All posts in “Gear”

The Guggenheim Museum, Home Edition

Designed by America’s foremost architect Frank Lloyd Wright, New York City’s iconic Guggenheim museum is a cultural landmark that stands out in bright white relief between Central Park and a backdrop of gray urban sameness. This 1:500 scale replica, rendered in laser-cut Aspen & Cherry woods will take motivated model-makers about 4 hours to construct with step-by-step instructions. It is perfectly accurate, licensed and approved by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation & your purchase helps support the work of preserving Wright’s legacy.

VHS 1982 Playing Cards Take You Back In Time

Two or three generations ago, movies at home were watched on a format called VHS. It was a giant plastic box with magnetic tape inside that was placed into an even larger set-top box called a VCR. The picture quality was garbage but for a time, high tech. True story. Ask someone old. The Kings Wild Project has created the VHS 1982 collection: playing cards that pay homage to this beloved dead technology. The high-quality, limited edition cards feature 80s-era graphics inspired by period design. Choose from their 3 retro styles.

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BMW’s R18 is Powered by the Biggest Boxer Yet

BMW Motorrad just rolled out the R18, a comfy retro cruiser with the biggest boxer engine the brand has ever wedged into wishbone. The 2-cylinder powerplant measures 1802 cc’s & makes 91 horsepower. From its bucket headlight to its slightly bobbed rear fender, this thing is vintage charm & it has top-shelf beemer details: cantilever suspension, disc brakes, keyless ignition, even a reverse gear.

Dyson Hits a 3-Pointer with Pure Humidify Plus Cool

Always ahead of the curve—usually by a lot, Dyson has nailed it again with its Pure Humidify Plus Cool, a cutting-edge home appliance that is an air purifier, humidifier, and fan in one. On top of that, it works with Siri & Alexa and even cleans itself. For purification, it uses HEPA and activated carbon filters to remove 99.9% of bacteria in the water and the air. It is just over 3-feet tall and offers adjustable timer, a 1-gallon water tank, & will humidify the air for 36 continuous hours.

10 Deals Not to Miss: A Yamazaki Home Side Table, Taylor Stitch Chore Coat & More

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Yeti’s New Cooler Might Also Be Its Most Relevant

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The Little Cooler That Could


Yeti products are so often known through superlatives — coldest, toughest, biggest — perhaps to the detriment of some of its more everyday items. Have you ever used its Magslider lid in tandem with a 20-ounce Rambler? You should; it might be the perfect travel mug. The Roadie, Yeti’s smallest hard-sided cooler, is another member of its collection that deserves its due, particularly now that the company updated it to make it better than ever.

In returning to the drawing board, Yeti examined the Roadie’s common criticisms: it doesn’t offer that much interior space, its handle is cumbersome, it’s pretty damn heavy for how big it is. The new cooler, called the Roadie 24, has 20 percent more space, according to Yeti — and it’s now tall enough to carry bottles of wine. The metal handle is gone, replaced with a strap. This big little icebox is also, remarkably, 10 percent lighter.

So no, the new Roadie 24 isn’t Yeti’s biggest, baddest cooler. But the truth is, many of us don’t need gigantic portable ice chests, so perhaps the Roadie is Yeti’s most appropriate cooler.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tanner Bowden

Tanner Bowden is a staff writer at Gear Patrol covering all things outdoors and fitness. He is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School and a former wilderness educator. He lives in Brooklyn but will always identify as a Vermonter.

More by Tanner Bowden | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

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31 of the Best Style Deals You Can Shop This Week

What better way to start off the week than with a cavalcade of style deals? In this week’s roundup of best style deals, there’s a ton of sitewide sales, 70s-era sneakers, rarely-discounted designer fragrances, cozy hoodies and more.

Sitewide Sales

AesopSave 10%
Alex MillSave 25%
BillykirkSave 25%
Brooks BrothersSave Extra 30%
Calvin KleinSave 30%
Cole HaanSave 50%
East DaneSave up to 70% off
END.Save 20% w/ code ‘VIPSALE’
FahertySave 60%
FilsonSave 35%
GH BassSave 30%
HuckberrySave 50%
J.CrewSave 40%
KoioSave 50%
Levi’sSave 40%
Levi’sSave 25%
Neiman MarcusSave Extra 30%
Need Supply Co.Save 25%
NordstromSave 40%
OuterknownSave 30%
Ray-BanSave 30%
Tanner GoodsSave 20%
Taylor StitchSave 25%
Todd SnyderSave Extra 50%
Todd SnyderSave 20%
UniqloSave 60%

Notable Deals

Levi’s 501 Original Shrink-to-Fit Jeans

Save 40%: The original, the classic, the iconic blue jean.

Calvin Klein 3-Pack Comfort Microfiber Boxer Briefs

Save 40%: Microfiber underwear will change your life.

Aesop Fabulous Face Cleanser

Save 10%: Speaking of never-been-done, a whole slew of Aesop products just went on sale over at lookfantastic.

Baxter of California Safety Razor

Save 25%: Keep things clean. Or, you could also go for the whole shaving set and basically get the razor for free.

Upstate Robe

Save 50%: The top 10 ways to chill at home all involve robes.

Madewell Winterdale Chambray Shirt

Save 40%: A good chambray shirt gets better with age.

J.Crew Garment-Dyed Slub Cotton Hoodie

Save 40%: I’d take one J.Crew’s comfy hoodies at full-price. For 40 percent off, I’d take a few.

New Balance Made in USA 990v5

Save 25%: The iconic dad sneaker is now on sale.

Patagonia Retro Pile Fleece Jacket

Save 29%: Rarely has there been a cozier jacket.

L.L.Bean Cotton Bandana

Save 25%: To wipe up a spill, to dry your hands or as a homemade face mask, this bandana does it all and reps a national park while doing it.

Filson Vintage Flannel Work Shirt

Save 35%: As far as we’re concerned, this is a Work From Home Shirt.

Taylor Stitch Moto Jacket

Save 25%: Made in San Francisco by a multi-generational jacket factory, this steerhide moto jacket will last you longer than your hog.

Chamula Cancun Huaraches

Save 25%: Let your feet breathe!

Faherty Baja Hoodie

Save 65%: West Coast lounging is a hoodie that’s also a blanket.

Uniqlo Oversize Work Long-Sleeve Shirt

Save 33%: Work clothes are a mindset.

Nike Air Tailwind ’79 Sneakers

Save 40%: 40 years on and 40 percent off.

Ray-Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses

Save 30%: It’s hard to go wrong with these classic shades.

Barbour Ashby Jacket

Save 60%: You could check out our guide to re-waxing your jacket. Or you could get this new Barbour jacket for a ridiculously low price.

Filson Original Briefcase

Save 30%: Keep things brief.

Alex Mill Denim Work Jacket

Save 43%: One way to improve a chore coat? Do it in denim. A second way to improve a chore coat? Put it on sale.

Norse Projects Stefan Beach Bag

Save 48%: No more plastic grocery bags.

Persol Pilot Sunglasses

Save 74%: The only thing we’re piloting in these sunglasses is a food coma.

Cole Haan Hayes Penny Loafer

Save 50%: At over half off, these really stretch your penny.

