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10 Best Daypacks of 2014
Baggage to carry a laptop or hiking equipment.
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6 Best Hard-Shell Suitcases
Great for tough travel.
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5 Best Road Bike Pedals
Upgrade clipping in.
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Guide to a Well Appointed Bathroom
Ten products to master the bathroom.
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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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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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What's New, Now

Today in Gear: July 2, 2014

Today in Gear we’re looking at better sounds from your BMW, the internet of things, an omnipotent wax, ginger bourbon and more.

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Upgrade Your Skivvies

Deft Drawers: Underwear for Active Guys

Made from lightweight, wicking, breathable fabrics like merino wool, polypropylene and a host of proprietary fabrics, sports underwear designed for active guys keeps you cool and dry without bunching up when you move.

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From the Latest Tech to the Tried and True

Ten Shirts that Can Take the Heat this Summer

Summer is the enemy of body temperature and presentability. But a crop of new companies is combining technical fabrics and quality cuts for easy breathing style. That isn’t to say we’re willing to ditch our madras and seersucker just yet, but here are 10 of our favorite lightweight shirt options, new and old.

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Pop the Top With Style

Buying Guide: Bottle Openers

Ten different top poppers for ten different kinds of bottle-opening guys.

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Fashionable and Functional

Button Up, Hike Down: Best Hiking Shirts

Apparel with the technical specs to keep you snug and dry on the trail doesn’t have to look out of place the minute you leave the wild. Exhibit A: these 10 adventure shirts.

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Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night...

10 Best Rain Jackets of 2014

When the season changes from twenty degrees and snow to forty degrees and rain, it’s time to update the outerwear. Sometimes you need a coat that’s lightweight and waterproof, while also being paradoxically windproof and breathable. These are the best.

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Today in Gear: April 2, 2014

Today in Gear we examine Ray-Ban’s new customizable remix program, Nike Soccer’s revised away kit for team U.S.A., the return of the Omega Seamaster 300, your new guide to alpine training and Bluelounge’s key-sized charging accessory for Android.

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Keep Austin Geared

Kit: SXSW

You’ve done it: flight, rental car and hotel booked, $1,700 Gold Badge purchased. You are about to attend the most diversified festival in the country — SXSW. Now it’s time to pack. What does one take to this event featuring A-list celebs, billion dollar corporations and the CEOs of the next big thing? Here’s what we brought to stay connected, light on our feet and ready to make a strong first impression for all those meet-and-greet networking sessions (not to mention the VIP parties).

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Warm, Dry, and Comfortable...that's far from base

Second Skin: 5 Best Base Layers

Whether you’re training for a ski mountaineering race or just sick of shivering on your morning commute, staying warm and dry is objective number one. The base layer you choose to wear while doing battle with the elements can’t guarantee success, but it sure as hell can guarantee ruin. But have hope. New synthetic fabrics offer amazing moisture-wicking properties, while merino wool is experiencing a renaissance with temperature regulating properties that are borderline miraculous. We’ve done the leg work to find the best base layers for every outdoor activity and situation for upcoming winters, falls and springs.

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Get wet, stay warm

Tested: Patagonia R1 Wetsuit

Patagonia has always been a company with one foot in the mountains and one in the sea — climbing and skiing one day, surfing and paddling the next. When they introduced wetsuits to their lineup a few years ago, it was a big leap for the company, but not one they were unqualified to make. In fact, their experience building warm, lightweight and bombproof alpine gear transferred well to wetsuits, which we found out recently while testing the R1 wetsuit during a week of diving in Belize.

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Gear for the jungle and the reef

Kit: Underwater and Underground in Belize

Packing for a tropical getaway usually only involves deciding what color swim trunks to pack. But when your plans include jungle hiking, cave exploration and scuba diving, things get a little more complicated. The key is versatility — you need gear that works underground or underwater just as well as it does topside. For our week in Belize we made sure everything we took did more than just one thing well. This saved space in our luggage and let us be nimble yet well prepared. Here’s a sampling of what we took.

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Weatherproof Jackets for the slopes and otherwise

Shelling Out: 10 Best Winter Sports Hardshells

There’s no such thing as bad weather — only bad gear. And in the age of industrial manufacturing and waterproof fabrics, there’s no good excuse for bad gear. Modern hardshell jackets are designed to provide a first layer of defense between you and the elements, whether “the elements” are an alpine whiteout or an afternoon thunderstorm. They’re the crown jewel of any outdoor kit: they’ll keep you warm, they’ll keep you dry, and most of them weigh less than a pair of blue jeans.

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Be faster than the freeze

Cold Warrior: 10 Best Winter Running Shoes

‘Tis the season of calorie intake, so keeping one’s running regimen going strong should be a priority. Thing is, winter weather — the snow, slush and cold — is prohibitive at best. Fortunately, gentlemen, we have options. These are the best winter running shoes for facing the cold on pavement, trails and mountains.

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See My Vest...

Patchwork Season: Stylish Quilted Vests to Layer (or Not)

It seems some folks jump straight from shirtsleeves to parkas when the autumn leaves begin to fall. No, vests are for those in-between days, the time when one extra layer over a thick sweater, a mug of hot cider and the company of a loved one is all we need to keep warm during a stroll through the park. But even when the atmosphere turns up the a/c, a vest beneath your overcoat does wonders; after all, ’tis the season to layer and layer some more. We’ve rounded up the best quilted vests — each fashionable and cozy in its own right.

