Summer Preview 2013

Bring on the heat

Farewell, Summer Preview

Did you see this weekend's forecast? The warm weather's rolling in like a happiness-creating tide. Though it seems backwards, this is the perfect moment for us to wrap up our Summer Preview. Sure, we're sad to see it go, but the entire premise was to get you prepped -- and now it's game time.

Ferris Bueller's (Summer) Day Off

Kit: Summer Fridays

Summer Fridays are a thing to be put on a pedestal, the ultimate luxury for 9-to-5, Monday to Friday working stiffs. They're a chance to bug out as soon as possible, to hit the road or jump a train to the beach, a cabin in the woods or some other resplendent getaway. In any case, we can't just go into a summer Friday unprepared, men. We cannot go silently into that good mini vacation. What we need is a kit -- the perfect gear for the perfect summer Friday getaway.

Strokes of genius

Paddle Proper: 5 Great Kayaks

There’s no easier way to cool down on a hot summer day than an adventure at the local lake or river, and no better way to enjoy said body of water than a kayak. A good one will help you ditch the crowds and find the perfect hidden spot for some summer fun –- all while traveling the water less paddled. Don’t know the difference between a whitewater creek boat and an ocean kayak? We’ve got you covered with some great kayaks for summer adventure.

Time to hit the deck

Resealing Your Deck: A GP How-To Guide

Spring doesn't really exist anymore. The belief that a season actually occurs between that last dumping of snow and when your smartphone weather apps start to sweat is mythical at best. What we get now is essentially a two-week meteorological reprieve during which we need to squeeze three months' worth of work. To make sure those precious days aren't squandered, we’re dishing out the goods on how to git ‘er done so you can make the most of this summer -- and it starts with resealing your deck.

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.

Vice President of Product Design at Kalamazoo Gourmet

30 Minutes With: Russ Faulk

Plenty of guys think they’re grill masters. But Russ Faulk, vice president of product design at Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, actually happens to be one. After asking him to add his personal notes to our tips for mastering the grill, we caught up with him to talk about life, family, battling squid and American craftsmanship.

The Heat is On

Grill Master: Tips for BBQ Bliss

Grabbing the tongs, stoking the coals and biting into a lightly charred piece of meat is and always will be a shared summer pleasure. That doesn't mean everyone knows how to do it right. To teach you how to truly master the grill -- or even just to bone up the old pros -- we've compiled a list of 10 grilling tips (along with notes from Russ Faulk of Kalamazoo Grills) to make your sizzle entirely satisfactory.

Hunter, Safari Guide and Photographer

30 Minutes With: Alex Walker

Alex Walker grew up in a National Geographic photo spread. Instead of a lawn with a picket fence or a city playground, the fourth generation East African's childhood stomping grounds were the tea fields of Mufindi, the bush of southern Tanzania and Kenya's Mau forest. Today he makes his home in Masai Mara, Kenya, one of the most famous wildlife ecosystems in the world. After staying at one of Walker's camps on our adventure in Kenya, we were curious to hear more about what makes this safari guide tick.

Stock up for Woodstock

Kit: Music Festival

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.

Beer o'clock comes early this summer

Suds Up: Perfect Summer Craft Beers

A true hot-weather brew is not necessarily easy to find. We won't knock macrobrews -- their simple refreshment is enhanced all the same by hot weather, scantily clad women and baseball games. Those (the beers, not the women) are easily snatched from the corner store shelf, though. This list tackles the summer micro brew, a trickier topic, if only because there are so damn many. Pop the cap off the right one of these beauties and any summer activity can be filled with crisp, carbonated, slightly buzzed pleasure.

Starpower trumps horsepower

Reel Wheels: 15 Iconic Movie Cars

Weeding through Hollywood’s entire crop of iconic movie cars in the hopes of arriving at an agreed upon best of list is like trying to choose the sexiest Victoria’s Secret model -- it can be grueling work, but the research isn’t exactly painful. Car guys are a picky lot, especially when looking to the silver screen: Some go weak in the knees when they hear an American V8 rumble to life slightly out of frame, while others are gaga for the svelte silhouette of a European exotic on a twisty backdrop. A select few believe the essential chase scene is the deciding factor, while yet another breed is only happy when the director has chosen an “appropriate” vehicle for the character driving, regardless of whether the movie was even watchable. The GP Team’s collection of petrolheads put all of these variables into play, entered into deep philosophical debate and eventually agreed to disagree so we could present you with our picks for the best movie cars ever. Gentlemen, start your arguing engines!