Entireworld French Terry Sweatshirt

Save 40%: Designer Scott Sternberg’s ideal sweatshirt is even more ideal on sale.

Rainbow Flip-Flops

Save 31%: The preeminent flip-flop.

Dockers Alpha Men’s Chino Pants

Save 62%: Jake from State Farm wore these.

Ted Baker Backless Slippers

Save 50%: A quality pair of house slippers is absolutely a WFH essential.

Vans Vault UA OG Style 138 LX

Save 38%: A little blue sky and sunshine, right on your feet.

Flint & Tinder 10-Year Pullover

Save 36%: Where do I see myself a decade from now? Probably still wearing this hoodie.

Tom Ford Private Blend Oud Wood Eau de Parfum

Save 15%: Designer fragrance never goes on sale. And yet… there’s a whole bunch on sale right now at Nordstrom.

Adidas Adilette Sandals

Save 33%: Were these made specifically for getting the mail and taking out the trash? No. But, they do a damn fine job regardless.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

24 Deals on Outdoor and Fitness Gear That Will Rock Your Quarantined World

Sitewide Sales

Backcountry Hike & Camp SaleSave up to 70%
ColumbiaSave up to 50%
Cotopaxi — Save 50% off sale items and an extra 20% off with code APRIL20
Topo DesignsSave 25% with code SPRING25 through April 8
Mountain HardwearSave 25%
New Balance — Save 25%

Notable Deals

Fjällräven High Coast Lite Jacket


Save 25%: At just 7.2 ounces, this jacket is perfect for stashing in its own pocket and whipping out when the temps drop.

On Lightweight Short


Save 30%: These streamlined quick-dry shorts are perfect for running or the gym.

Mystery Ranch Urban Assault 24L


Save 21%: These expertly designed pack is tough enough for the Special Forces yet stylish enough for the streets.

Under Armour Streaker 2.0 Half-Zip Top


Save 30%: These breathable, sweat-wicking, odor-fighting long sleever is the distance runner’s best friend.

Prana West Edge Jogger Pants


Save 25%: These comfy pants suit light workouts, weekend errands or, let’s be honest, lounging/working from home.

Mikov DLC Coated Pocket Knife


Save 40%: Straight outta the Czech Republic, this top-notch blade garnered a Red Dot Design Award for detail and quality.

The North Face Thermoball Eco Jacket


Save up to 60%: The North Face’s best lightweight synthetic down jacket is now made from recycled content.

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel


Save 30%: The 70-liter version of our favorite adventure duffel bag is as tough and versatile as they come thanks to features like water-resistant ripstop fabric and easy-to-access backpack straps.

Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody


Save 25%: Weather-resistant, packable and stylish, this jacket transitions smoothly from the trail to the city.

Kershaw Link Pocket Knife


Save 40%: Kershaw was right in thinking that an aluminum blue handle would match a black stonewash blade.

The North Face Chimera 24L Backpack


Save 32%: TNF’s easy-to-use daypack firmly holds its place on our list of the best available.

Backcountry Timpanogos Tech Fleece Pant


Save 40%: You’re at home. Embrace it.

Matador Packable Water Bottle


Save 23%: Stay hydrated, then scrunch up this weightless bottle into a little roll that doesn’t occupy so much space in your bag.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail


Save 20%: Nike gave trail chops to one of its best road shoes. Create a NikePlus account — it’s free — and use the code LOGIN25 for an even better price.

Black Diamond Distance 15 Backpack


Save 25%: Black Diamond worked with pro runners to make a bag that fits like a vest, and it’s perfect for hiking.

KAVU Fisherman’s Chillba Hat


Save up to 25%: Where a hat that shouts, “Everything’s totally chill,” even if that’s not how you feel.

Nemo Equipment Helio Pressure Shower


Save 30%: Now you really have no excuse not to shower.

Lululemon Fleece Back Soft Shell

Save 30%: This water-repellant, windproof zip-up is equal parts comfy and stylish.

Patagonia Nano Puff

Save 30%: One of our favorite lightweight insulated jackets continues to be a steal at this price.

Nike Metcon 5 Amp

Save 35%: This workout all-star is perfect for HIIT, CrossFit, heavy lifting and even sprints.

Arc’teryx Atom LT Hooded Insulated Jacket

Save up to 35%: Stock up for next winter with this excellent alpine jacket, which boasts more than 200 rave reviews on Backcountry.

Smith I/O MAG Chromapop Goggles

Save 55%: We rode with this goggle all season and were thrilled with the comfort, style, field of vision and slick lens-swapping tech.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36

Save 25%: One of Nike’s best running shoes boasts breathability, lightweight cushioning and streamlined performance.

Adidas Design 2 Move Climacool Shorts

Save 50%: Score a great pair of home workout or lounge shorts for the cost of a six-pack.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Outerknown’s Wardrobe Essentials Are at Least 30% off Right Now

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A Monochromatic Finish Gives This Sporty Chronograph Watch Its Best Look Yet

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Bell & Ross BR V3-94


Editor’s Note: Watches & Wonders (formerly SIHH) and Baselworld 2020 are canceled but that hasn’t stopped watch brands large and small from debuting their new wares. To stay on top of this year’s best new watch releases, visit our tag page.

There’s more to the French brand Bell & Ross than its famous square pilot watches based on cockpit gauges. Take the newest BR V3-94 Chronograph models: for starters, they’re motorsport-inspired and feature traditional round dials. What they have in common with so many other Bell & Ross watches, however, is refined details and a remarkably balanced design.

The new models offer an aesthetic update to the existing BR V3-94 watches, and the result is something quite different. Whereas previous versions had a strong racing theme with plenty of bright yellow and sporty Arabic numerals, the new models have gone monochrome. The numerals are replaced (mostly) with stick markers and the handset has been switched up too, so what you’ve got is considerably more traditional and handsome. Of course, it also has a distinctly retro feel (but, thankfully, without the all-too-common “aged lume” effect).

Other basic elements remain consistent with the collection, including its 43mm-wide steel case and unidirectional rotating bezel with an aluminum insert. Like other chronographs in Bell & Ross’s collections, the BR V3-94 is powered by an ETA 2894-2 automatic movement. It’s available on a leather strap for $4,300 or steel bracelet for $4,600 directly from the brand.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

More by Zen Love | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

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Porsche’s Best Sports Car Is About to Get Lighter, Meaner and More Powerful, Report Says

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no longer a what if


Porsche’s undisputed icon is the 911. But many car folks who aren’t entirely besotted by that history believe the cheaper 718 Cayman may be the best pure sports car in the Porsche lineup — or perhaps of any car lineup. According to Car and Driver, Porsche will give the Cayman a new top-of-the-line performance version: the Cayman GT4 RS.

The Cayman GT4 RS will use the same 911-derived 4.0-liter flat-six engine as the Cayman GT4, but it will be tuned up to around 500 horsepower — about 100 hp more than the new Cayman GTS models that also share the same engine. The Cayman GT4 RS will be lighter than the GT4, and have the suspension lowered and sharpened for even greater performance. Porsche lists a 4.2-second 0-60 mph time for the Cayman GT4; expect the Cayman GT4 RS to be even quicker. It’s perhaps a strong testament to Porsche’s confidence in how great the new 911 is that the company would produce a six-figure Cayman with around 120 hp more than the base 911 Carrera.

