The Latest

Uncorked
The slow creep of one wine collector's addiction

More Mature With Age

I come from a family of beer drinkers, firmly rooted in the blue-collar heritage of my grandfather’s construction and carpentry business. My father likes to say that it was his own skill at unskilled labor that paid his way through college. He whole-heartedly embraced the craft beer movement. My brothers share his taste for the malt, but my passion has been for wine.

Buying Guide
Confirm your searing desires

10 Great Grills

From the Archives: Summer is bearing down fast, and no man passes up the opportunity to get outside and burn some meat (ok, and perhaps a vegetable or two). It is, simply, an integral summer experience, whether enjoyed in the backyard, at a tailgate, in the campsite or on your tiny urban front step. These are your grills.

Riding a (blast) wave

Defense Journal: The MRAP

From the Archives: Studying the MRAP, the new line of transport vehicles for U.S. armed forces, protecting our soldiers against IEDs.

Better With Age
I Had a Vasectomy

Not Broken, But Fixed

At my age, many milestones in life have passed: school, first career, first marriage, kids by the first wife, divorce, second marriage, kid by the second wife. Like the vast majority of fathers out there, I love my kids and consider them the greatest blessings. However, there comes a point where you have to consider your work done and hang up your spurs.

The Commuter Issue
Kids ride (almost) free

Tested: Weehoo iGo Bicycle Trailer

If you’re looking to introduce your kids to cycling, the Weehoo iGo Pro bicycle trailer ($400) is just the tool for the job. We got our hands on one and put it to the test with a five-year-old and a 15-month-old in tow.

The GP Guide to Life
Simple tips for defending yourself effectively

Guide to Life: Take Down an Assailant

The best fight is the one the that never happens, the one you walk away from because the assault to your pride, your team, your girlfriend -- your whatever -- isn't worth ending your night early, the risk of injury (to you or the other guy) or jail. However, we recognize that sometimes walking away isn't possible. For those rare instances where you can't talk yourself out of violence, we offer simple counsel for defending yourself.

The Sochi Issue
Be Safe and Have Fun

Defense Journal: Staying Safe in Sochi

You're going to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, and you're going to be fine. Still, you should always reduce risk. The following tips minimize your exposure to terrorist activity and will also offer protection against criminal elements during your stay.

Defense Journal
Examining the World's Most Advanced Special Ops Training Facility

Defense Journal: Kings of a Special Ops Playground

The bigger the boys, the bigger the toys. The U.S. military in general, and U.S. Special Op folks in particular, work especially hard to remain atop the fighting force pyramid. They play just as hard, as any amount of time spent in the bars around Fort Bragg, Virginia Beach, and Coronado will reveal. It’s the best of both worlds when a training facility allows military guys to fully test their skills in an extremely competitive environment -- and the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center, or KASOTC (it rhymes with “aquatic”) is such a place. We take a closer look at this extraordinary facility and its annual Warrior Competition.

Gift Guide
Gifts for the Continent-hopper

12 Guys of Christmas: The Globetrotter

Your friend’s passport has addendum pages for the addendum pages and looks like Costanza’s wallet. It’s easier to count the countries he hasn’t visited than those he has. Travel-weary? Not a chance: this rolling stone likes to be moss-free, so we have the perfect collection of goods to keep your favorite road warrior in fightin’ trim. The tools below cover technology high and low, all to ensure the journey is every bit as enjoyable as the destination. The lucky recipient of your generosity will easily navigate airports, checkpoints (TSA or Syrian Free Army), and resort lobbies with aplomb, arriving refreshed and relaxed, ready for the work (and play) ahead.

A taste of the Northwest

Feast Portland: A Taste of Oregon, and Beyond

Feast Portland is more than just the story of food or chefs in the Rose City. While the bulk of the festival's events take place in Downtown Portland, Feast is about all of Oregon and its bounties: locally sourced meat and produce; fish from the Columbia River and surrounding waterways; wines of the Willamette Valley; and a craft beer industry that has made Oregon the number one state for brew artists and Portland the state’s epicenter. GP stopped in to enjoy the tastes.

