food & Drink

The Bourbon Drinker’s Guide to Rum Tired of hunting down rare bottles and seeing prices rise, seasoned whiskey drinkers are turning to the spirit’s elusive cousin. Here’s how you can too.

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Rum marketers have long prophesied a great rise in popularity for the category, which has been dominated by the mojito fodder lining liquor store aisles. The pitch: seasoned bourbon drinkers will come to love rum, which is so much more than Bacardi silver. They were right in one sense, but wrong in another. Bourbon whiskey shares much with rum, but its followers won’t flock to rum for similar flavor profiles — they will convert only if given a pressing reason to. And ironically, it’s bourbon’s own swelling popularity that’s provided one. There are other, perhaps even better, reasons the modern bourbon-whiskey drinker might be tempted by the rum world’s easy-going nature, but the simplest argument is made with numbers: if you could buy Pappy van Winkle for $100 right now, would you? Bourbon whiskey’s popularity has reached the point where many coveted bottles — Pappy, Buffalo Trace’s Antique Collection, older Michter’s and more — are effectively unobtainable; once widely available staples of the top shelf,


text by

Will Price

photos by

Henry Phillips

Specs Origin: Jamaica ABV: 59% Price: ~$100

Weller 12-year-old, Blanton’s and Eagle Rare (really, you could name the entire Buffalo Trace lineup), in turn, have become the Pappys of the 2020s. By contrast, rum offers more: more varieties; more flavors; more production methods; more eccentricities; more bottle diversity — and, critically, more availability. Step back and compare the breadth of flavor profiles in the rum world to that of bourbon — or even whiskey, bourbon’s parent category — and rum is the clear winner. This is mostly due to one of rum’s unique traits: decentralization. Where bourbon, scotch and spirits like tequila and cognac are, to different degrees, bound by regulation, geography and strict definitions, rum is a loose cannon. Make it with molasses, and you’ve got rum. Make it with fresh sugarcane, and you still have rum. Age it (or don’t), blend it with spices (or not), filter out the color (or add it) — it’s all rum. With that in mind, here are the best rums for an ex-bourbon drinker to start with — from the true Pappy of rum to the Bacardi you should be drinking.

THE ‘PAPPY ’ OF RUM

Hampden Great House Hampden Estate has been making rum on a near-continuous basis since 1779, and its Great House release, has quickly earned a reputation for intense, rich flavor and a healthy dose of rum funk in only its second year. For longtime rum drinkers, it represents rum’s mighty potential. For former bourbon lovers, it offers a glimpse into a category not yet destroyed by hype magnets.

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THE RUM YOU GIVE YOUR WHISKE Y-LOVING BOSS

Privateer Distiller’s Drawer This top-notch rum comes from an odd place: America. By most accounts, Privateer is the best in the country — and it’s not made anywhere near the tropics, either. Based in Massachusetts, Privateer’s Distiller’s Drawer series offers rum from barrels hand-selected by its master distiller, and they’re some of the most whiskey-like bottles in the category. Expect oak, vanilla, burnt sugar and more classic bourbon notes.

Specs Origin: Puerto Rico ABV: 40% Price: ~$30

Specs Origin: USA ABV: Varies Price: ~$70

THE JACK DANIEL’S OF RUM

Bacardi Reserva Ocho While Bacardi is better known for the un-aged, tall-bottled Bacardi Superior expression, rum drinkers will point you to its easyto-find, consistent, well-aged and affordably priced middle-shelf bottling instead. Cheap enough to make a punch with and smooth enough to drink on the rocks, it’s a do-it-all shelf staple.

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Rum offers more: more varieties; more flavors; more production methods; more eccentricities; more bottle diversity — and, critically, more availability. THE DEEP-CUT RUM

Clairin Casimir

Specs Origin: Barbados ABV: 40% Price: ~$45

If you want to go straight to the bottom of the rabbit hole, Clairin is a good way to do it. It’s usually unaged, so it has more in common with white whiskey than bourbon proper, and it’s made with local wild sugarcane and “dunder,” which is a bit like the sour mash of the rum world, but far less frequently used than its whiskey counterpart. It lends Clairin a deep funkiness that blends with the base spirit to invoke whiskey, mezcal, natural wine and rum all at once.

Specs Origin: Haiti ABV: Varies Price: ~$50

THE BUFFALO TR ACE OF RUM

Real McCoy 12-Year Reliably excellent, well-made and expertly matured, Real McCoy 12-year-old rum is named after a famous Prohibition-era rum smuggler whose product became known as “the real McCoy” due to the number of fakes at the time. Today, it’s sourced from the Barbados-based Foursquare Distillery, the rum producer closest to capturing the enormous pull of Buffalo Trace Distillery in the bourbon world.

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Dry Spell

Going out “for drinks” could mean something totally different once regular social gatherings return to the fold. The pandemic triggered a boom in alcohol consumption and sales. According to medical journal JAMA Network Open, American adults reported drinking 14 percent more often than usual at the beginning of the world health crisis. Brick-and-mortar sales of alcohol were up 21 percent nationwide, according to Nielsen; online alcohol sales jumped up 234 percent. It may come as a surprise, then, that growth in the non-alcoholic drink world is going blow-for-blow with its boozy ringmate. According to Nielsen, the non-alcoholic beverage category has seen a 506 percent increase since 2015. Driven by a wealth of new options, better choices and easier access, Million Insights reports the non-alcoholic drink market could hit $1.6 trillion by 2025. “We thought long and hard about holding the launch and waiting for the pandemic to subside, but ultimately are happy we made the decision to move forward and give people the ritual of a better drink at home,” says Melanie Masarin, founder of Ghia, a ruby-hued non-alcoholic aperitif that launched in 2020. Masarin and her team are driven, in part, by a desire to make not drinking a viable option. “My hope is that the community we are creating can not only be a support system during times like this but also contribute to destigmatizing sobriety,” she says. “The goal is to shift from actual consumption of alcohol to instead enjoying the ritual of drinking itself — making yourself a drink and allowing yourself to press pause on the day and enjoy.” Masarin isn’t alone. Other startups want sobriety to be a choice instead of an invitation for questions. A TotalJobs report in 2019 about workplace drinking culture found that U.K. workers are increasingly choosing to drink less. Millennials are leading this reduction, with 66 percent of participants reporting they’ve reduced their drinking over the past two years. Launched in 2015, Ben Branson’s Seedlip has been on the non-alcoholic wagon longer than most, and Branson cites the lack of a “truly sophisticated alternative option to alcohol” as his reason for getting into it. Options were rare, he says. Tasty options even rarer. Each of Seedlip’s varieties is meant to answer the question of what to drink when you’re not drinking. Branson sees a shift coming in how drinks play into everyday life, with healthy living as the top priority. Thanks to Seedlip and other non-alcoholic options,

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text by

Tyler Chin

photos by

Henry Phillips

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ZERO-PROOF LIBATIONS ATHLETIC UPSIDE DAWN GOLDEN ALE You may have to do a double take when you take a sip of Upside Dawn, just to make sure you didn’t accidentally drink a regular golden ale. $13 (6-pack)

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SEEDLIP SPICE 94 Spice 94 takes its name seriously. The spirit is heavy on spices, such as allspice and cardamom, and offset by bright citrus flavors. $32

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BROOKLYN BREWERY SPECIAL EFFECTS IPA All the IPA flavor without the IPA buzz (and somehow less than 100 calories a can) is truly a special effect. $13 (6-pack)

GHIA Everything you want in an aperitif can be found in Ghia. It’s sweet and floral on the front, then dissipates into a subtle bitterness that begs for another sip. $33

APLÓS The hemp-infused Aplós offers a buzz without the alcohol. It’s sweet and herbaceous, with a flavor profile that works on the rocks or mixed into a number of zero-alcohol cocktails. $48


Branson hopes that people can learn that moderation is attainable. The options are growing, and not just through distilled spirits and aperitifs. Market research company IRI found sales of nonalcoholic beer were up 38 percent in 2020 — a dramatic increase in an older and dustier corner of the alcohol-free booze world. Bill Shufelt founded Athletic Brewing after he gave up drinking for health reasons, with the goal to “take nonalcoholic beer out of the penalty box,” he says. Through offerings like Upside Dawn, a golden ale, and Run Wild IPA, the brewery is making booze-free alternatives for steadfast beer drinkers. Hallowed beer makers, like those at Brooklyn

Brewery, are cutting alcohol from new beers, too. Brooklyn Brewery now offers two nonalcoholic options, a hoppy lager and an IPA, both available at stores around the country. “At the outset of our approach to nonalcoholic beer, I was not a fan of the category,” says Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery’s James Beard Award-winning brewmaster. “Well, once we had Special Effects in hand, it really changed my mind. Now I’m definitely a believer.” Of course, it’s one thing for high-quality nonalcoholic options to exist. It’s another to get them into the hands of consumers. Fortunately, because the drinks are booze-free, they’re not beholden to the same distribution woes of their alcoholic brethren. Manufacturers are free to sell

their offerings online, directly to consumers. And for those people who don’t know where to begin, there are now e-retailers like Better Rhodes, which carries over 200 sober options for newcomers to discover. With more options, more accessibility and more quality, the final hurdle — that is, the FOMO associated with living booze-free — will work itself out in time, says David Fudge, founder of the hemp-based spirit Aplós. “I think in five to ten years from now, we’ll walk in a bar and there will be a large selection of alcohol alternatives,” Fudge says. “Eventually asking a friend to ‘have a drink’ won’t just mean drinking alcohol. It seems crazy, but a few years from now we’ll look back and all think it was obvious.”

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text by

Tyler Chin

photo by

Henry Phillips

Cometeer Are frozen pucks of high-end joe the future of coffee, or Dippin’ Dots 2.0? $2 per capsule

Each Cometeer capsule is filled with concentrated coffee made from beans sourced and roasted at some of America’s best roasters (such as George Howell, Bird Rock and Counter Culture). They keep for 18 months in the freezer and taste like homemade pour-over coffee. The capsules are versatile, too: mixing a melted puck with water, milk or even vodka works surprisingly well. Still use a Keurig? Cometeer works with the capsule brewing machine, too (just thaw the capsule in warm water first).

Freezer space is precious, and each eight-pack box takes up a considerable amount of real estate. Every aspect of Cometeer’s packaging is 100 percent recyclable, as is the capsule — a departure from standard capsule coffees, which may contain non-recyclable elemental. However, just because something can be recycled, doesn’t mean it will be.

“At $2 a cup, I don’t think there’s any reason for me to keep my Chemex. Especially when Cometeer tastes better than my pour-overs.”

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Style

Beach Bums Over four decades ago, Ocean Pacific created the quintessential coastal shorts out of an unlikely material.