Car and Driver did not mention the new Cayman’s transmission. Super-high-end, performance-oriented 911 models have dropped the manual as an option and gone with Porsche’s spectacular PDK, so an RS Cayman seems likely to do the same. That said, the Cayman GT4 only offers a stick shift, so there’s a chance the Cayman GT4 RS will follow suit as well.

Pricing, as you’d expect with Porsche, won’t be cheap. Car and Driver expects the Cayman GT4 RS to start around $130,000, about $30,000 more than the GT4 and more than double the base Cayman price.

So when can we see this super-Cayman? Well, C/D reports that Porsche’s original plan was to launch the Cayman GT4 RS in late 2021 or early 2022.  That said, product timelines at Porsche (and everywhere else right now) may be delayed due the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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Arc’teryx’s Best Down Jackets Are Insanely Discounted Right Now

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Warm Chasers


For months now, we’ve been stressing that the best time to score cold-weather gear, particularly awesome down jackets, is when it’s not cold out. Need more proof? All five types of Arc’teryx Cerium jackets are on sale at Backcountry. On the high end, the super-warm SV Hooded Down Jacket is 40 percent off in two colors, meaning a bonkers $210 off. But every one is discounted at least 25 percent in some colors and sizes, meaning you’re guaranteed to save at least $85.

I have the non-hooded SL (super lightweight) jacket at the bottom of this page, and it’s still perfect for chilly mornings and evenings. There are even a couple vest versions on sale, too. Which means even when it’s not fall and winter, you’re getting much more than your money’s worth here.

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-706532 lazyload" src="http://www.sx-z.com/wp-content/uploads/arcteryxs-best-down-jackets-are-insanely-discounted-right-now'http://www.w3.org/2000/svg' viewBox='0 0 400 400'%3E%3C/svg%3E" alt="" width="400" height="400" data-src="

Arc’teryx Cerium SV Hooded Down Jacket $525 $315

Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hooded Down Jacket $379 $188

Arc’teryx Cerium LT Down Jacket $349 $262

Arc’teryx Cerium SL Hooded Jacket $359 $250

Arc’teryx Cerium SL Down Jacket $339 $254
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Steve Mazzucchi

Steve Mazzucchi is Gear Patrol’s outdoors and fitness editor. Outside the office, you can find him mountain biking, snowboarding, motorcycling or sipping a dram of Laphroaig and daydreaming about such things.

More by Steve Mazzucchi | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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Sony debuts the PS5 controller called the DualSense

Sony has been holding back for a while now, while Microsoft has been generously sharing more about the Xbox Series X. However, in recent weeks, details about the PS5 are slowly surfacing online. Lead system architect Mark Cerny even sounds confident that the console will become another hit when it releases later this year. To our surprise, the company is finally taking another step forward by revealing the game system’s controller. Now, it’s time we take a look at the DualSense.

Ever since the first DualShock gamepad came out, Sony has named each succeeding model by number. This is the first time the manufacturer is deviating from the practice. Furthermore, this is the first time it is radically changing the form factor as well. What we’re looking at is a two-tone colorway with new elements and functions.

The DualSense sports a black and white shell with the face buttons no longer in color. Instead, it is now transparent with gray markings with a transparent D-pad as well. The PlayStation/Home button practically sits in the same section with a button that toggles the microphone array. A speaker grille is still visible above the two.

The grips curve more similar to the top section of the controller. Meanwhile, the lightbar is no longer on top but flanks each side of the touchpad. Likewise, the Share button has been replaced with what Sony calls the Create button. The DualSense no longer uses the traditional rumble motors but promises a more accurate haptic feedback system. Finally, the L2 and R2 are not adaptive triggers that adjust resistance in context with the on-screen action.

Learn more about it: here

Images courtesy of Sony

5 Indie Fragrances That Perfectly Bottle the Season

This story is part of our Summer Preview, a collection of features, guides and reviews to help you navigate warmer months ahead.

The fragrance industry is dominated by big-name, steep-priced labels and fast-fashion, low-grade eau de toilettes. But somewhere between those poles, a roster of indie-label perfumers is creating the most inspired, long-lasting scents.

In the tradition of bucking tradition, these indie darlings are also upending the standards of summer scentmaking. Gone are the parameters of crisp, fresh, floral notes. Summer has more dimensions than that, and these imaginative minds are using notes of bois (rather, woods), spices, tobacco, and patchouli to stretch summer’s potential well past September. They last from sunrise to solstice sundown, and from one season to the next—endless, high-concentrated summer, and at an accessible price.

Maison Louis Marie No. 04 Bois de Balincourt

Belgian perfumer Marie du Petit Thouars carries a torch lit by her ancestor, the explorer and botanist Louis Marie Aubert du Petit Thouars. Maison Louis Marie makes candles, fragrances, and home scents all centered on botanical, floral notes. This perfume oil is among her best potions, combining woody and spicy notes, with a broody, magnetic pull. Dab it onto your pulse points, wave your arms in the air, and watch the suitors flock.

Key notes: Sandalwood, cedarwood, nutmeg, cinnamon

Coqui Coqui Tabaco

Yucatan-based Coqui Coqui embodies world-class hospitality: Together its boutique hotels, home-good stores, tea shops, and perfumeries create a multi-dimensional brand — one you’ll be proud to rep with its lineup of minimal-ingredient scents. The cult favorite is Tabaco, built around that single smoky note. It’s as relaxed as your long summer nights and as warm as the nostalgia it quickly procures.

Key note: Tobacco

19-69 Kasbah

For each of its fragrances, Sweden-based 19-69 finds cultural influence across space and time. But it’s the Marrakesh-inspired Kasbah, a reimagination of the 60s and 70s party scene there, that pulls the greatest olfactive focus. Here’s the visual: Veruschka, Mick Jagger and Yves Saint Laurent mingle and move among other jet-setting party guests. Who among us doesn’t want to wear such a scene-stealing scent?

Key notes: White honey, amber, sandalwood, sweet orange

Arquiste Misfit

Mexican-born perfumer Carlos Huber is both an architect and storyteller with his scents: Each note is carefully chosen to bottle a vivid moment in time. His latest release, Misfit, is his greatest perennial parfum to date: It’s built around patchouli, a note that was representative of high taste in 18th- and 19th-century Scotland and France. It spent the next century as an outcast, worn by countercultures and courtesans, but in Misfit it finds balance between regal and rebel. That’s a recipe for success, in summer and beyond.

Key notes: Patchouli, French lavender, amber, balsam

Claus Porto Le Parfum

If you value quality and design alike, then welcome to the cult of Portugal-based skincare brand Claus Porto. Their soaps, lotions, and shave goods are easy to devour, but only if you can bring yourself to unwrap the picture-perfect packaging. This limited-edition Eau de Parfum is no exception: A celebration of Claus Porto’s 130-year history, the hand-engraved bottle tells you which of the 1887 units you possess. Each of them transports you to the crisp, tree-lined Douro River in Porto, granting you a perfect Portuguese summer any day of the year.