Q&A
Founder of Ponzi Vineyards

30 Minutes With: Richard Ponzi

Dick Ponzi founded Ponzi Vineyards in 1970 and has been a key figure in making Willamette Valley pinot noir renowned worldwide. Along the way, he started Oregon’s oldest microbrewery, Bridgeport Brewing Company, in 1984. Now, he and his wife Nancy are poised to join artisan chocolate “bean to bar” movement. Gear Patrol wanted to know: How does one man establish such a presence and influence on the appetites of foodies?

GP100
Powerful Pedals

Garmin Vector

For truly superior training effectiveness on the bike, you need to unleash your full power. That means monitoring power output under real-world conditions, and for that there's no than the Garmin Vector ($1,700). With an unparalleled ease of installation and compatibility with any ANT+ head unit, the Vector gives you accurate power output at the pedal that's easily swapped between your road and tri bikes. But remember, only use your power for good -- like crushing the competition.

Ride smart and stay alive

Being Seen: Visible Cycling

Hey there. Yeah, you, riding along in your cool color-coordinated cycling team kit, all matchy-matchy. You look real spiffy, so neat you’ll make a great hood ornament. Because that’s where you’re going to end up -- on someone’s hood, or like me, under one. Those who really need to see you, can’t. In your fancy attire, you’re invisible to motorists.

Original Series

Behind the Wheel: Star Motorcycles Bolt & Bolt R-Spec

A day of cruising sunny, funky San Diego is enticing enough without a brand new ride underneath you. All the better, then, when Yamaha brought us to downtown San Diego for a well-organized day aboard their new Bolt, an American-style bobber -- an exercise in convincing some die-hard riders that their bike is a viable alternative to Wisconsin iron.

Full body, full wallet(?)

Want This, Get This: 2009 Chateau Petrus or 2011 Leonetti Merlot

You know the pinnacle of wine-making remains in France. Well, so do all those newly minted Chinese millionaires, and they’ve driven the price of Old World red wines sky high. This is especially true for top-end Bordeaux, which carry the highest cache among French wines. Those of us without a state-sponsored fortune, trust fund, or impending Wall Street bonus, however, have to look elsewhere for quality wine. Here are two splurge-caliber choices, made in the same style, of the same grape -- merlot -- though one comes without the inflation of appellation.

Brr Appetit

The Cold Dish Cheat Sheet: Eat Well, Stay Cool

Cool, moisture-rich dishes are perfectly refreshing in summer. Pulling ingredients from the fridge, or better yet, your backyard, and preparing them sans the uncomfortable added heat of an oven or stovetop is the ideal. In our cold dish primer, we examine five excellent cold-dish recipes, along with the "methodology" of preparing each type of food and optional accompaniments and alternatives to make your (picnic) table sing.

Summer Preview
Smoke some grass

Blade Runners: 5 Great Riding Mowers for Under $2k

Though you might dream about dropping lotto-winning cash on a pimped-out riding mower, the truth is that you don't need to spend more than $2k for a mower that you can captain with pride. Whether you plan on doing your best Bill Murray (Caddyshack, not Lost in Translation) impression on your own personal links, or hope to trim a more modest green acres, we’ve got the riding mower for you.

Summer Preview
Confirm your searing desires

The Heat is On: 10 Best Grills

Days are getting longer and sleeves are getting shorter. Summer is coming in hot and fast and that means it's time to man the grill.

1199 problems, but a Suzy ain't one

Want This, Get This: Ducati 1199 Panigale R or Suzuki GSX-R1000

Short on space in the garage? Gear Patrol’s new series, “Want This, Get This”, moves into a whole new vein this week, presenting a lust-worthy sportbike along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch. Read on for the dream screamer and its reality-based substitute.

Buying Guide
Fly-ready folders

Keep Calm Carry-Ons: 5 Best TSA-Approved Pocket Knives

Many of us remember the days of over-zealous and hyper-vigilant guardians of flight security; I've had children’s safety scissors, nail clippers (sans nail file), and three wooden toy swords (gifts for my sons) turned away in the name of national security. Being a serving member of the military didn’t help, even on the occasion when I was flying with both a service rifle and pistol on a contract aircraft.

