All posts in “Gear”

This Ridiculously Good (and Ridiculously Expensive) Headphone Amp Is Cheaper Than Ever

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Upgrade Your Desktop Audio


World Wide Stereo is having a big sale on a ton of audio gear for Memorial Day. You can save up to 40 percent on headphones, up to 30 percent on portable speakers, and up to 20 percent on turntables. You can check out all the things you can save on here. Just make sure to use the code “MEMDAY” at checkout.

The Astell & Kern ACRO L1000 is one of the things that sticks out to us. It’s an all-in-one desktop amplifier, headphone amp and DAC that’s made almost completely out of aluminum — it’s beautiful. Not only is it a hi-fi lover’s dream (capable of playing hi-res audio files up to 32bit/384kHz without downsampling, and it supports native DSD playback), but it’s got one of the biggest, boldest and most satisfying volume knobs we’ve ever felt.

The ACRO L1000 normally costs $899, but the discount code knocks well over $200 off that. It’s still expensive, for sure, but it’s the best deal on this gorgeous amp that we’ve ever seen. Upgrade your desktop audio setup.

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

More by Tucker Bowe | Follow on Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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Suddenly, There Are Amazing Deals on the Toyota Supra

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biggest incentive on any Toyota


Toyota has been offering some unprecedented deals on cars that almost never see discounts. Earlier this month, we saw great deals on the Tacoma. Now, over Memorial Day, Toyota is providing strong incentives to move its halo sports car: the GR Supra.

Cars Direct found two options available for 2020 Supra buyers. Customers can opt for 0-percent APR financing over 60 months or a $3,500 cash incentive — the largest cash-on-the-hood payout Toyota is giving on any vehicle right now. Toyota also adjusted its lease formula for the Supra; the change brings the monthly payment more in line with its sibling, the BMW Z4, when it had been as much as $150 more last year. The offers expire June 1, 2020.

Why is Toyota making the Supra cheaper? There seem to be two logical reasons. One: Toyota is updating the Supra for 2021, with more horsepower for the six-cylinder and a cheaper four-cylinder option. Those changes are all but sure to render the 2020 version less desirable.

Two: Toyota is anticipating a major sales and profit hit during the global pandemic. The Supra, an impractical two-seater sports coupe, is the sort of purchase buyers would definitely be inclined to put off in less favorable times.

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.

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Patagonia’s Best Bags Are Deeply Discounted Right Now

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The Last Duffel You’ll Need


If you’ve never heard of Patagonia’s Black Hole duffel bags, you’ve likely spotted one in an airport, foreign train station or strapped to the roof of an overlander. Patagonia built the weather-resistant and sturdy bags to last decades with a rugged TPU-laminated ripstop nylon. They also include removable backpack straps that make carrying one a breeze, even when it’s fully loaded.

The 55-liter version is arguably the most versatile size; it’s big enough to pack everything you’ll need for a weekend or a week, and it still fits into the overhead bins on planes. We’ve put this bag through its paces on all kinds of adventures, from a ski weekend in Vermont to a month-long trip to Ecuador. It’s one of the best rugged duffel bags available, and right now it’s also 30 percent off at REI in every volume.

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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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Get This Slick Nixon Digital Watch Now for 38% Off

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two-tone magic


Everything in watches is retro nowadays, and Nixon captures the mood well with the two-tone look combined with a digital display. It’s a throwback to decades not so long gone, but the sleek-looking negative (light-on-dark) display has a bold simplicity with a large font that feels contemporary — and it should be nice and legible as well. Right now, you can get it on a matching two-tone bracelet for no less than 38% off its retail price at just $78.

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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10 Spotify Tricks You’ll Wish You’d Known Sooner

Welcome to Product Support, a column devoted to helping you get the most out of the gadgets and software you already use.

Spotify is the biggest music streaming service in the world. If you’re like me, you’re one of those Premium subscribers and have been for years. Yet, Spotify is constantly updating, adding new features and changing its interface, so there’s a lot you probably don’t know — being a paying subscriber is more just than ad-free listening and offline downloads, after-all. We’ve rounded up the best tricks of the trade to help you get the most out of your Spotify subscription.

Manage your downloads like a pro.

One of the big perks of being a Spotify Premium subscriber is being able to download tracks, albums and podcasts directly to your device so you can listen to them offline, which is ideal for people who are on a capped cellular plan or know they’re going to a place with no service. The problem is that keeping taps on your downloads — especially if you download things across different categories, like albums, playlists and tracks — is the opposite of intuitive.

Even though Spotify doesn’t make it easy, you can still delete all your downloaded music. Open the app, go to “Your Libary” and select the big “Music” tab at the top of your screen. Then select either Playlists or Albums, whichever you want to manage, and then you’ll have to swipe up so that a search bar appears. Select the Filters button, then select Downloads from the drop-down menu. From here, you can see all your downloaded playlists and albums, and then remove them one by one.

Make a group playlist with your friends.

Spotify has a feature called “Collaborative Playlists” that lets you and a bunch of your friends share playlists with one another, with each individual able to add or delete songs, as well as reorder songs on the Collaborative Playlist. All you have to do is open one of your playlists, click the ellipses adjacent to the playlist, and select “Make collaborative.” Then tap the ellipses again and hit share.

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Try a group listening session.

One of Spotify’s newest features is called Group Session. Instead of contributing to a playlist, like with Collaborative Playlists, a Group Session is more of a temporary listening session where anybody can take control of the music from their own smartphone. This can only be done with people who are in the same location since it involves scanning a QR code to sync up, and the music will only play from one source. If you want to create your own Group Session, simply play a song on Spotify, select the “Devices Available” logo and select “Start a group session”; you can also select “Scan to Join” if you want to join somebody else’s Group Session.

If you’re looking for a way to listen to music with a bunch of people at the same time, but you’re all in different locations (because maybe you’re quarantining), check out JQBX. It’s a web player and mobile app that lets you create a listening session where you can take turns selecting tracks while listening in unison. The catch is that everybody in the listening session has to be a Spotify Premium subscriber.

Reorder tracks (or delete them) from your favorite album.

If you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber, you can actually reorder the tracks on any music album, or simply delete them if you don’t ever want to listen to them again. For example, if you want “Snowchild” (track 5) and “Heartless” (track 7) to be track one and two on The Weeknd’s album After Hours</em, you can do that. Simply play an album, select the queue button in the bottom-right corner and from here you can actually delete tracks or reorder them.

Make sure you’re listening to the best quality audio.

Spotify streams 96 kbp/s audio tracks by default. Premium subscribers can upgrade to 320 kbp/s, which is a very high-quality stream (even if it’s still not CD quality). To adjust the audio quality, simply go to Settings > Music Quality > Very high.

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Set it up to sing along

One of the most requested features for Spotify has been real-time lyrics, which shows you the lyrics of the song that you’re listening to so that you can sing along in real-time. Spotify started rolling out the feature in early 2020 — but it’s not available for everybody just yet. In the meantime, the best way to achieve real-time lyrics is to download Musixmatch, register and connect your Spotify account. The interesting thing is that Spotify is partnering with Musixmatch, so in the near future you won’t need to open a separate app to have the lyrics overlayed in real-time. (Also, Musixmatch can’t show the lyrics to every song.)

