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Page Turners

20 Great Photography Books

This list of our favorite photography books represents an attempt, however incomplete, to reseat the photo book in its rightful place alongside the Scarface posters Warhols lining your walls. We wouldn’t call it a compendium of the greatest photographers or a comprehensive survey of the medium — it’s just a few selections to help broaden your photographic horizons, or at the very least spark some compelling conversation around the coffee table.

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More than just a hammer

10 Best Tools for the Home Auto Mechanic

You brought your ’69 Camaro back from the dead, and now you’re finally brave enough to wrangle with your wife’s very modern automobile. Of course you’ve got the basic home mechanic’s tool kit: end wrenches, assorted screwdrivers, a hammer or two, various pliers, a roll of duct tape and a beer fridge. But when it comes to getting a dirty job done, you’ll need a bit more than your resolve and the rudimentary stuff. It’s time to modernize and upgrade.

octane-promo-box-logo-gear-patrolThis article is part of a new original series, OCTANE -- a premium take on all things motoring.
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Gimme some sugar(cane)

Slow As Molasses: 5 Rums We’re Drinking Now

In the final throes of summer each year, before we dust off the leather boots, get out the lambswool sweaters and prepare to toss the first curse at Old Man Winter, we spend a little extra time with Old Man Rum. Pretty good company, this guy: a spirit distilled from sugarcane juice or molasses, with few other rules to govern its production and aging. That makes for a drink that varies greatly in style and provenance. The five rums we’re enjoying now reflect that variety of tastes.

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Slopes? We'll take our water flat, thanks

Kit: Waterskiing

Sprinkler, fire hydrant, beach or pool: they’re all great ways to cool off when the mercury spikes. Then there’s waterskiing. Often overshadowed by its alpine brother, waterskiing is a heck of a lot of fun and doesn’t require donning a neck warmer. There’s nothing like carving a perfect turn and throwing up a 15-foot wall of spray behind you, all under sunny skies and, preferably, with some bikini-clad babes close by. Here’s the gear you need to get there.

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Read up, ride on

Ride Repair: 5 Best Bicycle Maintenance Books

Imagine a crisp fall day where the trails are hooking up so nicely it feels like you’re riding on rails. It’s so sweet you decide to skip the parking lot and continue on. After a few more miles you’ve peaked with adrenaline and start to put more power down to get up a small, steep climb — and your chain snaps. When “F***!” is the first thing that comes to mind, instead of, “Sweet, I finally get to use my new multitool!”, well, that’s when you phone home to say you’ll be late for dinner.

This scenario can be a moment to shine rather than a disaster — and in many other instances, a wealth of knowledge and the right tools can save you hundreds of dollars over the lifespan of your bike. All it takes is an understanding of a few basic repairs. We’ve picked out our favorite bike repair books so you can back to the car in time for steaks.

limits-promo-logoThis article is part of a new original GP series, LIMITS, dedicated to exploring the physical and mental borderlands of human capability. And beyond.
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To stop a thief

Lockdown: 10 Solutions for Securing Your Bike

Estimates for stolen bikes in the U.S. between one and two million per year, and they’re difficult to get back because most people don’t write down serial numbers or register their bikes — and bike theft isn’t exactly law enforcement’s number one priority. The good news is that with a serious lock, proper locking technique and the good sense to take the darn thing inside at night, we’ll all meet again in the bike lane when the sun rises tomorrow.

limits-promo-logoThis article is part of a new original series, LIMITS, dedicated to exploring the physical and mental borderlands of human capability. And beyond.
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Into Leather?

Best Custom Watch Straps

There are dozens — if not hundreds — of guys making custom leather straps these days, and a few doing nylon. You can too. All it really takes is some serious time on Google and YouTube looking for information, a leather supplier, a few knives, needle and thread, and Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours of practice.

