A Gem on the Mediterranean

72 Hours in Tel Aviv

Beautiful beaches. Cool architecture. Delicious food. Pack your bags for Tel Aviv.

Four Award-Winning Whiskies

Tasting Notes: Aberlour Full Line

On a recent visit to Aberlour distillery smack dab in the middle of the famed Speyside region, our task at hand was to gain an appreciation for the distiller's unique malting, mashing, blending and maturation processes, and of course, the tasting.

Expect the Unexpected

Photo Essay: Traveling the Amazon by Riverboat

In much of the Amazon, traveling by riverboat is the best form of transportation. So we set off from Iquitos, Peru, fondly dubbed the Capital of the Peruvian Amazon, aboard the Aqua Aria, a luxurious river boat that would take us roughly 100 miles up and down the Amazon River.

Photo Essay
On the 'cue trail in Texas

The Lone Star Smokeshow: 6 Must-Eats on the Texas BBQ Trail

Texas is home to the original cowboys, the gunslingers and trailblazers. They pushed 20 million head of cattle through Dustbowl territory during the historic cattle drives. Beef is in their blood. And their barbecue is the best there is. We sought out the legendary joints in the heart of the Lone Star State.

The Road is Life

Kit: Road Trip

From the Archives: With age comes the ability to do a long highway cruise better than we ever could as a youngster. Summer's right around the corner, so we've compiled above all the gear you'll need to make new memories on the road. Get what you need and hit the road, Jack. Grab the wheel and point it west, take a buddy and leave the rest.

Buying Guide
Stuff to fill his white space

12 Guys of Christmas: The Designer

If you’ve ever spent time around this next guy on our list, you’ve probably been exposed to one or more of the following: the name-that-font game; conversations on additive vs. subtractive color modes; mistaking Roy G. Biv for a close friend; wagers on the over/under lifespan of the flat design trend. What’s Gaelic to them is Greek to us; the designer's discerning eye can leave you feeling rudderless and depressed when it comes to gift buying. Suddenly you’re lost in the libraries of Hoefler & Frere-Jones, killing time by exploring the classified section of Architectural Digest. That’s a dark place, my friend. We’re here to help. Moral of this story: leave it to us. We know these people. We’ve sailed to the farthest corners of digital commerce to bring you the best selection of holiday gifts for The Designer.

Gift Guide
Small Game, Big Gear

Kit: Upland Hunting

As the mercury drops, game enthusiasts from across the fruited plain trade in their drift boats and fly rods for double barreled breach-break shotguns, some blaze orange, and a Labrador, if they're lucky. Upland hunting takes many shapes and forms depending on where you call home: there's the cold Northeast, the prairies and cornfields of the Midwest, the Intermountain region on down to the South. Still, more unites these sportsmen than divides them; tall-tales, cold walks and fantastic wingshots are all par for the course. The gear, though, is probably our favorite part. So gather round -- we’ve hand selected the best of this year's gear to keep you covered from head to toe while you’re out on the hunt.

Buying Guide
Lofty Goals

Kelty Ignite Dridown

We won’t all climb Everest. In fact, most of us won’t. That’s not to say that we don’t enjoy a good weekend under the stars -- we certainly do. But, while there are sleeping bags made for extreme conditions (and even ones that hang from trees or that you can wear), you're probably after something more straightforward. You want something that’s built well, that’ll keep you warm on a cool night and that you can take anywhere: Kelty Ignite DriDown ($200). Hands down, the Ignite DriDown is the best of the best, a versatile, quality, bang-for-your-buck sleeping bag.

GP100
Like Mike

94Fifty Smart Basketball

It seems like everything is becoming quantified these days. Not to be left out, the data-mining 94Fifty Bluetooth Sensor has made its way into one of America's most popular sports. 94Fifty Bluetooth Sensor Basketballs ($300), made in partnership with Spalding, are the first digital sports products to be embedded with inertial motion sensors, serving up coaches and players with various metrics concerning ballhandling, shooting, jump-explosion, defensive foot-speed agility and athleticism.

