All posts in “Product Announcement”

Some of the Coolest Sunglasses We’ve Seen Cost Less Than $100

<!–Some of the Coolest Sunglasses We’ve Seen Cost Less Than $100 • Gear Patrol<!– –>

From Akila

Los Angeles eyewear brand Akila makes high-quality, limited-run sunglasses at self-described “anti-industry” prices. That means you can pick up some incredibly stylish shades for just $95.

The brand’s Legacy model utilizes plant-based cellulose acetate frames — an earth-conscious alternative to cheaper plastics — that allow for a range of unique colors and patterns. Complete with 5-barrel hinges and stainless steel temple cores, these frames are paired with Optical lass 1 nylon lenses (read: clear and durable) in distinct colors and tints.

Akila offers a handful of different frame styles in various colors, but each release is incredibly limited. The latest iteration of the Legacy — an onyx acetate frame with yellow lenses — is capped at just 100 pairs.

For less than $100, these frames are hard to pass up. They offer the aesthetic and quality of luxury eyewear at a very accessible price — and you’d be hard-pressed to find something else this cool without breaking the bank.

Great Japanese-Made Sunglasses

Italy has long reigned in the realm of premium eyewear, but a profusion of average frame construction has diminished its reputation among industry experts. Their new darling? Japan, where eyewear manufacturing is concentrated in the Fukui Prefecture. 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.
John Zientek

John Zientek is Gear Patrol’s style editor and in-house guitar authority. He grew up on the West Coast.

More by John Zientek | Follow on Contact via Email



<!– –><!–


The Next Big Japanese Whisky Is $40 and Available Everywhere

<!–The Next Big Japanese Whisky Is $40 and Available Everywhere • Gear Patrol<!– –>


For the first time in a long time, a reasonably priced Japanese whisky has made its way to the US. A combination of corn and malt whiskies aged between three and five years, Tenjaku is the first Japanese whisky to retail for under $50 since Suntory dropped Toki into the US market four years ago.

Not much is known about Tenjaku other than it’s rolling out across the US now, is bottled at a very light 80 proof and will retail for $40, according to Whisky Advocate. Both the malt and corn whiskey portions of the blend are also aged in bourbon casks.

In the four year gap between Toki and Tenjako, Nikka’s From the Barrel offering — available most places for $50 to $70 — came the closest to achieving “everyday whiskey” status. By and large, Japanese whisky is overhyped and overpriced; its fame thanks in large part to labels with kanji type, rarity and plenty of international award recognition.

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



<!– –><!–


There’s a Ton of New Stuff at Ikea This Month. Here’s the Best of It

Ikea is giving shoppers a reason to stop by its stores in February. The Swedish powerhouse is launching two limited collections — the Frekvens and the Borstads — and adding over 50 new pieces to its permanent collection. And keeping in line with the brand’s ethos, everything is well-conceived and affordable. To see all Ikea’s latest drops, go here.

Frekvens Collection

Ikea and Teenage Engineering, a Swedish creative collective, collaborated on the limited-edition Frekvens line of gear designed to help you host the “ultimate home party.” The highlight of the collection is the array of portable speakers that can be combined to create a sound system for whatever the party entails.


Baskets! Finally, Ikea has a range of natural material baskets to toss stuff in. The limited collection includes blanket holders made of bamboo, rattan, seagrass, banana fiber, poplar and jute
that come in a range of sizes and shapes. It’s not

Borstad Collection

The Borstad collection is a farmhouse-chic line of goods focused on spring cleaning. Think handwoven baskets, steel rinsing tubs and wooden drying racks for a look that says “I don’t like to do chores, but when I do, I want to look like an extra on “Little House on the Prairie.’”

Permanent Collection

And finally, Ikea will be adding dozens of items to its permanent collection. Key pieces include a variety of textiles in varying shades of green, a versatile cabinet with an attached mirror and a collection of woven baskets.