In case you don’t have that kind of time, we’ve rounded up some top current strap makers for your sampling pleasure. And lest you think these guys are dilettantes, at least two of them parlayed their passion into an OEM manufacturing concern for well-known watch brands.

timekeeping-promo-logo-gear-patrolThis article is part of GP's fresh new face to TIMEKEEPING, a weekly chronicle on the utility, design, tradition and innovation of watches.
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You've got the beast, now protect it

Just in Case: A Survey of Samsung Galaxy S4 Cases

There’s no denying the Samsung Galaxy S4’s universal mass appeal. Dynamic functionality combined with surreal processing power make it by far the most dominant smartphone ever built. But truth be told, all that badass technology isn’t enough to masquerade the handset’s cheap and conservative design. Think we’re being too harsh? Google the top GS4 reviews and you’ll see nearly every major mobile critic shares the same sentiments.

Sammy’s decision to don the next-gen Galaxy with a plastic rear cover left a bad impression on consumers from the git-go. And with recent damage tests and teardown reports suggesting the GS4 is more fragile than the iPhone 5, it’s only wise to invest in an insurance policy after spending serious coin on such a device.You’re only spoiled for choice. We narrow down the field to 30 or so.

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You might regret this

En Fuego: 10 Great Hot Sauces

Hot sauce is a strange beast: part condiment, part cult item. Risking the ire of spicy fanatics everywhere, we’ve put together a list of sauces that light a fire under our own specifications: they have to taste good, look good on the table, and lastly, not offend any minorities or people who voted blue in the past ten years (this narrows the search considerably). Grab your antacids and dive in.

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Floaties optional

Kit: Swim Practice

Tell people you begin the day with a swim and they’re bound to reply with a look that’s equal parts envy, bewilderment and awe. Who swims, for exercise, in the morning? Who risks certain athlete’s foot and doesn’t mind going to work with goggle eyes? How many people pee in the pool? Old people and triathletes, that’s who. And everyone. But the reality is that swimming is the perfect impact-free sport for long-term fitness and short-term ripped abs, and while you can do it with nothing but a pair of Speedos and a smile, having a stocked duffel can make the experience more fulfilling than a philosophical conversation with Ryan Lochte — much more.

limits-promo-logoThis article is part of a new original series, LIMITS, dedicated to exploring the physical and mental borderlands of human capability. And beyond.
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Gentlemen, start your graphics engines

Drive By Wire: 5 Best Racing Games

You grew up on Mario Kart, but that’s just it — you’ve grown up. But… not entirely. You still want to grip a controller and curse at a screen and burn rubber without having to see (real) flashing lights in the rearview. You want risk life and limb in the pursuit of speed — but not actually, you know, risk life and limb. Stretch your thumbs and be prepared to make up for the drudgery of that godawful commute this morning: here are the best racing games for most every platform.

octane-promo-box-logo-gear-patrolThis article is part of a new original series, OCTANE -- a premium take on all things motoring.
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Pinkies down, thumbs up

Tasting Notes: Union Wine Co.

If you produce videos like this one, our inclination is going to be to like you. We had hopes for their 2012 Underwood Pinot Noir ($12). Mind you, they were bro hopes, bare of the usual pretension that comes with a wine tasting.

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Time to get hammered

Nailed It: 5 Best Hammers

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.

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See you in T1

Kit: Ultimate Triathlon

For gearheads and Quantified Selfers triathlon is a chance to ride bikes that look like DARPA prototypes and collect more personal information about themselves than a Stasi collaborator, respectively; for Alphas it’s a chance to get ripped and grab bragging rights; for some people it’s just a fun way to get in shape. Whatever the reason, the tri gear is abundant. Sure, you could swim in your skivvies, hop on your Schwinn for the bike leg and run in some old Nike Mac Attacks — but we’ll do you one better with this kit.

reboot-logo-gear-patrolPresented by REBOOT, the world’s most advanced all-natural antioxidant booster. Learn more at no-oxs.com.
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Meet the media manager of the future -- and it's not made by apple

Qvivo is the Cloud Media Solution of Your Dreams

Qvivo is a new cloud media service startup that claims to succeed where most others have failed in offering a dream streaming solution for video and music fans with large digital libraries. Starting at $1.99 a month, Qvivo offers unlimited cloud storage for movies, tv shows and music that can then be streamed through any modern web browser. We put the service through its paces and came away extremely impressed.