GP100
Canadianisms not included

Stay: The Wickaninnish Inn

Canada is widely known for its maple syrup, hockey, Mike Meyers and Canadian bacon -- all perfectly excellent things. But beyond the typical clichés, our northern neighbor's rugged landscape is full of intrigue and adventure. Few places capture this Canadian beauty as well as the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, which provides a relaxing environment and one of the best spots in the world from which to cast your luxuriating gaze.

Next Level

Mac Pro

As young men, we thought by the year 2000 we’d all be zipping around in Jetsons-style tubes from one place to the next. We don’t see any tubes, but Apple’s newest Mac Pro ($3000+) at least gives us hope that we may get there yet. This sneak peek into the future of the pro desktop has roused plenty of curiosity as the most powerful and smallest Mac Pro to date. With brains, beauty and brawn, this Mac might just be the best forward-thinking tech device around. Sorry, Rosie.

GP100
More beautiful beasts of burden

Bigger is Better: 5 Best Full-Size Pickups

Baseball, apple pie and trucks: all iconic, savory slices of Americana. The urban cowboy may have given the pickup a bad rap, but don't let that sour the segment. These ain't your granddad's haulers. No sir, the trucks of today have taken fuel efficiency to an all-time high in the segment, for starters, and have added touches of interior and exterior class that leave little to be desired, even when compared against luxury makers. Yes, the beloved truck has changed, but it remains grounded in its roots as a tree-stump-puller. Indeed, the core functionality of the pickup truck has remained nearly unchanged through the years -- that is, it still has the ability to blast copious amounts of diesel exhaust over smug, hybrid drivers. We found time to drive and rate the five best full-sized models on the market. Which one you choose is between you and your payload.

Octane
Paradise, Defined

Stay: Rosewood Mayakoba

When vacationing south of the border, choosing where to stay among endless resorts, hotels and inns can be somewhat overwhelming. But for a truly singular experience -- one laid seamlessly among placid lagoons, thick mangrove forests and pristine white Caribbean sand -- allow your wearied eyes to rest upon Rosewood Mayakoba. This swanky, 1600-acre Riviera Maya getaway has your tropical beach dreams trumped.

Unclean and loving it

The Road Less Traveled: Taking On the Trans-America Trail in the Land Rover LR4

When you’re looking to travel from coast to coast, you’ve got several options; planes are the fastest, trains are probably the cheapest, the interstate is a good DIY choice. But for the adventurer, the Trans-America Trail (TAT) is one of the best. The TAT is a westbound dual-sport motorcycle trail across America on unpaved roads. Sam Corerro, original founder of the TAT, spent years passionately pursuing his goal of charting a coast-to-coast, off-pavement motorcycle adventure. After studying reams of maps and personally surveying thousands of miles of unpaved roadway, Corerro finalized this 5,000-mile route across America in 1999. Over a year ago, Land Rover, too, had the idea to travel across the continental United States completely off road, and we recently joined them for a long leg of the trip.

Octane
Vee Dub-steppin' it up

Behind the Wheel: 2014 Volkswagen CC R-Line

Wikipedia astutely defines a dark horse as, "a little-known person or thing that emerges to prominence, especially in a competition of some sort". There's a dark horse in every race: Abraham Lincoln in politics, Mark Cuban in everything, and that one Nickelback album in music. The VW CC ($31,795+), we believe, fits that bill in the upscale midsize automobile realm. We got behind the wheel for a week-long driving review.

Octane
Two wheels to greatness

Photo Essay: MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas

Though the riders participating in MotoGP races are the best in the world, it's taken a while for this style of racing to gain traction in the United States. After having the chance to see the MotoGP World Championship at The Circuit of the Americas thanks to Ducati, we easily count ourselves among its growing fan base. Read on to see our photo essay of the insane speed on two wheels.