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

Amazon’s Echo Buds Sound Great But There’s a Catch

One of the star products to be announced at Amazon’s big hardware event today was the Echo Buds ($130), the company’s first true wireless earbuds. Not only do they undercut the cost of most true wireless earbuds, including AirPods, by a ton but Amazon revealed that they’ve partnered with Bose to integrate its noise-reduction technology (which is a little different than its noise-canceling technology) into the Echo Buds. And these earbuds cost just $130.

After the event, I was able to get a little hands-on time with Echo Buds and was even able to listen to two songs (“Trampoline by Shaed” and Bruce Springsteen’s “For You”) and here are my initial impressions.

First and foremost, they sound great, especially for $130 earbuds. It was loud with good mids and strong bass. I’ve tested a boatload of true wireless earbuds in the past two-plus years and these are right in the mix with the better ones.

The noise-reduction ability also seems good at first blush, but I’m not ready to say its perfect just yet. I tested the Echo Buds in a crowded room, and while I could barely hear the noise around me, these earbuds fit really snug, and it’s hard to tell which of these two things was primarily responsible for the effect. Still, there’s plenty to be hopeful for here so far. (It’s also worth noting that, to my understanding, noise-reduction technology isn’t as Bose’s full-fledged noise-cancellation technology.)

But there are a couple of catches. The biggest is that the Echo Buds require you to download and use the Alexa app to get the most out of them, which is at best a hassle. You need the Echo Buds setup properly in your Alexa app to enable the noise-reduction technology and the “Hey Alexa” features, and Amazon still has a ways to go in proving that these added Alexa features will actually be useful. If you don’t want to deal with the app, you can use them as standard Bluetooth buds, but you’ll be missing out on the noise-reduction technology.

They also charge with micro-USB, a style of charger that’s rapidly phased out and can’t deliver the kind of quick charge power that USB-C can. But mostly it’s frustrating you won’t be able to charge your earbuds with the same charger you use with a new laptop, Nintendo Switch or Android phone.

Lastly, the plastic Echo Buds do feel a little bit cheap compared to headphones like Master & Dynamic MW07s or Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless. But at the price point, you can’t really complain too much.

All in all, Amazon’s first buds are certainly impressive, and it’s a real surprise that they’ve got a type of Bose’s noise-canceling tech before Bose’s true wireless buds have even come out. But with Bose is gearing up to release the Bose Noise Cancelling Earbuds 700 in early 2020, it seems more that the headphone maker has plenty more in store for its own product, which will no doubt cost a lot more.

The Echo Buds ($130) are available for pre-order right now, for a ship date of October 30th.

These Pots and Pans Were Designed to Teach You How to Cook

Cookware brand Equal Parts isn’t trying to make peak performance cooking equipment. It doesn’t want to be a direct-to-consumer All-Clad and it doesn’t make a big deal of how much money you save buying directly from them. Instead, Equal Parts, the first brand under the Pattern umbrella, makes pots, pans and kitchen gear for people who don’t know the difference between a sauté pan and a skillet.

Pattern co-founder and chief creative officer Emmett Shine and Equal Parts general manager Tyler Sgro started with a simple task: create a cookware company that got people who aren’t cooking into the kitchen.

“Not a lot of people actually know what poaching is versus frying, searing, blanching and so on. If you didn’t grow up in a kitchen, those things are intimidating,” Shine said. “What does the home cook want? What’s something they’re actually going to use?”

The culmination of years of research, data collecting and testing, Equal Parts’ beginner-friendly cookware collections are here.

Equal Parts murdered-out “Big Pan” in action.

Sgro and Shine say every feature is tied to pain point with traditional cookware. The cookware is aluminum because it’s lighter and heats faster than steel, and it’s coated in a ceramic mixture that cleans up easily and heats evenly. Everything from the pots and pans to the mixing bowls are designed to nest, making cabinet space less of an issue, and every item is dishwasher-safe. Even the vocabulary is edited for simplicity — “big pan” instead of sauté pan, “small pot” in place of saucier.