Remove songs from your history

Long-time Spotify listeners will know that the streaming service keeps track of what songs, albums and artists you listen to, which is why you seem “similar” artists and albums suggested to you, even though you’ve never listened to them. It’s the same kind of thing that Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video all do. But maybe you’ve outgrown some things, or just want to start fresh. Unfortunately, Spotify still doesn’t let you delete your past listening history — even though it’s highly requested feature — but there is a little workaround. If you launch the Spotify app on your desktop, you can actually remove songs from your “Recently Played” section. Just right click on the song, artist, radio or podcast and select “Remove from Recently Play.”

Connect Shazam to your Spotify account.

There’s a good chance you haven’t used Shazam in years. The app first became immensely popular over a decade ago, circa 2008, as it was able to quickly listen to any song that was playing and identify it. Fast forward to 2020 and it’s easy to integrate Shazam into any of the most popular music streaming services, including Spotify. Once downloaded and registered (it’s free), you can link Shazam to your Spotify account and from then on, every time you Shazam a song you can directly add it to a Spotify playlist.

Keep your listening sessions private.

Anybody new to Spotify will know that all your friends can see what your listening to because the app’s Friend Activity is turned on by default. Well, it’s easy to turn off; just go to Settings, then Social and make sure to switch-on “Private Session.” When no, nobody can see what music you’re listening to.

Use Spotify like Pandora.

When Pandora first came out, one of the things that made it different as a streaming service is that it created playlists for you depending on the song or artist you were listening to. Well, Spotify can do the same thing. Just search for a song that you like, click the ellipses next to the song and select “Go to radio” from the drop-down menu. This effectively makes a radio station featuring other artists based around that one song.

Take advantage of Crossfade for parties.

If you’re hosting a party and preparing a Spotify playlist, one of the easiest-yet-most-important things to do is to turn on Crossfade. It’s a feature that lets you skip that dull silence at the beginning and end of each track, that way the songs just blend right into each other and the music seems like it never stops. To turn Crossfade on, all you have to do is select Settings > Playback > and adjust the Crossfade slider to the desired length. The higher the number, the more the songs will blend into each other.

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

More by Tucker Bowe | Follow on Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

These Forgotten Vintage Watch Brands Are Back with New Models

The influence of “vintage” has all but taken over the modern watch market. Remakes have evolved from upsized modern interpretations to more faithful reproductions, while novel designs often simply look “retro.” The nostalgia associated with classic designs and a historic name seems to resonate with consumers and shows no signs of slowing down.

As this trend matures, however, something interesting is happening: in addition to reissued models, entire watch brands themselves are being “reissued.” That is, brand names that were prominent in decades past but have since faded or disappeared entirely are being resurrected.

Each has a different story and different approach to watchmaking, but many were victims of the quartz crisis. Now, often under new ownership that has purchased the rights to names, designs and even technologies, the business model commonly looks a lot like that of many microbrands, and often includes the use of crowdfunding. What ties them all together is that they’re riding the wave of nostalgia and general enthusiasm for things analog and patinated. Below are some notable revitalized brands worth keeping an eye on.

Ollech & Wajs

Ollech & Wajs is an interesting example because the tool watches produced under this name were relatively obscure to begin with even among vintage collectors. Further, modern O&W has taken an interesting approach by not making exact replicas of its vintage models, but instead making fresh designs that draw on the brand’s back catalog and influences. The P-104, for example, is a charming pilot watch and was among the first models from the brand under its current management.
Notable Model: P-104 S
Price: $1,229

Yema

Yema never stopped producing watches, but its Heritage collection revived interest in the brand with the reintroduction of the Superman model. Now, Yema represents a modest resurgence of French watchmaking. The modern Superman dive watch is almost a one-to-one reproduction of a model from 1963, with a quirky bezel-locking mechanism that makes it stand out from the crowd. Its popularity has given rise to a collection of Superman dive watches, but other Heritage pieces like the Yachtingraf and Speedgraf are worth checking out as well.
Notable Model: Superman Heritage
Price: $1,099

Le Jour

While Le Jour was originally the name under which Yema watches were distributed in the U.S. market, the brand is independent today, and is perhaps making some of the most modern-looking watches on this list while still incorporating clear nods to its past. Take the new Hammerhead: it’s got clear 70s influence but feels simultaneously modern and sporty, especially considering its 42mm-wide case. With prices and specs like those of a microbrand, Le Jour offers strong value and unique character.
Notable Model: Hammerhead
Price: $800

Nivada

Nivada is a relatively well known name among vintage watch hunters for its midcentury tool watches and chronographs. And the newly resurrected brand isn’t beating around the bush, with a stated mission of simply bringing back its most popular vintage models. They debuted with the 39mm Chronomaster chronograph, which looks almost like an actual vintage model, but is fully modern in its construction, materials and movement. You just can’t argue with its thoroughly retro feel.
Notable Model: Chronomaster
Price: ~$1,730+

Le Forban Sécurité Mer

Even vintage watch aficionados may not have heard of this French brand whose watches were “mainly sold in nautical equipment shops” starting in the late 1960s. Its first modern timepiece, however — an interpretation of watches it made for the French navy — is affordable and elegant. The Malouine is powered by an inexpensive Japanese movement and assembled by the brand in Paris.
Notable Model: Malouine
Price: ~$440

Timor

Twelve companies made watches for the British military in 1945 that are variously called W.W.W. (for Wrist Watch Waterproof) or the “Dirty Dozen” by collectors, and are some of the most famous military watches of all time. Among more prominent Dirty Dozen brands like IWC and Omega was a more obscure marque called Timor, and it’s re-entering the horological stage with a recreation of its famous field watch. Produced in Switzerland, the Heritage Field feels like a piece of history but will last longer into the future than an actual vintage example.
Notable Model: Heritage Field
Price: $1,126

Vertex

Vertex was another of the Dirty Dozen (see Timor above), and while the brand also has its own field watch reissue, its got other cool military heritage to draw on. The MP45 is based on an “ordnance timing watch” — a monopusher chronograph ordered by the British War Office in 1945 but never actually produced. Military and vintage themes come together well for Vertex in timepieces that have a no-nonsense attitude and even vaguely modern.

Notable Model: MP45
Price: ~$3,510

Ikepod

Ikepod was a more recent phenomenon than many brands on this list, co-founded by famed industrial designer Marc Newson in 1994. Only a few years after ceasing operation, the modern Ikepod relaunched, under different ownership with a lower average price point while maintaining the offbeat designs of the originals. Automatic options exist from the brand, but the quartz Duopod is the most familiar design to enthusiasts and also the most affordable.
Notable Model: Duopod
Price: ~$625

Eza

Eza is a relatively obscure name, even to many vintage watch enthusiasts. Resurrected by two Dutch entrepreneurs, the modern Eza‘s strongest model, the 1972, offers a link to its heritage in the form of a very retro diver. It’s well-sized at 39.6mm and well-priced at well under $1k with a Swiss automatic movement inside. Bursting with retro influence that recalls vintage skin divers, the 1972 nevertheless stands out for its unique dial indices.
Notable Model: 1972
Price: $759

Alsta

A dive watch that featured in the iconic movie Jaws makes for a pretty cool rerelease. Actor Richard Dreyfuss wore the Alsta Nautoscaph in the 1975 film, and the brand returned with the watch’s sequel roughly 50 years later. Originally active in the same era as dive watch brands like Doxa and Aquadive (which are also back making serious divers again), the modern Alsta maintains the look and the specs of a dive watch made to battle a man-eating shark.
Notable Model: Nautoscaph Superautomatic
Price: $970

Tropic

Tropic isn’t a watchmaker — rather, it was a maker of rubber straps that are associated with iconic dive watches of the 1960s and ’70s. As is the case with many of the watch brands mentioned here, industry vets recognized the market demand based on vintage watch collectors’ enthusiasm and relaunched Tropic’s classic vulcanized rubber strap. The modern version will surely go well with the vintage dive watch reissues above.
Notable Model: Tropic Dive Strap
Price: $79

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

For a New Cook, This $145 Pan Feels Like a Steal

I didn’t find the Always Pan; the Always Pan found me, but not in a cute way; it was more of “I-won’t-leave-you-alone-until-you-give-me-attention” sort of way. The pan flooded my Instagram feed with ads of highly staged dining tables and kitchen counters. I was annoyed, but intrigued.

