For cyclists, both trainers and rollers have their respective pros and cons. When Indiana-based SportCrafters introduced their “best of both worlds” Omnium Trainer ($449), then, we decided to give it a thorough testing during the harshest days of a particularly bad winter.
Duds for fitness studs
There are a lot of great menswear companies making high quality clothes to fit most guys and most budgets. Perhaps unexpectedly, one guy who has been overlooked is the athlete. Most clothes off the rack are either made for the average American male (i.e., skinny shoulders and an expanding waistline) or the “in-shape” guy (essentially his waist is not larger than his chest). These ten brands make excellent clothing that flatters and athletic build, and we’ve picked out some staples for your wardrobe.
Pioneering Made-in-America Watchmaker
Stories follow Michael Kobold everywhere. The founder of Kobold Watches, which declares that its watches are “conceived, designed, assembled and tested in USA from domestic and imported components”, has turned his immodest passion for timepieces into a successful business and made relationships with great men — Ranulph Fiennes, Gerd-Ruediger Lang, the late James Gandolfini — along the way. We were lucky enough to catch up with him recently to hear some tales and catch up on his blooming horological business.
Home Sweet Home
Ever wish you had nicer furniture your living room? How about a blue 1965 Porsche 356 C and a blaze orange tent instead? There’s a pretty good reason that we — a largely irrational bunch — are not often trusted with large-scale home decor decisions. It’s mostly because, given free reign and a limitless bank account, we’d probably end up outfitting our place like the chaps over at Huckberry did with their Holiday Home.
The 2013 Pop Up Flea NYC shows off an overwhelming assortment of goods covering every aspect of a man’s wardrobe, from a beautiful Tiffany & Co-signed Rolex DateJust from Hodinkee to boots and leather goods from nearly every vendor at the show. Seriously, the PUF may or may not be the largest concentration of tanned hide ever assembled in one NY room. Together it’s a testament to locally made goods and quality craftsmanship — and desparately finding a way to slide you credit card across your monitor.
Light, fast, local
There are big-name brands in the outdoor clothing market that turn out lustworthy, cutting-edge shells, baselayers and insulation pieces season after season. But every once in a while, we stumble upon a small brand doing things a little bit differently yet equally well. One of those is NW Alpine, based in that outdoor playground, Portland, Oregon. We got to test out three pieces of NW Alpine gear in the mountains this fall: the Black Spider Hoodie, the Fast/Light Pant and the Simplicity Jacket.
Telling shit from Shinola? That's easy
Here’s the thing about Shinola: it gives off the right appearances, the right ethics, just the right amount of chip-on-the-shoulder pride; and then those things end up also being true, rooted in concrete examples like a city and the fingers of idealistic workers (who, outside of watches, also build excellent bikes) or abstract things like the American Dream. So it is with the Shinola Runwell ($600), the brand’s flagship watch, which found its way onto my relatively inexperienced wrist with an obvious, immediate question: was this an American watch (the American watch) worth buying?
A Mighty Tradition
Tucked away in the quiet industrial surf town of El Segundo, California, stands a cozy theater that has been around since 1921. Within that theater sits a rare gem, something that most of us no longer associate with movies at all. It’s an organ — a massive one, a 1925 Mighty Wurlitzer, to be exact. And sitting before it, for much of the video above, is Bill Field, the owner and player of this special instrument and place.
Time to get hammered
Of all the tools in a man’s workshop, his hammer is perhaps the most personal. Chances are you still have your first forged striker, but we’ll forgive you an upgrade; it really is time. You’d be surprised how much hammer tech has come, but in the end, it’s still all about hitting the nail on the head. Here are five of our favorites for beginners to the most hardened steel swingers out there — whether you loop it, or let it hang from a belt is entirely up to you.
Stock up for Woodstock
Ah, the music festival. Concert after concert under the hot sun, huge fields of camping fans, available yet astronomically priced food, and port-a-potties stretching to the horizon combine for a strange breed of “roughing it” with large doses of civilization mixed in. Prepare properly and you’re in for the weekend of a lifetime; shirk the prep and you’ll be poor and plenty grumpy come Sunday night. Here are ten pieces of gear — appropriately fitting the chaotic and not at all fashionable atmosphere you’ll come to know and love — to get your music festival experience on track for “Epic!” status. We’ll leave the collapsible peace pipe to you.
The Tale of the Tape
Since 1963, we’ve enjoyed six generations of the Corvette and five versions of the Mustang. Nine different Presidents have called the White House home and we have listened to vinyl give way to tape, CDs and eventually the digital download. We’ve also had 50 years of the Stanley PowerLock tape measure, a product that has clearly stood the test of time and continues to enjoy its reign at the top.
A Scout is Trustworthy
When it comes to home security, there don’t seem to be many options between expensive monthly-fee security systems and keeping a pump-action under the bed (note: don’t do that). The Scout Home Security System ($120+) utilizes wi-fi and mobile connectivity to meet somewhere between safety and affordability.
Ring belts are the saving grace for casual types who can’t stand the sight of belt loops in the raw. These Archival Webbing Belts ($28) are a restrained alternative to the preppy stripes and bright colors you’ll soon see crowding retailers’ spring shelves. They’re made in Portland, OR, from British mil-spec cotton webbing and feature a Horween leather tab and red bar tack stitching. For proper sizing, measure your waist and add 6 inches, then compare this number to Archival’s “Finished Length of Belt”. Remember to leave slack for those porterhouse binges.