The brand even goes as far as offering an 8-week text-based “coaching” package with every cookware set. Buyers can text coaches cooking-related questions seven days a week, from simple recipe queries to custom meal advice based on what ingredients are on hand.

“Our intention was not to be another pro-sumer brand, it was to focus on the millions and millions of young adults in America who have worked hard, live in a space that’s not as big as they’d like and have less skill in the kitchen than they’d prefer,” Shine said.

Equal Parts products are available in sets starting at $249. Sets may include anything from a few pieces of ceramic-coated aluminum cookware or an entire kitchen suite.

Four Years in the Making, This Minimalist Pen Is the First of Its Kind

Grovemade CEO and co-founder Ken Tomita takes no issue with cheap pens — he appreciates Pilot G-2s and Muji gel pens as much as the next guy; but in Tomita’s vision of the perfect workspace, disposable pens felt out of place. After four years of starting, iterating, giving up and starting over, Tomita and team made their own replacement. The Grovemade Desk Pen, a pen meant to stay put in one spot, is here.

The pen is available in a matte black finished aluminum or a heavier, glossier brass and start at $50. The two said the idea of a desk pen — a pen that’s left on a desk for display, notetaking, signing documents and so on — hadn’t dawned upon them until they looked through the results of a customer survey that asked past customers to send photos of their workspaces in.

Tomita said the photos were full of put-together workspaces and not-so-nice pens. “You know how there are these nice t-shirts now that cost like $70 and last five times as long? It’s kind of a leap until you’ve gone to that level and realize what you’re missing out on. I’ve never had a nice pen before the one we made,” he said.

The Grovemade Desk Pen in ceramic-coated aluminum.

The final product is a weighty, twist-action pen made from billets of aluminum or brass run through a Swiss Screw Machine. It features a satisfying snap when the action completes and the pen tip is in place, and three facets that provide a better grip and ensure it can’t roll off the desk. Also to ensure it doesn’t roll off the desk, pens can be purchased with pen stands made of the same material as the pen, with hardwood inlays and a cork base. Plus, the pen insert itself is a Schmidt Rollerball P8126, a refill well known in pen geekdom.

Tomita recognizes his pen is never going to be the one pen for all people — he says that’s an impossible task to place on a designer. Instead, it’s a minimal, idiosyncratic take on a bygone category. They’re available now starting at $50.

Apple’s New TV Streaming Service: Here’s What We Know

If you’ve been on the news pulse, you’ll know that Apple has shared some exciting announcements. This week alone, it’s released new, updated versions of the iMac, iPad and AirPods. Basically, it got all its new hardware announcements out of the way to clear the air for a big event it’s hosting on Monday, March 25th, when it’s expected to unveil a brand new video streaming service.

There’s long been speculation that Apple would throw its hat in the ring with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. It made waves at CES this year when it announced partnerships to integrate its HomeKit and AirPlay into pretty much every new smart TV coming out in 2019, meaning users won’t need an Apple TV device to access Apple TV services. And it’s been producing its own content, like Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps with varying levels of success.

Content is key with any new video service, and it’s been reported that Apple’s budget for original content is more than $1 billion, which it’s spent to produce an expansive list of films and shows (you can read it in full at The Verge). It’s a big chunk of change, but it’s not much in comparison to the estimated $8 billion to $13 billion Netflix reportedly spent on original content in 2018, and is dwarfed by the $15 billion it could spend in 2019.

But notably, it’s anticipated that Apple’s video service will include partnerships with other premium subscription services. According to a recent Recode article, “it will also be able to offer its own bundles — for instance, it could offer a package of HBO, Showtime and Starz at a price that’s lower than you’d pay for each pay-TV service on its own.” There’s also a chance that Apple could bundle its other services, such as Apple Music, with its TV subscription plan.