Key notes: Bergamot, green figs, cedarwood, frankincense

A version of this story originally appeared in a print issue of Gear Patrol Magazine. Subscribe today.

The Best Frangrances for Mebn

By declaring these 25 ‘the best’, we’re narrowing that hunt down to a handful of universally adored fragrances. We’ve even sorted them by season, if you prefer warmer notes in winter, compared to crisp, fresh ones when the sun shines bright. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

6 Perfectly Decent Desk and Office Chairs Under $250

Coronavirus has forced millions of office workers into dedicated work-from-homers overnight. Most of those people’s living spaces are not suited to working eight hours comfortably, which is fueling them to buy nice office chairs en masse. But money is tight and a properly aligned spine can be had for less than $500 (if you’re willing to sacrifice longevity). Starting at $75, here are six chairs that will do the trick.

AmazonBasics Mid-Back Mesh Chair

This chair’s price changes with the wind, but it usually hovers between $55 and $75. It’s an Amazon branded chair that offers up the bare bones of what a good desk chair should have. The back is mesh, not faux leather or foam, which promotes temperature regulation (you sweat less). The back offers some semblance of lumbar support and its shape — a curve that presses on the center of your back and keeps you supported — is in line with premium, ergonomics-focused chairs that cost much more money. Will this chair serve you for years and years? No, it’s made with the cheapest materials possible and will fall to pieces. But it will keep itself together until we all have commutes again.

Alera Elusion Mesh High-Back Chair

Our Best Office Chair Under $200 sports everything the AmazonBasics chair does (mesh, ergo-focused shape, etc.) and throws in adjustable height armrests and a waterfall edge seat cushion, which passively relieves pressure on your legs. What is has against it: it’s supremely boring to look at and doesn’t support comfortable reclining for very long. Treat the latter as a positive disguised as a negative — you shouldn’t be reclining all that much anyway.

Flash Furniture High Back Office Chair

A mesh back, ergonomics focus, waterfall seat and an adjustable headrest for $115 is hard to beat. The heaviest knock against it, other than chintzy materials, is the lack of adjustable height armrests. The bright side is the armrests are locked higher — read: where they should be — than most cheap desk chairs.

Branch Task Chair

While office furniture isn’t quite as sexy as flashy cookware or branded luggage, its no less worthy of the direct-to-consumer treatment. Branch is a new-ish company pushing out affordable home office gear, including this $199 (on sale) task chair. Its ticks the baseline ergonomic boxes — adjustable height armrests, tilt, tilt tension, lumbar support and your basic up-down functions. Plus, the base is anodized aluminum, which is significantly sturdier than the cheap plastics deployed by AmazonBasics and other ultra-cheap options. For $80 more, you could also get Branch’s upgraded version that looks better and offers more ergonomic flexibility.

Ikea Markus Chair

Ikea has a number of desk chairs that are built almost entirely for aesthetics rather than performance. Let other people buy them. The Markus chair is the Swedish company’s most body-minded offering in the category. Its extraordinarily high mesh back is ideal for taller folks and those of us who run hot, and despite Ikea’s reputation for cheap builds, it’s significantly sturdier than the other chairs on this list. Plus, because it’s an Ikea product and not made by a company you’ve never heard of in your life, you’re more likely to get customer service if something’s not quite right.

Sihoo Ergonomics Office Chair

This chair floats between $225 and $300 with regularity (it’s $250 at time of publishing). What you get: high mesh back, adjustable headrest, proper lower back support, variable armrests and easily the best spring-lock tilt mechanism of the bunch. In other words, you get everything you need in a pinch.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Will Price

Will Price is Gear Patrol’s home and drinks editor. He’s from Atlanta and lives in Brooklyn. He’s interested in bourbon, houseplants, cheap Japanese pens, and cast-iron skillets — maybe a little too much.

More by Will Price | Follow on Contact via Email

The 2020 Lexus RC F Is a Performance Car at Odds With Its Luxury Station

Brand: Lexus
Product: RC F
Release Date: Mid-2019
Price: $64,750 base / $89,960 as-tested
From: lexus.com

It’s been a while since I was fixed up on a date, but I remember the drill: You’ve been linked up with a person who seems to be a match based on mutual interests. You’ve even seen a photo or two.  and you’re intrigued enough to give things a whirl. Expectations run high. It’s either going to be magical or a horrible tragedy…

…but the reality ends up being somewhere in the middle. You get on well, and there are admirable qualities to this person, but the connection isn’t there. You really believe the right person for them is out there, it just isn’t you — and you even feel a little guilty for not falling head over heels for them.

That’s how I felt about the 2020 Lexus RC F. It’s a great car I should’ve loved…but didn’t.

What We Like

At first sight, the Lexus RC F makes a solid impression. The blend of luxury styling around an aggressive package communicates that this is a coupe meant to tear up the track by day and drop you off at the club at night. Like a boxer working as part-time muscle, the elegant exterior of the RC F barely contains the bruiser underneath. Usual Lexus trappings like the spindle grille front fascia are exaggerated, and further accented by the hood and wheel well vents. The rest of the design looks more stately and traditional; what bold choices taken are much more subdued that the ones up front. It contributes to a fun-house mirror effect in person that really makes the front end stand out — but look at it from afar, and it presents a fairly clean package.

The centerpiece to the RC F is the 5.0-liter V8 that gins up 472 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque. Funneled through an eight-speed automatic gearbox, the Lexus lays down enough power to the rear to please any driver looking to “stunt on some fools,” as goes the parlance. Eager to see if the RC F can put its money where its mouth is, I took it to Monticello Motor Club and pitted it against its 4.1-mile track.

Rolling out of pit lane, I was hesitant to join the pack of performance cars out running laps. The Lexus was an odd duck among them, but it didn’t take long for the RC F to find its groove. From the jump, the RC F has the grunt to get up and going very quickly, bludgeoning its way out of corners and shooting down straightaways. The 14.9-inch six-piston Brembo front brakes worked wonders bringing the RC F to a halt, and remained consistent throughout multiple sessions.

Watch Out For

The RC F’s cabin starts to betray the RC F’s identity crisis. Split between luxury and sport, the interior of the Lexus tries to support the Lexus standard of comfort and elegance while also appealing to the youthful lead-foots who don’t want “dad’s stuffy Lexus” but still want to be taken seriously. The end result is a suit-with-sneakers vibe that is not inherently bad, but will probably turn off those who expect a certain level of Lexus-level panache.

Take or leave the design, and you still need to reconcile with the functionality of the cockpit. There are plenty of menus and options to dig through in both the gauge cluster display and through the infotainment system. The layout of the cabin doesn’t lend to touchscreen functionality and instead sticks to the trackpad that’s been a mainstay for Lexus and Toyota vehicles for some time. Haptic vibrations and snap-to item selection helps in execution, but the track pad is still tricky to use while on the move. There is, thankfully, an array of physical buttons to reach for when it comes to most, but the layout struggles to make the best of the real estate provided. Compatibility with Apple CarPlay does make things feel a little more familiar to the iOS-inclined.

And while the harmonious moments behind the wheel of the RC F on track were great, it took work to get there. In its track-reading setting — with the steering tight, the throttle response maxed out and the torque vectoring differential keyed to give you its best — the Lexus still felt overburdened. All the good work it was doing felt less in service of achieving maximum speed and mostly to keep from tripping over its own feet.