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In the early ’70s, Ocean Pacific started selling rugged everyday shorts made from plush, ribbed corduroy. “Nobody was making the kind of clothing suitable for surfers,” OP’s national sales manager Chuck Buttner told The New York York Times in 1979. “The shorts have to be fuller in the thigh and reinforced at the seams. You also need a good quality fabric to take the salt water, sun and abuse.”


text by

John Zientek

photos by

Henry Phillips

Featuring a short inseam to facilitate movement, a wider cut to accommodate athletic legs and easy-access patch pockets, OP shorts were tailored for an active lifestyle, with threads that could take a beating — those velvety rows of close-cropped yarn called wales increase the durability of the fabric. The company’s founder, Jim Jenks, once said his shorts were for the guy who “owns a dirt bike, a sports car or a van, spends most of his time outdoors, is lean and tan.” Appropriately, the design became synonymous with coastal, California living — and a favorite of surfers, rock climbers, hikers and skateboarders. OP has since faded into obscurity, so expect to pay $100 or more for a vintage pair of shorts in good condition on the secondary market. Purists take note: the back pocket was originally on the left side because Jenks was left-handed (OP later moved it to the right). And while modern brands like Birdwell, Battenwear and Outerknown offer dependable homages to the original design, there’s nothing quite like the real thing.

THE NE W WAVE No luck shopping vintage? These modern versions pay homage to the original style and are readily available. BIRDWELL BEACH BRITCHES CORDUROY SHORTS Made in Los Angeles from 14-wale corduroy, these shorts feature bartacked stress points, wood buttons and a lifetime guarantee. $90

BATTENWEAR LOCAL SHORTS These American-made shorts have a zip change pocket on the right leg, a zip fly and a drawstring waist. $185

OUTERKNOWN SEVENTYSEVEN CORD UTILITY SHORTS Made from 16-wale organic cotton corduroy, these shorts feature natural corozo buttons, a zip fly and a moderate inseam. $88

BANKS JOURNAL BIG BEAR WALKSHORT Made with a stretch-corduroy blend and a half-elastic waist, these relaxed shorts are made for all-day comfort. $75

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Make It New A new generation of makers focuses on the subtle beauty of upcycled, hand-made garments. For Tim Marvin, it all started two years ago. While tagging along with his wife on a work trip to Morocco, he came across a colorful striped blanket and was struck with an idea: its vibrant colors and classic pattern would lend itself nicely to clothing, perhaps a button-up shirt. The shop merchant referred him to a nearby tailor, who said he could use the fabric to make a copy of an existing garment. Marvin happened to have his favorite chore coat with him, so he had a version of that made. “As soon as the guy handed me a coat, I was like, ‘Oh shit.’” Marvin said, immediately taken with the style. Back home, it got approving looks and comments. “The more I wore it, the more people complimented it, and it sort of snowballed from there.” Marvin has since parlayed that coat into a new clothing brand called Glor. Actually, “brand” might be overstating things — but that’s sort of the point. Glor has stayed true to that moment of kismet in that bazaar in Marrakech; it produces a single style of clothing

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text by

Max Berlinger

facin g pa g e

Glor Coat, $550 this pa g e

photos coourtesy of glor, winnie brown

Slow Process Seamless Overshirt, $350

(that trusty chore coat), crafted from vintage blankets and handmade by friends — a couple skilled in custom sewing — who live nearby in Northern California. “I love vintage [clothing], I love old things,” Marvin said. “The idea of finding stuff that has a story, and it gets a new story with whoever it goes to next.” Two years before Marvin laid eyes on his custom Moroccan coat, Sam Zollman, in the midst of an existential post-collegiate crisis, looked up how to make a shirt on YouTube. After taking some classes and asking for help at his local fabric store, Zollman now has a small business called Slow Process in Burlington, Vermont. His recent collection of men’s button-up shirts made from used cotton grain sacks is surprisingly sophisticated. “I want to make something that feels important,” Zollman said. “Whether that’s the fabric, the fit, the details like the button — or, more broadly, the story I’m trying to tell with a particular garment.”

He brings up the feedsack shirts. “To me, those have a narrative to them, as well as the beauty of the material itself. All of that comes together to make something that, I feel, you can’t replicate on some large scale. That’s what resonated with me — this shift toward something that’s more like an authentic exchange between the customer and the maker.” Both Marvin’s and Zollman’s projects reflect a new way to make clothing — or rather, the rediscovery of an old way. Call it a turning of the tides, of sorts — away from the slick, industrialized, mass-produced apparel we’ve come to know. These are humble, handcrafted garments made by one person to be worn by another. This is the way clothing was made before industry scaled things up — but today, to have an artisan make a shirt or chore coat for you feels like a fresh kind of humble extravagance. Glor and Slow Process are part of a nascent wave in the menswear world. The bestknown brand of this ilk is Bode, the acclaimed

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has been our continuing shift away from our reliance on fast fashion and mass design. We want storytelling, and most of all, we want to feel good about what we buy.” “I’m going to keep doing this because it’s really fun, and people seem into it,” Marvin said. “I don’t have some five-year business plan. I don’t need to make a million dollars or have corporate sales.” In a system so focused on capitalist gains, Marvin’s motivation is much more pure — even poetic, in its way. “I have a job I love, so if I did something it had to be fun and important to me. I like the coats and it seemed really fun to sell them to people that also like the same thing I like. Having cool people dig what you dig — that’s pretty fun.”

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photos courtesy of slow process

( jac k e t ) ,

drew brooks

New York label founded by Emily Adams Bode in 2016 that upcycles vintage quilts and other textiles into clothes that look like soulful incarnations of the workwear worn on the Oregon Trail. But many other labels are popping up too — like Reclaimed Los Angeles, which cut-and-pastes its way through worn blue-collar Carhartt jackets, and Karu Manufacturing, which uses sourced Indian textiles to create breezy clothing touched with farflung romance. “Appreciation for craft and well-designed products will definitely define the years ahead,” says Michael Fisher, a vice president at the trend forecasting firm Fashion Snoops. “I truly think one of the bright spots of the pandemic


facin g pa g e

Slow Process utilizes deadstock Japanese denim, West African indigo mud cloth and vintage tablecloths to make garments. this pa g e

Glor Coats have a relaxed, unisex fit and come in two sizes.

KE Y S T YLES

GLOR COAT Each coat is made from a single vintage Moroccan blanket — complete with unique stitches and repairs — and features three patch pockets and Italian horn buttons. $550

photo courtesy of glor

SLOW PROCESS NORTHLAND SEAMLESS OVERSHIRT Made from three vintage grain sacks, this shirt has a rear box pleat, antique cow bones buttons and both front and interior pockets. $345

SLOW PROCESS HOME FIELD BALL JERSEY Cut from a 1960s cotton tablecloth, this lightweight shirt has French seams and mismatched vintage corozo buttons. $245


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Collab Culture’s Philosopher King How Brain Dead’s Kyle Ng has embraced the collaboration as a means to build community.

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Cool can be elusive, but there’s no doubt that Kyle Ng’s Brain Dead is one of the coolest streetwear brands around. Along with cofounder Ed Davis, Ng produces a dizzying array of graphic-print clothing, neon eyewear and limited-edition sneakers. While the brand has gained legions of fans with its own merch, its co-branded products with the likes of The North Face, Reebok and A.P.C. have caught the attention of a much wider audience. Ng moved from Berkeley to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film, but he eventually found his calling in the fashion industry. He founded the menswear brands Farm Tactics and AXS Folk Technology before taking a managerial position at Urban Outfitters. In 2014, he and Davis started Brain Dead, partnering with numerous artists and designers on initial products. One of its first projects was curating a gallery show for the New York boutique Nepenthes that explored ethnic bootleg culture’s place in what’s known as outsider art, or works produced by people without formal training or connections to the art world. To support the show, of course, Brain Dead put out a limited set of skateboard decks.


text by

John Zientek

photos by

Marissa Alves

From the start, collaborations were a part of the brand’s DNA, and over the years they’ve explored mediums from food to furniture to sporting goods. For Ng, the breadth speaks to his own range of interests and the value he places on nurturing a deeper sense of community, at times with massive results: a T-shirt he made in June 2020 with musician Dev Hynes raised around $500,000 for The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) and the LGBTQ Freedom Fund. He’s also worked with champion climber Ashima Shiraishi on a technical shoe supporting organizations working to get marginalized groups into climbing. And the vegan burgers Brain Dead did with L.A.’s Burger Lords? Proceeds went to support the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Stop AAPI Hate. Though many companies have strategies for collaborations and business models for philanthropy, Brain Dead organically blends the two to fuel positive change. We caught up with Ng to learn how.

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this pa g e

The Brain Dead × Modernica Headcase Study Table ($1,200) facin g pa g e

Collabs with Umamei, Deadbeat Club and more (left); a Sam Harkham × Brain Dead sweatshirt (right)

When did you start thinking about collaborations as a form? Growing up in a community of music and art, collaborations have always been part of what you do, right? The community is the most important thing in anything we do in creativity because that’s the people who support you, and you support them. So I think with Brain Dead, especially, we really want to focus on our community and trying to spotlight it in some form. You know, the big part about this brand over a lot of other brands, is that it’s less about a singularity of, let’s say, products or fashion or menswear or whatever you want to call it. It’s more focused on community-driven creativity and hobbies and interests of identity and personality, and letting people kind of get inspired by work or creative avenues that hopefully make them get excited about life. How do you approach a Brain Dead collab? I don’t find myself a product guy at all. And I think we do make products and I try my hardest to make good products, but I’m more interested in storytelling because of my desire to be a filmmaker when I was younger. If it’s The North Face, I think about its rich heritage, I think about climbing, what’s missing in climbing, I think about interesting stories that we take, and I think about the actors — the characters — that could be in it. When you make a movie, you have to think about [a character’s] subtext, you think about their background, and even if it never is mentioned in the film, that actor knows, and is confident in who they are as an actor of a character. And same with products; the world around us is an environment that’s created, but at the end of day, you have to feel confident by building the environment for that product.

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“Right now, in our culture, we’re so focused on consuming everything from content to Netflix to Spotify to products, and I feel like we’ve lost contact to build context.” How can collabs be a force for good? Right now, in our culture, we’re so focused on consuming everything from content to Netflix to Spotify to products, and I feel like we’ve lost contact to build context. What we realize is that now that we have success, we need to give back to that community that’s fostered our upbringing. I can sell a T-shirt and then give people a cassette with that T-shirt. How hard would it be to just sell hundreds of cassettes? Really hard. But, if I gave them something back, like a record or a cassette, they would be like, “Whoa, I don’t know what this is, but I’m going to figure out how to play it.” So, this is almost a reverse-engineering way of culture that I think is really interesting.

DROPS TO KNOW

THE NORTH FACE × BRAIN DEAD This ongoing collab features classic designs like the Retro Denali Jacket and the Retro Nuptse pant emblazoned with Brain Dead’s iconic graphics.

SAM HARKHAM × BRAIN DEAD Proceeds from this collection — featuring work from Geoff McFetridge, Johnny Ryan and others — help to provide arts education to incarcerated youth in L.A. County.

A.P.C. × BRAIN DEAD UNITY TOTE Profits from this cotton bag support The Roots of Music, an organization that provides music history education to the youth of New Orleans.

DEADBEAT CLUB × BRAIN DEAD GALACTIC BREW COFFEE This single-origin Kenyan coffee is lightly roasted in the Echo Park neighborhood of L.A. and has notes of dark chocolate, citrus and herbs.