Still, we don’t exactly know what Apple’s streaming video service will look like or how people would access it — there’s speculation that the service would be integrated into Apple’s TV app, although there’s currently no TV app for Mac. Another thing we don’t know is how much the new service will cost. A monthly charge of $10 seems like a safe place to start, but given that there will likely me copious bundle deals, it could easily cost more.

While there a lot of questions that won’t be answered until Monday, you can catch up on what we know for sure about its new hardware through the links below.

Apple’s New AirPods Are Better in So Many Ways

The new AirPods come with a number of welcome improvements, including faster pairing speeds, more talk time and improved microphone clarity on calls. They can also wirelessly charge.

Apple’s New iMacs Are Twice as Powerful as Before.

Apple is shrinking the gap between its entry-level iMacs and super high-end iMac Pros.

Everything You Need to Know About Apple’s New iPads

The iPad Air and iPad mini are decked out with Retina displays, A12 Bionic processors and Apple Pencil support.

BioLite’s Newest HeadLamp Offers A Rare Feature: Comfort

BioLite has a knack for taking heavily used gear and re-designing it into something you’ll reach for day after day, all while helping to increase access to energy off the grid. At Gear Patrol, we’ve been big fans since day one. Starting with the CampStove, CampStove 2 and the portable grill, and followed by many other successful fire starters, pizza grills and backcountry chargers, BioLite has paved the way for outdoor enthusiasts to get outdoors with an easy power supply — whether that’s grilling over a stove or lighting up the campsite. BioLite’s latest success story is the HeadLamp. We carried the re-engineered light with us through sunrise summits in upstate New York (hello, Mt. Marcy), as well as along the sidewalks of Brooklyn to light up our night runs. After a hugely successful kickstarter after Outdoor Retailer last year, the headlamp is available for preorder as of this Outdoor Retailer Snow Show.

The Good: BioLite’s HeadLamp features a split light in the front and battery pack in the back, all in a lightweight package that is comfortable, even in the wee hours of the morning. There are four light modes: red flood, white flood and spot (both with dimming) and the strobe, all of which provide you with hours of vision and ways to alert everyone around you. Even after hours of use, it was not headache inducing. The stretch fabric is soft and adjustable yet reinforced, so you don’t have to re-arrange once it’s on your forehead. It comes fully charged in four different colors: red, teal, yellow and grey.

Who They’re For: These lights are for everyone. Whether you’re a runner, hiker, walker or someone who likes to lead the dawn patrol, the BioLite HeadLamp works.

Watch Out For: It can be a bit tricky to use with gloves because of the thin rim around the light. The button to turn on and off, and the lever to aim the light down are both located on the skeletal frame of the light, so it takes time to get used to it.

Alternatives: Most other running headlamps I’ve tested have the battery pack and light all on the same side, so it’s heavy. The Petzl Reactik+ was the last one I tested ($100), and it worked just fine for everything I needed. You can also check out our list of Best Headlamps.

From unboxing to using, it takes less than two minutes to get started with the BioLite HeadLamp. Brushing my teeth takes longer. With just a few adjustments on the moisture-wicking band, the headlamp sat flush against my forehead. One of the first things I noticed was just how bright the slim light was. It’s 330 lumens at full brightness, and if you happen to turn it on while looking at the light, you’re sure to see some spots for a while. Reading while wearing the headlamp caused no issues thanks to the high visibility and comfy band.

For me, one of the most important things to test on a headlamp is to see how it performs when I’m running. Most lamps that I’ve used bounce around — I’ve run with them through two Ragnar Relays and an entire training circuit for a marathon which resulted in a lot of night activity. The BioLite lamp stayed put, likely because of the separation of the battery from the light itself. The battery sat low against the nape of my neck, while the light laid flat against my forehead. In the past, I’ve had to wear a hat under my headlamp to keep it from bouncing, but with this light, I can wear right where I want it. Now also seems like a good time to mention that I didn’t have any of those pesky red lines around my forehead after I ripped the light off post-run.

