All posts in “Sports and Outdoors”

A New Knife Demonstrates the Best Emerging Trend in EDC

<!–A New Knife Demonstrates the Best Emerging Trend in EDC • Gear Patrol<!– –><!– –>

Better Blades


One of the latest trends in the knife and EDC world is a new, thoughtful approach to the utility knife. Recently, we’ve seen the release of Gerber’s utility multi-tool, Grovemade’s solid-state desk knife and the launch of a new brand fueled by an ultralight blade that comes in a titanium frame. The latest in the lineup is Civivi’s Mandate, a utility knife that looks sleek enough to be mistaken for a prop from a Marvel movie set.

It’s about damn time. For too long, utility knives (you might know them as box cutters or X-Acto knives) have existed as cheap hardware store purchases. This new class of knife maintains the key attributes of the category — replaceable blades and a safe, straightforward design — while elevating it with high-end components and materials.

Civivi’s Mandate serves as the perfect example. Its handle closely resembles the kind you might find for $20, but it’s made of titanium that comes in different color finishes and includes a bottle opener, pocket clip and a lanyard hole that doubles as a hex wrench. In addition to the three 9Cr18MoV blades that it comes with, Civivi includes one made of Damascus steel, a type that’s well-suited to everyday use but often included on collector’s knives only. It’s precisely that sort of intersection that makes the utility knife trend so interesting.

The Civivi Mandate will go on sale this July, and you can purchase it at BladeHQ for $83.

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

<!–

–>

<!– –><!–

–>

The Best New Knives and EDC of July 2020

It’s official. Summer, that is; the solstice has come and gone, and the next few months should serve as a clear palette upon which you should slather plans for cookouts, hikes and trips to your local swimming hole. (Local is the operative word here because travel is still a dicey proposition.)

Whatever you do, do it with a mask. Think of it as the newest addition to your EDC — there are enough out there now that you’ll be able to find one to match your kit. To prove our point, we even included one in this roundup of the best and brightest new releases.

Recently, Drop teamed up with Quiet Carry, Field Notes released a heavy-duty notepad, Benchmade revealed a unique tool and more.

Benchmade Tengu Tool

Benchmade teamed up with designer Jared Oeser to produce his wildly unique Tengu Tool on a larger scale. The tiny multi-tool’s construction uses a friction pivot to deploy either a 1.14-inch tanto blade or a bottle opener/pry bar. Both are made of premium CPM-20CV steel while the handle is contoured G10.

Drop x Quiet Carry Collaboration

Drop is teaming up with Quiet Carry to produce a limited run of two of its popular items: the iQ folding knife and the Shorty key organizer. Both feature the same skilled use of titanium components that characterize so many of Quiet Carry’s tools but Drop added knurled scales that make for a more tactile experience. While Drop’s previous knife collaborations have been more robust items, the iQ and Shorty both fall squarely in the discreet EDC category.

The collaboration will be available at Drop on July 7. The iQ will cost $198 and the Shorty $75.

Field Notes Heavy Duty

Field Notes strayed from its typical notebook format in its most recent release. The Heavy Duty is a rugged, spiral-bound pad with 80 pages that are ruled on one side and graph on the other. At 3.5 by 5.5 inches, the new pads are still small enough to fit in a pocket and include a wide rubber band to keep it shut when not in use.

Ashley Watson Blakeney Knife

The Blakeney Knife calls back to the clasp knives used by the British military, which were made in Sheffield and featured a can opener and marlinspike along with a sheepsfoot blade. Ashley Watson’s design pares the tool down to just the knife blade, leaving the Blakeney slim and lightweight.

Gerber Asada

Gerber is staking a strong claim on the pocket cleaver category with the Asada, refining what the brand did previously with the Flatiron. The Asada’s blade is shorter at roughly three inches and features a large finger choil as well as a swooping front end that comes to enough of a point to be of use. The knife uses Gerber’s B.O.S.S. ball-bearing pivot system for a smooth opening and an anti-pinch plate to back its frame lock.

Outdoor Research Essential Face Mask Kit

We weren’t kidding, and while Outdoor Research’s Essential Face Mask Kit isn’t new for this month, it did get a recent restock. We’ve tested a handful of masks made by outdoor gear companies, and OR’s is the sleekest and most adjustable we’ve come across, which makes it perfect for your EDC.

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

Why You Need an Insulated Jacket in the Summer

Wait! You’re transitioning from winter and spring to summer and heat, and to shepherd the process along you’re packing away all of your cold-weather clothing into boxes and bins that will disappear to the unseen depths of a closet or attic (yeah, it’s June but let’s face it — you’re just getting around to this chore). Overcoats, scarves, mittens and beanies are going into hibernation until November but don’t you lay a finger on that insulated jacket.

