Warm weather: we can’t say enough good things about it. There’s something noble about putting on cold weather gear and sticking it out all winter, but running in the summer, sweat pouring off your brow, hat and clothing looking like the Bonneville salt flats, the first sip of Heed after a 20 miles in the scorching heat, runner babes in short shorts — this is pure, unadulterated sport pleasure. Here’s the gear we’re wearing. If you’re prepping for a race or just like to hit the pavement for an hour after work, this stuff has performance written all over it.
Around the country, where people can’t easily access a natural body of water, they’ll flock to fake ones for some relaxation, fun, and relief from the heat. This is the seasonal blessing and curse of the fortunate few who own — or have access to — a pool. If you fall into this category and are already bemoaning your hosting duties to come, may we remind you of the wise words of
“Uncle” Ben Parker Voltaire, “with great power comes great responsibility”. Think that bowl of corn chips (“but they’re restaurant style!”) and playing some Jimmy Buffet from your puny laptop speakers answers the call? You are woefully mistaken.
It’s time to take your waterside shindigs to another plane. What we’re talking about is the kind of event that’ll haunt Charlie Sheen’s dreams and leave the neighborhood gabbing for decades. We’ve got your shopping list right here.
Only good things in store
A decent drink can be hard to find, especially when you’re at home. For the do-it-yourselfers who would rather the “do” simply be mixing the strong stuff with the not-so-strong stuff, we’ve compiled a list of the top five mixers you can find in your friendly neighborhood high-end liquor store. All you have to do is add booze, ice and maybe a wry wink as you drop in the cocktail straw.
Bee open minded
Putting honey into alcoholic things has a bad rap. It’s effeminate, it’s weak, it’s a cop-out. The parallels to shitty, girly strawberry-kiwi-whipped-cream-lip-gloss vodka are overwhelming. But everyone’s doing it. Now Dewar’s (a Scotch!) has joined in. We’re here to tell you: their take isn’t wrong. It’s just… different.
Gear for a 3-week Caribbean journey
Packing for three weeks of travel could easily balloon into roller bags, laptop cases and fanny packs. If you’re staying in luxury hotels and somebody else is handling your gear, fine. Bring the sheepskin robe. But if you may have to spend full days carrying your luggage on your back, then you’re limited to the essentials. Here’s what I stuffed into my GORUCK GR2 for three weeks in Cuba.
Don't call it a video game
You’re sitting on the grid at Road America in a classic Lotus 79. The red turns green and you light ‘em up. Accelerating hard down the front straight, you dice for racing room with two or three dozen other drivers around the world before pouring into turn one. Yep, you read that right. Those other drivers aren’t FROM around the world, they ARE around the world. This is internet racing on iRacing.com
Poring over coffee's simplest method
Occam’s razor: A philosophical principle suggesting that simpler explanations tend to be better than complex ones. It has broad application, from medicine to ethics to proofs of the existence of God. Now if we apply the razor to our morning coffee, as the thinking men of Gear Patrol are wont to do, we can scrap our fancy drip machines and super-automatic espresso makers and still get a world-class cup of coffee without doing much more than pouring hot water over coffee grounds. We’ve assembled a pour over kit with all the basics to get you started — at a very affordable price.
As I write this, I have a Bhut-Pepper Vertigo candy, made with five of the world’s hottest peppers, on my tongue. It is hot.
Kicking It Old School
Soccer has never held our collective national attention like other sports — with Landon Donovan’s goal in extra time against Algeria during the 2010 world cup and Brandi Chastain’s sports bra celebration being the two possible exceptions. So who knew that 2013 represents the 100-year anniversary of the birth of U.S. soccer, originally established as the United States Football Association, a not-for-profit, governing body of soccer in America? Nike’s Centennial kit celebrates this notable milestone with throwback duds for players and fans alike.
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.
Shave and a happy wallet, two bits
Tired of feeling like they were “paying a tax on razors imported from the future”, the smart gentlemen behind Harry’s (Warby Parker co-founder, Jeff Raider, and his partner, Andy Katz-Mayfield) set out to make a well-groomed face affordable. What they’ve created is much better than a disposable and much (much!) cheaper than said “future” razors.
The story of a fish pickling prodigy
From a fish pickling Polish immigrant to a businessman with a burgeoning national clientele, Mark Russ Federman’s walked an interesting, often difficult path. Russ & Daughters: Reflections and Recipes from the House That Herring Built ($15) spins Federman’s personal reflections and heartwarming anecdotes on the growth of his adored New York City appetizer store.
Cree LED Light Bulbs ($10+) are the best things in lighting since the Almighty started a sentence “Let there be…” Their three selections, in 40-watt, 60-watt and 60-watt “daylight”, range from $10-$14 dollars a pop, offer incandescent-like lighting rather than the tepid glow we’ve come to know from other “green” bulbs, are dimmable and save 84% more energy than said incandescents.
That's nothing to sneeze at
Look on your bookshelf, in your armoire, wherever you stash your toiletries. We’d bet a shiny buffalo nickel you’ve got one bottle of cologne there, maybe a second collecting dust. That one you’ve got smells like getting socked with a powdery diaper, but the the packaging made you think of white sand, bracing saltwater and azure skies. What happened? More to the point, how did you end up with that bottle? For all the energy men expend making decisions about what to buy (we should know), we put comparatively little effort into cologne. That changes now. We’re going to take some of the guesswork out by testing men’s cologne here at GP, starting with a look at five men’s fragrances from niche brands we like.
Face funny pictures of your fears
Whether it’s celebrating the terror caused by peanut butter (arachibutyrophobia), being watched by a duck (anatidaephobia) or, more timely, the Pope (papaphobia), Phobophobia ($15) is a clever visualization of the broad spectrum of human dread.