The band gets damp after a long run, but chafing wasn’t an issue. At first, I needed two hands to get the front tilt exactly where I needed it — illuminating the uneven cobblestones that line the Brooklyn Promenade and nearby roads — but after my initial mile or so, I had it down. It’s a breeze to click through all the different light options, dimming it when I run near street lamps and quickly turning it off when I finished running. It’s become my go-to lamp whether I’m heading out on a night run or just walking down to the campfire.

Verdict: If you’ve had issues with headlamps in the past, the re-jiggered BioLite HeadLamp is worth giving a shot. At a competitively priced $49, the lamp is hard to beat, simply based on value. With a run time of three and a half hours on full brightness, you can knock out a sunrise summit and nighttime run without sweating over battery life.

What Others Are Saying:

• “But where the brand stands out from the crowd is its comfortable design and lightweight. By integrating its electronic components into the soft 3D SlimFit fabric of the headlamp, BioLite created a light that wears more like a sweatband. For those looking for a light, comfortable headlamp for camping or hiking, this is a solid choice from a cool brand. It fits well, stays comfortably on the head, and will light up the night.” — Sean McCoy, Gear Junkie

• “here are plenty of small headlamps out there, but BioLite is taking a wise approach to the genre with this new unit. If you’re anything like us, you’ve got a closet full of lights. This would include at least a few you don’t use, because they’re dim, uncomfortable, or flop around on saggy elastic when you move your head. It’s not just lightweight — there’s already plenty of light… lights…but this unit stays put to an impressive degree. It’s not a tight head-grabber torture device either.” — Kel Whelan, Off Grid Web

• “BioLite didn’t just make the HeadLamp small and bright — it put a lot of emphasis on comfort too. Using what it calls “3D SlimFit Construction,” the company has managed to squeeze all of the electronic components into a surprisingly small space. This allows the light to nestle neatly into a flush housing, while also providing improved stability and balance while being worn. The headband that holds the lamp in place is made from moisture-wicking fabrics that are designed to be comfortable to wear, even while running, cycling, or hiking in warm conditions.” — Kraig Becker, Digital Trends

Key Specs

Lumens: 330
Battery: Rechargable with Micro USB
Weight: 69 grams
Materials: composite textile headstrap, PMMA, high efficiency lens material, ABS plasic housings, nylon plastic hardware (buckles)
Run Time: 3.5 hours (max brightness), 40 hours (minumum brightness)
Weather Resistance: IPX 4

BioLite provided us with products for testing purposes.

Read More Gear Patrol Reviews

Hot takes and in-depth reviews on noteworthy, relevant and interesting products. 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.

Dark-Roasted Coffee Could Be the Comeback Story of 2019

Like craft beer before it, Third Wave coffee is riddled with stereotypes. The caricature of the beer snob is a close relative of the coffee snob — snooty, dismissive and weirdly righteous. You’ll remember, too, that the craft beer community of yesteryear held fast to its belief that certain beers were beneath them — such as lagers — until some of America’s best brewers decided they weren’t. Craft coffee’s version of the lager saga is darkly roasted coffee, and now it looks like it might get off that high horse, too.

Meet “The Classics,” Trade Coffee’s new monthly coffee subscription. Built for the person who wants to get into coffee, new subscription nets you two bags of dark-roasted, specialty-grade coffee beans per month ($25 total).

“I think the thing about darker roasts is that they’re inherently a bit nostalgic,” said Erika Vonnie, director of coffee at Trade. “For the most part, that’s how coffee was roasted in America for a very long time. In the past, specialty roasters have leaned on lighter roasts, but they tend to be so far removed from what people know about coffee that it makes the transition from Folgers to specialty especially difficult.”