Why, you ask, should one of your warmest layers be left in play for the year’s warmest months? First, let’s clarify the type of insulated jacket that I’m referring to here, as there are many variations and not all are summer-worthy. I’m talking about your lightweight, DWR-treated, nylon-shelled coat that’s stuffed with lofty plumes of either synthetic or down fluff. This excludes bulky parkas that are shelled with thick, waterproof fabrics. If you can’t crumple the coat up into a tiny form that can fit into the smallest cranny left in a backpack, it’s probably too big. Patagonia’s Nano Puff Jacket and Eddie Bauer’s Evertherm Jacket are both good examples.

Why, you ask, should one of your warmest layers be left in play for the year’s warmest months?

Now the why. A down or synthetic jacket is one of the most versatile layers to have in your outdoor kit. That statement has a stitch of hyperbole, but I believe it to be true. These types of jackets are windproof, water-resistant, super-light and adaptably-warm. What I mean by that last compound descriptor is that they’re comfortable in a range of temperatures (I wear mine from 60 degrees down to below zero, with some slight adjustments to mid layers). It’s this characteristic that makes them very suitable for summer use.

No, you won’t wear it every day as you might during the winter, but let’s imagine a few scenarios. You’re camping; no not even, you’re hanging out at a lake house. Evenings are cool and mornings are even cooler, but why be there at all if you aren’t going to sit outside and enjoy the view with a good book and a tasty beverage.

You join a dawn patrol crew for a surf/swim/paddle. You’re warm in the water with all that activity but even after the sun rises and you return to shore, the chill will set in, and you’ll want to get your body temperature back up to 98.6. And quicker, in this case, is better.

You slog your way up a mountain — it doesn’t have to be a tall mountain either, any exposed peak will do — and you arrive at the summit drenched in sweat. Even smaller peaks are prone to high winds, and that sweaty t-shirt you wore will quickly become a popsicle-like exoskeleton.

You book a trip to Mexico, planning on spending all of your time at the beach, but the nearby volcano is beckoning you to visit. Actually, this type of thing happens all the time during travel, and one of the greatest aspects of exploring a new place is giving yourself the flexibility to edit plans on the fly. If you want to be flexible, your clothing should be as well.

You visit the opposite hemisphere, and it’s suddenly winter again.

I could go on, but the point has likely been made. Beyond warmth, it’s the flexibility afforded by an insulated jacket’s super-lightweight construction that makes keeping one around during the summer acceptable and advisable. If you were to pack one in any of these scenarios and let it go unused, there’s no harm because you’ve only added 12 or so ounces to your backpack or suitcase. At the very least, you’ve brought yourself a very cushy pillow to sleep on for the trip back home.

Need a new insulated jacket for summer adventures? Check out our buying guide to the best synthetic options through the link below.

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

This Is the Year’s Best E-Bike Design, According to Experts

<!–This Is the Year’s Best E-Bike Design, According to Experts • Gear Patrol<!– –>

E-bike designers face a conundrum of physics: How do you pack a motor and a battery into metal tubes only a few inches in diameter? Many don’t bother; they simply attach the motorized components to the exterior of a bike. But those designers don’t win international design awards like Red Dot, as the Dutch company VanMoof just did with its S3 and X3 e-bikes.

The Red Dot jury states that VanMoof’s latest e-bike line “impresses with a purist design that epitomizes the essence of a bicycle,” reflecting a notion Gear Patrol and its bike testers have long held: the best e-bikes are those that are the most like regular bikes (only faster). The jurors elaborated, praising VanMoof for incorporating “sophisticated functionality that integrates all elements into the frame in a stylish yet unobtrusive manner.”

The functionality that they refer to includes a 250-watt motor that can get the bike up to an effortless 15 miles per hour for a maximum range of around 90 miles. VanMoof also integrated its theft protection system, which includes a keyless lock, rider recognition, built-in alarms, location tracking and a remote lockdown mode. Of course, the S3 and X3’s standard bike components are top-notch too — front and rear lights, fenders, racks, electronic gear shifting and hydraulic disc brakes are all part of the package.

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

<!–

–>

<!– –><!–

–>

The 6 Best Coffee Makers for Camping

A proper outdoor trip involves a temporary abstinence from a lot of everyday habits — watching television, counting Instagram likes on your phone, checking email and so on. But abstaining from drinking coffee? Not happening. That feeling — a warmth that creeps over you as you stoke the campfire on a golden morning, sipping and listening — is simply too great to give up. And with these six coffee makers, you won’t have to.

Additional contributions by Michael Finn and Tanner Bowden.

AeroPress Go

Best Overall Coffee Maker for Camping

The Aeropress is among the most portable full-on coffee systems ever, yet its flavor quality, according to career baristas all over the world, rivals that of cafe-grade coffee machines. There are certain patented reasons for that: a major one being that it imparts less carbon dioxide, leading to sweeter, less bitter coffee. The best part? The newer Go version packs down to the size of a mug, and you can use the case it comes in as a mug.