East Coast, meet West Coast
East meets West — Coast, that is — with Gorjana & Griffin. Offering wares for men on the move (women too) that speak to a bi-coastal lifestyle, Griffin & Gorjana strikes a balance between city and beach, polished and casual, offering up iPad cases, handsome weekenders and everything in between. Spearheaded by husband and wife pair Gorjana and Jason Griffin Reidel, Gorjana & Griffin designs and hand produces offerings entirely in their 6,000-square foot studio based in Laguna Beach, California. Further evidence of good intentions? Gorjana & Griffin backs its social commitment with a charitable foundation to aid a variety of causes, including Southern California’s first Food Truck Festival, which benefits children with cancer. Now that’s something we can get behind — and wear.
Best Made Co.’s latest camping accessory is made in the USA from solid white oak, duck canvas and solid brass hardware, producing a vintage aesthetic that would look right at home around both your grandfather’s campsite and yours. Since America’s not getting any lighter, the Camp Chair ($185) is built to support 350 pounds, both in chair or stool mode.
Looks good in leather
We of all people love a good camera, but sometimes they can be so aesthetically… well, boring. Cold, monochromatic bodies coupled with cold, monochromatic buttons, dials and lenses — it makes even the plainest of men want to go out and do a little accessorizing. And while you may be cringing over the mental image…
Billy Reid’s Heirloom collection is a new made-in-the-USA luxury line distinguished by high-end wools and cashmeres from the booming southern-style diplomat. The tailored collection currently features eight suits, all of which have their merits — but the Campbell Patch Suit in black red is our pick for expanding your suiting palette beyond the staples of…
Still safer than your turkey fryer
You worked your ass off during the spring and summer to landscape that patio into a prime entertainment spot — only to watch it all wither away over the last few months. Your bitter attitude or the bitter weather shouldn’t keep you from enjoying moments outside with friends, though. The Loll Designs Fire Ring ($590) is a three foot wide outdoor fire pit made in the USA from 1/8 thick steel that’s perfect for small gatherings.
Black Jack would be proud
After nearly five years of design and numerous prototypes, designer George Vlagos of Oak Street Bootmakers has created what may just be his finest boot yet, the Trench Boot ($426). First, a little background on the humble Trench Boot. With American wartime roots, the Trench Boot first came into service as a replacement for the…
Bocce is right up there with table shuffleboard on the underrated sports list. In truth, the game is just as enjoyable as horseshoes, but can be enjoyed without the necessity of pits, a hammer and the danger of dinging a child with a heavy metal object. The Terrain Bocce Ball Set ($298) is a beautiful…
Drink it all in
The plastic pitcher currently filtering water in your fridge is a far greener way to stay hydrated than pounding down bottles, but it stills leaves plenty to be desired — both in terms of form and function. Its tupperware aesthetic isn’t exactly ready for the bright lights of the dinner table, and if you fill…
We can’t all be members of the Bel Air Circuit. For those scorned by the secret society, there’s Prima Cinema ($35,000). Designed in California and built in the U.S.A., Prima Cinema is a combination system/service that delivers Hollywood’s latest creations directly to your own private screening parties, simultaneous to their theatrical release. The system comprises…
A silk tie this is not
From the men that brought you the hardcore rucksack comes the first, yup, military-grade tie. Shrugging off the worst any properly bedecked man is likely to encounter, The Man Tie ($65) is made from the same 1000d Cordura material as their rucks — and built with durability in its details. Two variants (narrow or classic)…
If we hear one more story about an impending zombie apocalypse, we’re packing up our stuff and humping it to the upper reaches of Canada. Our supplies? A crapload of MREs, an accompanying supply of Pepto, several crates of whisky and The Cell Machined Survival Kit ($75+). The minds behind this baton-like kit are looking…
Boot technology has come a long way since the days of Sir Edmund Hillary, but some things, like a vintage-style hiking boot, should never change. Danner, in collaboration with Tanner Goods, has made an exemplary modern classic in the Danner Mountain Trail Left Bank boot ($350). Made in the Portland, Oregon Danner factory, this special…
Allen Edmonds makes some of the finest American footwear around, and they’re certainly introducing more stylish designs that depart from purely traditional looks these days. Case in point: Eagle County boots ($350), which look one part classic cap toe and one part modern lace-up boot. They’re outdoorsy without being overly rugged, including Goodyear welted construction,…
Sitting Bull used his hands, your grandfather used a crowbar, and if you use either of those items today you’re being silly. Appreciation of the past doesn’t mean we need to suffer its inefficiencies. When seconds count, lives are at stake, or a nasty camp job needs an ass-kickin, the TNT Emergency Survival Tool ($215+)…
Two former World Cup Alpine skiers, Erik Schlopy and Brion Friedman, had an epiphany: In a world without snow, skiing doesn’t go over too well. So they set out to develop ski poles made from sustainable materials in a climate-friendly fashion. The results are Soul Poles ($99+), high-tech ski poles made from a decidedly low-tech…
Single Down South
Smoked whiskey isn’t usually America’s cup o’hooch but that doesn’t mean braver distillers won’t try their hand at it. Corsair Artisan Distillery plies their hand at the smoked flavor palate with their newest whiskey, Triple Smoke Single Barrel American Malt.Crafted from malted barley smoked by three different flavor fuels including cherry wood, peat and beechwood,…
School bag, adult look
Remember your first day of school? Wet-your-pants excitement in elementary, doldrums in middle and utter jadedness in high school — but always accompanied by that trustworthy backpack. Those tattered Eastpaks and monogrammed LL Beans may not have exactly exuded street style, but there’s still time to make up for it with Everlane’s latest consideration, an…