Other Options

Other luxury performance coupes in this general price range include the Audi RS 5 Coupe ($74,200+), the BMW M4 Coupe ($69,150+) and the Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe ($67,995+).

Verdict

By the end of the day at MMC, I felt like I’d explored all the performance the RC F had. Though it did indeed prove it could walk the walk, it didn’t leave me wanting more. It’s fun to drive, it’s got the looks and has plenty of performance capabilities for any RC F owner to take to the occasional track day, but those who want to make that a regular thing will quickly find the car holding them back. (Perhaps that’s when they buy the RC F track edition.) It’s got performance enough to hold its own on a track day, but there are diminishing returns on the excitement it provides.

Stylish, sleek, and sexy, the RC F turns heads no matter where it goes. But for some, it may just not be love at first drive.

Lexus provided this product for review.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

How Small Menswear Brands Are Navigating Coronavirus

Left and right, retailers are closing their doors. For how long, they don’t know. And for many, locking up the doors could be permanent.

It’s easy to see how the lack of foot traffic and general reticence to shop for clothes in the wake of coronavirus pandemic has impacted brick-and-mortar retail. But, the ripple effects aren’t just at the store level. “It goes all the way down the line. For us, our problem really starts at manufacturing,” says Andrew Chen, co-founder of denim brand 3sixteen. For brands like Chen’s that have factories in San Francisco, production of new product has come to a halt.

Shelter-in-place orders have forced non-essential businesses, which include garment factories, to shut down operations. Even if factories have the materials to produce clothes, they can’t finish making the product, let alone ship it out to brands and retailers. Other brands might be in a location where they’re still able to actually ship their product to respective retailers, but when a factory closes, that means there won’t be anything for brands to ship.

In other cases, brands that had product ready to ship to retailers have been stopped short because the stores cannot make payments on goods or have shuddered altogether.

The timing of the pandemic hit just as brands started to ship out spring product. “Before the virus really spread, we accepted a lot of spring orders, but we have some spring orders that are pending,” says Cam Neiderhaus of Oklahoma City-based store East + West. “Some of those are ready to ship and we’ve had to say, ‘Hey, we’re definitely still going to accept it, but we may need to push back the delivery date until we have a clearer picture of when we’ll be open back up officially.’”

To scrounge up revenue, stores big and small have posted sitewide sales and have promoted gift cards. Need Supply recently extended its spring sale, while others like Stag Provisions have set up GoFundMe pages to help pay employees.

Brick-and-mortar businesses have pivoted to purely online traffic and have had to maximize their digital presence more than ever. Brands like Indigofera are highlighting their retailers and vice versa. New York brand Adsum has posted blog posts from its empty shop and tapped DJs to curate a playlist. Others have resorted to community engagement in the form of Q+A sessions or putting out calls for customers to post their favorite shop purchases.

Driving around Kansas City to drop off purchases to customers’ doorsteps has been one way Neiderhaus has been trying to keep East + West going. With virtually nothing else to do at the shop, it’s a way for him to keep up with what demand is left while practicing safe social distancing.

There’s certainly a level of trust involved. Some customers do what Neiderhaus calls a ‘box program’ similar to menswear subscription services like Trunk Club, but they’ve been shopping with East + West regularly. Not every store is so fortunate, however. Neiderhaus’ store is one of the only Kansas City retailers that sells such a niche product. But in large metropolitan cities, independent menswear stores have to vie for attention. Also, the retail challenges are more difficult for newer brands and stores that have yet to develop a large and dedicated base.

Customers can use their dollars to help keep these businesses afloat, of course. Purchasing from small brands and retailers is a vote of confidence that helps now more than ever. But what else? “Engage with us,” Niederhaus says. “Letting us know how you’re doing gives us an emotional boost just as much as a purchase gives us a financial boost.” The need for community is glaring in this time of isolation — brands and boutiques need that genuine connection with customers beyond a purchase.

Platforms like Instagram Stories and Instagram Live are instrumental in not only showcasing new product but also in helping brands connect with their customers. Curated Spotify playlists, behind-the-scenes videos of people at home — what they’re eating and the company they keep — all serve as ways to keep up with customers in a more meaningful way. For many brands and retailers, foot traffic wasn’t just a big source of income, but a way to connect. Now, that connection happens digitally.

“Say hi — that definitely gives us energy,” Chen says. “It motivates us to keep moving forward.”

A Brief History of Patek Philippe’s Perpetual Calendar Watches

Most people around the world track time using the Gregorian Calendar, brought to public use in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII, as it was (and remains today) far more accurate than previous calendars. In the Gregorian Calendar, leap years compensate for the Earth’s fractional 365.2425-day trip around the sun. Leap years effectively average out our years to a tidy 365 days, but even this system is not exact, because the actual solar year is 365.24667 days. Because of this slight inexactitude of the Gregorian Calendar, after 400 years our timekeeping ends up three days ahead of the sun’s actual rotation. So, we drop those extra three days by skipping the leap year every 100 years, meaning we only do this three times in 400 years.

You follow all that? Given the complex anomalies of our calendar, fashioning a tiny mechanical device that can track all of this information accurately is an incredible accomplishment. Timepieces that incorporate this information are called “perpetual calendars,” and it was Patek Philippe that led the development of fitting this feat of human engineering into small wristwatches.

To better understand perpetual calendar watches, consider the following diagram. You’ll see that as watches extend the time interval that they track from seconds to minutes, all the way out to leap years, the complexity of the movement advances from the simplest mechanical timekeepers like stopwatches to the perpetual calendar, with a number of increasingly complex mechanisms in between.

Mechanical watches consist of a power source (the mainspring and barrel), the transmission that controls the rate at which the hands and other indicators move (the gear train), and a power distribution and regulation device (the escapement). To appreciate what goes into a perpetual calendar watch, we’ll focus on the gear train.

The mainspring (our power source) turns the barrel cog that drives the gear train. By varying the size of the subsequent cogs in the gear train, the ratios work out to produce the movement of the various hands that subdivide time into seconds, minutes, hours, days, and so on. The video below shows the barrel cog (purple) driving the seconds hand (silver), which drives the minute hand (gold).

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As we add longer and longer subdivisions of time, the gear train grows more and more elaborate. As you can imagine, the gear train of a perpetual calendar is one of the most complex ever devised. But far more than mere gear ratios are involved when a movement compensates for the variances in month length and leap years. To accomplish this, myriad clever sub-mechanisms allow the watch to run perpetually without adjustment for up to 100 years, at which point it needs to be adjusted by one day (see above for a more detailed explanation).

Notable Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Watches

The British watchmaker Thomas Mudge built the first working perpetual calendar pocket watch in 1762, and then watchmakers ignored (or avoided, perhaps) the grueling complication until Patek Philippe executed one for a pocket watch in 1864. In 1898 the maison built the world’s first compact perpetual calendar for a woman’s pendant watch, and in 1925 — after wristwatches had become in vogue for men — Patek used the same compact movement inside the world’s first perpetual calendar wristwatch, a one-off produced for a wealthy collector named Thomas Emery.