Octane
The perfect hangout

Big Swingers: Five Best Hammocks

It's far from news that summer’s here; the dog days, as it were. From grilling on your resealed deck to some mighty fine vacations, your calendar should be packed with great seasonal activities. You're not one to take it for granted, are you? Of course, there are those tiny slivers of respite between tackling rapids on your SUP board and trucking along some of the best mountain biking single track in the country, and you are feeling mighty pooped, what with all the adventure and bravado. Sounds like it's time to catch some suspended reprieve: you're in desperate need of a hammock, partner.

Buying Guide
Drop shot, meet cross-court winner

Tested: 2013 Head Speed Pro

Finessing things is something we take a lot of pride in, times ten when it involves catgut. Even so, the 2013 Head YOUTEK Graphene Speed Pro introduced a new level of speed and power to our game without damaging our clever style of play. Read on to see hear more about its on-court performance.

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.

Buying Guide
Still doesn't cure tennis elbow

Tested: Wilson Rush Pro

To quote some guy in a movie, “My momma always said you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, where they're going, where they've been”. Although that guy may have been more into table-tennis than tennis-tennis, he was right. In a game where footwork is key, Wilson's Rush Pro ($120) has a hard job. We got our hands on a pair and made 'em squeak between the white lines (mostly).

The Road is Life

Kit: Road Trip

With age comes the ability to do a long highway cruise better than we ever could as a youngster. Summer's right around the corner, so we've compiled above all the gear you'll need to make new memories on the road. Get what you need and hit the road, Jack. Grab the wheel and point it west, take a buddy and leave the rest.

Buying Guide
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.

Buying Guide
No cubes in this icebox

Black Diamond Ice Box

Guys like to climb stuff — trees, corporate ladders and, of course, icy mountains. The scarier, the better. The Black Diamond Ice Box ($80) is a great solution for storing lots of pointy gear that needs to be handy at a moment’s notice. The box holds four tools, a pair of crampons (stop giggling, dammit)...

Your view, starting at $1000

écurie25 Supercar Club

Entertaining fantastical pipe dreams has always been a fun diversion for us, like that time we thought it would be cool to go to law school because, “I don’t know what else to do with my life” (which is apparently what educational sadomasochists are apt to say). Or thinking we might one day have stacks...

What's Hawaiian for more water please?

Adoboloco Hot Sauce

Founded on the basic ingredients of love and salmonella, culinary amateurism can be downright frightening. Yet hot sauce producer Adoboloco ($8+) has managed to pull it off, thriving without a Kraft-sized bankroll. This Hawaiian family unit has turned cuisine curiosity, which started as a simple family garden project and a love of spiciness, into a...

Don't carbonize these ones

Wondermade Marshmallows

Wondermade Marshmallows ($8) shatter the conventional s’mores mold with their diverse line of flavored addiction cubes sugary treats. Boasting a perfect spongy consistency, these handcrafted marshmallows challenge the pallet with a bouquet of unique flavors like gingerbread, peppermint, s’mores (s’mores inception?), pumpkin pie, Guinness and bourbon. A smartly designed box accomplishes the sole mission of...

Carpe Vita!

1 Second Everyday App

If the world really does end on the 21st, this app will be useless. But if Zero Hour doesn’t hit, 1 Second Everyday could be a life changer. Using your iPhone camera, this personal hobby turned TED Talk turned funded Kickstarter project chronicles your life one second at a time. Its creation story is blessedly...

Wear your heart on your wrist

Mio Alpha Heart Rate Monitor

Beyond catering to the fitness obsessed, this wonder watch would have been useful during that little apoplexia-inducing turkey feast we like to call Thanksgiving. Known as the Mio Alpha Heart Rate Monitor, this wristwatch on steroids “senses” the amount of blood under your skin and replies with a digital readout of your heart rate. Through...