In 2019, Shiza Shahid founded Our Place, the direct-to-consumer cookware company behind the Always Pan. Shahid, who is also a founder of the Malala Project, started the company to make cooking and dining essentials that celebrate the international backgrounds of the foods we cook and eat with them. Previous releases include separate limited-edition collections revolving around Lunar New Year and Mexican heritage. Our Place’s stalwart product, however, remains the Always Pan, a 10-inch, 2.6-quart, non-stick cast aluminum sauté pan with a detachable wooden spatula, domed lid and nesting steamer tray. I was curious whether or not the eight-in-one cooking tool could truly “do the work of eight pieces of traditional cookware” like the website said, so I tested it.

What’s Good

The Always Pan is photogenic as hell, which it probably owes to the pastel colors — spice, steam, char, sage — it’s available in. But we’re not judging based on looks (maybe just a little). I was impressed by the pan’s even heat distribution, which I tested using the flour test. I sifted a layer of flour across the surface of the pan and toasted it on the stove, where the flour browned steadily and evenly.

The pan features a ceramic non-stick coating that passed two egg tests. The first test, cooking an over-easy egg, was a success thanks to a slick layer of oil, a flick of the wrist and the pan’s curved sides. (There was a day when I got burnt egg residue stuck in the pan. The non-stick coating made it easy to rinse off and start anew.) The second test, preparing a French omelette, was also a success. I was able to make a fluffy and vibrant yellow omelette with a gooey, eggy center. I was again impressed when, in the process of rolling the omelette, I tilted the pan and the egg rolled into itself and slipped off onto a plate.

I initially thought the built-in spatula was gimmicky, but I found it to be a thoughtful inclusion. The edge is thin enough to get under foods, and the holder made my spoon rest unnecessary.

What’s Not so Good

You’ll always reach for the Always Pan, Our Place implies. Unless you need to bake something, that is. The Always Pan is not oven-safe, so the pan is left to its exclusively stovetop devices. While not a deal-breaker, a lot of non-stick pans out there — like Made In’s non-stick frying pans — are oven safe. Of the eight cookware pieces the Always Pan can replace, bakeware is not one of them.

The lid was designed to catch condensation and prevent it from dripping back into food, and the handle is silicone-coated to be heat resistant. The lid’s handle is slightly rounded, which means it wobbles when placed upside down on the counter. As someone who does this often to prevent the counter from getting wet, I was annoyed by this detail. Then again, I could buy a pot lid holder, but that defeats the purpose of having an all-in-one tool.

Alternatives

No piece of cookware is truly a one-trick pony. Almost all pots and pans are multifunctional to a degree. I can fry a chicken, make a sauce and sauté vegetables in a cast-iron skillet, and I can use this $30 Calphalon non-stick pan to make omelettes and, if I add a $4 steel cooling rack, steam food, too. The $145 price tag isn’t low and you could spend less money on a few more products to do all the jobs the Always Pan can. In essence, you’re paying for convenience and good looks.

Verdict

The Always Pan won’t replace all the pots and pans you already have. The brand’s website states it can “do the work of eight pieces of traditional cookware,” and that’s true. But obviously it can’t do all eight functions simultaneously, and you’ll still need other cookware to make meals.

Despite being a workhorse of a pan, it’s made for someone who’s building a kitchen arsenal from scratch. I still find myself reaching for my All-Clad non-stick pan to make my fried egg breakfasts, but it’s not because it’s a superior pan. I can pull my All-Clad out of the drawer in one fluid motion versus taking out the Always Pan, removing the lid and setting aside the steamer basket. Although the pan is targeted to all, it’s more apt for beginner chefs (especially those who have minimal storage space). If either of those apply to you, the Always Pan should be at the top of your shopping list.

Our Place 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.
Tyler Chin

Tyler Chin is Gear Patrol’s Editorial Associate for Editorial Operations. He’s from Queens, where tempers are short and commutes are long. Too bad the MTA doesn’t have a team like Ed-Ops.

More by Tyler Chin | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

14 Style Releases We Obsessed Over This the Week

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Fresh Style


Memorial Day is just about here (shoutout to Veterans) and we’re stoked to kick back for a long weekend. We may not be taking any excursions to far off hot spots, but we can take some virtual journeys through web stores and have a browse. To be honest, it’s what we’ve been doing all week anyway, so this is just us offloading our browser tabs here, for posterity and to give our laptops a break. This week, we were obsessed with a gang of sneaker releases, drooled over Matrix-worthy jackets and seriously questioned whether or not visors are the move (we’ve concluded they are). With that, here are the best style releases of the week.

Carhartt WIP x Converse Renew

Made with vintage Carhartt duck fabric, no two pairs will be exactly alike.

Jacquemus La Chemise Jean Shirt

A French take on the Hawaiian shirt.

Noah Atlantique Rugby

Please excuse me while I convert my hoodies into rugbies.

Nike Killshot OG

Killshot fans: what do you think of this OG throwback?

Camiel Fortgens Lacquer Rain Coat

For a rainy day in the Matrix.

A Kind of Guise Kakum Vest

A hunting jacket, but make it boneless.

Calee Corduroy Tee Shirt

Has corduroy gone too far? Not possible.

Kapital Kountry Crash Remake Denim Visor

Guy Fieri and I can’t be the only two people who want this visor so intensely.

Kith x New Balance 992

The 992 gets the Kith treatment.

Human Made Duck Aloha Shirt

When you text your tailor you really want a ducking aloha shirt.

Beams x Levi’s Half and Half

Beams orders their Levi’s jackets like I order my pizza toppings.

Miles SS20 Collection

Miles ahead.

Anatomica Moc Neck Tee

This tee just spoke to me in French.

Awake NY Double Plaid Mohair Cardigan

Something the grunge crowd and their grandparents can agree on.

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The 25 Whiskeys You Need to Try Before You Die

The 25 whiskeys herein are not the best whiskeys in the world. There isn’t a rating system or greater calculus behind them. This is a list of whiskeys that, in one way or another, matter. Some, like Johnnie Walker Blue Label or Old Grand-Dad 114, tell a story about where whisk(e)y has been. Others, like Bulleit’s ubiquitous rye or Buffalo Trace’s Blanton’s line, quietly reshaped whiskey history. And then there’s whiskey that’s just so good, so unique and so iconic, it makes the cut by force of will; like Four Roses’ 2017 release dedicated to and co-designed by the legendary Al Young, or the cook-kid-scotch Lagavulin 16. These are the whiskeys every would-be whiskey drinker should try before they die.

