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The Week's Best Writing

In Case You Missed It: September 15 – 19

Our best articles from the last few weeks. Just in case, ya know, you missed them: the best boots for fall, following a pro cyclist through wine country, burning your tongue off with hot sauce, playing golf in a democracy, the best fruit beer and more.

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One Hike to Rule Them All

Show Us Your Hikes: We Have a Winner

We asked for photos and stories from your favorite trail, and many of you delivered. Actually, a lot of you delivered. Too many, in fact. You made these past few days difficult and emotionally taxing. But, at long last, we’ve picked a winner.

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Deals this good don't last long.

Don’t Miss Out on Marriott Rewards FlashPerks

It’s time to get more from your travels. The Marriott Rewards FlashPerks program is an exclusive service for Marriott Rewards members that offers great deals on memorable hotels, merchandise and experiences you won’t find anywhere else. Learn more or sign up today.

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Opening Sesame on U.S. Markets

Decrypted: What Alibaba Means for Consumers

Even if you couldn’t care less about stocks, IPOs, and imaginary dollars exchanging hands, you’ve probably caught wind of Alibaba. But what does this Chinese giant mean for you?

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The Drive is the Destination

American Roads Less Traveled, a Driver’s Guide

From the Archives: Long weekends aren’t just for sleeping in and backyard barbecues. Hop in the car, embrace the fresh air and hug the asphalt like you don’t have a care in the world. There are a ton of great roads out there, twisty, straight and some off the beaten path. We’ve listed some of the best (and some less-traveled) for your vacation enjoyment and paired them with the ideal vehicle to maximize the experience.

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Snip Snip

Decrypted: Should You Cut the Cord on Cable?

More Americans now subscribe to in-home broadband than cable television from any of the nation’s nine largest providers. We’re arguably staring at a future where all content — channel based or otherwise — is delivered over the Internet.

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One More Thing Than Apple's Thing

Meet the iBuckle, This Autumn’s Must-Have Wearable

With the release of the Apple Watch, wrist wearables may finally be finding their stride. But who cares? Watches had perfected timekeeping by the time the personal computer was invented. What wearable technology really needs to capture the hearts and wallets of consumers worldwide is a revolution. So from GP’s own department of disruptive innovation comes a proposal: the iBuckle. Here’s a breakdown of its groundbreaking features.

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The Gear You Missed

This Week in Gear: September 8 – 12

This Week in Gear: Destiny, slim EDC Leathermans, minimalist leather wallets, Four Roses Bourbon and the best barrel-aged ciders.

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Ask and you shall receive

Meet the Only Smartphone with Firefly Technology

Search engines changed how we discover information about the world around us forever — not to mention how we shop. Amazon’s new Firefly technology embedded in the new Fire Phone, exclusively on AT&T, is primed to flip the script once again. At its core, Firefly is designed to help users easily identify everything from web addresses and phone numbers to over 100 million products including various forms of media like movies, TV episodes and songs.

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Just That Easy

The Effortlessness of Unstructured Blazers

From the Archives: Maybe it’s cooling down for you. Maybe it’s not, but whether you’re starting to stack the layers or just need a little extra amp in your wardrobe, the unstructured blazer is hard to beat. Here are our six favorites.

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The mobile interface of the future, today

Meet the Only Smartphone with Dynamic Perspective

Sci-fi movies have teased us with the power and convenience of 3D interfaces for years. But Amazon’s newly launched Fire Phone, available exclusively at AT&T, proves that the wait for an advanced smartphone interface that harnesses the full potential of 3D is finally over. So-called Dynamic Perspective is powered by four front-facing infrared cameras that constantly track the position of the user’s head in relation to the phone’s screen — even in the dark. The result is a persistent 3D viewing experience that doesn’t require special glasses or a fancy 3D display.

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Big Boned Bikes

Fat Bikes to Start Riding Today

From the Archives: The Global Fat Bike Summit reported that fat bike sales doubled from 2011 to 2012, then doubled again from 2012 to 2013. So on and so forth. The category is growing, and the ease with which the oversized tires float over sand, snow and technical rock sections is to thank. Whether you’re looking for something to ride casually through the winter months or a race monster, we’ve got five bikes to cover your needs. Oh, and a few races to strive for.