Illumin-Aughty

LensLight Mini TAD Edition

You can tell a lot about a man by his EDC. Zippo, house keys, obligatory pocket knife, handgun, paracord, unspeakably cool shades — we’ve seen it all. The serious carrier, however, is sure to include a flashlight, and we recommend the LensLight Mini TAD Edition ($325) from Triple Aught Design. This miniature light is practical...

The fastest sailboat in the world

Design Spotlight: The Sailrocket 2

One look at the Sailrocket 2 shows that your teacher wasn’t full of s**t when he said physics can be fun. This 600-pound carbon sailing vessel is truly a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of its British sailing team (and the badass sailor that steers it). Reaching a certified speed of 54.08 knots (62.2...

A bag Mr. Eastwood would love

Kata Revolver 8 PI Camera Bag

Dropping a beloved L-Series lens is akin to a photographer’s very own “fiscal cliff”. Sometimes, though, your on-the-go shooting style demands more than an iPhone and insta-edit. For bold times like these, the Kata Revolver 8 PI Camera Bag ($250) gives serious shooters with a bundle of gear the upper hand against gravity’s nasty game...

Bringing water to Mars

Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force Concept

From the revamped A-Class to mysterious Affalterbach gems, Mercedes knows a thing or two about pushing the boundaries of automotive design. Most of their time has been spent developing on-road capabilities — but at this year’s LA Design Challenge, Mercedes gave us a look into the off-road future with their Ener-G-Force. For Mercedes, this isn’t...

A different kind of pot sticker

Magic Wall Kitchen Organizer

Throwing “it” against the wall to see what stuck used to be a hasty solution. Not any longer, my friends. In fact, with the Magic Wall Kitchen Organizer (~$340+), it’s encouraged. Knives, pots, pans, tins, tools, keys and even the kitchen sink (although we don’t recommend it) now have a designated vertical stowage space on this...

Your current case is on the edge of extinction

Dodo Case Customizer Tool

Seems like you can customize just about anything these days. From kicks to cars, people want to be their own clever, intellectual, trendy (or not), unique snowflake — just like everyone else. Which is why we’re shocked someone didn’t think of the Dodo Case Customizer Tool ($80+) sooner. Fueling your one-off narcissism, Dodo Case enables...

A hidden gem

Nike VR_S Covert

Even if you’re sidelined by bitter weather, we doubt you’ll take umbrage with the newest member of the Nike club (how clever) — the VR_S Covert ($299+). Available in February 2013, Nike’s sharp new red driver sports a High Speed Cavity Back, bringing a technology once reserved only for irons to a fairway near you....

This four door still floors

2013 Maserati Quattroporte

In all things, Maserati knows how to excite. Images of the 2013 Maserati Quattroporte have been shared just ahead of its inevitable Detroit debut, proving you can indeed teach an old pony new tricks. While no specific details about the car have been released, the trained eye will pick up hints of a longer wheelbase,...

Frontal lobe fashionista

SAHN Classic Helmet

Be honest. When’s the last time you ever conducted an intense time trial on your bike? So why does your noggin need an overpriced, wind-tunnel-sculpted monster again? SAHN is an upstart brand that leveraged the industrial design and protective sports helmet backgrounds of its two founders to create a new breed of head gear built...

Fresh prince of Belair

Lomography Belair X 6-12

Few cameras make the transition from digital to film quite as fulfilling as the Belair X 6-12 ($245). This Lomographic high flyer is the world’s first 6 x 12 auto exposure, medium-format camera. Yep, you read that right: medium-format. Lomography and its cult following have been extremely popular in the alternative photography crowd for decades,...

Fire Distinguishers

Fire Extinguishing Device By Tusch und Egon

From time to time we like to check in on what’s going on across the pond. The Queendom, if you will, never disappoints us with its take on art and design — a skew that can seem a bit wonky to our Yankee eyes. The Fire Extinguishing Device (~$123) from Tusch und Egon (sounds German,...

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