Below we take a look at some of the mainstays of the Patek Philippe perpetual calendar lineage. In all, there have been 27 different perpetual calendar references to date from Patek, so we have picked a few as milestones in this field of rarified timepieces.

Patek Philippe Reference 1526

It wasn’t until 1941 that Patek began to produce a series of perpetual calendar wristwatches, an unexpected product as WWII was raging across Europe. Nonetheless, the elegant 1526 came in a solid yellow gold Calatrava case measuring just 34mm. Its relatively blank dial belied the incredible complexity of the movement inside. Foregoing a year and leap year indicator on the dial but including a traditional moon phase complication, this watch set the understated tone that would persist in Patek’s perpetual calendars.

Where some brands today make a show of every possible complication of their perpetual calendars — and sometimes the movement itself via skeletonized dials — Patek continues to prioritize elegance over complexity, as is the brand’s wont. The 1526 was produced until 1952, with only 210 examples leaving the manufacture, most in yellow gold, a few in pink gold, and just one (that anyone knows of) in stainless steel.

Patek Philippe Reference 1518

In 1941 Patek also released the first serially produced annual calendar with chronograph and moon phase complications. Sometimes considered a “grand complication” — a watch that, most agree, features three or more significant complications — the 1518 is a true mechanical marvel at just 35mm.

Among the gold models were a few exceptionally rare stainless steel models, one of which held the record for the most expensive wristwatch until Paul Newman’s Daytona supplanted it. Among Patek collectors, students of horology, and even watchmakers, the 1518 is an oft-cited holy grail, especially in stainless steel.

Patek Philippe Reference 2499

In 1951, Patek Philippe brought out the venerable 2499, a perpetual calendar with full chronograph function and a moon phase complication, and the successor to the famous 1518. At 37.6mm in diameter, the 2499 was a little large for its day, but given the machine running inside it is still considered a marvel of micro-mechanical engineering. The 2499 was in production until the mid 1980s, and only 349 examples were produced. Patek updated the 2499 from time to time, changing the shape of the chronograph pushers, replacing numerals with stick markers, and so on, but the movement inside remained largely unchanged.

Patek Philippe Reference 3449

In 1961, Patek Philippe issued only three examples of the 3449. As always, its plain dial hides the mechanical prowess inside, as this is the world’s first automatic winding perpetual calendar wristwatch. Exceptionally rare, elegantly understated, and often overlooked, the auto-winding perpetual mechanism as found on the 3449 rises again in modern models.

Patek Philippe Reference 3970

As the 2499 ended its run in 1986, the 3970 took its place. Amid the downturn in interest in mechanical watches during the Quartz Crisis, as well as the upturn in popularity of larger watches, producing the 36mm reference 3970 was a curious move for Patek. But this independent brand has seldom bent to market trends, instead sticking to its core philosophies and whetting the appetites of its core collector base.

Like its predecessors (the 1518 and 2488) the 3970 houses perpetual calendar, chronograph, and moon phase complications, though for reasons that are hard to comprehend, it has never held the appeal of its siblings. Perhaps it’s the size, or the busy dial? Perhaps it’s that the 1980s just weren’t booming years for mechanical watches? It’s hard to say, but it carried the torch lit by the venerable 1518 through an era when quartz watches threatened to douse the flame.

Patek Philippe Reference 5207

We jump to 2008’s 5207 because — despite the myriad perpetual calendars that came out before it — the 5207 features a patented perpetual calendar mechanism that jumps instantaneously, as well as a minute repeater, a moon phase, and a tourbillon. This is a serious grand complication.

Building a mechanism that jumps instantly requires that each display’s gear “stores up” energy and then releases it in an instant, whereas previous mechanisms took many hours to use up that energy and rotated their discs slowly. That means more R&D, more parts to produce and assemble, and, of course, more of what some watch lovers crave most: complexity. The 5207’s understated dial continues the stylistically conservative approach Patek has always taken with its perpetual calendars.

Patek Philippe Reference 5208

Using the 5207’s platform, in 2011 Patek released the 5208, featuring a minute repeater, a monopusher chronograph, and the 5207’s instantaneous perpetual calendar. Foregoing the tourbillon, the 5208 instead features other serious tech, including a Silinvar® oscillator with a Spiromax® balance spring and a Pulsomax® escapement, all proprietary silicone-based technologies that Patek has been incorporating into their watches as of late.

We included the 5208 partly because it’s one of the most complicated watches available in serial production, and represents cutting-edge technology. Most grand complications like this are reserved for one-man haute horlogerie houses taking commissions from wealthy collectors before the work begins, and the work is often quite traditional, even done by hand. Patek may not make a lot of these watches, but they produce them right along with the rest of their catalog, thus continuing the spirit of the very first serially produced perpetual calendars from 1941.

Patek Philippe Reference 5550

The 5550 of 2011 again sees Patek hiding its high technology behind traditional dials, perhaps more so than with any other watch to date. The 5550, produced in just 300 examples, is an automatic perpetual calendar with moon phase, harkening back to the automatic 3449 of 1961. Its traditionally styled silver dial sneakily conceals a cutting-edge oscillating system with Pulsomax® escapement, Spiromax® balance spring, and the new GyromaxSi® balance in Silinvar® and gold. As part of the Patek’s Advanced Research program, the 5550 represents Patek’s ongoing commitment to using modern technology in traditional watches.

Patek Philippe Reference 5204

Pushing the complications further than ever, the 5204 of 2012 offers a split-seconds chronograph and perpetual calendar mechanism that is entirely new for Patek. Handsome, traditional-looking, and highly complicated, the 5204 sees the maison flexing its manufacturing muscles.

Current Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendars

The three watches below represent some of the best from Patek’s current catalog. These are serially produced perpetual calendars that represent the culmination of 80 years of getting it right.

Patek Philippe Reference 5327G

This self-winding perpetual calendar in white gold is surprisingly sporty despite its italicized Breguet numerals and gleaming blue dial. The compounded subdials include a leap-year indicator (numerals 1 through 4 on the 3-o’clock subdial), which feels decidedly modern. This detail also lets fellow watch enthusiasts know that you’re “rocking a perp.”

Patek Philippe Reference 5320G

Where the 5327G feels modern and bold, the 5320G looks like it’s straight out of the 1940s catalog. That’s because Patek used vintage museum pieces to derive the 5320G’s design. The cream dial with applied, lume-filled numerals in gold takes the vintage vibe way back.

Patek Philippe Reference 5270P

The salmon dial and platinum case with its fancy lugs give the 5270P a very dressy Swiss visage. The chronograph features a more traditional column wheel and horizontal clutch, while the watch is also hand-wound. This model is all about traditional mechanics executed with modern materials and know-how.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

The Best Sleeping Bags of 2020

If you were lucky enough to tune into the Discovery Channel’s Man vs. Wild during its heyday, you might’ve witnessed Bear Grylls, a former British Special Air Service operator and the show’s host, make TV magic by gutting a dead camel and demonstrating how to climb inside the carcass for warmth and shelter. The sequence of teeth-clenching footage is perhaps the best reminder that hey, sleeping bags are pretty cool.