GP tallies the hits and misses of the season

The 2013 Comprehensive Summer Movie Guide

Nowadays, no summer preview would be complete without a mention of the movies. Mother nature's decision to crank up the thermostat and the possibility of BBQ ribs for lunch provide all the natural motivation society needs to bunker down in a cool dark room to watch Megan Fox sweat on cars 120 minutes of explosions. We love a good superhero flick as much as the next guy, but massive marketing budgets shouldn't be the only thing coaxing you into a theater seat this summer. This season has its fair share of CGI orgies and deep think pieces that don't rhyme with "fan of seal" -- and none of them should be missed.

Poised to make history

30 Minutes With: Kevin Krigger

Kevin Krigger is a 29-year-old derby rookie and the rider of Goldencents -- a favorite in this year's race. As a native of St. Croix, though, Krigger will share the honor of being the first Virgin Islander to compete in the race. More importantly to some, he's also the first black jockey to compete in the event since 2000 -- and he has a chance to be the first black rider to win the Derby since 1902.

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.

Getting attached to GORUCK's Weekend Bag

Tested: Trekking Across Cuba with the GORUCK GR2

On my first night with the GORUCK GR2 ($395) we slept together in a bus station -- and we’ve been going steady since. Specifically, after a flight from Cancun to Havana and midnight bus from Havana to Santa Clara, in the geographical center of Cuba, I looped a carabiner through the side webbing of the GR2, clipped it to my jacket’s pit vents, rested my head gently against her rugged 1000D cordura, and knocked off for six hours in a metal row chair.

A Photo Essay

Dispatches From Cuba: Photos and Stories From a 20-Day Journey

It started with an email from my buddy. Condor, Meet you in the lobby of the Islazul Gran Hotel De Camaguey @8am on March 18th, 2013. I will be in touch - Peregrine. Actually, we’d talked about the possibility of a Cuba trip when Mycah — his name isn’t always Peregrine — and his wife found out the she’d been awarded a fellowship to study urban agriculture there. I had not booked my tickets. I wasn’t really sure I’d go because it was near a grand between the flight to Cancun and the next one to Havana, plus I’d been traveling a lot the past year. I told him it was 50/50. Then in early March I was offered a quick business trip to Cancun ending in mid-March. You don’t balk when serendipity tugs at your Johnson, so I shot off a quick email reply: F*ck it. Tickets booked. See you there.

Board optional, shorts required

Short Sell: This Summer’s 5 Best Board Shorts

Some of the best days of summer are spent out on the water -- or at least relaxing, sipping beers and socializing near it. But what to wear? Board shorts are the safest (and best) bet in our book, providing the rugged construction necessary for water sports with a look and form -- thanks to a rigid waistband, fly, snaps, ties and quick-drying, stretchy material -- that also lends itself to an inland hike for boardwalk pizza. We’ve herded our five favorite board shorts of the year for your wearing pleasure here.

Call for backup

Five Alive: 5 Best iPhone 5 Battery Cases

Doubling battery life is a no-brainer. Options run the gamut for solutions to Apple's latest quick-to-die wonder -- and we really mean run the gamut. It's a bit of the Wild West in the battery case world at the moment, so start here with our five best selections, then do your homework and make sure what you choose will get you what you want.

The good kind of shady

Clear for Takeoff: 5 Aviators for the Summer

Finally the brightness of summer is on its way. Now, for the harsh reality: you've had plenty of time during the last five months of gray to forget where you left your last set of sunglasses. If you're in need of a new pair, the beloved aviator never goes out of style, pairs well with everything from a suit to board shorts, and just looks damn good. Read on for the five best aviators for summer 2013.

As American as the Mayflower, and twice as fun

Rum: Your Official Summer Drink

Most honest Americans of drinking age know bourbon as the national spirit. But there’s another drink for us to enjoy in the warm weather that, like bourbon, has a uniquely American story: rum. We’ve overlooked it for some time; meanwhile, there’s plenty of new, excellent, American and Caribbean rum coming to market, and rum-specific bars are opening in cities across the country. Rum, for now, is a little less serious than Scotch or bourbon, but what it brings to the table is no laughing matter -- unless you’ve got your pinky dangling.