The lifting of the Transportation Security Agency’s prohibition on knives brings both a boon for your every day carry (EDC) and a challenge in deciding on a folding knife that meets the TSA’s parameters. Wading into travel regulations and the many suitable sharp options on the market, we've picked five knives (plus a bonus) that will both get the odd job done and actually make it onto a plane.

Defense Journal
Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting?

Defense Journal | Military Combatives: A Case Study

There's an assumption, fed by movies and a romanticized view of war, that every American military member is an e-lite hand-to-hand ninja, martial artist, and/or dynamo in the Octagon. While there are many men and women in the military with particular skill in close combat, that is a fact of prior interest, and rarely a result of training received in the military. It will strike many as odd, but the vast majority of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines possess no exceptional skill at close combat, despite Hollywood's glamorized portrayals to the contrary.

The U.S. Army and Marine Corps have each struggled over the years to develop close range combative skills, both armed and unarmed, within their ranks. We'll focus on the ground combat oriented services, specifically the Marine Corps, in our case study.

Pushover

Husqvarna AWD Push Mower: Like a Beast on a Leash

While every man hankers for a tractor to motor around the yard, not every lawn is of a size to justify a riding mower. For the middle ground between a farm and a weed-whackable urban postage stamp, the Husqvarna AWD Push Lawn Mower ($500) is a great choice. I took the bright orange cutter -- just released this month -- for spin and found “push” mower to be a poor descriptor.

Defense Journal
Bad for running, worse for fighting

Combat Flip Flops

For a completely different idea on winning in Afghanistan, take a look at the brain child of two former Army Rangers and a friend. Working from the idea that we can’t kill our way to victory in a counter-insurgency conflict and from the inspired slogan, “Business, not bullets”, Combat Flip Flops ($65) promotes a strong Afghan economy to sustain and build on the successes of the past 10 years.

Defense Journal
Caffeinated Incursion

Combat Coffee: One Marine’s Tour of Caffeine

Despite being from Seattle, land of Starbucks, Seattle's Best, Tully and more than a handful of artisanal brewers, I didn’t come by my coffee habit honestly. The bitter drink didn’t cross my lips during college, despite the frequent all-night cram sessions wrought of a sporadic (home) work ethic. Coffee would have certainly improved the 12-mile bike commute in the cold Seattle drizzle at 0525, timed to maximize sleep, yet arrive before NROTC drill practice.

Officer Candidate School (OCS) introduced me to new depths of sleep deprivation -- short sleep periods combined with intense physical activity turned us into zombies shuffling along. Military formations became an exercise in intense concentration, especially after I fell asleep standing up, only catching myself, and the platoon sergeant’s unfavorable attention, short of smashing my face into the parade deck. It never occurred to me to get a cup of Joe at the mess hall; the Bunn was situated directly in front of the area where the staff sat, a place to be avoided for danger of unwanted haranguing from the collective hyenas bent on finding your smallest flaw.

Defense Journal
An Embassy Guard Commander's nightmare, realized

Danger Abroad: An American Family Imperiled

Benghazi and the death of Ambassador Stevens with three other Americans reminded us that unstable frontiers are often dangerous places -- places Americans live and work for years, many times accompanied by their families. The bombing of the Ankara embassy adds a fresh splash of cold water. Most tours pass without incident, and most years go by without foreign service casualties. Occasionally, the third world devolves into shit, and the thin veneer of safety and security is stripped away, leaving Americans exposed to the turmoil of internal strife or the targets or terrorism. Here, Gear Patrol offers you an account of threats faced by a Marine assigned to embassy duty in Africa, and the real costs paid by his family.

Take it outside

Bowers & Wilkins AM-1

Music lovers don’t want to be tethered to an indoor system -- loud enough to be heard outside is too loud for inside -- but even “outdoor” systems rarely last long out in the wet and cold. Bowers & Wilkins AM-1 exposes your music to the elements with impunity, thanks to a durable, weather-resistance speaker enclosure.