Sleeping bags are a camping essential, and even those of us who never bed down under the stars typically keep one around the house as emergency bedding. We tend not to upgrade our sleeping bags with the same frequency as other pieces of outdoor gear, like hiking boots or down jackets. But sleeping bags have come a long way in the past decade. This guide, which we’ve organized by fill type and temperature rating, represents the best of the current class.

The Best Down Sleeping Bags

  • 45 Degrees: Therm-a-Rest Vesper 45°
  • 30 Degrees: Montbell Seamless Down Hugger WR 900 #3
  • 20 Degrees: Mammut Perform Down Bag -7C
  • 0 Degrees: Western Mountaineering Kodiak MF
  • Best for Two People: Big Agnes Sentinel

The Best Synthetic Sleeping Bags

  • 15-50 Degrees: The North Face Dolomite One
  • 30 Degrees: REI Co-op Trailbreak 30
  • 20 Degrees: Nemo Equipment Forte 20
  • 15 Degrees: Mountain Hardwear Lamina Eco AF

How to Choose the Best Sleeping Bag

  • About Temperature Ratings
  • Down vs. Synthetic Insulation
  • Price

Therm-a-Rest Vesper 45

45 Degrees

The best option for a warm-weather sleeping bag isn’t a sleeping bag at all; it’s a quilt. Trail quilts have been a go-to for ultralight backpackers for a while but are increasingly becoming popular amongst more mainstream campers too. With less material, trail quilts are lighter and more packable. Therm-a-Rest’s Vesper 45 is an excellent intro to this offshoot category — at 12 ounces, the quilt will go unnoticed in a backpack, but it still has functional features like an enclosed foot box and straps to secure it to a sleeping pad.

Weight: 12 ounces
Fill: 900-fill Nikwax hydrophobic down
Compressed Volume: 4.5 x 6 inches
Other available temperature ratings: 20, 30 degrees (F)

Montbell Seamless Down Hugger WR 900 #3

30 Degrees

Montbell’s newest crop of Down Hugger bags has a lot going for them. For one, Montbell secured this bag’s down insulation in place using a system that it calls Spider Baffle, where an array of synthetic threads hold onto down clumps to help maintain their loft. It eliminates the need for baffles created by stitching, optimizing the bag for warmth and durability. Montbell employed elastic in the liner to help the bag “hug” a sleeper, which eliminates dead airspace. And, to top it all off, this particular Down Hugger model comes with a Gore-Tex Infinium exterior, making it remarkably weather-resistant.

Weight: 1 pound 3 ounces
Fill: 900-fill Power Ex Down
Compressed Volume: 5.5 x 10.9 inches
Other available temperature ratings: 40 degrees (F)

Mammut Perform Down Bag -7C

20 Degrees

Mammut recently overhauled its entire line of sleeping bags with the idea of upgrading the overall outdoor experience by improving sleep. There are synthetic as well as down bags in the line, optimized for casual camping as well as expeditions. The Perform Down Bag -7C — equivalent to roughly 20 degrees Fahrenheit — is notably versatile and feature-rich. Its mummy-style hood, which secures with a magnetic closure, is lined with a soft and noiseless fabric designed to keep things quiet. The bag also has a pocket to keep small items close, and comes with a sleeping mask and earplugs.

Weight: 2 pounds 4 ounces
Fill: 700-fill down
Compressed Volume: 9 x 11.2 inches
Other available temperature ratings: 0, 32 degrees (F)

Western Mountaineering Kodiak MF

0 Degrees

The ultralight experts at Western Mountaineering have earned the company a reputation among the hardcore hiking set. It designed its four-season sleeping bag to do one thing — keep you warm — and thanks to its 850-fill down insulation, it does that while maintaining a remarkably low weight at roughly 3 pounds (depending on size).

Weight: 2 pounds 15 ounces (size regular)
Fill: 850-fill down
Compressed Volume: 9 x 18 inches

Big Agnes Sentinel 30

Best for Two People

For most of us, camping is rarely, if ever, a solo activity. Part of the joy of spending time outside is doing so with your significant other. But designs that let you zip two sleeping bags together are cumbersome at best, so Big Agnes made one bag to fit two. The best thing about the Sentinel is that it maintains a small degree of separation — you can snap a divider between the hoods, just in case you prefer your sleeping bag partially unzipped and your partner doesn’t.

Weight: 3 pounds 8 ounces
Fill: 650-fill down, DownTex hydrophobic treatment
Compressed Volume: 9 x 20 inches
Other available temperature ratings: n/a
The Best Down Sleeping Bags

  • 45 Degrees: Therm-a-Rest Vesper 45°
  • 30 Degrees: Montbell Seamless Down Hugger WR 900 #3
  • 20 Degrees: Mammut Perform Down Bag -7C
  • 0 Degrees: Western Mountaineering Kodiak MF
  • Best for Two People: Big Agnes Sentinel

The Best Synthetic Sleeping Bags

  • 15-50 Degrees: The North Face Dolomite One
  • 30 Degrees: REI Co-op Trailbreak 30
  • 20 Degrees: Nemo Equipment Forte 20
  • 15 Degrees: Mountain Hardwear Lamina Eco AF

How to Choose the Best Sleeping Bag

  • About Temperature Ratings
  • Down vs. Synthetic Insulation
  • Price

The North Face Dolomite One

15-50 Degrees

In terms of bang for buck, casual campers will be hard-pressed to find a better deal than The North Face’s Dolomite One. The sleeping bag uses a modular zipper design that gives it a range from 15 degrees up to 50, eliminating the need to own multiple sleeping bags for camping in different environments. The Dolomite One is best for base camping near the car, but The North Face also makes a down-filled mummy version that has the same modular design but is lightweight enough for backpacking.

Weight: 5 pounds
Fill: polyester
Compressed Volume: n/a
Other available temperature ratings: n/a

REI Co-op Trailbreak 30

30 Degrees

REI’s Trailbreak sleeping bags are also hard to beat when it comes to price, thanks to the brand’s in-house development strategy. Its no-frills mummy design includes a roomy foot box for a little extra movement, plus a small pocket near the head for essential small items.

Weight: 2 pounds 8 ounces (size regular)
Fill: polyester
Compressed Volume: 5.7 liters
Other available temperature ratings: 20 degrees (F)

Nemo Equipment Forte 20

20 Degrees

Unique to Nemo sleeping bags is the spoon shape, which the company created for campers who want a mummy-style sleeping bag without the claustrophobia of actual mummification. The spoon shape isn’t very spoon-like, but it does offer extra room at the elbows and knees for shifting around and side sleeping. The Forte also includes zippered “gills” that extend its temperature range — just open them up and let the breeze in.

Weight: 2 pounds 14 ounces (size regular)
Fill: PrimaLoft RISE synthetic fibers
Compressed Volume: 9 liters
Other available temperature ratings: 35 degrees (F)

Mountain Hardwear Lamina Eco AF 15F

15 Degrees

Mountain Hardwear set sustainability in its sights when it created this undyed sleeping bag using mostly recycled materials. The resulting white look is unique, eye-catching, and will bear the marks of your adventures as reminders of where you’ve been. But beyond looks and eco-friendliness, the Lamina Eco AF is a quality bag that’ll get you through cold nights in a tent.