Tops be droppin'

Topless Summer: Ten Must-Drive Convertibles

Summer isn't nearly as enjoyable without top-down driving. As much as we're fans of hardtop automotive design and the way a sweeping roofline catches the eye, we have to admit that the clear growl of an engine and the wind in your hair makes the warmer months that much better. Even a drive up Pacific Coast Highway in a cream-hued 1995 Chrysler Sebring Convertible can be a pleasure (as long as no one actually sees you). Bully for you, convertibles are better than ever -- gone are the fussy tops, the anemic engines, and silhouettes that would make Quasimodo cringe. The crop of current convertibles range from modern nostalgia to supercar power players, but one thing they all do is make your motoring pleasure good for all the world to see.

Defend Your Dermis

Sunscreen 101: Everything You Need to Know

After months of Vitamin D deprivation, our seasonally affected psyches aren’t the only thing longing for a little summer loving. But before you shed the layers and start basking in the glow, we want to make sure you’re covered (literally). To keep you from flash frying to a shade between John Boehner and Gene Hackman’s nose on a whiskey weekend, we’ve put together this comprehensive collection of knowledge to keep you safe in the sun and prevent your future-face from looking like a catcher’s mitt.

Your Official Summer Reading List

10 Great Summer Reads

Imagine with us: You've just left work on a sultry Friday, and damn do you feel good. Why? Because it's summer, for one, and you're off for a weekend, or a long weekend, or a week even, if your boss isn't a Nazi and your job still includes that sweet rarity, "vacation time". But no one's around to hang, which is fine -- it's relaxation time, baby. What better way to enjoy the weather (without sweating) than a summer read? We've got 10 great picks for every type of reader, right here.

Confirm your searing desires

The Heat is On: 10 Best Grills

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. My dad had a saying: “When it’s burning, it’s cooking. When it’s black it’s done.” This might explain the lack of repeat visitors, but maybe it was the limited tools he had to work with that contributed to his cynical approach to backyard grilling. With any of the 10 excellent grills here, you’ll not only find the right one to suit your particular needs -- everything from searing steaks, to cooking a pair of burgers, to smoking an entire pig -- you’ll guarantee a line around the block for your ‘cue, and a long list of friends who won't stop asking when you're having them over again.

Diver down

Go Deep: 7 Best Dive Watches

Even if your aquatic adventures never go beyond a beach snorkel, summer is still a great excuse to strap on a dive watch. Timepieces designed for wet work also happen to be perfect companions for backyard barbecues, weekend cabin trips and afternoon doubleheaders. It’s no wonder the dive watch remains one of the most popular timepiece categories, thanks to a decidedly sporty and casual vibe that wears well with board shorts and t-shirts, and an overbuilt ruggedness that can stand up to the inevitable scrapes of summer shenanigans and those impromptu night swims. But while there are a fleet of watches that try to capture the adventurous spirit of the diver, a select few go a little deeper. We round up seven of the best new ones for you here.

Putting your semester abroad to shame

30 Minutes With: Lee Abbamonte

There are globe trotters, and then there's Lee Abbamonte. Though he doesn't consider himself a "competitive traveler" per se, he is the youngest American to visit every country (196) in the world. He is 34. We got to chat with him about his life in and outside of the suitcase.

You've got twelve weeks. Get busy!

Five All-American Summer Adventures

We love winter and all it brings: fires, warm sweaters, skiing and flasks of Scotch. But come June, we’re ready to bust out and undertake some adventures that can only be done in the warmer months. Memorial Day is traditionally when bikes and boats and boots get dusted off and you hit the ground running until the Labor Day slow down. This summer, why not go a little further and tackle something truly epic? We’re here to help with five great summer-only adventures. There are only twelve weeks of summer, so get planning.

Summer Starts Here

Coming Next Week: The GP Summer Preview

Smell that? Summer is in the air. For our sixth issue we’re taking an early dive into the throes of summer. We’ve packed three weeks worth of equinox-ready content into a fine assembly of informative guides, buzz-worthy roundups and interviews with the sole intention of making your next project, party or purchase the season’s best....