Is there Pappy? Maybe.

Buffalo Trace Antique Collection

Shortened to BTAC by its followers, the crown jewel of Buffalo Trace’s whiskey-making empire is an annual show-off session for its best juice. The collection includes an uncut rye bomb, extra-aged Eagle Rare bourbon and Sazerac rye and, what every bourbon enthusiast is perpetually hunting down, George T. Stagg and William Larue Weller. The former is essentially extra-old, barrel strength Buffalo Trace, the latter is a barrel strength Pappy that can be even trickier to track down.

Availability: Allocated
Price: ~$250 to ~$750

Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

Laugh all you want, Fireball has earned its spot on a bucket list bourbon sheet by sheer force. And though it is not technically a whiskey, it is the ground floor entrance for millions of soon-to-be whiskey drinkers. To have not slugged a shot of it is the whiskey equivalent of having not tried Miller Lite.

Availability: Widely Available
Price: ~$10

Weller 12

A $20 Buffalo Trace bourbon available everywhere is now $200 and nowhere to be found. What happened? Hype. Whiskey writers, shop owners and bourbon lovers started calling it “baby Pappy” because of a shared wheated bourbon mashbill, and it began to disappear. Is it worth the skyhigh price it goes for nowadays? That can only be answered after you’ve tried it.

Availability: Allocated
Price: ~$200

Booker’s Bourbon

Today, Booker’s is a mid-to-top shelf bourbon staple — a limited quarterly release from Jim Beam Distillery that typically falls between 6 and 7 years old and 120 and 135 proof. In the context of bourbon history, Booker’s represents the beginning of bourbon premiumization. Before it, American whiskey was considered cheap schlock, unworthy of comparisons to the stuff being made across the Atlantic. Then its creator and namesake Booker Noe put it on the shelf for $50, a ridiculous figure for American whiskey in the 1980s, and ushered in the beginning of serious American hooch.

Availability: Allocated
Price: ~$70

Four Roses 2017 Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Small Batch

Likely the most iconic of Four Roses’ annual limited edition series, 2017’s tribute to Al Young’s time at Four Roses has sadly became more iconic with his passing. The legendary Four Roses ambassador and bourbon historian insisted that the release had to be like the old stuff Four Roses made, and it had to look like it, too. The bottle is is styled after bottles from 1967, and the whiskey inside is a blend of 23-, 15-, 13- and 12-year-old juice. Your best best at getting a taste is ordering a pour at a well-stocked bourbon bar.

Availability: Past Release
Price: ~$500

Hibiki 21

A number of Japanese whiskies undory the Suntory flag could be here, but Hibiki 21 is a classic example of Japanese whisky decadence. As with all Hibiki entries, it contains spirit aged in American oak barrels, Spanish Olorosso sherry casks, ex-bourbon barrels, ex-wine casks and the iconic Japanese Mizunara oak barrel, which is easily the most expensive maturation barrel money can buy. It is the pinnacle of a line that was created to cater to the Japanese palate, and shows incredible finesse in its intense, almost tea-like floral structure. Its rarity and price in the US represent the downside of the category, which hasn’t been able to keep up with demand in close to a decade now. It’s always Suntory Time.

Availability: Allocated
Price: ~$900

Wild Turkey 101

Deep char barrels, high rye content, sturdy proofing and a classic 7-ish years spent maturing (really a blend of 6-, 7- and 8-year old whiskey) for $20 to $25 makes Wild Turkey’s famed 101 offering a bottom shelf whiskey cheat code. It packs enough punch — in proof and flavor — to serve as a suitable cocktail whiskey, and its peppery-vanilla depth lends to drinking on the rocks, too. By the end of the Russell era at Wild Turkey (may it never come), the father-son duo’s prized bourbon deserves a spot in a museum. This is more than 100 years of family distilling know-how in a bottle you can nab for the cost of a movie date.

Availability: Widely Available
Price: ~$25

Lagavulin 16

Our pick for “Best Scotch Under $100” also happens to be the rest of the world’s favorite. Full of sweet smoke and dryness, it’s perhaps the most classic example of the Islay scotch whisky, and, if it matters, comes with a recommendation from one Ron Swanson.

Availability: Widely Available
Price: ~$65

Red Spot Irish Whiskey

Before the distillery’s demise in the 1960s, barrels of Mitchell & Son company whiskey were splotched with a blue, green, yellow or red paint to indicate their aging potential. Revived in 2018, the newly formed Spot Whiskeys pay tribute to the traditional Irish single pot still distilling of old. At 15 years old and bursting with fruit flavor, Red Spot is the highest-end of the lot, and represents some of the best whiskey the country has to offer.

Availability: Allocated
Price: ~$135

Bulleit Straight Rye

A divisive, affordable masterstroke by one of America’s greatest living distillers in Larry Ebersold. Ebersold and the secretive operators at MGP in Indiana created a 95 percent rye, 5 percent malted barley mashbill for a dozen craft distillers or more and it took over the category, defining what rye whiskey tasted like (hot) for a generation of whiskey drinkers. Bulleit’s ubiquitous straight rye is the most famous result.

Availability: Widely Available
Price: ~$20

Henry McKenna Single Barrel

This is a time capsule to whiskey hype in early 2019. What was once a $35 bourbon available everywhere became a $100 ultra-premium whiskey lining the top shelf overnight, all it took was a San Francisco World Spirits Competition crown. The price may droop from peak hype, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever see it next to your regular old Knob Creeks, Four Roses and Buffalo Trace again.

Availability: Allocated
Price: ~$75

Maker’s Mark

Maker’s Mark has changed over time; not the whiskey, but the brand. In its early days it was known as a premium whiskey, carrying the tagline “It tastes expensive … and is.”As the whiskey industry has evolved, Maker’s, despite being bought and sold by multiple mega-corporations (it’s owned by Beam-Suntory today), is still very much the same distillery it once was. They still rotate barrels from the tops of warehouses to the bottom to account for differing temperature and humidity levels. The bourbon is still wheated and still carries a higher-than-normal barley percentage. Through decades of growing and becoming one of the most-sold whiskeys in the world, they’ve even preserved the hand-dipped wax bottling practice. Though made in absolutely monstrous quantity today, it is as well-crafted a whiskey as can be.

Availability: Widely Available
Price: ~$30

High West Rendezvous Rye

The first whiskey from the first distillery in Utah since Prohibition ended was created by whiskey mad scientist David Perkins, who combined old MGP rye with the green as can be stuff he had made. The result is a timewarp in your mouth — a biting, young rye with a slow, drawn out finish. Today, it represents the early days of the craft whiskey boom, and what nimbler distillers can do to create whiskey that competes with the big dogs.

Availability: Widely Available
Price: ~$60

Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7

The single greatest economic force in the American whiskey canon, JD is a behemoth. Brown-Forman’s money printing machine ships nearly 14 million cases of the stuff every year, which translates to something near 175 million bottles annually. That’s reason enough to pour a Jack and Coke, even if it’s just to see what the fuss is about.

Availability: Widely Available
Price: ~$15

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon

Birthday Bourbon arrived right as the American whiskey boom began in earnest, riding the wave of ultra-rare, ultra-premium whiskeys that captivate thousands of collectors annually. Its late summer, early fall release also acts as the unofficial beginning to whiskey hunting season, when most major distilleries begin releasing their most prized stuff. On a smaller scale, its release is an earmark between era at Old Forester — before Birthday Bourbon, the brand was mostly a budget pick with a relatively small following outside of bartenders; since its release, Old Forester has filled out its lineup on every shelf at the liquor store, cementing itself as a full-stack whiskey label.