Weight: 2 pounds 6.4 ounces
Fill: polyester
Compressed Volume: 8 x 16.5 inches
Other available temperature ratings: 30 degrees (F)

How to Choose the Best Sleeping Bag

Temperature Ratings

Every sleeping bag comes with a temperature rating, usually represented, roughly, by a number in its name. That number comes from third-party lab testing. Those labs test for two numbers, a comfort rating, and a lower limit rating. The former is the environmental temperature in which a sleeping bag can provide sufficient warmth for colder sleepers; the lower limit rating represents the temperature at which a warm sleeper will be comfortable.

The number in a sleeping bag’s name may not be its exact temperature rating; brands tend to round numbers to the nearest five or zero. For example, REI’s Trailbreak 30 has a lower limit rating of 29 degrees Fahrenheit and a comfort rating of 38 degrees Fahrenheit.

Also, sleeping bags with lower temperature ratings typically use more material, so they will be bigger and take up more space in a backpack or closet.

Should You Get Down or Synthetic Insulation?

Sleeping bags provide warmth by trapping air inside their fluffy filling, which is typically either down or synthetic. Choosing which is right for you is a matter of pros and cons.

Down, which comes from geese and ducks, tends to provide more warmth in a smaller volume than most synthetic insulation. Down insulation comes with a fill rating that denotes its quality. For instance, a 30-degree sleeping bag with 800-fill down will provide the same amount of warmth as a 650-fill bag rated to the same temperature, but it will do so with less insulation, so it will pack down smaller. Down’s main drawback is that it clumps when it gets wet, but many brands today use down that’s treated to be water-repellant. Down sleeping bags are also almost always more expensive than synthetic ones.

Synthetic insulation consists of manufactured fibers that attempt to mimic down. Synthetic insulation tends to be more water-resistant, durable and affordable but also bulkier and heavier.

Price

Depending how often you use it, a sleeping bag can last you for years; it’s a long-term investment. Sleeping bags are also expensive, and their price is a product of the materials used. As a rule, down insulation is more expensive than synthetic, and higher fill powers (more warmth for weight) are more expensive than lower ones. Because they use more material, cold-weather sleeping bags tend to be more expensive than warm-weather sleeping bags.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tanner Bowden

Tanner Bowden is a staff writer at Gear Patrol covering all things outdoors and fitness. He is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School and a former wilderness educator. He lives in Brooklyn but will always identify as a Vermonter.

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What You Need Know About Sonos’s Big Hi-Fi Upgrade

In the past three-odd years Sonos has undergone some pretty significant changes. A new CEO in Patrick Spence has come in. The company has announced its first smart speakers in the One ($199) and Beam ($399). It released its first portable speaker in the Move ($399). And, with Ikea, it released its first collaborative speakers in the Symfonisk ($99+) line. But Sonos is about to roll out what is arguably its most significant change this June. It’s calling it “Sonos S2.”

According to the press release that Sonos issued at the end of March, Sonos S2 will be an entirely new app and operating system (OS) that will power the next generation of products and experiences.” The ultimate goal of Sonos S2 is to enable Sonos’s products, some past and all future, to be able to play higher-quality audio and support more advanced technologies (such as Dolby Atmos). That said, Sonos S2 could have a big impact on people who use Sonos speakers and audio components every day.

Here’s what you need to know.

Folks with older Sonos speakers are the most affected

Not every Sonos product will support the new Sonos S2 app and operating system. If you’ve been a Sonos user for ten years or more and you still use some of those original speakers or components, there’s a good chance that they won’t support Sonos S2. These speakers will not support S2:

• Zone Players, Learn More
• CR200, Learn More
• Bridge, Learn More
• Connect (Gen 1), Learn More
• Connect:Amp (Gen 1), Learn More
• Play:5 (Gen 1), Learn More

To update your newer Sonos speakers and components, you’ll have to cut the old ones out of the group.

Most Sonos speakers and components will support the S2 update. When it becomes available this June, the Sonos app will tell you via push notification or within the app. This will be a fairly simple thing for most Sonos users, but it gets a bit complicated if you have an older Sonos product that doesn’t support S2 integrated into your system.

If you have a Sonos speaker or component that doesn’t support the S2 update, then the rest of the Sonos products its grouped with won’t be able to get the update either. You’ll have to degroup the component or speaker that doesn’t support the S2 update in order to upgrade the rest of the system. For instance, if you have two Play:5 (Gen 2) speakers and one Play:5 (Gen 1) speaker, you’ll have to de-group the older speaker to update your two newer Play:5 speakers.

You Don’t have to get the new app

Your current Sonos app will prompt you to download the new Sonos S2 app when it becomes available, but you won’t be required to download it. In case you don’t download it, you should know that your current Sonos app will be renamed “Sonos S1 Controller.” This name change could be a little confusing if you didn’t know the update if coming.

There are two main reasons why you should want to download the new app, however. First, the Sonos speakers and components will have to be updated with the new software and use the new app in order to support future, higher-resolution audio technologies. And two, all Sonos speakers that are released after May 2020 will come with the S2 update preinstalled and will not be able to be controlled with the Sonos S1 Controller app.

In a nutshell: if you want to add new speakers to your current Sonos system, you’ll have to have them updated.

Sonos will continue to support its older products, in a limited capacity

If you’re worried about your old Sonos speakers getting totally left in the dust — fear not. Sonos will continue to support its older speakers and components; you’ll be able to control them will the S1 Controller app; the S1 Controller app will still receive software updates of its own to fix bugs and security issues.

Sonos is, of course, heavily encouraging people with older products to upgrade them to new ones. It’s offering a trade-in program, called Trade Up, where you can save 30% on new products by trading your older non-compatible products in.

The update gets you HD streaming and Dolby Atmos

As Sonos explained in its press release, the main reason for the S2 update is so that its current and future speakers and components can play better audio. To date, Sonos has been able to support lossless audio that’s about CD quality. It’s good, but more and more streaming services are actually able to super even higher resolution audio — services like Tidal and Amazon Music HD — and Sonos wants their system to support those, too.

The other big thing is support for Dolby Atmos. Now Sonos has not gone out and officially stated that its home theater speaker systems will be able to support Dolby Atmos when they’re upgraded with S2, but it’s a pretty safe bet. Sonos has been making a big splash in the home theater realm for several years, with three soundbars and several bundle deals, and increasing the bandwidth so that it can support more immersive sound technologies makes sense. Plus, it gives movie buffs even more reason to buy Sonos.

And big improvements to speaker grouping

The S2 update is expected to be a big improvement for people who have several different groups of Sonos speakers placed around their homes. It’s expected to come with a new feature called ‘Room Groups,’ which will effectively allow users to create more longer-lasting groups of speakers, and then control them all more easily, within their home.

For instance, if you have two Sonos speakers in your kitchen and three Sonos speakers in your living room, and another two in your bedroom, the S2 app will allow you to control them without you having to constantly “regroup” them individually.

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Tucker Bowe

Tucker Bowe has been on Gear Patrol’s editorial team since 2014. As a Tech Staff Writer, he tracks everything in the consumer tech space, from headphones to smartphones, wearables to home theater systems. If it lights up or makes noise, he probably covers it.

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