This idea mirrors the prediction of specialty coffee consultant and entrepreneur, James Hoffmann. In a video predicting coffee trends in the new year, Hoffmann spoke to the specialty coffee industry’s traditional stance against dark roasts: “We’ve pushed back pretty hard against [dark roasts] as an industry. We’ve said dark roasting is morally wrong, it destroys the hard work of great producers, and I understand and see that argument. I think we’re going to start to say, ‘If people like dark roasts, why can’t they have good green coffee?’”

By “green” coffee, Hoffman is referring to coffee beans prior to roasting (historically, darker roasts were filled using beans of a lower grade). It doesn’t hurt that that buzzy coffee roasters like LA’s Go Get ‘Em Tiger and Arkansas’s Onyx Coffee Lab are releasing higher-end dark roasts, too.

“You can’t hand someone curious about specialty coffee your super funky, light-roast Gesha and send them off into the sunset,” Vonnie said. “This is about getting coffee in the hands of people who want something that’s great, but still reminds them of coffee they’ve had before.”

The Classics subscription is available through Trade’s site now.

Get This Handsome Minimalist Dive Watch While You Still Can

Italian watch brand Unimatic has quickly become a darling in the watch space thanks to its handsomely modern aesthetic, accessible prices and, of course, limited releases, often done in collaboration with other brands. That’s made them somewhat hard to get a hold of, which is why you’re getting some advanced notice on their latest model: the U1-EG, done in collaboration with online retailer GOODS, one of the first retailers to carry Unimatic’s watches.

The U1-EG has many of the features and facets we’ve come to associate Unimatic with. It’s a dive-style watch, water-resistant to 300 meters, that features a minimalist bezel (in this case one devoid of markings save for a lume dot at 12 o’clock) and a chic-looking dial — the light-gray-over-navy colorway is especially appealing. Like other Unimatics, this is reasonably priced for what you get, coming in at $772, and with just 30 examples being made it’s sure to go fast. The watch goes on sale October 15th on GOOD’s website, so you have plenty of time to prepare.

These Are the 5 Best American Whiskeys, According to More Than 50 Experts

Only five American whiskeys were won golds at this year’s International Spirit Challenge, most of which are surprisingly available. The 23rd year of the competition, which wrapped earlier this week, featured its usual rigorous blind tasting judging process as well as entrants from more than 70 countries around the world (they judge far more than just whiskey). These five award winners took home the highest honor for individual bottles and, for the most part, can be found at spirits stores nationwide.

Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

This is not the 10-year variety of Eagle Rare’s first award. It’s not even its 10th or 20th. Going back to its gold in the very same competition in 2003, this Buffalo Trace umbrella brand’s bottle has been storming spirit competitions since it first landed on the scene. Eagle Rare 10-year took gold in the Straight Bourbon 10 years old and under category, one of three American whiskeys to do so.

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength

“This is Maker’s Mark Bourbon in all its glory.” That’s how the brand describes its award-winning high proof bourbon. Since its released a few years back, the cask strength bottle has raked in a consistent flow of excellent reviews and is fairly available nationwide. The Maker’s Mark bottle was another American whiskey winner in the Straight Bourbon 10 years old and under subcategory.

Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

The only American whiskey to steal a gold in the Single Barrel Bourbon category is another distiller in Buffalo Trace’s portfolio, and is similarly used to taking home big time awards — best bourbon whiskey multiple times over at the International Whisky competition and best bourbon at the World Whiskies Awards. This bottle will run you $100 or more and has a long, tobacco-laden finish.

Kentucky Owl Rye #1

The gold for American Straight Rye Whiskey went to a semi-expected favorite. Kentucky Owl’s #1 Rye Whiskey release was the highest scoring whiskey in Whiskey Advocate’s summer 2018 archives, where it was described about as complex as can be: “Long, rounded notes of caramel, cinnamon roll, taffy, butterscotch, brisket burnt ends, nutmeg, Jamaican jerk, plum pudding, ginger, light sassafras, root beer, roasted marshmallow, cotton candy, orange peel, raw honey, and pie crust.”