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How do you measure success? I’m not really interested in capitalism as a whole — I want to support myself and survive. But at the end of the day, a lot of the work we’re doing right now gives back to initiatives to help back the community, because that’s the most important thing — that’s the thing that fostered me. If you cannot afford to climb, you should still be able to do it, so we want to build a climbing wall in Long Beach so kids can go climb. There’s no marketing or financial gain from that in my opinion — that’s the only way it should be. And honestly, I feel like companies should figure out ways to be profitable by just doing the right thing. Collaboration and commerce and ethics all work hand-in-hand because it’s all about community and all about creating relationships and putting this mycelium network together — knowledge, ideas and people. And, the more it’s interconnected, the more it flows. Everyone’s just trying to put pieces together and sometimes

it’s really fucked up and weird, but hopefully you can do it in a good way. There’s a reason why all this is where we are at. When does that connectedness get weird? I’m watching this documentary called Can’t Get You Out of My Head and it’s really interesting because in a world where you can’t really trust anyone, how do you show real sincerity and how do you show a narrative? That’s why the QAnon thing’s popping. People want to put puzzle pieces together themselves and feel like an individual again, and sometimes it’s like, super fucked, you know what I mean? But, all of it’s a by-product of where we’re at as a culture. And, you know, I think that’s where you as a brand have to realize how to swim through that, and if anything, work with it in a positive form. It’s kind of like what we were saying with a product — reverse-engineering consumerism — where you give back to some form of culture.

Brain Dead Studios on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles features a cafe, lounge, showroom and repertory cinema. Inside shelves are filled with collabs from RetaW, Salt & Stone and Maak Lab, along with the brand’s own sunglasses, keychains and more.

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Style


text by

John Zientek

photo by

Henry Phillips

Hermès H24 The follow-up to Terre d’Hermès — a now-iconic fragrance released 15 years ago — offers a fresher, greener approach to smelling good. Just don’t expect a riff on an old classic. H24 is in a class of its own. $105

Many men’s fragrances are dominated by woody notes. Not here. H24 combines clary sage, narcissus flower, rosewood and the synthetic molecule sclarene (evoking steam off a hot iron). It also comes in a refillable glass bottle, so you can refill it without excess waste.

Brighter floral and steamy metallic notes make this a distinctive fragrance that may catch some people off guard. Apply conservatively at first to learn how the fragrance interacts with your body chemistry and how it changes over the course of a day.

“H24 breaks away from traditional men’s fragrances, offering a unique blend of ingredients that are greater than the sum of their parts. It may be polarizing, but H24 is set to become a classic in its own right.”

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Dive Another Day

Rick Marei has made a profession out of resurrecting once-defunct timepieces.

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In the sixties and seventies, Doxa, Aquadive and Aquastar made the kinds of serious watches you’d find for sale in dive shops rather than at jewelers, while Tropic and ISOfrane made waterproof rubber straps that came standard on many such watches. It was a time when sport diving was still young and dangerous, and watches from this era have a special appeal to today’s vintage collectors. After these brands faded into obscurity, Rick Marei brought each back to life, one by one. Resurrecting defunct dive-watch brands was a natural extension of Marei’s passion as a collector. It all started in the 1990s, when most collectors were hunting for pocket watches — few were interested in the mechanical workhorse timepieces from the 1970s the way he was. Marei became obsessed with recreating a famous Doxa dive watch, the 1969 SUB 300T Conquistador, which was developed with the legendary oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. Its unique design — which includes a bright orange dial for increased underwater legibility — helped it later become a cult classic. Marei, who spent the first decade of his career working for Microsoft, cashed in his stock options and offered

p h o t o s c o u r t e s y o f a q u a s ta r , c h a n d l e r b o n d u r a n t , r i c k m a r e i

Watches


text by

Zen Love

facin g pa g e

The recently relaunched Aquastar Deepstar, with its unique “big eye” counter, as seen on an ISOfrane rubber dive strap. this pa g e

ISOfrane rubber straps (another Marei venture), and the man himself.

to buy 1,000 units for resale if Doxa remade the SUB 300T. Following three years of negotiations, they finally did so, and Marei went on to help steer the company to newfound success using e-commerce. Other manufacturers sought him out to replicate this success, but he was simply too busy to help them. After two decades of work with Doxa, Marei parted ways with the brand, and has now moved on to resuscitate a range of other companies under his Synchron umbrella. The reissued Deepstar diver’s chronograph, from fan-favorite brand Aquastar, is the latest in a long list of his projects, which also includes Tropic and ISOfrane rubber straps. And while Marei is based in Europe, he’s benefitted from big interest in recent years from this side of the pond: “If it weren’t for the U.S. and the American watch-buying mentality, none of this would be possible,” he says. Rick Marei was not only far ahead of today’s vintage-watch reissue trend, but he pioneered online sales when such a concept was alien to watchmakers. The watch industry is only now catching up on both fronts, but Marei isn’t slowing down.

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One Giant Leap One of the most recognizable watches in the world just got its most important update in decades. But is it worth the steep price hike? Improving upon a classic is never an easy feat, especially one as beloved as the Omega Speedmaster Professional. But at some point, even stalwarts like the Speedy need upgrades, especially when advancements in watchmaking technology promise better performance, higher accuracy and increased comfort. With that in mind, meet the new Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Co-Axial Master Chronometer. While many incremental updates to classic models elicit yawns from die-hard fans, such is not the case with the Speedy Pro. Powered by the Master Chronometer–certified calibre 3861 movement, it’s a more accurate, more robust, longer-running watch than its predecessor. It’s also equipped with a redesigned dial and a new bracelet, each of which alone would be enough to excite longtime Speedy fans. Taken together, they’ve thrilled the Omega community and are sure to welcome legions of new admirers into the Moonwatch fold. Of course, all this innovation isn’t cheap. On a bracelet, this Speedy lands at a base price of $6,300, clocking in around 20 percent more expensive than the last Hesalite-equipped iteration. To be clear, the Calibre 3861 is no longer brand new — it first saw the light of day in March of 2019, powering the all-gold Speedmaster Apollo 11 Anniversary Limited Edition; and it has since appeared in two more models. The transition from these limited-production models to the standard, stainless steel Professional was all but inevitable, but it’s still notable that the series 1861/861 movements are being officially retired after over 50 years of service in the Speedmaster. The 3861 is certainly a significant improvement over the 1861. Master Chronometer–certified, the 3861 is accurate to within 0/+5 seconds per day. It can also resist magnetic fields of up to 15,000 gauss, it’s more shock resistant than the 1861 and requires less frequent service, and its power reserve has increased by two hours. Put it inside a case that can withstand wild temperature fluctuations, rapid decompression and high pressure, and you have a timepiece better suited than ever for manned space

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text by

Oren Hartov

photos by

Henry Phillips

Improving upon a classic is never an easy feat, especially one as beloved as the Omega Speedmaster Professional.

If you opt for the “sapphire sandwich” version of the new Speedmaster Professional ($7,150 on a bracelet), you’ll be graced with a transparent case back and a view of the Omega cal. 3861 hand-wound movement that powers the watch. (The Hesalite version comes with a solid case back.)

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flight, even if most examples will never make it farther than the troposphere. The watch’s matching steel bracelet has likewise been improved. Its five-link construction features thinner center links with either mirror- or matte-polished intermediate links, a taper from 20mm to 15mm, and a redesigned folding clasp with an engraved logo and two-position micro-adjust. In addition to giving the watch a more refined, luxurious look, the new bracelet is also more comfortable than its predecessor. So why the choice of mirror- or matte-polished links on the bracelet? The Speedy Pro has long been available in two distinct versions: one equipped with a modern, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, the other paired with a vintage-style Hesalite (plexiglass) crystal. Purists prefer the Hesalite for several reasons, not least of which because it’s the type of crystal approved by NASA. (If your watch crystal were to break in space, the last thing you’d want would be tiny shards of sharp glass flying around your spacecraft.) Befitting its all-business identity, the Hesalite version comes with matte-polished intermediate links on the bracelet and a solid case back, while the flashier, more modern sapphire version’s bracelet features mirror-polished inner links and a transparent sapphire case back. Depending on the version, the case back will either feature the words “Co-Axial Master Chronometer Professional Moonwatch” and “Flight-Qualified By NASA In 1965 For All Manned Space Missions” (Hesalite) or “Co-Axial Master Chronometer” and “The First Watch Worn On The Moon” (sapphire). Additionally, the Omega globe logo is present on the inside of the top right lug, while the case metal is listed on the bottom right lug. (The watch is also available in two gold versions, “Sedna” gold and “Canopus” gold.) As for the watch’s famous tachymeter bezel, it now features a throwback touch in the form of a small dot over the “90” mark, rather than next to it — a reference to early Speedmaster models and a detail that watch geeks love. The dial itself also features references to retro Speedys, such as the ST105.012 (the model worn on the moon in 1969), where the edge with the minute/seconds track and hour indices is raised slightly. Finally, the Hesalite version comes with a painted Omega logo, another throwback, and the case has been slimmed down compared to recent iterations. The whole package wears like a dream. At 42mm wide, the Speedmaster Professional

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isn’t a small watch and never has been, but somehow the inwardly curving, twisted lugs of its case manage to redirect some of the design’s heft. The new, more tapered bracelet also helps slim the watch down, and of course the thinner cases are exactly what the doctor ordered. Because the case is slightly asymmetrical and the pushers and crown are integrated into its right side, they don’t protrude into your hand as on certain other chronograph designs. And because the bracelet is so comfortable and articulates well, you don’t necessarily notice that you’re wearing a large watch. The pusher action on the chronograph from the new 3861 movement is buttery smooth and a pleasure to use, while the dial — despite the presence of 30-minute, 12-hour and running-seconds subdials — is incredibly legible. (The green glow of

the Super-LumiNova also ensures that the watch is easy to read at night, a must for a tool watch like the Speedy.) Fans of vintage Omega will be satisfied with the “dotover-90” bezel and the stepped dial, while those who value comfort will appreciate the luxurious new bracelet. As for the negatives here, there aren’t many. Some Speedy fans will be disappointed by the price tag, which puts it out of reach for many casual watch buyers. However, when compared to Rolex’s Daytona, which has a base price of $13,150, Omega’s flagship chronograph remains somewhat down-to-earth. And how can you argue with an engine as refined as the 3861, made in-house by Omega, the world’s second largest watch manufacturer, and calibrated to the highest possible standards of accuracy? If such a movement on its own isn’t worth a premi-

um over the previous model, I assure you that the movement, the bracelet and the dial together absolutely are. Suffice it to say that the 3861-based Speedmaster Professional isn’t just another monthly “drop” from Omega. It’s a testament to the quality and professionalism that the Swiss marque infuses into its watches — watches that have been to the Moon and back. Specs Movement: Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 3861 Diameter: 42mm Power Reserve: 50 hours Winding: Manual Price: $6,300 (Hesalite on bracelet); $7,150 (sapphire on bracelet)


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Counting Back A new crop of reissued chronographs makes the case for leaving your dive watch at the door.