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Father Christmas, Meet Mother Nature

Stocking Stuffers: Just Add Nature

Editor’s Note: The stockings are hung by the chimney with care…now what the hell are you gonna put in there? Ah, stocking stuffers — the little things, the extras, the last minute goodies, the fun gifts. They’re as enjoyable to give as they are to receive. Thing is, there’s an endless supply of stocking-size gifts…

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Today in Gear: December 3, 2013

Bacons Of The World Stop whining. We don’t care that you’re just emerging from your post-turkey bloat and tryptophan fog. Fact is, there’s never a bad time for bacon — especially if it’s the best bacon the globe has to offer. We’re talking four installments, each five pounds of heavenly hog meat ecstasy. With each…

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Mother Goose

Patagonia Encapsil Down Belay

If there’s one constant in almost all mountain activities, it’s that sooner or later you’re going to come across nasty weather. It doesn’t matter if you’re chasing big walls in Yosemite, powder lines in Courcheval or summit days in the Canadian Rockies — staying warm is the difference between owning a harrowing expedition and bailing back to civilization with your tail between your legs. Patagonia’s Special Edition Encapsil Down Belay Parka ($699), a perfect fusion of purpose-driven engineering and uncommon design, is the most formidable backcountry armor on the market.

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A Dozen Gifts for the Mountain Man

12 Guys of Christmas: The Outdoorsman

We’ve all got a guy in our lives who’s more at home chopping a cord of wood or filleting his latest fly fishing catch than spending the day lazing in front of the TV or playing Halo with the bros. He’d wear flannel and hiking boots to board meetings if he could. For that ultimate outdoorsman on your gift list this year, forego the REI gift card and DVD set of Duck Dynasty. Whether he spends his time hunting big game, scouring the river for the best brook trout lies, or just enjoys living in front of a campfire instead of a laptop, we’ve got the best gifts for the modern day backwoodsman.

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Today in Gear: July 16, 2013

Nokia Lumia 1020 Ever get passed by an eighteen wheeler while driving a Mini? That’s what it’ll be like comparing the pictures your current phone takes with the 41MP beasts the new 1020 cranks out. Thanks to a ball-bearing-stabilized Carl Zeiss lens setup and a pretty serious image sensor, your panoramas are about to get…

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Encapsulated

Patagonia Encapsil Down Belay Parka

When an outdoor titan like Patagonia states they’ve invented the highest-performing down technology available anywhere and stuffed it into “the finest down parka ever made” — you should pay attention.

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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 does them outside. His look…

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Don't swim with the fishes

Patgonia River Crampons

Taking a swim sounds nice this summer, but only if you’re a safe and willing participant. Patagonia River Crampons ($200) are the latest invention in “don’t tumble into fast-moving water” technology, and if you’re a serious fisherman they’re a worthy purchase. The crampons strap over your wading boots using a simple harness system and are…

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Responsible Read

The Responsible Company by Yvon Chouinard & Vincent Stanley

Pathos — that’s relevant experience and credibility for you non-rhetorically adroit folk — is everything when it comes to how-to books. That’s why The Responsible Company: What We’ve Learned From Patagonia’s First 40 Years ($20) gets two green thumbs up from us. Written by Patagonia’s founder and owner Yvon Chouinard and the co-editor of the…

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Caught by hand, saved by mouth

Patagonia Provisions Salmon Jerky

In 1996, founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, changed the clothing industry with the move to organic cotton. The big dogs, such as Wal-Mart, are finally following suit. Now, 16 years later, Chouinard plans on once again changing an industry –- but this time, it’s the fishing industry. Salmon has been a hot topic of controversy,…

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Briefings: Patagonia, NBA Analytics, Wine Crime, and Recipes for Spring

This week we’re reporting from Edinburgh, UK, and seeing things through the traveler’s lens (more on Edinburgh in the coming weeks). In that spirit, this week’s picks are all about seeing familiar things from a different perspective. We’ve also got two recipes that celebrate the changing of the seasons, which is exactly what happened this…

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Rain or shine, you'll be fine

Patagonia Stormfront Pack

The Stormfront Pack ($279) is any simple outdoor adventurer’s dream. Its beefed-up backpack form is made of 840-denier double polyurethane-coated nylon fabric (that’s science-speak for “super waterproof stuff”) and features a waterproof zipper system, an internal custom-fit padded gear case complete with adjustable divider, and even a separate zippered mesh pocket. The Pack’s backpack harness…

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A Story for Tomorrow

If you believe the commercials, buying candy, cards, jewlery and flowers on February 14th is the ideal way to commemorate love. We happen to think Dan Riordan at Gnarly Bay Productions has a better approach. A Story for Tomorrow was filmed over five weeks by Dan while traveling through Chile & Patagonia with his girlfriend…

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Chasing the light and an explanation how

The Art of Adventure by Bruce Percy

The first in a series of upcoming editions, photo artist Bruce Percy has compiled 40 of his incredible photoworks into The Art of Adventure: 40 Photographic Examples (~$61). Spanning the waterfalls of Iceland, to the Bolivian Altiplano, to Nepalese buddhists, each photo — like Patagonia’s Pehoe Curve (pictured above) — are stunning examples of Percy’s…