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It's About Time

Decrypted: The Apple Watch Is Here. Now What?

Back in August, we argued that smartwatches simply weren’t worth the investment (yet, anyway) for most people. The question, of course, was whether or not Apple’s entry into the space would break away from that mold in any significant manner. Now that the company’s annual September event has concluded and an Apple Watch has been released, Darren Murph examines the answer.

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Calling on anyone with a trail name and matching beard

Contest: Show Us Your Favorite Hiking Trail, Win a Daypack Stuffed with Gear

ATTENTION: We’re rounding up stories and photography from the best hiking trails in America, and we need your help.

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The Gear You Missed

This Week in Gear: August 30, 2014

This Week in Gear: The Beatles Boxed Set, underwater cameras, sexy watches, coffee kits and more.

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Our inbox overfloweth

Letters to GP: August 2014

We read all of your letters. Here’s the proof.

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Like Post Secret for Adults

Decrypted: Navigating Anonymous Social Media Networks

Within the past year, two anonymous social apps, Secret and Whisper, have launched and secured millions of dollars in funding while racking up thousands of new users per day. The question is, should you be using them?

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Moving on up

Kit: Sophomore Year

A year’s worth of college puts you on a separate plane than the eager fresh faces that’ve just been let off the parental leash for the first time in their lives. There’s a wisdom that comes with knowing the ropes — like avoiding classes that meet more than twice a week, or where to find grease at any godforsaken hour. You’ve also made friends (some probably for life) and finally have a say over where you live and who you live with. Craft a smart plan, lean on your parents, and with a little bit of luck your new home might actually be a house. You’ve earned the extra space, now make it your own.

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Timekeeping from across the pond

The British Watch Issue

From the Archives: Before the Swiss stole the show, it was the Brits who were the masters of keeping time. Today, London’s calling watchmakers again, and British-based brands — Bremont, Chris Ward, Pinion and more — are on the rise. We explore Albion’s greatness with a watch shootout, a history lesson, an interview and more.

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Stay safe with genuine Canon products

Nobody Wins with Counterfeit Batteries

Counterfeit Canon batteries and battery chargers cost less than their genuine counterparts for a reason: they lack the heat management technology that’s critical for safety. The underground nature of their production also ignores factors like quality control and worker well-being in favor of earning a quick buck. By buying fake Canon products, you’re not just supporting these criminal groups, you’re also putting your camera equipment and potentially even your own safety at serious risk.

Learn how to spot fakes here.

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GP x Petrolicious

The Collector Series, Part Fourteen: Porsche 914

Vintage is in something fierce. You can blame the cliche and assign Mad Men all you want. But vintage is deeper than that. A stretch of tough times and the “planned obsolescence” of today has refocused our attention to history even more than ever. New doesn’t always equate to better and some things really don’t work like they used to. The Collector, a new Octane series in partnership with the classic car experts at Petrolicious, acknowledges the automotive gems of yesteryear that have gone overlooked for one reason or another. As a series, the selections we’ll share stand as both a group of savvy buys we’d base our personal car collection around and as a source of inspiration for life in the wake of ownership.

Head to Petrolicious to read The Collector Series, Part Fourteen: The Porsche 914, then peruse the kit it inspired.

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New school. New gear.

Kit: Freshman Year

Our college years have faded into the past, but that hasn’t stopped us from rethinking what we’d pack if we could do it all over again. Whether you’re matriculating this fall and looking for a leg up on your classmates, or a (clearly hip) parent prepping for one last spending hoorah before crossing your offspring off the books for good, consider your packing list officially started.

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GP x Petrolicious

The Collector Series, Part Thirteen: Ferrari 400i

Vintage is in something fierce. You can blame the cliche and assign Mad Men all you want. But vintage is deeper than that. A stretch of tough times and the “planned obsolescence” of today has refocused our attention to history even more than ever. New doesn’t always equate to better and some things really don’t work like they used to. The Collector, a new Octane series in partnership with the classic car experts at Petrolicious, acknowledges the automotive gems of yesteryear that have gone overlooked for one reason or another. As a series, the selections we’ll share stand as both a group of savvy buys we’d base our personal car collection around and as a source of inspiration for life in the wake of ownership.