Classic chronographs are rich with character and history. However, the stopwatch feature that defines them is complex and expensive to produce. As a result, manufacturers are quicker to prioritize reissues of time-only pieces — like dive and field watches — but a new wave of chronographs suggests the tides may be turning. What’s more, a trend to shrink the chronograh’s case size has made the category more wearable than ever.


text by

Zen Love

photography by

Henry Phillips

Breitling Avi 765 1953 ReEdition Breitling is a watchmaker steeped in aviation tradition that largely specializes in chronographs. In recreating a pilot’s watch from 1953, the brand upgraded the AVI 756 with modern features like an excellent in-house movement but also included throwback elements, such as manual winding and a Hesalite crystal to give it an extra kick of authenticity. Specs Diameter: 41mm Movement: Breitling B09 manual Price: $8,600

IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Tribute to 3705” Before ceramic watches were popular, IWC created the all-black 3705 chronograph. It bombed upon release but later became a grail among collectors. This modern re-creation updates the case to a 41mm version in Ceratanium, the brand’s proprietary ceramic-and-titanium material, and includes an in-house, automatic movement in place of the original Valjoux 7750. Specs Diameter: 41mm Movement: IWC 69380 automatic Price: $11,900


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Watches

Nivada Chronomaster Aviation Sea Diver When Nivada re-emerged decades after disappearing, its new watches looked just like those that have since made the brand a favorite of vintage collectors. The Chronomaster of the 1960s was captivating — and it is again, offering surprising value considering Swiss movements and thoughtful details. Specs Diameter: 38.3mm Movement: Sellita SW510 manual or automatic Price: $1,776+

Yema Speedgraf You won’t find many automatic chronographs at this price point, much less any that look as good as Yema’s. Based on racing chronographs the French brand produced in the 1960s, the Speedgraf features vintage-inspired elements that feel genuine, from its raised sapphire crystal to its contrasting subdials and red-tipped seconds hand. Specs Diameter: 39mm Movement: Seiko NE86 automatic Price: $1,499

Hanhart 417 SE First built for the German military in the 1950s and later popularized by actor Steve McQueen, the Hanhart SE is an OG pilot’s chronograph. At 42mm, it’s 3mm larger than the original, but it packs famous German construction and an iconic “Bund” strap for a reasonable price. Specs Diameter: 42mm Movement: Sellita SW 510 manual Price: $1,970



the guide

Watches

text by

photo by

Oren Hartov

Henry Phillips

Zenith Chronomaster Sport Zenith’s famed El Primero automatic chronograph movement once powered the Rolex Daytona. Now it’s inside the manufacturer’s own rival to that famed watch. $9,500+

The Rolex Daytona is virtually unobtanium, while the Chronomaster Sport, which undercuts its rival by over $3,000, is not. It also boasts an upgraded version of the brand’s groundbreaking El Primero automatic movement with a 1/10th-second chronograph and bezel — a unique and eye-catching feature.

Zenith neglected to equip the Chronomaster Sport with its own “ladder”-style bracelet, instead pairing it with a Rolex Oyster bracelet copy (guaranteed to sell well, but boring). Also, a date window at 4:30 has never, ever looked good on a watch. Why build a new model from the ground up with this feature?

“I could easily see discouraged Daytona waitlisters springing for the Chronomaster Sport despite a somewhat derivative design — or perhaps because of it.”

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Motoring

One Hand on the Wheel The arrival of self-driving cars would be a seismic shift for transportation, but the technology hasn’t materialized as quickly as automakers and tech companies first imagined. Here’s where the state of autonomous vehicles stands in 2021. Where are we right now with self-driving cars? Cars can’t drive themselves yet. The Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) has defined six levels of autonomy, ranging from Level 0 (no assistance) to Level 5 (full self-driving in all conditions). Most new cars now feature Level 1 technology, such as lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control. Advanced systems like Tesla’s Autopilot and GM’s Super Cruise are Level 2, meaning they allow the car to manage speed and steering but require the driver to pay constant attention in case they suddenly need to seize control. Some manufacturers, such as Honda, are focusing on Level 3 autonomous systems, which enable the car to take full control, albeit only under very specific conditions, like low-speed driving in traffic. Other manufacturers, such as Ford and Google’s Waymo, are skipping Level 3 to focus on Level 4 — full driverless autonomy within a geofenced perimeter. What are the major hurdles to full self-driving? The technology still has a ways to develop. Artificial intelligence has produced rapid breakthroughs in many fields, but it’s struggled to master driving as quickly as futurists were predicting five to ten years ago. Safe driving requires not just operating a vehicle’s controls, but understanding complex social interactions and predicting human behavior; and cracking those has proven tricky. On the hardware side, most manufacturers’ systems rely on high-speed cameras and sensors, which need to both improve and become more cost-effective to make mass adoption feasible. Once the tech is there, regulating autonomous vehicles will likely remain an issue. Industry and government officials need to codify exactly what the definition of self-driving is — if those SAE guidelines seem confusing to you, you’re not alone —and then set safety standards. That includes resolving

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text by

Tyler Duffy

photos by

Zoox

As the prototype seen here (created by Amazon-owned Zoox) shows, without need for old-fashioned controls or conventional seating layouts, the self-driving cars of tomorrow might not look much like cars you’d recognize.

knotty ethical and liability concerns, such as who bears the fault if a self-driving car kills someone. And on top of all that, automakers must convince the public that self-driving works. AAA surveys have shown more than 70 percent of the American public fears driverless cars. When will full self-driving arrive? Estimates vary. Elon Musk has promised Tesla would deliver full autonomy by the end of 2021, but he also claimed it would happen in 2017, 2019 and 2020. Industry consensus is more bearish; there’s cautious optimism that Level 4 autonomy could arrive in the next few years, but only in select localities. Few experts are even willing to take a stab at a precise timeline for Level 5, which many believe could take decades. What vehicles will be the first to be self-driving? Commercial vehicles and mass transit seem the most likely bet. Self-driving should arrive first on vehicles like freight trucks and city buses that follow pre-defined, low-variance routes; likewise, well-mapped cities are well-suited for driverless taxi systems. Vehicle fleets are where self-driving technology will be most useful — no more drivers to pay — and larger corporations can more easily bear the expense of new technology. How will life change when self-driving cars become real? Railroads changed life in the 19th century, and the automobile redrew our world in the 20th. Self-driving vehicles will be the next mobility shift of that magnitude. The technology may liberate cities from massive highways and ubiquitous parking infrastructure, and it may render vehicle ownership obsolete; hailing a (driverless) Lyft or Uber may one day be so cheap that personal cars stop being household essentials and something only the most affluent people in society would consider.

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At least, not yet. Here’s why.

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among the most cutting-edge passenger vehicles ever sold, capable of doing everything from almost driving themselves to delivering acceleration that could make Neil Armstrong puke. And though you might know the term “range anxiety” as a reason to be apprehensive about electric cars, it’s not the issue it’s made out to be. Today’s EVs can usually cover at least 200 miles on a charge; that may not be the equal of fossil fuel cars, but it’s still more than enough to handle 99 percent of the average person’s needs. What remains a deal breaker in 2021, however, is another hang-up: a paucity of charging options. While there are around 168,000 gas stations in the United States, there are only around 47,000 public electric vehicle chargers in the U.S. and Canada, combined. Less than 6,000 of those are fast chargers capable of substantially recharging a vehicle in under an hour — and more than 1,000 of those only work with Teslas. The vast majority of chargers are Level 2 units,

p h otos by au d i

Don’t Buy an Electric Car

If you’re anywhere along the car-buying spectrum right now, you’ve probably asked yourself a question your forebears never had to contend with: Should I get an electric car? After all, saying goodbye to gas is more in vogue than ever. Elon Musk has become one of the world’s richest people based on market expectations that Tesla represents the future of transportation. And governments around the globe have announced plans to ban the sale of fossil fuel cars before today’s infants start driver’s ed, with good reason. EVs have many advantages over internal-combustion-engined vehicles: you can refuel them at home; they require less maintenance; their torque-laden motors make them feel zippier; and, of course, they don’t produce harmful emissions. Here’s the thing, though. You shouldn’t buy an electric car. Not yet. This isn’t to say today’s EVs suck. Far from it. From Tesla to Taycan, many of the electric vehicles you can buy right now are


text by

Will Sabel Courtney

The Audi E-Tron GT, launching this summer, is on the cutting edge of modern EVs. It can take on power at 270 kW, enabling it to jump from 5 to 80 percent charge in 23 minutes, but fast chargers capable of putting out that much power are extremely rare.

which fully recharge an EV over five to eight hours. That makes them ideal for recharging at home overnight or at the office, where cars sit stationary for hours, but not so great in the areas many of them are actually located: places like shopping malls and grocery stores, where people are in and out. Add it all up, and America’s EV infrastructure still has a long way to go before it can come close to matching gas stations. The other primary obstacle: the number of electric vehicle options is still limited compared with internal-combustion options, and they’re relatively pricey for what you get. As of this story’s publication, there are only 19 true EVs in U.S. showrooms. Want a pickup truck, like millions of Americans buy every year? A giant SUV, a convertible or a station wagon? Tough luck. And even if you’re shopping in a category that is fairly well-represented, like all-wheel-drive crossovers — the EV equivalent of a $29,000 Honda CR-V — you’re looking at shelling out more than $45,000. Thankfully, the next few years should see both of these stumbling blocks fall away. On the charging front, the Biden administration aims to make EVs far more appealing through an onslaught of investment, including plans to add 500,000 charging stations across America. That would not only make electric-car ownership easier for road-tripping suburbanites, but also open up the door to EVs for city dwellers, who often don’t have the luxury of a dedicated parking/charging space at home. And by 2024, the market will be flooded with a broad array of EVs, as nearly every car company that sells in America dives into the space. Given the fast pace of EV development and the ramping up of battery tech and production, those cars will likely pack more power and range than many of the EVs you can buy today — quite possibly with smaller price tags. But if you’re locked into a lease or loan you signed in 2021, you’ll be left watching from the sidelines, grumbling under your breath every time one of those new electric Cadillacs, Mercedes-Benzes or Fords glides by.

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Pushing the Boundaries

New trucks and SUVs will redefine the off-roading space in 2021, hitting new milestones in performance, efficiency … and just how much buyers are willing to pay to get a little rugged.


text by

Tyler Duffy

Ford Bronco Ford first announced a new Bronco back in January 2017. After a protracted wait (including pandemic-related delays), the Jeep Wrangler–fighting SUV finally arrives at dealers this summer. The resurrected Bronco packs the best looks since its first-generation model, serious off-road capability, an impressive array of customization options and accessories, and removable roof and doors for that open-air feel. And it will also offer what may be the rarest sight in modern motoring: a manual transmission. We can’t wait to drive it… and neither can the nearly 200,000 reservation holders. Specs Base Price: $29,995

p h o t o s c o u r t e s y o f r e s p e c t i v e m a n u fa c t u r e r s

Horsepower: 270 / 310 Torque: 310 lb-ft / 400 lb-ft

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Ford F-150 Raptor Last year, the Ram 1500 TRX supplanted Ford’s F-150 Raptor as the preeminent badass off-road pickup. Ford’s response, starting in 2021, will be two-pronged. First, a facelifted F-150 Raptor that packs significant upgrades, like a five-link coil-spring rear suspension, better wheel articulation and ride quality, and massive available 37-inch tires. The bigger threat to Ram’s supremacy comes next year, when a V8-powered Raptor R — with an engine that should exceed the TRX’s 702 horsepower — should arrive. Specs Base Price (estimated): ~$55,000 Horsepower (estimated): ~475 Torque (estimated): ~540 lb-ft * Price and power figures not available at press time. Estimates made by extrapolating specs from other 2021 F-150 models to the 2020 F-150 Raptor.

GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 GM is reviving the discontinued Hummer nameplate, but the new versions arriving this fall will be a far cry from those plodding, overgrown gas guzzlers of yore. The new Hummer will be all-electric and capable of jaw-dropping performance, thanks to a tri-motor drivetrain making up to 1,000 horsepower in Edition 1 launch form. The Hummer EV will offer up to 15.9 inches of ground clearance, be able to conquer steeper off-road angles than a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, be all but able to drive itself on highways using Super Cruise, and pack up to 350 miles of range — more than the Hummer H1 managed with a 28.5-gallon gas tank. Plus, in Watts To Freedom mode (which sounds better as an acronym), the Hummer EV will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in a Porsche-like 3.0 seconds. Specs Base Price: $112,595 Horsepower: 1,000 Torque: 11,500 lb-ft * Torque figure measured at the wheels, not the motor as with most vehicles.

OFF-ROAD TERMS YOU SHOULD KNOW Off-roaders have a language all their own. Here’s a handy cheat sheet so you can keep up with the lingo.

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APPROACH ANGLE

ARTICULATION

BEAD-LOCK WHEEL

BREAKOVER ANGLE

How steep of an angle the vehicle can climb without the front end scraping the ground.

How much the wheel and axle can move up and down.When it comes to clearing obstacles, the more articulation, the better.

A type of wheel that clamps the tire to the wheel, allowing an off-roader to air down the tires to lower pressures than conventional wheels without the risk of them slipping off.

How steep of a ramp or apex a vehicle can climb over without the undercarriage scraping the ground.

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Jeep Wagoneer / Grand Wagoneer The Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer return late this year, sadly without the wood paneling of yore. Built on the excellent Ram 1500 pickup platform, they will be the fanciest and flashiest of the three-row SUVs Jeep adds to the lineup this year. Dive in past the elegant (and Jeep badge-free) exterior, and you’ll find opulent finishes, elegant materials and a bountiful load of advanced tech, including a McIntosh sound system. V8s are standard, but a plug-in hybrid version will be available soon after launcg. Can Jeep’s brand identity extend itself into the high-luxury bracket? With Grand Wagoneer trims surpassing $100,000, we’re about to find out. Specs Base Price: $59,995 Horsepower: 392 / 471 Torque: 404 lb-ft / 455 lb-ft

COIL SPRINGS

DEPARTURE ANGLE

LEAF SPRINGS

LOCKING DIFFERENTIAL

SKID PLATE

An intricate suspension system that offers greater movement for better performance and ride quality, but is more costly than other types and less capable of handling heavy loads.

How steep of an angle the vehicle’s rear can descend past without scraping the ground.

A traditional truck suspension system using layered steel leaves, which is simple, durable and designed to withstand heavy loads but less well-suited to serious off-roading.

A connecting piece of the drivetrain that locks two wheels together to move in unison for better off-road traction. This prevents one wheel from spinning when it loses grip.

A flat sheet of metal underneath an off-road vehicle that protects components from damage.

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Rivian R1T / R1S It’s typical to compare EV startups to Tesla, but new electric car maker Rivian will offer something different and more in tune with broader market trends when its wares hit the streets this year. Launching as a high-end adventure brand — picture Patagonia for cars — Rivian’s R1T pickup and R1T three-row SUV are gunning for two very profitable and practical segments. The vehicles’ capabilities will be formidable, with a quad-motor setup producing up to 800 horsepower and 300 miles of range. And with eventual prices starting around $70,000, the R1T and R1S won’t cost that much more than buyers already pay for lux trucks and plush threerow people movers. Specs Base Price: $67,500 (R1T), $70,000 (R1S) Horsepower: 800 Torque: 900+ lb-ft

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the guide

Motoring

Jeep Wrangler 4xe Pronounced “4-by-eee” (Valley-girl lilt optional), the Wrangler 4xe will bring the SUV icon into a new era this spring, thanks to its first plug-in hybrid powertrain. The 4xe will feature unheard-of efficiency for a Wrangler, with a 50 MPGe rating and 25 miles of electric-only range. And you sacrifice little for that efficiency; 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque will make the Wrangler 4xe the most potent non-V8 Wrangler, and it’ll be just as capable off-road as the gas-powered versions. The rub is, it’ll be a bit more expensive. Specs Base Price: $49,490 Horsepower: 375 Torque: 470 lb-ft

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Jeep preempted the Bronco reveal last summer by announcing a maniacal V8 Wrangler concept. But it wasn’t just a fantasy; the production version, the Wrangler Rubicon 392, heads to dealers this year. “392” stands for cubic inches — the displacement of the 6.4-liter Hemi V8 that puts out 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. On the road, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 will rocket from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds, faster than a Volkswagen Golf R. On the trail, it will provide modders with the extra oomph to offset adding bigger tires. The Wrangler Rubicon 392 will set a new bar for Wrangler pricing, too, with a starting price of nearly $75,000. Specs Base Price: $74,995 Horsepower: 470 Torque: 470 lb-ft

Jeep Grand Cherokee L The Wrangler and Gladiator may hog enthusiasts’ attention, but the Grand Cherokee is Jeep’s best-selling — and most important — vehicle, and it’s all-new for 2021. The critical change is the new Grand Cherokee L model, which offers third-row seating to challenge rivals like the Kia Telluride. A two-row Grand Cherokee will follow later this year. The SUV should still boast broad appeal, thanks to its popular formula of letting buyers build the SUV they want — whether that’s a trail-ready off-roader, a luxury cruiser, a tire-shredding track monster or simply a relatively affordable family car. This time around, it should even be efficient, thanks to an eventual plug-in hybrid option. Specs Base Price: $38,690 Horsepower: 290 / 357 Torque: 257 lb-ft / 390 lb-ft

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Toyota Tundra Toyota is working on a new TNGA truck platform, and they plan to use it to upgrade their flip-phone-era off-roader fleet. First for an overhaul will be the Tundra full-size pickup, the current generation of which entered production in 2006. Toyota is still playing its cards close to the vest, but expect them to ditch the V8 for more efficient twin-turbo V6 and hybrid powertrains. Other changes should include a more luxurious interior and possibly a new coil-spring rear suspension. Upgrading the Tundra to levels of performance and refinement on par with the Big Three, combined with Toyota’s reputation for build quality and off-road acumen, could prove a compelling mix.

Specs Base Price (estimated): ~$40,000 Horsepower (estimated): ~400 Torque (estimated): ~450 lb-ft * Price and power figures not available at press time. Power estimates based on similar engines in other Toyota models.

Wait, where’s the Tesla Cybertruck? Well, it’s coming. But we suspect it won’t really arrive in 2021. As of publication, the latest reporting suggests that Tesla may show off some vehicles to meet its self-imposed late-2021 deadline, but full-scale Cybertruck production is unlikely to happen before 2022.

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text by

Will Sabel Courtney

photo by

Henry Phillips

2021 BMW Alpina XB7 Alpina’s souped-up BMWs have earned the brand’s approval and made them the choice of cognoscenti. Now the small Bavarian tuner tackles the biggest Bimmer ever: the X7 SUV. $142,295+

With 612 horsepower under the hood, the XB7 takes off with an alacrity that belies its size. The air suspension flips from supple to sporty in seconds, giving it both a limo-like ride and agile footwork. The interior might make you wonder why you’re hurrying, though; wherever you’re going, odds are good the luxurious cabin is nicer. Perhaps best of all, you don’t have to chase down these mods — Alpina’s version is available at BMW dealerships.

Alpina’s exterior tweaks make the already extroverted X7 appear borderline excessive, with design elements that give it a boy-racer bodykit look unbecoming of a giant family SUV. And while the XB7 aims to deliver as comfortable a ride as possible, the sensitive gas pedal makes it hard to roll off the line smoothly without the soft suspension inducing some buoy-esque bobbing.

“With power to spare and an interior every bit worthy of its lofty price tag, the XB7 is the ultimate big crossover for long blasts down the Autobahn — or the interstate.”

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A GLIMPSE BEHIND THE SCENES WITH EYEWEAR LEGEND TOMMY O’GARA.

S E E IN G

DI F F ER E N TLY

text by

Stinson Carter photos by

Gui Martinez

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“ THE A RT, T H E H I STORY, A RC HITECT U R E A N D CR A F T S M A N S H IP O F JA PA N H AS A LWAYS P I QU E D M Y IN T ER E ST.” a ll I see on the tin y scr een are a bearded smile, a wool hat and a pair of handmade sunglasses. Some 7,000 miles away, Tommy O’Gara walks me through a small factory in western Japan, where he and half a dozen craftspeople turn out some of the world’s finest eyewear. O’Gara is a boyish 62, and even over FaceTime, he oozes the kind of energy that only comes from finding great success in something you love. His accent is hard to place, as if it has become unmoored by four decades of living in Japan and isn’t quite sure where it belongs. The son of a steel erector, O’Gara grew up in South Sioux City, Nebraska. And he strikes me as the most improbable Nebraskan since Marlon Brando. O’Gara went straight from The University of Nebraska to Japan for graduate school in 1982. “The same year The Clash started their Japanese tour,” he likes to say. O’Gara has since earned legendary status as an eyewear designer through his dynamic creative force and fearless integrity: he was the creative director of both Freshjive Japan and Dita Eyewear, and launched Thom Browne Asia. His own company, The Light Co. Ltd., produces eyewear for Sauvage, Native Sons, Visvim, Supreme, Neighborhood, Deus Ex Machina, Max Pittion — a brand owned by none other than John Mayer — Julius Tart, Shady Character, El Solitario and others. “The art, the history, architecture and craftsmanship of Japan has always piqued my interest,” says O’Gara, whose fascination with Japanese culture stretches back to his teens. In college, he practiced Kendo and Karate, studied Asian military history and took Japanese language classes, all in preparation for going to Japan. “I feel that it was always in the cards for me to go,” O’Gara says. While studying in Nagoya, he became one of only two non-Japanese students ever to be accepted into the centuries-old Yagyu Shinkage Ryu sword school, and after grad school, he moved to Tokyo and began his design career

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as the creative director for a skate- and snowboard brand. Later, while developing eyewear for Dita, he got to know the ins and outs of Japan’s handmade-eyewear traditions. But the quality-over-all mentality he connected with eventually clashed with the profit-over-all mentality of the fashion industry, where he says the businesspeople treated their brands like ATMs. So he made the bold decision to run his own show. “The only way to control your own destiny in this type of hardware fashion is to do it with your own team, directly, and not through a third party,” he says. To that end, O’Gara’s frames offer a rare blend of avant garde design and timeless lines. They are known globally for their classic and elegant shapes, their impeccable craftsmanship and, most of all, the subtle embellishments found on every pair. Where these little wearable works of art originate from may come as a surprise. The single-story factory was once an outbuilding that stored tractors and tools for a rice farm. Everyone else who works here is Japanese, and they bow and nod to my image on FaceTime politely as he walks by with his phone. He speaks to them in fluent Japanese, sounding more comfortable in his adopted language than he does in English. He jokes that depending on how his last name is pronounced, it either sounds Irish-American, “ohGAIR-ah,” or Japanese, “OH-gur-ah.” The machines that occupy the factory are big, mechanical, greasy, turquoise-colored and old. They read “Sabae,” (pronounced “sa-BYE”), the name of both the region where they operate and the company that made them


The single-story manufacturing facility where O’Gara creates his frames was once an outbuilding that stored tracftors and tools on a rice farm. These days, it’s buzzing with creativity. openin g pa g e