1792 Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

The last of the gold Straight Bourbon 10 years old and under winners is a different bottle from the same distillery that claimed Best Bourbon Whiskey at the World Whiskies Awards earlier this year (for the second year in a row, mind you). Its Small Batch variation is more affordable, lower proof and has been pulling golds, double golds and “bests” since 2010.

RX Nut Butter Is Weird, and Insanely Good

I know what you’re thinking — eating peanut or almond butter out of a squeeze pack is weird — but hear me out. Individually-packaged nut butter has been around since Skippy pedaled tubes of viscous peanuts to third graders in the nineties. Skippy was ahead of its time; it no longer packages its peanut butter in nine-ounce Squeeze Stix, but portable packets have picked up a following since, chiefly from athletes and protein fiends. It was good in grade school, but it’s better now.

RXBAR is the latest brand to take on nut butter. The company redefined protein bars — and the graphic design on protein bar packaging — with its “no B.S.” bars that contain only three or four pronounceable ingredients, all of which are listed in bold on the front of the wrapper. It’s taken the same tact with its nut butter.

RXBAR’s 32-gram packets come in three flavors: Vanilla Almond Butter (one egg white, 18 almonds, one half of a date), Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter (one egg white, 27 peanuts, one half of a date) and plain old peanut butter (also one egg white, 27 peanuts and one half of a date). The three vary in flavor due to a handful of minor ingredients that aren’t listed on the package, like cinnamon, coconut oil, vanilla, honey and sea salt.

Like its bars, RX Nut Butter is quite tasty, but requires a little bit of open-mindedness, mostly due to texture. Try an RXBAR next to a Clif Bar, and you’ll get the picture. The nut butters are smooth but slightly gooier compared to the peanut butter you keep in a jar at home. In this case, different is good though. Eat these with yogurt and granola in the morning, as a condiment for an apple during a day hike, or plain when your stomach starts to growl audibly in the office at 11 am.

Today in Gear

The best way to catch up on the day’s most important product releases and stories. Read the Story

In the Future, Leather Will Be Made From Mushrooms Not Cows

Bolt Threads is the biotech company best known for its Microsilk, a synthetic spider silk that’s made through fermentation with just water, sugar and engineered yeast. It’s completely sustainable, and it looks and feels exactly like traditional silkworm silk, but it’s also significantly stronger. (Last year, we called it “the fabric of the future.”) Today, Bolt Threads has introduced its second material, Mylo, which is a synthetic leather whose main ingredient is mycelium, a fungus found in the root structure of mushrooms.

Unlike Microsilk, there’s no fermentation or yeast involved in the making of Mylo. Instead, it’s grown in large, environmentally-controlled warehouses, much like how the mushrooms you buy at the grocery store are grown. The mycelium is placed in large pans with corn stover (the ground up biowaste of corn, like the stalk), which the fungus eats and grows. Under the right conditions — humidity, temperature, CO2, oxygen and water volume — the mycelium grows into a soft foam, which is actually a network of very small fiber. Then it’s sliced into sheets, cured and put through a tanning process. The end product looks and feels very much like leather. It has comparable durability, strength and suppleness, too. The one aspect of Mylo that has surprised Dan Widmaier, Bolt Threads’ cofounder and CEO, is that fabric is really abrasion-resistant.

Bolt Threads is still early on in the development of Mylo, but they’ll release a handhag in June that’s made entirely of the synthetic leather. There’s also a collaboration with Stella McCartney in the works. In theory, Mylo could be used in any product — wallets, keychains, bags, shirts — that traditionally use leather. Like natural leather, Mylo can be dyed and will patina over time.