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Bolster your photo app-titude

Hot Shot: Five Apps to Help You Shoot Like a Pro

Whether you’re trying to capture the grandeur of the Grand Canyon or just snapping a selfie of your abs (not again, Anthony Weiner!), utilizing a set of great photo apps is key. Give the Earlybird Instagram filter a break and read up on our five favorite photo apps.

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From Baby Daddy to Father

New Father’s (Day) Gift Guide

It’s the scariest and most exciting thing a man will ever face: fatherhood. Suddenly there’s the pressure of knowing this human life is wholly reliant on you, the hope of being just like your father or the fear of the same thing. It’s the moment when BC becomes AD, a distinct frozen moment when a corner is turned and there will forever more only be a “before” (child) and “after”.

For many of us, Father’s Day means finding the right gift for Dad. But now some of us will be receiving gifts as well, and so without further ado, we introduce New Father’s Day — along with a wish list for the sleep-deprived new dad to make the beginning of this next lifetime easier.

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Nothing can stop you, save a dead battery

The Smarter Athlete: The Best Apps to Train, Motivate and Diet

Gadget-obsessed as we are, even we sometimes bristle at the sheer number of fitness apps available for download. How much help do you really need with physical pursuits? It’s summer — run some laps; swim a bit; hike across an embargoed Caribbean country. There’s no substitute for sweat, no matter what version of iOS you’re running.

And yet, admittedly, sometimes it takes a little extra effort to get out of your seat, especially when your seat is on a patio in the sunshine and there’s a cold beer on the way. Since there really is an app for that, we’ve done the work for you, finding the best in three categories: apps that help you set and achieve goals, apps that help you maximize your workouts, and apps that help you maintain a healthy diet. We hereby endorse bringing your phone to the gym (or wherever it is you work out) this summer, because nobody can blame a guy for wanting to look good.

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Go here first, then kick the bucket

Excerpts from Bucket List Bars, A Jetsetting Drinker’s Almanac

Dr. Clint Lanier and Derek Hembree make a great point in the introduction to Bucket List Bars: Historic Saloons, Pubs and Dives of America ($17): travelers all too often settle for the first pub, bar or saloon they see and are subsequently faced with aloof service, microwaved grub and a beer list straight from a frat house party. No more, they declare. Their collection of watering holes — though with its faults — provides at the very least a superb starting place for the thirsty traveler. Read on for our full review and excerpts from the book.

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Make like Stirling Moss

Kit: Summer Driving

It’s hard to believe how different a hot commute in hair-pulling traffic can be from a balmy mid-afternoon drive on an open road in the countryside — both in the same car. Nothing brings back the freedom of summer like a great drive, and unless you’re cursed with a 36-month lease of a kiddie-hauler that now smells like sour milk, it’s high time you planned just such a trip. Now it’s time to get you equipped.

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Keep your tablet tickin'

Well Tucked: A Survey of Great iPad Cases

The iPad’s extreme portability is simultaneously glaringly obvious and overlooked in favor of its flashier tech wonders. The take-it-anywhere-ness of the iPad is also perhaps its biggest downside: we tend to treat it like the things it replaced, the books and magazines that we could toss without a care. That usually doesn’t work out well. Here are 30 great options — leather, wool, propped, or otherwise — that should keep your tablet ticking and looking good.

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Go forth and perform

Kit: Summer Running

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.

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Cannonball!

Kit: Epic Pool Party

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.

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Only good things in store

Mix It Up: Great Store-Bought Mixers

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.

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Bee open minded

Tasting Notes: Dewar’s Highlander Honey

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.

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Gear for a 3-week Caribbean journey

Kit: Cuba

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.

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Don't call it a video game

iRacing: the Best Racing Simulator Out There

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

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Poring over coffee's simplest method

Kit: The Perfect Pour Over Coffee Set

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.

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Burn Notice

Tested: Vertigo Pepper Candy, The Hottest Candy in the World

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.

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Kicking It Old School

100 Years On the Pitch: Nike’s Centennial U.S. Soccer Kit

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.