Native Sons Sputnik, $565 this pa g e

Native Sons × Sacai Cornell, $550

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O’Gara’s operation uses specialized machines, many of which are fifty years old and have been fully refurbished. The handmade manufacturing process is labor-intensive but results in superior-quality eyewear that can be repaired. this pa g e

Sauvage Varda, $550

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half a century earlier. “Those things are fifty years old at least,” O’Gara says. “But we had them fully refurbished.” He shows me the machine that cuts the brass jigs to make the frames. Each design requires a custom solid-brass jig, and no jig will work for more than one or two models. To make the temples for a pair of frames, there are two nearly identical sets of machines for the right and left sides: machines for cutting the temples, machines for milling them out, machines for bending the temples, machines for drilling holes in them, machines for cutting the angled joints where the temples meets the frames, and machines for embedding the hinges. I ask him to clarify the bit about having two copies of every machine. “That’s some handmade-eyewear shit,” he laughs. To the uninitiated, the sequence of machines is both immediately intuitive and unbelievably complex. There’s also a machine for shooting core wire into the acetate frame. A lack of core wire is a telltale sign of cheaply made frames. “If glasses don’t have a core wire, you know they are injected,” he says. Injected frames are the disposable kind in the souvenir shops with the little lines on them from the mold. O’Gara’s are made to last. “If you break a temple, we can still repair it,” he says. The biggest thing that sets the best eyewear apart, he says, is the quality of the hardware and the materials. Takiron acetate, for example — the kind found on O’Gara’s frames — is much harder, deeper and richer than other acetates. And the same goes for the core wire, the hinges and so on. By controlling every step of the manufacturing process, all of these components and materials come together with exacting specifications. “If you want to control everything, you have to do it the way that we do it here,” he says. “For us, close enough is not good enough.” The frames are cut with hard right-angle edges out of a squared-off sheet of acetate, “Just like when you go get a key made,” he says. A different machine bends the acetate plate, another machine makes the interior ocular cut with the rim groove, another the outer cut, another machine mills out the nose –– nearly every line on a pair of O’Gara’s frames represents the work of a different machine or tool. Then the frames undergo multiple stages of polishing, from rough to fine. They are tumbled in a mixture of pine chips, bamboo pieces and a paste that gets lost in translation because there’s no English word for it. (If you ever ordered a rock polisher from the back of Boy’s Life magazine, you’d get the idea.)

After the final polish stage, frames are hung to dry on a rack called a tree. “It’s not super complex but you have to have everything ready and in line,” O’Gara says. With six employees, this facility produces 2,000 high-end acetate frames per month. O’Gara comes by his manufacturing discipline honestly. “My dad was an amazing builder,” he says. He even built the high school O’Gara went to. “I grew up sitting on the floor of the site trailers with my dad, figuring out how to set steel from a very young age,” he says. And his early interest in building didn’t stop when he moved to Japan — he merely switched industries. “Once I started in eyewear,” says O’Gara, “I spent more and more time in Sabae with the owners and engineers of these factories, and I learned how to do this.”

“FOR US , C L OSE ENOU G H IS NO T G O OD ENO U G H .”

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“W E C A N G O F R OM D E SIG N TO THE P R O T O T Y PE IN T W EN T Y D AYS .”

busin ess h as n ev er been bet ter for The Light Co. Their domestic Japanese business alone has grown 40 percent since the onset of COVID-19. “People not going out to the office don’t wear contacts, so they just want some frames,” he says. His is one of the only local businesses that didn’t cut jobs because of the pandemic. He kept buying advertising in Japanese fashion magazines throughout the shut-down, even though people weren’t going out to shops, just to help keep these publications afloat. After a tour of the factory, O’Gara steps outside. Suddenly, we’re surrounded by rice fields. “The freeze will end soon,” he says. “The rice farmers will be out here working every day.” I spot a black AMG 1998 V6 G-Wagon behind him. It’s his. Four-wheel-drive is a requirement in Sabae because “it snows a shit-ton here,” he says. It was this heavy snow, and the threat it posed to a local economy based on rice farming, which inspired a pioneering local at the turn of the 19th century to develop an eyewear industry as a way to diversify their economy. World War II led to advancements in eyewear and manufacturing in general, and Sabae was the only major Japanese production site that survived the war. The post-war economic expansion provided a growing market for Sabae’s signature product, and the town that once had to import its experts from Tokyo now makes over 90 percent of the eyewear produced in Japan. In the early 1980s, Sabae’s engineers were the first in the world to make eyeglass frames out of titanium. This legacy and culture of cutting-edge eyewear expertise, the tight-knit community of engineers and suppliers, and the deep expertise of local craftspeople all combine to make eyewear from Sabae the finest in the world. What makes Tommy O’Gara’s position in Sabae so unique is how difficult it is for an outsider to develop a holistic understanding of Japanese eyewear’s complex production methods, acquired by local craftspeople over years, if not generations. “There are so many steps in the production process — over two hundred and fifty steps to make metal frames,” says Hidemi Umeda, owner of a Sabae eyewear engineering company, Umeda Inc., who works with Tommy on metal and combination frames. “Tommy’s designs are very unique in that he creates a design from zero, instead of referring to other eyewear products like other designers,”

says Umeda. “He wants them to look simple, but they are very difficult to produce, which is an inspiring challenge.” O’Gara’s design process is effervescent and inspired. Hearing him talk about it — the cadence of his voice, the energy that animates him — I can tell this is the part of the process where he really slips into his flow state. “I don’t work on two brands at once. And I start by packing my van or jumping on my bike, and just going somewhere for inspiration.” Recently that meant a solo drive on Japan’s snowy mountain roads. Sometimes it means surfing, or a ride on his 1982 Harley Davidson XLH 1000 Street Tracker. When working on his Sauvage line — which was inspired by a blend of French and Japanese culture — it meant running around different Parisian flea markets, poster shops and paint stores. Next he builds up what he calls “vibe sheets” with images of objects, people, architecture, airplanes, cars, motorcycles –– anything that inspires him. (A recent collection was inspired by ‘70s stereo equipment.) Then he writes about it longhand in notebooks and sketchbooks — what he likes, how these things move him, what inspires him. “Gathering the inspiration and the writing take twice as much time as the design, but that’s the fun part,” he says. From the writing, he picks out shapes –– beginning with the lenses –– before moving on to the frames. He scans his hand drawings into his computer, and then sits back and thinks about the lines. “After I choose the lines and dial in the fronts and the temple shapes, I hand them off to my assistant and he does all the spec sheets,” O’Gara says. “Every line delineates a carve, a cut, or an angle. Then we have to make tools, or bits, to cut that angle. Every line you see on a frame is done by a different bit.” So an engineer in his factory takes these specifications and turns them into blueprints, which drive the machines. These steps between design and fabrication are usually where things can become distorted, which is why his vertically integrated process is so important to maintaining design and manufacturing purity. It also shortens the process: “We can go from design to the prototype in twenty days.” O’Gara doesn’t look at other eyewear for inspiration, nor is he satisfied with stock acetate colors. He happened to be wearing the Kowalski frames from his Native Sons brand, inspired by the film, Vanishing Point, when we spoke.

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“This color is called blood,” he says, pulling off his frames and holding them up to the computer camera, “Because one night in the studio, I poked my finger and bled onto A4 paper, and I photographed it as it was drying, just so I could get the right tone.” All the acetate colors he uses, except for black and clear, are custom colors that he creates with the scientists at Takiron. “He’s a whirlwind,” says Carby Tuckwell, cofounder of the motorcycle and fashion brand Deus Ex Machina. “He talks a million miles an hour, always churning up ideas.” Tuckwell created an eyewear line with O’Gara that quickly sold out. The two are now developing a second collection called Deus Special Ops. “Eyewear is a small space [in which] to express something,” Tuckwell says. “Eyewear designers are big personalities, they’re gregarious, and even a little bit crazy — and Tommy fits into that.”

3

“ TH AT PER S ON C A N BE WA R M , TH E Y C A N BE C OO L , THEY CA N BE PAS SIONATE . . . B ECAUS E T H E IR EY E W E A R GI V E S THE M THE CO N F IDEN C E .”

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this pa g e

Sauvage Pilote, $825

shortly befor e w e h a ng u p, O’Gara pauses our conversation to greet one of his workers who was just showing up for work — late. He’s a widower who lives alone, O’Gara later tells me, and he needed time to take his dog on a morning walk. “He’s part of our ‘Silver Team,’” O’Gara explains. He, like the rest of the Silver Team, works on flex time. “They can come and go however works for them,” O’Gara says. And they repay his flexibility by working doubly hard during heavy production runs. “We are all pretty much linked together.” O’Gara is looking to double his production by this time next year. “We are interviewing now. A lot of people lost jobs during COVID, so now is a good time for me to expand and help people out at the same time,” he says. From factory to face, O’Gara is driven by the highest purposes of his craft. He likes to look at a person’s face to intuit what frames would best suit them, both physically and psychologically. Maybe it’s clear-lens frames for a female executive in a male-driven industry, or dark lenses for a jazz musician craving armor while he emotes through his instrument. “Eyewear is part of a person’s repertoire for representing their image,” O’Gara says. “And if that pair of frames fits the bone structure, the style, the hair, the skin tone...that person can be warm, they can be cool, they can be passionate, they can be anything they want to be. Because their eyewear gives them the confidence.” As for the business side, he’s cemented his company’s reputation by doing things the hard way. “If you chase money, you’ll get to a certain level, but if you build something dynamic that has its own message, the money will follow.” The dark side of the fashion business — the ruthlessly commercial side — is what led him to the path he’s on, which is why he named his company, “The Light.” “It’s been a lot of fun,” he says. “And I hope we can have more fun.”

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M I C R OADV E N T U R E

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No one wants to spend the whole summer indoors. Seek out adventure close to home with some of the season’s best gear. text by

Jack Seemer

i l l u s t r at i o n s b y

Kailah Ogawa

is an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap,” says British author and adventurer Alastair Humphreys, who coined the term back in 2015. The appeal, he adds, “is that they make adventure accessible to people who may have very little outdoor experience.” It’s been more than a year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, forcing millions of people across the globe into perpetual lockdown. And while vaccines and falling infection rates provide a glimpse of light at the end of this tunnel, it will be a while still before everyday citizens are planning crosscontinent escapades in the name of adventure. The remedy, then, to a long year indoors, is to heed Humphreys’s advice and seek out your thrills a little closer to home: Walk every street in your neighborhood. Forage your own dinner. Bike 100 miles. Paddle the length of a local river. Or drive somewhere no car has been before. Sound fun? We think so. Here’s everything you need to get out there.

“ a m icroa dve n t ur e


f e at u r e

Microadventure Gear Guide

ride it out You probably bought a bike this past year. Or at least a Peloton. Who didn’t? Put those chiseled calves to the test by completing what cyclists endearingly refer to as a “century” — biking 100 miles in one go. Don’t worry, bathroom breaks are allowed.