An hour wasn't enough
What’s big and floral and more hopped up than a GP editor after the Fortnight of Coffee? The continuously-hopped 60 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head, of course. And now the Delaware brewery has combined that beer with syrah grape must to make the first new foamer in its core lineup since 2007: Dogfish Head Sixty-One ($9), available this month.
Coffee table, meet coffee book
Left unattended, the ubiquitous coffee table quickly becomes a gatekeeper of everything from last October’s cable bill (you paid that, didn’t you?) to the feet of undisciplined friends and family. We know you run a tighter ship than most and appreciate how a well-placed read can stimulate conversations faster than a triple shot. Here’s a crop of coffee-themed books worthy of displacing Ansel Adams or your decades-long dedication to the Maxim Hot 100.
Great outdoors, great coffee
Something about sitting atop an unexplored peak to watch the sunrise while enjoying your favorite coffee just feels right. Maybe it’s the sub-freezing temperatures and obligatory wind chill, or it’s the all night trek catching up with you. With that in mind, we’ve got the best tried and true methods for brewing your favorite coffee for you next adventure, be it a weekend of car camping or a full blown backcountry expedition.
Old School, High Quality, No BS
In the constant pursuit of a high-quality, stylish lifestyle, it’s understandable that we men may stray from the path a time or two — a truck stop frozen burrito here, a discount-grade pair of white socks there. Most times, though, we regret purchasing shoddy products. Owen & Fred, The Store For Men is a response to just such disappointing gimmickry, providing the superbly crafted choice for everything from dopp kits to ties to kitchen accessories and all the rest.
Coffee for the man on the move
Instant coffee belongs to the category of cultural food relics, the type of product introduced at a World’s Fair, perfected with the help of military research, and eventually relegated to the pantries of grandmothers everywhere. It’s a food item for people at the fringes: too old, too tired, too time-strapped, cookies for breakfast, sweatpants all day. Coffee purists will swat it from your hand. But we’ve all got a little stash just in case, don’t we?
Because the beautiful thing about instant coffee is that it’s cheap, fast and the lowest-volume solution for getting a coffee fix on the move. We surveyed the market to find the best instant coffees readily available in grocery stores. We weren’t looking for something that stacks up to a cup of Zambian Ljulu Lipati from Intelligentsia, but we did want a close approximation to freshly brewed coffee.
We've Bean Reading
Feet up, couch bound with a good book in one hand and a hot cup of coffee in the other is a reader’s rite of passage. Those co-mingling aromas of parchment and fresh grounds are undeniably intoxicating. Any favorite book can be heightened by the pairing, but it being the Fortnight of Coffee and all, we decided to filter some new picks in a sort of meta-coffee vein: five first-rate reads to further your knowledge of one of the world’s most popular drinks.
Unique beans, unique brew
When you’re drinking coffee named after a mesh wire size, you’ve reached that level of serious entanglement that some might call obsession. Stumptown’s Panama Duncan Estate Mesh 15 ($23) embraces its intimate small-batch story in the way that really serious (and expensive) products should.
Hot coffee, un-burned crotch
Life seems to get difficult quick if you can’t bring your coffee with you; but if you spill, your treasured drink can become a mortal enemy. Nobody wants that. The solution is a great travel mug — one that keeps your coffee hot, your sips accessible and your crotch free of searing pain and disappointment. Finding the best mug for your cup holder (or mesh slot on your favorite backpack) isn’t as easy as you’d think, but we’ve gone ahead and done it anyway, because hell, it’s the Fortnight of Coffee. Here’s five great mugs, ranging from 12 to 17 ounces, for the backcountry hippie to the sharply dressed office warrior.
Sauces with a little extra sauce
Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine is a great corn whiskey that we’ve covered before; what really caught our eye recently, though, is their huge range of Moonshine-soaked foods. Soaked isn’t the right word, exactly: each jar contains less than 1% of their 100 proof ‘shine. Still, it’s an entertaining menu.
Down to a tea
Kickstand Black Tea Concentrate ($20) is a Brit’s wet dream. It’s the essence of your
second or third favorite leaf, captured in its bitter, earthy, put-your-feet-up form, ready to be diluted to the desired strength and enjoyed hot or cold, black or with sugar, milk, honey or even some crumpets.
Behind the Iron Curtain (of the dining room)
If you put a book about Churchill’s favorite sod selections in front of us, we’d read it. Dinner With Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table ($16) delves into two slightly more interesting aspects of the British Bulldog’s history: politics and social life. He was a notorious drinker, smoked cigars with an unnatural relish, and was one of the most sly, entertaining and clever politicians of the 20th century
Hop Hop, Hooray
Quick, who do you want to make you the perfect IPA glass? An excellent German glass maker (Spiegelau), a West Coast brewery that was one of the earliest and most influential in craft beer making (Sierra Nevada) and an East Coast maker whose 60 Minute IPA is considered one of the most solid (Dogfish Head)? The resulting IPA Glass ($25 for two) looks awkward but is tailored just so for your drinking pleasure.
Stiff in any size
Tie wearers know that material, pattern and the cut of neckwear goes a long way; indeed, perhaps more important is the knot. But what good is the perfectly done tie without a properly crisp collar to cinch it around? Dedicated to maintaining a gentleman’s good form in over 20 common collar styles, Swiss Stays ($8-$125) has given the sometimes frustrating behind-the-scenes champion of men’s formal fashion, collar stays, a shot of much needed one-size-fits-most juice.
Tie one on
You can never have enough ties. Taking the burden off of grandma, your girlfriend and your wallet, FreshNeck ($15+) offers a huge library of neckpieces (along with bowties, cufflinks, pocket squares and other assorted style items) for your perusal and rental. The service works because of some inherent laws of manhood.