Availability: Allocated
Price: ~$250

Jameson Irish Whiskey

Yes, Irish whiskey is getting up off the mat again. Old family distilleries and new innovators are driving new growth, but Jameson still makes up well over half of sales, and kept the entire category afloat for decades.

Availability: Widely Available
Price: ~$30

Blanton’s Bourbon

Created by Elmer T. Lee, one part of the band that saved American whiskey from extinction along with Booker Noe, Jimmy Russell and Parker Beam, Blanton’s was, by most accounts, the first single barrel whiskey ever. It’s credited with a role in kickstarting the premiumization and proliferation of bourbon around the globe (along with Booker’s, Old Grand-Dad and others). Nowadays it serves as both the entry- and expert-level collector’s whiskey, depending on how far you’re willing to go down the rabbit hole. Beginners might seek out Blanton’s with a dump date that matches their birthday, or collect all the cork stoppers (buying them through that link is cheating), while experts track down rare international market releases like the barrel strength Straight From the Barrel, or even rarer releases like those only found at the Le Maison Du Whisky festival.

Availability: Allocated
Price: ~$65

Angel’s Envy Cask Strength (First Edition, 2012)

After decades of lifting the likes of Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve to new heights, Lincoln Henderson retired, founded a new whiskey brand with his son and casually released a barrel-finished whiskey that’s become the high water mark for the practice. Only 600 bottles of the heavy duty port-finished whiskey were ever released, so settling for a more recent cask strength release from the brand isn’t the worst thing.

Availability: Past Release
Price: ~$2,000

Old Grand-Dad 114

A favorite among bourbon insiders and value hunters, OGD114 is a pivotal piece of bourbon history. Released in the same era as Blanton’s and Booker’s, it’s one of the whiskeys credited with saving the category from collapse in the ’80s, though it doesn’t get near the press or sales of its contemporaries. Good for you. You can taste this high-rye, high proof piece of bourbon history for $25 in some states, where Booker’s and Blanton’s run close to three-times that.

Availability: Widely Available
Price: ~$30

Hakushu 12

If Icarus were a bottle of booze, he’d be Hakushu 12. Once a $50 bottle you could find in most decent liquor stores around the U.S., it is now a discontinued product that sells for nearly three times that price. Luckily, there are still bottles floating around, and, thanks to its intensely wild mountain environment in central Japan, it remains perhaps the most clear example of terroir in the greater whiskey world. It’s also the last of the Suntory whiskies to feature peat, making for a nice side-by-side pour with other Japanese whiskies or proper scotches.

Availability: Discontinued
Price: ~$140

Laphroiag Cask Strength

I’m counting this as a twofer: one for classic Laphroaig 10, and one for its meathead twin brother. Though not necessarily the greatest abuser of peat in Scotland, Laphroiag is probably its best known advocate. The standard 10-year-old expression is available almost anywhere for a fair price and should be tried alongside the cask strength expression, which suits the proof-obsessed American palate nicely. I would pour it with a splash of water to avoid blowing a tastebud.

Availability: Allocated
Price: ~$80

Johnnie Walker Blue Label

King of kings, Johnnie Walker’s Blue Label serves as the definition of what a blended whisky can achieve and, as Aaron Goldfarb writes in PUNCH, a time when scotch reigned. More recently, it was called “close to perfection” by Whisky Advocate (where it also earned a 97/100 rating, the highest in publication’s history) and the “Cristal of the blended whisky world” by Whisky Exchange. As it was in its heyday, Blue Label remains a must-try whisky.

Availability: Allocated
Price: ~$175

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

When whisky writer of note Jim Murray named this then-$30 bottle of relatively unknown Crown the best whiskey of 2016, the whiskey world was angry, but it vanished off shelves regardless. Murray, arguably the single most influential whiskey authority working today, had snubbed the most prestigious scotches, luxe bourbons and high-end Japanese whiskies in favor of a budget Canadian rye. It was the first Canadian whisky to claim the title, and has lived a more posh life on a higher shelf ever since.

Availability: Widely Available
Price: ~$60

Nikka From the Barrel

Nikka’s From the Barrel is the best widely available Japanese whisky to ever arrive on American soil. Unlike Suntory’s near-extinct Yamazaki and Hakushu lines (and its highball-focused Toki brand), From the Barrel has never been hard to find. It arrived in the U.S. in 2018 and Japan three decades before that and the makers claim there are more than 100 unique malt and grain spirits blended within. It’s prototypical Japanese whisky without the assumed Japanese whiskey price.

Availability: Widely Available
Price: ~$60

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23-Year

No American whiskey inspires emotion like Pappy. If you don’t have it, it’s the symbol of grotesque price inflation caused by the Bourbon Boom; If you have it, it’s one of the best things you can put in your mouth. Whatever it is or isn’t, Pappy 23 is the undisputed king of the Van Winkle Collection. Find it and form your own opinions.

Availability: Allocated
Price: ~$1,250

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

Today in Gear: The Leather Strap Your Apple Watch Needs, a Fun Detail on the Upcoming Hummer & More

Today in Gear is our daily roundup of all the latest product announcements, drops and deals. Comments or concerns? We’d love to hear from you at tig@gearpatrol.com.


Finding the right accessories for your much-loved Apple devices can be tough. There’s an endless list of brands and products to choose from. But it’s near impossible to find quality leather accessories for your tech, especially ones that look and feel incredibly luxurious. That’s what sparked the birth of Bullstrap — a company that’s committed to making the best leather tech accessories you could hope to own. Bullstrap is the brainchild of a Florida-based duo and got its start by developing premium Apple Watch straps. The creators were frustrated with the lack of quality leather accessories in the market, so they developed a strap that was sourced from high-grade leather hydes and crafted with minimal and practical designs. Today, Bullstrap has expanded past Apple Watch straps and has developed iPhone and Airpods cases, wallets, backpacks and more. So whether you’re looking to upgrade your tech accessories or looking to treat yourself, Bullstrap has something for everyone.

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Face masks are protective, firstly, but they can also look pretty stylish. Here are our favorites.

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Come for the custom Mercedes-Benz camper van, stay to help protect the outdoors.

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iOS 13.5 just rolled out and the big news is that Apple made unlocking your iPhone while wearing a mask significantly quicker.

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GMC’s new Hummer EV is coming and we just learned about one very significant feature.

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Fresh Deals

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Outdoor Furniture Sales
Save up to 50%: Deals on wicked outdoor furniture, right on time.
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Home and Design Deals
Save up to 70%: If you’re looking for a sick serrated knife, air fryer or Dyson vacuum, this list might be worth a scroll. These are the best deals of the week on furniture, cookware and home gear.
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Memorial Day Sales
Save up to 70%: Whether you’ve been in the market for a new mattress or just want some good camping gear for the summer, this is the time to hunt for great deals.


Memorial Day Bike Deals
Save up to 31%: Both road and mountain biking are so hot right now — and so are these discounts on helmets, gloves, apparel, shoes and, yes, actual bikes.

Memorial Day Might Be the Best Time to Score Patagonia’s Best Gear on the Cheap
Save 30%: Now’s your chance to score everything from fleeces to bags from one of the most iconic outdoor labels out there.