“In a planet that’s going from seven billion to 10 billion people, and a vast increase in middle-class consumers who want to use their disposable income to buy purchases to make their lives more comfortable, better, faster,” said Widmaier, “we don’t have enough space to make enough cows to make enough leather. We think there’s a need. People have a long history with leather. They love and enjoy it. And I think there’s a future where there’s no way to make enough to fill demand — finding ways to make a fantastic product that can fill that gap for the future is really important.”

“People have a long history with leather. They love and enjoy it. And I think there’s a future where there’s no way to make enough to fill demand — finding ways to make a fantastic product that can fill that gap for the future is really important.”

The modus operandi of Bolt Threads has been to use research and technology to create new materials for a sustainable future — and Mylo fits that bill. Making traditional leather is essentially a three-year process. It takes time to raise the cow and take care of the land it needs to eat. With Mylo, it’s a technology-driven material that takes a few weeks to grow. No animals are harmed in the process. The land, too, isn’t harmed by fertilizer and upkeep. And it’s all environmentally friendly.

Also unlike Microsilk, Mylo is a joint effort between Bolt Threads and Ecovative, a company who has been using mycelium for decades to create sustainable packaging solutions. Think an environmentally-friendly styrofoam for shipping a flat-screen TV. Mylo is a more refined foam that’s grown in much more carefully-controlled conditions, and it’s also grown in corn stover rather than wood chips. “[Evocative] mostly focus on mycelium packaging and they figured out the basis of growing the foam and then Bolt is taking it to the Mylo material and the consumer products category,” said Widmaier.

“There’s a ton of potential here,” said Widmaier. “This is the challenge and I think we talked about this before, and Bolt will have for a long time, is for anything that we make, the scale that we could be at is much bigger than where we’re at today. And so we want to make more of this, put this in the hands of people. We think it’s going to surprise a lot of consumers. It’s going to solve a real problem in the world around resource sustainability.”

Bolt Threads’ first Mylo bag will be available for pre-order this June. If interested, you can sign-up here to be alerted on its availability. Also, Stella McCartney will debut the Mylo Falabella Prototype 1 at the Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Fashioned from Nature” exhibit, which will open to the public on April 21 in London.
Today in Gear

The best way to catch up on the day’s most important product releases and stories. Read the Story

Victorinox’s Stalwart Tough Watch Now Comes With an Automatic Movement

Verdict: Back in 2014, Victorinox launched the I.N.O.X watch by running over it with construction equipment to prove its durability. The original I.N.O.X has been a core model for the brand since, getting numerous spin-offs. All of them, however, were quartz — until now. For the first time, Victorinox is giving the I.N.O.X an automatic mechanical movement.

The movement in question is the ETA 2824-2 automatic. It’s a durable, workhorse caliber that’s been proven in countless watches produced over the course of decades, and makes a lot of sense in a watch that purports to be “tough.” That said, the I.N.O.X Automatic’s press release says, “Due to the delicate nature of automatic movements, several R&Ds were necessary to bring this model to life.” What that entails, Victorinox doesn’t say, but we’ve reached out to a spokesperson for further comment.

Still, this looks like it has the makings of what made the standard I.N.O.X a favorite: it has the same, chunky 43mm case design and is water resistant to 200 meters. The watch does get some further refinement to match the mechanics within, notably, a transparent crystal case back to show off the movement, as well as a guilloche textured dial.

Who It’s For: Anyone who loves the look of the original I.N.O.X (or just likes burly watches in general), but wants to get into mechanical timepieces. The watch retails for well under a grand, and the ETA 2824 will not disappoint (it’s also very easy to service) making it an excellent choice for first-timers.

Key Features: Automatic movement. Guilloche dial. Transparent case back. Water-resistant to 200 meters.

Size: 43mm diameter

Movement: ETA 2824-2

Release Date: October, 2018

Price: $795 (leather strap); $850 (bracelet)

More from Baselworld 2018


See more of our favorite new releases from Basel. Read the Story