Head to Petrolicious to read The Collector Series, Part Thirteen: The Ferrari 400, then peruse the kit it inspired.

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Keeping the good times always close at hand

The 50 Best Festivals in America eBook

Today we’re happy reintroduce our guide to the 50 Best Festivals in America in the form of a handy, downloadable eBook (PDF) that’s been revamped with even more photography, insight and trivia than before. It’s a ready-to-go handbook for your iOS, Android or Kindle device — never out of reach the next time the road comes calling. Oh, and it’s free. Download it here.

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The future of sleep is here

Rest Better with ComforPedic iQ

Introducing ComforPedic iQ™, the world’s first and only mattress to combine Ultra Cool™ Memory Foam with the revolutionary, patented Smart Response™ Technology. Sixteen internal chambers work together to naturally and continuously adapt to your body’s every position—all without motors or electronics.

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GP x Petrolicious

The Collector Series, Part Eleven: Facel Vega HK500

Vintage is in something fierce. You can blame the cliche and assign Mad Men all you want. But vintage is deeper than that. A stretch of tough times and the “planned obsolescence” of today has refocused our attention to history even more than ever. New doesn’t always equate to better and some things really don’t work like they used to. The Collector, a new Octane series in partnership with the classic car experts at Petrolicious, acknowledges the automotive gems of yesteryear that have gone overlooked for one reason or another. As a series, the selections we’ll share stand as both a group of savvy buys we’d base our personal car collection around and as a source of inspiration for life in the wake of ownership.

Head to Petrolicious to read The Collector Series, Part Eleven: Facel Vega HK500, then peruse the kit it inspired.

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WHAT'S NEW, NOW

This Week in Gear: July 5, 2014

This Week in Gear: the 2015 Ford Focus ST, GE Link connected LEDs, Ginger infused bourbon, Trek’s Edmonda SLR 10, Patagonia’s Nano-Air jacket.

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Doing more

Elements: Dual Threats

Two for the price of one. Who can’t get behind a premise like that? We’re not talking about Corona-themed tank tops hocked in Cancun to the fanny-packed masses here (but…still). We’re talking about those rare multi-tasking gems that force you to reassess what’s possible in this day and age. The best of the dual-threat bunch become icons, whether real — the Swiss Army Knife, Bo Jackson — or imagined — a Delorean turned time machine. Most at least make the rest of your possessions look useless in comparison. In some cases their genius stems from clever hacks that seem obvious in hindsight; in others, the magic comes from years of groundbreaking research and technological progress. This is a celebration of versatile items from all walks of life. May your future purchases forever be multi-talented.

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Third time's the charm

Design Spotlight: Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Is it our technological destiny to want both a tablet and a laptop forever, or can advances in hardware and software, combined with intelligent design, actually unify our professional and personal lives within one screen? Microsoft made its stance on the matter abundantly clear with the launch of the original Surface in the summer of 2012.

Two years later, the third iteration of the Surface is a marvel of engineering honed by experience and proving more than ever that Microsoft’s vision for the future of computing is as real as it gets. Here’s a rundown of the key innovations that make new Surface Pro 3 both a powerful Intel Core laptop and an easy-to-use tablet.

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GP x Petrolicious

The Collector Series, Part Ten: Mercedes-Benz 280 SL “Pagoda”

Vintage is in something fierce. You can blame the cliche and assign Mad Men all you want. But vintage is deeper than that. A stretch of tough times and the “planned obsolescence” of today has refocused our attention to history even more than ever. New doesn’t always equate to better and some things really don’t work like they used to. The Collector, a new Octane series in partnership with the classic car experts at Petrolicious, acknowledges the automotive gems of yesteryear that have gone overlooked for one reason or another. As a series, the selections we’ll share stand as both a group of savvy buys we’d base our personal car collection around and as a source of inspiration for life in the wake of ownership.

Head to Petrolicious to read The Collector Series, Part Ten: Mercedes-Benz 280 SL “Pagoda”, then peruse the kit it inspired.