Naglev Unico Hiker
Save 30%: Naglev created the Unico to function as a middle ground between a hiking boot and a trail running sneaker. The upper is made of one single piece of Kevlar fabric and its inside is lined with a sock-like wool liner. This construction creates a remarkably durable shoe that’s unexpectedly comfortable, and entirely unique.


Memorial Day Is Making Awesome Outdoor Gear Insanely Cheap
Save up to 50%: Over 30 deals on some of our favorite outdoor items, just in time for summer.


The Best Outdoor Gear Deals of the Week
Save up to 50%: Memorial Day is right around the corner, making now the best time to save on everything from water bottles to backpacks ahead of summer.


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Save up to 42%: Get pumped. We’ve rounded up loads of awesomely discounted footwear, apparel, sunglasses, cycling gear and more just for you.

Levi’s Jeans, Jacket and More
Save up to 50%: If you want to get a classic western shirt, a denim trucker jacket or even just a great pair of jeans, you won’t have to break the bank to do it.
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Western Rise Evolution Pant
Save 25%: The Evolution Pant from Western Rise is durable, pill-proof, abrasion and wrinkle-resistant, quick-drying, slightly stretchy, breathable, stain-proof and 25% off right now.


Best Style Deals of the Week
Save 70%: Spring sneakers, breezy button-ups, blue jeans and more stylish deals from around the web.


Seiko Dive Watches
Save Up to 50%: Get a Seiko dive watch — including solar-powered and automatic models — for up to 50% off today from Macy’s.

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

Today’s Best Deals: Face Masks With a Good Cause, Savings on Bicycles & More

Welcome to Deals of Note, where Gear Patrol captures all the best deals of the day. You can also follow all our deal posts in the Deals section. Comments or concerns? We’d love to hear from you at deals@gearpatrol.com.

It’s not so much a question of if, but rather of when our lives will go back to normal; and while we don’t really have a clue what that new “normal” will look like, we can be reasonably sure that it will include face masks. Yes, whether you like it or not, masks will be sticking around for a while — which is why it’s important to not only find one that you like well enough to wear, but to find one that’s well-made enough to work. Those two criteria alone are important — as are comfort and convenience — and these masks from DIOP check all the boxes; but what really makes them great is that for every mask DIOP sells, a portion of the proceeds go to Feed The Frontlines and other relief efforts in the Detroit metro area. The brand has already raised $30,000 this month alone.

• A 7” knife from Wusthof [43% OFF]
• Save on dry-fit running shorts from Nike [40% OFF]
• Save $100 on a Dyson vacuum [25% OFF]
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• A unique ladder shelf from Yamazaki [16% OFF]

Home

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Outdoor Furniture Sales
Save up to 50%: Deals on wicked outdoor furniture, right on time.
grey_placeholdergrey_placeholder

Home and Design Deals
Save up to 70%: If you’re looking for a sick serrated knife, air fryer or Dyson vacuum, this list might be worth a scroll. These are the best deals of the week on furniture, cookware and home gear.
grey_placeholdergrey_placeholder

Memorial Day Sales
Save up to 70%: Whether you’ve been in the market for a new mattress or just want some good camping gear for the summer, this is the time to hunt for great deals.

Outdoors and Fitness



Memorial Day Bike Deals
Save up to 31%: Both road and mountain biking are so hot right now — and so are these discounts on helmets, gloves, apparel, shoes and, yes, actual bikes.

Memorial Day Might Be the Best Time to Score Patagonia’s Best Gear on the Cheap
Save 30%: Now’s your chance to score everything from fleeces to bags from one of the most iconic outdoor labels out there.


Naglev Unico Hiker
Save 30%: Naglev created the Unico to function as a middle ground between a hiking boot and a trail running sneaker. The upper is made of one single piece of Kevlar fabric and its inside is lined with a sock-like wool liner. This construction creates a remarkably durable shoe that’s unexpectedly comfortable, and entirely unique.


Memorial Day Is Making Awesome Outdoor Gear Insanely Cheap
Save up to 50%: Over 30 deals on some of our favorite outdoor items, just in time for summer.


The Best Outdoor Gear Deals of the Week
Save up to 50%: Memorial Day is right around the corner, making now the best time to save on everything from water bottles to backpacks ahead of summer.


Best Fitness Deals of the Week
Save up to 42%: Get pumped. We’ve rounded up loads of awesomely discounted footwear, apparel, sunglasses, cycling gear and more just for you.

Style



Levi’s Jeans, Jacket and More
Save up to 50%: If you want to get a classic western shirt, a denim trucker jacket or even just a great pair of jeans, you won’t have to break the bank to do it.
grey_placeholdergrey_placeholder

Western Rise Evolution Pant
Save 25%: The Evolution Pant from Western Rise is durable, pill-proof, abrasion and wrinkle-resistant, quick-drying, slightly stretchy, breathable, stain-proof and 25% off right now.


Best Style Deals of the Week
Save 70%: Spring sneakers, breezy button-ups, blue jeans and more stylish deals from around the web.

Watches



Seiko Dive Watches
Save Up to 50%: Get a Seiko dive watch — including solar-powered and automatic models — for up to 50% off today from Macy’s.

See More Deals

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 2020 Volkswagen Jetta Shows Sedans Still Have Plenty of Life Left

The Volkswagen Jetta has a simple origin story. The compact, practical Mk1 Golf was a major hit in the 1970s, but not everyone was crazy about the hatchback body style. So, VW made a sedan version for the 1980 model year — the Jetta. It became a great cheap value car for young professionals, students and stick-shift-wielding German car enthusiasts on a budget alike, and has been a sales mainstay for VW ever since. If you grew up in the burbs, you likely knew at least one sibling, friend or classmate who drove a Jetta…if you didn’t drive one yourself.

VW debuted the current seventh-generation Jetta, which rides on the modern MQB platform, for the 2019 model year. It brings more distinctive style, updated tech, and a slight increase in size. I spent a week with the fully-loaded SEL Premium trim; I can’t say the Jetta offers the most engaging driving experience ever — I drove the legendary VW GTI just before, which may have biased my opinion — but it’s still a solid, composed little sedan. It refreshes a classic formula, and offers a substantial upgrade over its predecessor. And it’s easy to see why, even in a brutal market for sedans, Volkswagen still sold more than 100,000 of them last year.

The Jetta looks more sophisticated than the previous generation

Style may be the biggest change buyers notice with the Jetta. Unlike the bland sixth generation, this car actually has some. VW gave the new Jetta a bolder grille and sharp creases down the length of the body. It demands to be looked at…to the extent one would look at a budget sedan.

The interior feels clean and benefits from VW’s new digital instrument display, if you’re into that sort of thing, and the latest infotainment module. My two-year-old initially mistook it for “Baba’s car” — my dad drives a 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan — which didn’t feel entirely off base.

VW did apparently cut some corners. The Jetta carries over some switchgear and the same steering wheel VW has been using for ages. And if you start feeling around in areas you would only touch while searching for cheap plastic…you will find cheap plastic. But if you don’t review cars for a living, you won’t notice either of those things.

The Jetta drives well enough, even if it’s not that sporty.

The Jetta delivers a softer driving experience than the Golf. It employs the same torquey 1.4-liter 147 horsepower four-pot engine, but it’s not a tightly wound corner carver like the Golf or GTI. The Jetta has a decent amount of pop at low-speed driving, and I can admit I had a little fun manually shifting the slushbox and pretending it was the six-speed (available on the base and R-line trims). It’s not as spirited when trying to pass on the highway, though.