Polar Bottle Breakaway Insulated Water Bottle If you’re thirsty enough, any bottle will do. But why suffer through gulps of warm sugar water? This lightweight, insulated bottle can keep beverages cold hours after they’re poured. It comes in two sizes — 20 and 24 ounces — to help you stay hydrated. $14+

Skratch Labs Sport Superfuel Drink Mix

Wahoo Elemnt Roam GPS Bike Computer

Sport Superfuel is for long and grueling workouts. Each serving carries 400 calories of easy-to-digest energy by way of Cluster Dextrin, which consists of 60 to 70 glucose units that break apart slowly during digestion. In other words, it’s ideal for multi-hour hauls.

Not just another bike computer, this stalwart offers “Back on Track” rerouting, a colored screen that makes for quick and easy navigation and an ambient light sensor that activates a backlight when needed. Don’t worry about it dying on you, either. Its 17-hour battery life is sure to get you to where you’re going.

$40

$380

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Rapha Core Cargo Shorts

Outer Shell Rolltop Saddlebag

These shorts feature a mesh pocket on each leg — perfect for securing a phone or loose energy gels — as well a size-specific chamois pad to keep your bum from burning after the first few miles. If you prefer shoulder straps, Rapha also offers a traditional bib format.

Not all saddlebags are created equal. This one, from San Francisco brand Outer Shell, uses a rolltop closure, meaning you can make it as big as it needs to be to hold extra layers, a repair kit or whatever else may come in handy down the road (pro tip: pack more snacks).

$130

$50

Chamois Butt’r Coconut Anti-Chafe Don’t forget to lube up. This organic, nongreasy formula calls upon shea butter, vitamins A and E, aloe vera and coconut oil for instant relief on sensitive areas. It washes out easily and won’t damage or discolor technical apparel. $18

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Microadventure Gear Guide

Snow Peak Takibi Fire & Grill

Opinel No.08 Mushroom Knife

Highly durable and made for a lifetime of use, this five-piece cooking system includes a grill net and adjustable-height bridge, which pack down into an accompanying carrying case. But you’ll have to find your own wood.

An absolute must-have for fungi foragers. A curved three-inch blade helps cut even the most delicate of morels, while a boar-bristle brush delicately wipes away dust and debris without damaging the goods.

$320

$30


live off the land Few endeavors are as satisfying as seeking out edibles in the wild, let alone filling a whole plate with them. But even if your first few hauls are lackluster, the hikes alone are reason enough to get out and try. Just be careful about which mushrooms you pick.

Barebones Harvesting & Gathering Bag

Tenkara Rod Co. The Sawtooth

Barebones turned to vintage orchard bags for inspiration when designing this rugged waxed-canvas carryall. A convertible strap allows for chest- or back-carrying, and a clever drop-out bottom makes quick work of unloading your harvest.

Made for fish in the six- to 18-inch range, this supple 12-foot rod can take on even the most finicky of trout. It’s light, playful and responsive, doing everything you want it to — and then some. An extra $30 will net you a furled line, spool and three hand-tied flies to go with it.

$65

$165

Filson Original Goatskin Gloves Good gloves shield your digits from prickly thorns and the like. And few pairs can outshine those from Filson. These are made with fine-grain goatskin and feature an elastic wrist, guaranteeing a better fit — and better protection. $95

Falcon Enamelware Deep Plates Simple, elegant and hard as, well, steel, these deep-seated plates can take a beating. And don’t worry about a few chips here or there — they call that patina, even in the backcountry. $70

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Microadventure Gear Guide

blaze a trail Word of warning: overlanding is a lifestyle, and once you start, it can be hard to stop, even if you do find yourself stuck in some mud. But you’ll need more than a good offroad SUV to really do it right — and get out of that mud pit.

Gerber Folding Spade

Wavian Fuel Can

Dig yourself out of sticky situations with this compact folding shovel made from powder-coated carbon steel. It features a serrated-blade edge to take on all types of difficult terrain.

Want to increase your range? Bring more fuel. Rigorously tested, this modern take on a classic jerry can holds more than five gallons of extra gas — which is never a bad thing to have in your reserves.

$62

$85

Warn M8 Winch Traveling off-road without a winch isn’t impossible, but it’s not far off, either, as the tool remains the most efficient means to overcome common obstacles. This one is a mainstay in overlanding communities, top-rated for its simplicity and value. $1,017

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MaxTrax Mini

Thule Low-Pro 3

Could you use your car’s floor mats to get unstuck from the mud, sand or snow? Sure, but these compact recovery boards do a far better job — and they’re easier to clean.

Our pick for the best rooftop tent is true to its name, minimizing drag and its impact on fuel efficiency — especially when packed. So you can leave it on even when you’re not off to the woods. It sleeps two to three people.

$200

$1,900

Magellan TRX7 Off Road Navigator Magellan has been making GPS systems for three decades, but the TRX7 is its first attempt at hardcore 4×4 navigation. The unit comes preloaded with more than 44,000 off-road trails from national parks to public lands — and should you choose to go your own way, it lets you record your own data, too. $500


f e at u r e

Microadventure Gear Guide

Hydro Flask Medium Dry Storage Keep your phone, keys and other accessories organized — and dry — with this new bag from Hydro Flask. The best feature: a touch screen window that still lets you check your messages or map. $45

NRS Ninja PFD This sleek PFD (personal flotation device) isn’t your average life vest. It’s low-profile, so it won’t get in your way in the water, while mesh fabric on the shoulder straps and inner panels keeps things nice and breezy during extended wear. $130

Outerknown Apex Hybrid Trunks These are Kelly Slater’s signature swim trunks. Constructed from recycled plastic bottles, the fabric is lightweight, durable and fast-drying. These trunks also look right at home in, out of and above the water. $128

Bote Breeze Aero Inflatable Paddle Board A fun, convenient and affordable option for first-time paddle boarders, the inflatable Breeze Aero comes in two sizes, with the bigger of the two capable of supporting up to 315 pounds. It comes with a hand pump, repair kit, three-piece adjustable paddle and aero bag for easy storage. $649+

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w a l k o n w at e r Sound impossible? You just haven’t tried stand-up paddle boarding, a growing sport that may soon feature in the Olympics. But even if you’re not chasing athletic glory, SUPing is a great workout — not to mention a novel way to explore nearby lakes or rivers.

Bare Republic Mineral SPF 50 Sport Sunscreen Lotion This mineral sunscreen doesn’t rely on chemicals to save your skin. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide combine for a powerful, reef-friendly option that’s safe for all skin types — and free of parabens, dyes or synthetic fragrances.

Arc’teryx Sinsola Hat Though a favorite among avid hikers, the lightweight Sinsola Hat from Arc’teryx is equally at home on the water. The polyester fabric has a UPF 50+ rating for sun protection, and it’s fully compressible for ease of storage when not in use. $55

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Microadventure Gear Guide

ta k e t o t h e s t r e e t s Who says adventures have to happen in the wild? Cities are full of opportunities for discovery. Block off half a day and head for a curious landmark, shop or just some random pin on the map. You never know what you might unearth along the way.

Under Armour UA Sportsmask If you find a more comfortable and breathable face mask, let us know. Until then, this one will remain our top pick. Under Armour’s IsoChill fabric feels cool to the touch, while an antimicrobial treatment on the inside layer keeps things fresh under there. $30

Mophie Powerstation Plus Mini You’d be wise to bring a little extra juice, especially if you plan to use a navigation app like Google Maps. This power pack provides up to 13 hours of additional life, while an integrated charging cable means one less thing to pack. $25

Zojirushi Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Mug One of the best water bottles you can buy, straight up. It’s lightweight and hard-wearing, and the unique mouthpiece allows for a smooth, steady stream when drinking. Fill it up with hot coffee, cold water or whatever best fuels your concrete trek. $28

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Fujifilm X100V Cutting-edge tech in a timeless package — that’s the X100V. Inside the polished aluminum body are a state-of-the-art 26.1 megapixel sensor and a powerful quad-core processor that boosts autofocus performance. The exceptional 23mm F2.0 lens is just the cherry on top. $1,399

Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Pack 20L Patagonia’s Black Hole series is legendary. Made with 100 percent recycled fabric, lining and webbing, this simple, top-loading rucksack is comfortable and durable, and it packs into itself when you’re at home planning for your next little adventure. $79

Danner Trail 2650 Campo This new variation of Danner’s signature hiking shoe can tackle trails and sidewalks in equal measure. At 11 ounces, it’s lighter and also more breathable than the original but doesn’t skimp on support. An external heel counter keeps feet in place, while grippy multidirectional lugs keep you on them. $140


THE ULTIMATE FATHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE Dad cares about the details but he rarely puts himself first. This year, get him a gift that shows you sweat the small stuff. edited by

John Zientek

photos by

Henry Phillips

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POWER USER

Grilling has officially left the caveman era. Help Dad bring his cookouts into the 21st century with new tech and clever tools.

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LOOFT LIGHTER I This is essentially the world’s hottest hair dryer — but for charcoal lighting. $100 ANOVA CULINARY SOUS VIDE NANO The best way to ensure perfect doneness. Sous vide, sear, slice. $129 CHEF’S PRESS For a better sear, employ a healthy dose of gravity. $13+ THERMOWORKS INDUSTRIAL IR GUN No, waving your hand over the flame won’t suffice. This is how you know when the grill is ready for steaks. $69

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SCISSORS WON’T CUT IT

Wahl’s stainless steel beard trimmer delivers hours of trimming on a single charge thanks to a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Numerous attachments and guide combs facilitate a range of facial-hair styles, and the self-sharpening blades stay honed for years. Procrastinators, rejoice: a one-minute charge provides three minutes of trimming.

WAHL MODEL 9864 ATTACHMENTS: 4 HEADS, 12 GUIDE COMBS RUN TIME: 6 HOURS WARRANTY: 5 YEARS $75

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HOT SHOTS

Tabasco is great and all but there’s a wide world of heat and flavor out there, and sometimes, the grocery-store aisle only goes so far. These concoctions pick up the slack when your dish just needs a little something.

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TRUFF HOT SAUCE Truffles elevate pretty much everything (even hot sauce). $18 CHILI RATING: 3/5 RED CLAY FLASK OF ORIGINAL HOT SAUCE A flask of whiskey is outdated — hot sauce is where it’s at. $22 CHILI RATING: 2/5 HOT SLOTH CBD HOT SAUCE A hot sauce that burns the tongue and cools the mind. $36 CHILI RATING: 4/5

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COLD AND CRUSHABLE

The ideal summer beer is easy to drink — and easy to drink a lot of. Pack the cooler with crispy lagers, juicy IPAs and soda-like sours. If you’re lucky, Dad will share. f rom le f t

Ditch the Can

BROOKLYN BREWERY PULP ART Somehow Brooklyn Brewery managed to capture a taste of the tropics in a 12-ounce can. $10/6-pack

DOGFISH HEAD SEAQUENCH ALE SeaQuench is a bunch of beer styles in one, but all you need to know is it’s damn good. $10/6-pack

SIERRA NEVADA SUMMER BREAK Just like summer breaks in school, you’ll hope this beer never ends. $10/6-pack

STYLE: HAZY IPA ABV: 6.5%

STYLE: SESSION SOUR ABV: 4.9%

STYLE: SESSION HAZY IPA ABV: 4.6%

JACK’S ABBY HOUSE LAGER This beer might actually be more refreshing than a glass of water. $8/4-pack

NEW BELGIUM SOUR IPA This is a shockingly easy-todrink IPA considering its high ABV. It probably has to do with its bright, zippy acidity. $11/6-pack

STYLE: HELLES LAGER ABV: 5.2%

STYLE: SOUR IPA ABV: 7.0%

RASTAL TEKU With its thin lip and angular design, the stemmed Teku makes every sip of beer feel like an experience — whether Dad’s drinking a pastry stout, triple IPA or Coors Light. $12

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STRONG FOUNDATION

The right footwear makes every workout better. No matter how Dad likes to get sweaty, one of these pairs of shoes is sure to help him rediscover his muscle-maintaining motivation.