Roundup
Rock Out With Your Crock Out

5 Best Slow Cookers

There's a magic cauldron for preparing food -- one you're likely not using -- that combines convenience, a near-guarantee against overcooking and the ability to transform inexpensive, tough cuts of meat into tender, flavorful dishes. This fire-and-forget-it tool? The slow cooker. A slow cooker, as the name suggests, takes low

DEBATE
Debating the film account of Osama bin Laden's demise

Zero Dark Thirty: Best or Worst Movie of 2012?

Is Zero Dark Thirty the year's best movie or misleading sensationalism that advocates torture? The film's recent Oscar snub has raised the debate. Now, GP's own Scott Packard and Ben Bowers present intriguing discussion on morality in film, artistic license and "enhanced interrogation techniques". Read on for point and counterpoint on these divisive issues.

Apocalypto
Companions for the road most traveled

Who to Talk to When the World Ends

While we don’t expect the world to end this Friday, the possibility does make us think about how we'd want to face it.

As social animals entangled in our web of formal and informal, obligatory and optional, pleasant and painful, the question of who's brain would we like to crack open (not in the zombie way) just before we're done for good is a complicated one. Each of our proposed companions offers something in the face of terminal adversity -- perspective, redemption, reflection, levity, pathos.

Apocalypto
Oh, the places you'll go!

Where to Hide: Surviving Five Apocalypse Scenarios

So, you've been invited to participate in an apocalyptic event? What to wear, what to bring, who to party with; all important decisions. But the really important choice is where you're going to experience this life-changer (life-ender?). The "where" selection is strongly influenced by what type of apocalypse you're getting walloped

A different kind of pole dance

MSR SureLock TR-3 Trekking Poles

If you've ever used trekking poles with friction locks, you know they can be fickle and finicky -- slippage and tedious adjustment are par for the course. MSR's SureLock TR-3 allows you to navigate frequently changing terrain with an on-the-fly two-finger length adjustment system. That means no removing the gloves or poles from your hands to unlock, adjust, and re-lock your sticks.

Original Series
Riding a (blast) wave

Defense Journal: The MRAP

Warfare is often a battle against change, and the U.S. military is always attempting to stay ahead of, or at least on top of, the curve. A fairly new yet significant player in this struggle is the MRAP, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. From seemingly nowhere, the ubiquitous "Humvee"

Gift Guides
12 gifts for the traveler

12 Guys of Christmas: The Globetrotter

These guys seem to have racked up a bigger airline status than Clooney and more time on the road than Kerouac. They call ports of call home and know how to navigate the TSA, border checkpoints and a nasty comped bar hangover with ease. Whether a job takes them to exotic

Tactical dressing

Massif Collection

Clandestine ops are about blending in; fashion is often about standing out. The Massif Collection ($145+) brings military-grade construction to fashion-forward designs, creating a wardrobe of jackets, pants and shirts that work in the Hindu Kush and the cushy lounge.

Gift Guide
12 gift ideas for the active adventurer

12 Guys of Christmas: The Outdoorsman

The outdoorsman on your list is easily identifiable: he's rarely home and smells faintly of man sweat and wood smoke when you do catch him between excursions. His particular passion falls within an extensive of range possible pursuits (noodling for catfish, anyone?), but one thing is for certain -- he

Resistance is futile

Zerocaster

The Zerocaster ($26 each) was designed by a bona fide rocket scientist in a space lab to transform your office chariot into a veritable Ferrari, especially in the black and red color schema. Their axle-less, precision ABEC ball bearings and

Fleeter feet

On Cloudracer

If the race goes to the swift, the swift are advised to go get a pair of On Cloudracer ($129) running shoes. 18 Cloudtec low-profile cushioning elements increase running efficiency, according to an independent research study (through the Swiss Federal

Think Outside of the (Grill) Box

Beefeater Pizza Oven

If you're grilling as much as you can before the blizzard season hits, you may be growing a little tired of beer-can chicken and burgers. For a change of pace, Beefeater brings you their grilltop Pizza Oven ($250). A replacement