The main trouble for the Jetta is that the excellent Honda Civic exists in the same price range, starting just under $20,000. And, if you want spirited driving, it’s not that much of a jump to the excellent 205-hp Civic Si.

This VW makes a strong case for the survival of the sedan

Cheap subcompact crossovers have become a hot segment. The Jetta makes a strong case for those buyers to part from the herd and buy a good old-fashioned sedan. The Jetta starts at $18,896, about $1,000 cheaper than a Ford EcoSport and more than $2,000 cheaper than a Chevy Trax. The Jetta offers a substantially more polished driving experience; plus, it gets better fuel economy (34 mpg combined) without resorting to a buzz-killing CVT. The redesign even gives the Jetta a surprisingly spacious trunk, with a wide opening when you fold the seats for added room. VW’s asking price will target singles, but the Jetta can be practical for a small family.

Price as Tested: $28,865
Drivetrain: Turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four, eight-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Power: 147 hp, 184 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 30 mpg city, 40 mpg highway
Seats: 5

Volkswagen 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.
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

Samsung’s Newest 4K TV Is Fit for the Outdoors (Or Your Patio At Least)

<!–Samsung’s Newest 4K TV Is Fit for the Outdoors (Or Your Patio At Least) • Gear Patrol<!– –>

The Terrace


Samsung just announced its first-ever outdoor 4K TV. It’s called The Terrace and it’s essentially an outdoor version of high-end line of 4K QLED TVs. It has an IP55 water-resistance rating, so you don’t have to bring it inside when the weather gets nasty. It comes in 55-inch ($3,499), 65-inch ($4,999) and 75-inch ($6,499) models, all of which are available to order right now.

The Terrace is integrated with some other features to optimize it for the outdoors. It has an anti-reflective coating to minimize glare. It has adaptive picture technology which Samsung claims will help it optimize its picture for its surroundings. It gets really bright (2,000 nits peak brightness) so you’ll still be able to see it even when it’s really sunny. And as Samsung predicts a lot of people watch sports and action movies on outdoor TVs, it has a high motion rate (240 Hz).

Because the sound quality on most 4K TVs isn’t the best, Samsung is also releasing an outdoor soundbar to work with The Terrace. It’s called, conveniently, The Terrace Soundbar and it can be mounted to a wall or directly to the Terrace TV. It has an IP55 rating just like the TV, so it can be a permanent fixture on your deck or patio. The soundbar comes in one size and costs $1,200.

Obviously, outdoor TVs are a niche category as not everybody has a permanent place in their backyard for a TV. But for those who do and are willing to pay over the odds (outdoor TVs are expensive after all), well, Samsung’s now in on the action.

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

More by Tucker Bowe | Follow on Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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16 Cloth Face Masks That Actually Look Good

You may not know what day it is, but you do know that we’re in the new normal, aka the actual Upside Down. Venturing out from our four walls into the open air means you gotta mask up to protect yourself, but more importantly to protect others. We can’t overstate the importance of good hygiene and social distancing in conjunction with covering your nose and mouth with some kind of cloth. It may not be up to the lofty medical standards of the N95 mask, but it’s actually (a lot) better than nothing.

The pandemic has sprung a field of mask options from big box stores, independent brands and an army of home sewers. So, while we’re not exactly thrilled that we’re in this situation, there are a plenty of stylish masks on the market. At the end of the day, a mask is utilitarian and it shouldn’t matter whether the one you have is a simple black mask, but why not find a mask with a bit more expression. It’s your new face now, after all.

Birdwell Birdie Reversible Face Mask

Birdwell’s mask uses the same high-quality SurfStretch and SurfNyl fabric that goes into its storied board shorts. This one, in a military-inspired woodland camo, is reversible and comes with free-flowing ties that tie around the head for a more comfortable fit.

Kiriko Face Masks

Based in Portland, Oregon, Kiriko has made a grip of face masks using traditional vintage Japanese fabrics which come in a variety of patterns, all in a rich indigo blue.

J. Augur Vintage Applique Star US Flag Face Mask

Better-known for its line of bags and accessories made from upcycled leather and fabric, J. Augur has applied the same ethos to its one-of-one masks.

Lotuff Handmade Face Cover

It’s easy enough to tie together a bandana, but artisan leather brand Lotuff has taken it a step further by using vintage bandanas and crafting them into well-fitting mask that’s multi-layered and comes with extra-durable straps.

MINNA Grids + Stripes Masks

When Minna isn’t making beautiful home goods, they’re making these spring-toned face masks using the same fabric they use for their lovely napkins, pot holders and other kitchen accessories.

Mystery Ranch Street Mask

Co-signed by John Mayer, the Mystery Ranch Street Mask is as tough as its mil-spec bags.

Railcar Fine Goods Wabash Mask Type 1

If you’re a workwear enthusiast, you’ll want to cover up with Railcar’s wabash stripe mask which will fade beautifully over time.

Runabout Goods Defender Mask

Made in Los Angeles, the Defender Mask uses the triple-pleat design with a robust Japanese blanket fabric.

69 Denim Mask

While 69 is known for it’s all-out avant-garde approach to denim, these masks are a bit more low-key. Utilizing an 8-ounce denim, it’s simple and gets the job done.

Zipporah Reshel

If you’re into a more earthy aesthetic, Zipporah Reshel’s linen masks are worth a look. They’re made from organic linen and come in a range of colors.

Diop Face Mask

Diop’s lineup of masks feature a range of beautiful wax printed cotton fabrics in traditional African patterns.

Profound Floral Painting Mask

Profound’s double-layered mask combines a painterly floral print with a streetwear edge.

Revolve Face Mask

Featuring an adjustable nose bridge for a precise fit, Revolve’s USA-made mask comes in a subtle tie-dye print that will brighten up your day.

Farewell Frances Quilted Face Mask

Vintage American quilts go into Farewell Frances’ masks, which makes each one completely unique from the next.

Homesite Toile Face Mask

Made in Greece, Homesite’s set of toile face masks are made to order and you can choose your preferred head support.

Buck Mason Washable Prevention Face Mask

Buck Mason’s face masks are, per its website, not a fashion piece. But that doesn’t mean we don’t like how they look. They come with an inner layer that has an anti-microbial coating, and feature a classic striped pattern or a plain solid black.

Memorial Day Might Be the Best Time to Score Patagonia’s Best Gear on the Cheap

Patagonia’s reputation doesn’t need backing up. Its gear does that, proving itself on the sides of mountains and also in the middle of cities. Many of its most popular items — fleeces, jackets, bags and more — haven’t changed drastically over the years beyond adjustments to fabrics and materials that make them more lasting and more sustainable. They’ve become as iconic as the brand itself, and thanks to Backcountry’s Memorial Day sale, a ton of them are available for very approachable prices.

Patagonia Black Hole 70L Duffel

Consider this an investment, because Patagonia’s expedition-capable duffel will last longer than you could imagine, and if it does burst a zipper, the company will replace it for you, gratis. (Plus, if you pick up anything else from this sale you’ll need a good bag to haul it all in.)

Patagonia Nano Puff Insulated Jacket

We’ve covered this jacket enough that you should know how versatile it is. It’s one of the few insulators that doesn’t rotate to the back of the closet when summer comes.

Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket

If you prefer down over synthetic insulation, go for Patagonia’s Down Sweater.

Patagonia Retro Pile Pullover

Patagonia’s first fleeces were made of pile, but the fabric holds up today thanks to some material updates.

Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Fleece

The Synchilla Snap-T might just be the ubiquitous Patagonia garment out there, thanks to a combo of casual coziness and technical warmth.

Patagonia Better Sweater 1/4-Zip Fleece

For a layer even less outdoorsy, try the Better Sweater.

Patagonia Baggies

Another classic item — this sale is full of them — Baggies look casual enough for everyday wear but dry quickly in case you take an unexpected dip.

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket

The Torrentshell was already Patagonia’s best-selling rain jacket, but the company went ahead and updated its waterproofing abilities anyway (without raising its price).

Patagonia Nine Trails 20L Backpack

The Nine Trails hiking pack doesn’t have as deep a history as the other items on this list, but it’s quickly earning its distinction in the archive.

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

10 Deals Not to Miss: Yamazaki’s Leaning Ladder Rack, L.L. Bean Moccasins & More

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One More Thing…


On any given day there is an endless onslaught of great deals on the internet. We highlight the best of the best, but there are always some that just don’t find their way to our site. Rather than let them slip by, we’ve rounded them up here for you.

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

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These Awesome Memorial Day Bike Deals Will Spin Your Wheels — in a Good Way

Who knew Memorial Day would be a great time to save on bike gear? Well now you do. Below are 10 of our favorite new discounts on road and mountain bike stuff. Check out the sales at Backcountry and Competitive Cyclist to see loads more.

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Notable Road Biking Deals

Smith Network MIPS Helmet


Save up to 31%: The multi-directional impact protection system (MIPS) plus 20 optimized vents will keep you riding safe and cool.

Castelli Gabba 3 Short Sleeve Jersey


Save 20%: This jersey is even more perfect for this time of year than you might guess; it features Gore Windstopper and a water-repellant finish to keep you comfy even if Mother Nature gets grumpy.

Sugoi RPM Tri Short


Save 25%: Fast-drying TriLite 3 chamois? Yes please!

Pearl Izumi Tour Road Cycling Shoe


Save 25%: Modern cycling shoe comfort and performance with an old-school laceup look is quite a compelling combo, especially when the price dips under a hundred bucks.

Cervelo P-Series P2 105 R7000 Road Bike


Save 31%: Ride this aerodynamic triathlon- and time trial- friendly bike like you stole it. Considering you just saved $901 you practically did!

Notable Mountain Biking Deals

UFox Racing Dropframe Helmet


Save 25%: This airy but tough helmet features our favorite strap closure system, the magnetized Fidlock SNAP buckle, for easy on and off — even with gloves.

POC Resistance Enduro Adjustable Glove


Save 20%: Speaking of gloves, POC makes some of our favorites. Like these breathable beauties with a touchscreen-compatible to making taking pics on the trail a — wait for it — piece of cake.

ION Traze Bike Short


Save 20%: Look, you can drop a lot of coin on mountain bike shorts. But when you can get a perfectly stretchy, ventilated, quick-drying and stylish pair with zippered pockets right where you need them… why would you?

Shimano RX8 Mountain Bike Shoe


Save 25%: These Shimanos are actually my go-to gravel biking shoes and they’re fantastic. Durable, reliable, breathable and badass. What else do you need?

Santa Cruz Nomad


Save 20%: A carbon frame, slack geometry and nearly 7 inches of travel on the front and rear shocks ensure you’ll be ripping and roaring all over local hills and valleys.

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

Finex Just Dropped the Grail Breakfast-Making Cast-Iron Cookware

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Pancake Machine


Finex brings its famed octagonal shape and steel coil handle to its new cast-iron griddle, an ideal piece of cookware for emulating diner-style breakfasts at home.

Like the brand’s cast-iron skillet, the griddle comes pre-seasoned with a machine-smoothed cooking surface and a thicker-than-usual cast iron base for impressive heat retention (though it will take longer to heat up as a result). The whole thing measures 22 inches and spans across two stovetop burners while doubling as a potential sheet pan or roasting tray. Make pancakes, bacon and fried eggs at once if you feel like it.

The double-burner griddle costs $325 — a reminder that just because the company was bought by cheap cast-iron skillet maker Lodge doesn’t mean its prices will drop. It’s available on Finex’s site now.

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 Chin

Tyler Chin is Gear Patrol’s Editorial Associate for Editorial Operations. He’s from Queens, where tempers are short and commutes are long. Too bad the MTA doesn’t have a team like Ed-Ops.

More by Tyler Chin | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

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Wearing a Mask? Apple Just Make Unlocking Your iPhone Way Faster

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iOS 13.5 Is Out Now


If you have an iPhone that uses Face ID, it’s a good idea to download iOS 13.5 — which just went live — right now. The big news is that the new software update makes it significantly quicker to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask. Without the update, your iPhone takes a few seconds trying (and failing) to unlock using Face ID. With iOS 13.5, you can bypass those precious seconds by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and going straight to the screen to enter your passcode. To be clear: Face ID still won’t work while you’re wearing a mask, but the update allows you to skip to the screen that’ll let you unlock your iPhone, faster.

The other key update is that iOS 13.5 supports the new contact tracing API for COVID-19 that’s been co-created by Apple and Google. The API uses your smartphone’s Bluetooth tracking data (not GPS) to figure out if you’ve been in contact with (or been near) someone who has COVID-19. Apple and Google aren’t making any apps, to be clear, but they’re opening this new API so that public health agencies can take advantage of it. So don’t expect to receive any warning notifications on your iPhone just yet — you’ll have to have apps that support this contact tracing API downloaded on your iPhone first. And the apps aren’t here just yet. Hopefully, that’ll change in the near future.

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

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.

More by Tucker Bowe | Follow on Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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These Stellar Deals Make Memorial Day the Best Time to Stock Up on Motorcycle Gear

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buy now, save now


Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, which means riding is likely front of mind for anyone who has a motorcycle parked in their garage or driveway. Luckily for everyone who lives the two-wheeled motorized life, RevZilla is holding a massive Memorial Day weekend sale that offers up a chance to grab bargains on a wide variety of much-needed riding gear. TCX Blaze boots? Marked down to $80. Speed and Strength’s whole catalog? 15 percent off. Myriad pieces of riding apparel for living that #dirtlife? Up to 30 percent off.

But those are just scratching the surface. Look a little deeper, and you can find plenty of other great deals hiding in their Memorial Day sale. We pulled together 10 sweet helmets, jackets and other pieces of gear that are worth checking out while the sale is on — but if none of them strike your fancy, you can check out all the deals right here.


Gringo ECE Helmet by Biltwell $175 $110

Commuter Jacket by First Manufacturing $280+ $210+

Qualifier DLX MIPS Illusion Helmet by Bell $280 $224

X70 Trofeo Helmet by AGV $230 $100

Wave Boots by Stylmartin $260 $195

Blacktop Jacket by Tour Master $325 $260

SRT Assassin Helmet by Bell $210 $168

Palmer Gloves by REV’IT! $120 $75

Top Performer Jacket by First Manufacturing $290+ $217+

Belmot Wax Jacket by Merlin $329 $128
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 Sabel Courtney

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

More by Will Sabel Courtney | Follow on Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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