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REEBOK NANO X1 Stable enough for heavy lifts, but flexible enough for sprints — this award-winning shoe can do it all. $130 APL TECHLOOM PRO These breathable, supportive cross-trainers are also stylish enough for post-workout brunch. $140 PUMA FUSE TRAINING SHOES Minimal drop, grippy outsole, tough upper — and a price that leaves plenty of cash for protein shakes. $90

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CASH KEEPERS

Wallets may come in different shapes and sizes, but they all do the same thing — the good ones, anyway. Find one that reflects his style. cloc k wise f rom top

TANNER GOODS JOURNEYMAN Just enough room for your cards and some folded bills — nothing more. $75

PIONEER ION BIFOLD This slim folding wallet is water-resistant, seamless and tough as hell. $59

EDWARD FIELD PHONE WALLET This Italian-leather wallet secures an iPhone and can hold plastic, bills and receipts. $129 above

JOSHU+VELA BILLFOLD Made in San Francisco, this cash holder will only get better with age. $88

BILLYKIRK NO. 262 SMALL TRUCKER The durability that bikers need in a size for everyone else. $140

FILSON BRIDLE LEATHER PASSPORT WALLET Protect Dad’s passport (and other travel essentials) with vegetable-tanned bridle leather. $125

BELLROY CARD POCKET Keep coins, cash and cards secure with this understated zip wallet. $59

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WORK SMART

Left to its own devices, a laptop can’t hold a candle to a real work-from-home rig. But with a few simple upgrades, Dad can have a workstation that’s ergonomic and refined. cloc k wise f rom top

DELL ULTRASHARP CURVED MONITOR A second screen’s worth of real-estate without all the extra cables. $1,500

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DACASSO DESK PAD Protect your desk and feel like a high-powered diplomat all in one go. $150

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LOGITECH MX MASTER 3 WIRELESS MOUSE Its electromagnetic scroll wheel will make Dad’s spreadsheet mining a breeze. $100

FUJITSU REALFORCE R2 PFU KEYBOARD If Dad’s going to be typing on it all day, it better feel damn nice to use. $348

GROVEMADE WOOD LAPTOP STAND Having your laptop at a proper viewing height will save you a ton of pain, literally. $150


TOOL TIME

Kennedy Manufacturing literally invented the first metal tool box, and the brand ensures all of its products last a lifetime. Even after a century, everyone from aerospace engineers to home DIYers turn to Kennedy when they need a sturdy toolstorage system. To ensure its tool boxes last forever (yes, they come with a limited lifetime warranty), Kennedy gets the details right — 20-gauge steel, a vinyl-lined handle and a lot of heft. KENNEDY MANUFACTURING 20” ALL-PURPOSE HAND CARRY TOOL BOX $161

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TOES TO THE TRAIL

Sandals aren’t just for hippies and whitewater guides, especially not the breed that comes equipped with comfy-yet-rugged soles and supportive straps that’ll leave tan lines to be proud of. Dad can rock them on treks to swimming holes or jaunts to coffee shops, and ignore the haters — socks are acceptable.

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CHACO Z/CLOUD Not all Chacos come with that big-toe loop — but they do have thick, supportive soles. $100 TEVA HURRICANE VERGE Teva’s newest sandal debuts a cross-strap that provides equal parts support and style. $80 BEDROCK SANDALS CAIRN 3D PRO II Bedrock’s design may look minimal, but it’s capable of taking on thousand-mile thru-hikes. $130

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BIG SOUND, SMALL BUDGET Building a home theater may sound daunting, but don’t go thinking that you need to spend thousands of dollars on a 4K projector. Simply pair the TV with an AV receiver and loudspeakers — okay, throw in a subwoofer for good measure — and the fam will be the envy of the neighborhood.

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KLIPSCH R-41M BOOKSHELF HOME SPEAKERS Don’t be fooled by their small footprint — these versatile bookshelf speakers are powerful enough for a home-theater system. $229 DENON AVR-S540BT This affordable AV receiver will work with most 4K TVs. It supports Dolby Atmos and comes with built-in Bluetooth. $299 KLIPSCH R-12SW SUBWOOFER The downside to using bookshelf speakers in a home-theater system: no bass. This subwoofer more than makes up for that. $249

The Plug-and-Play Solution SONOS BEAM Not ready for a full home theater? No problem. Sonos’s Beam soundbar offers high-definition sound at an entry-level price, and it plays nicely with the brand’s other speakers when Dad is ready to upgrade. $399

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LAID BACK, DRESSED UP

The timeless design of the polo shirt — the de facto knit for tennis players since the ‘30s — is an easy way to dress up any casual outfit.

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ONIA SHAUN POLO Made from a breezy linen-poly knit, this buttonless shirt embodies casual cool. $85 SUNSPEL RIVIERA POLO Designed for Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, this shirt is made from soft cotton mesh. $135 UNIQLO DRY PIQUE POLO This quick-drying shirt will keep Dad cool no matter the heat index. $20

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RUBBER STAMP A rubber watch strap is the choice for summer — it will be waterproof, pliable and, likely, hypoallergenic. These days, vintage-inspired models are some of our favorites.

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BARTON BANDS ELITE SILICONE STRAP This affordable option comes in seven widths, five buckle types and 20 different colors. $20

TROPIC DIVE WATCH STRAP The thinness and taper of this iconic strap give it an incredibly luxurious feel. $79

ISOFRANE WATCH STRAP Made of hypoallergenic isoprene rubber, an ISOfrane is perfect for your deep-diving tool watch. $139+

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DOME DEFENDER

Motorcycle helmets are made to be safe, but this Bell brings speedy style to the party. Don’t go thinking it cuts any corners, though. It carries DOT-certified protection and the visor’s ProTint Photochromic shield darkens under UV light, meaning Dad will see better under sunny skies. Another high point: magnetic cheek pads pop out for cleaning, making it easier to keep the helmet from getting grody. BELL RACE STAR FLEX DLX $735 - $840

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SMALL STEEL

The best knife is the knife you have on you, and one surefire way Dad can make sure that’s always the case is by attaching one to his keys. Luckily, there’s an assortment of pint-sized pocket knives that punch above their weight class with highgrade materials and looks as sharp as their blades. f rom le f t

WESN MICROBLADE 2.0 Thanks to an integrated flipper tab, the Microblade is small and fast. $70

THE JAMES BRAND ELKO In addition to its unique droppoint blade, the Elko’s butt is a handy scraper. $60+

TERRAIN 365 DTK-AT A corrosion-resistant “super alloy” blade makes this knife completely rustproof. $179

BLADE LENGTH: 1.5 INCHES

BLADE LENGTH: 1.74 INCHES

BLADE LENGTH: 1.19 INCHES

WEIGHT: 1.3 OUNCES

WEIGHT: 1.6 OUNCES

MATERIALS: SANDVIK 12C27 STEEL, MICARTA

MATERIALS: TERRAVANTIUM DENDRITIC COBALT, TITANIUM

WEIGHT: 1 OUNCE MATERIALS: TITANIUM, G10

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SUB-$25 SPENDS

No budget? No problem. There are plenty of affordable products sure to bring a smile to Dad’s face.

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VERVET CANNED COCKTAILS MIXED PACK Produced in small batches in California, these cocktails are perfect for a summer get-together. $22 CAMELBAK PODIUM CHILL INSULATED BIKE WATER BOTTLE Designed to fit securely in different bottle cages, this bottle is the perfect biking companion. $15 GRAF LANTZ BIERFILZ ROUND COASTER FELT Merino wool, it turns out, is perfect coaster material, and it looks snazzy as hell. $24 CROWN & BUCKLE KEYRING SPRINGTOOL Throw one of these on Dad’s keyring and he’ll always be ready for a strap change. $15 HODINKEE UTE NYLON WATCH STRAP Just the right thickness, just the right length — this is the quintessential NATO strap. $24 SUN BUM HAND SANITIZER Natural ingredients such as coconut oil and aloe extract make this hand sanitizer a pleasure to use. $4 WYZE SMART PLUGS Dad can verbally control appliances using Alexa and Google Assistant integration on these cool smart plugs. $15

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GIFTS FOR THE NEW DAD

Parenthood is one of the most profound experiences in life — but for new parents in particular, it’s also exhausting. Help that new dad keep tabs on time or just chill out with these great gift ideas. APPLE WATCH SERIES 6 Help him stay connected even though his hands are constantly full. $399

MARATHON MECHANICAL ALARM CLOCK Jolt that worn-out dad back to temporal reality with this simple, loud alarm clock. $20

GRACO EXTEND2FIT CONVERTIBLE CAR SEAT One quality, super-affordable car seat that can last from infancy to pre-adolescence. $200

GEOLOGIE NOURISHING EYE CREAM He won’t get enough sleep, but this cream will make people stop asking about it. $59

DAD GRASS HEMP CBD PREROLL 5 PACK Long-lasting, all-natural and guaranteed not to get him arrested in all 50 states. $35

SONOS ONE Perfect for both the dad who already has a sound system and the dad who needs to start one. $199

TEN THOUSAND RECOVER CREW A basic sweatshirt that is comfortable, durable and always odor-free. $98

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DETOUR

text by

Tyler Chin

CANOE

AT THIS POR TL AND BRICK-AND-MOR TAR , SHOPPERS RE VEL IN PRODUCTS POISED TO BECOME HEIRLOOMS. 1233 SW 10th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97205

What do you intend to pass down to your children? Canoe, a Portland, Oregon, homewares store, wants to help you answer that. The 15-year-old storefront stocks hundreds of well-designed pieces, ranging from Japanese bathroom linens to Swiss cutlery. Each and every offering is selected for its long-lasting quality and timeless design. In that way, founders Craig Olson and Sean Igo see themselves functioning as editors, curating what Olson calls “hype-free” products. Canoe’s inventory is worldly — you may find a Japanese wall clock ticking above an English lamp, or a Portuguese kitchen oilcan next to a Finnish vase. But Olson and Igo don’t neglect treasures from their hometown, either, carrying handmade goods from plenty of creative neighbors, of which Portland is in no short supply. in stoc k

Aalto, Braun, Hasami Porcelain, Imperial Stock Ranch, Michael Newsome Ceramics, Postalco

“PRODUCTS HAVE TO WORK WELL, NOT JUST LOOK COOL. WE EXPECT PRODUCTS TO DELIVER VALUE, WHICH DOESN’T NECESSARILY CORRELATE WITH A LOW PRICE.” — CRAIG OLSON

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photos by canoe

By appointment only (because of the pandemic)


Behind every product is a new story. That story could be rooted in the values that drove its creation, or its materials, or origin. Those hidden details are why we’ve launched the Gear Patrol Podcast, a weekly discussion of not just products, but the ideas and culture that surround them and bring them to life. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, our website, or wherever else you get your podcasts. podcast.gearpatrol.com