GSI Outdoors Java Press 30 Ounce

Best French Press

Quick, light and tough as a Nalgene bottle, GSI’s Java Press is a French press made for any outdoor adventure, from car camping to thousand-foot-high portaledge hanging. Wrapped around the five-cup carafe is a ballistic nylon sleeve, which keeps the coffee hot and the press impact-resistant. And when the pot’s empty, cleaning is a cinch — just a dump and a rinse, basically.

Stanley Adventure Percolator Coffee Pot

Best for Brewing Over a Fire

Brew coffee just like the cowboys of old, without getting nasty grounds in your mouth. Simply toss in a few scoops, add water, hang it over an open flame (for the full cowboy get-up, use a stick), and then, when the pot starts whistling, pop on the silicone grip and serve. It holds six cups, which should be enough for the entire group.

Snow Peak Coffee Drip

Best Ultralight Coffee Maker

Trekking solo? A simple coffee drip is all you need — just make sure you know how to brew a pour-over. Snow Peak’s coffee drip is incredibly lightweight (4.9 ounces, lighter than the GPS watch on your wrist), and folds flat (like a bookmark for the adventure novel you brought with you).

Handpresso Pump Espresso Machine

Best for Espresso

Nature purists might shun anything that could rightfully be classified as a “gizmo.” Still, if the coffee that comes out of this pressurized espresso maker is good enough for Adrian Ballinger to bring it with him to climb K2 without oxygen, it’s worth its space in any camping bag. The Handpresso uses a pump to build the pressure required for making espresso and works with ground coffee or unique pods. The entire brewing process takes less than a minute, so if you get saddled with the job of base camp barista, you won’t be working overtime.

Jetboil Flash Java Kit

Best Integrated Coffee Maker

The Jetboil system condenses the steps of the standard French press process — boiling water, dropping in grounds, pressing them down before the pour — into one. That means delicious coffee in five minutes or less (the Flash cooking system can get two cups of water boiling in 100 seconds). The Flash Java Kit includes a coffee press and a sample roast from Green Mountain Coffee, but the stove will work for any drink or meal that calls for hot water, so this kit can also help you whip up dehydrated meals, soups, teas and cocoa.

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

Can New Technology Help You Get Fitter at Home?

As you’ve probably noticed, the coronavirus pandemic has torpedoed a number of businesses. Any industry that relies upon large groups of people gathered in close quarters — from sports to airlines to restaurants — has sustained colossal hits over the past few months. 

The $94 billion fitness world is no exception. Gyms are just now starting to reopen, but with awkward protocols — and, in some cases, weird workout pods — that will likely put off many clients. The trade group IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association) estimates that more than a quarter of gym-goers will drop out this year, and just in the past few weeks, major chains like Gold’s Gym and 24 Hour Fitness have filed for bankruptcy

Into the breach have rushed a variety of home fitness solutions. Bike-based systems like Peloton are a noteworthy example; the eight-year-old brand saw its revenues rise 66 percent in the first three months of the year, while sales of the less-expensive Echelon were five times what the brand expected over that period. 

An even newer home-based approach, meanwhile, seems to have emerged at just the right time: sleek, interactive screens that deliver a variety of heart-pumping, muscle-blasting workouts before silently receding into one’s living space — an especially compelling proposition when we’re all spending so much time at home. 

The first and best-known of these products is, of course, Mirror. Still less than two years old, the original, $1,500 digital home workout set-up has seen sales more than double since COVID-19 hit the US. And while we’ve documented the enticing possibilities Mirror brings to the table, these days it’s not alone. 

Recently, two other high-tech, small-footprint systems have emerged: Tempo and Tonal. Both products promise a bit more than Mirror does in the form of resistance training equipment; while Mirror comes with resistance training bands, Tempo packs a stashable barbell, dumbbells and plates, and Tonal comes with built-in electromagnetic arms offering up to 200 pounds of resistance.

Naturally, we had to put these muscled-up spinoffs to the test. Thankfully, two GP staffers, Multimedia Producer Kasey Martin (Tempo) and Coordinating Producer Nick Caruso (Tonal), were up to the challenge. 

Here, in their own words, are comparisons of the two products in four key areas: the physical set-up, the subscription and app, the workouts and the overall value. 

Test 1: Setting Up

Tempo

What do you get? “The Tempo Studio (including integrated storage), barbell, dumbbells, collars, change plates, workout mat, heart rate monitor, and foam roller ($1,995).” 

What’s the setup process like? “Delivery and installation was included and it took around 10 minutes to put together. The process was easy and straightforward.”

How does it fit into your living space? “It looks cool and has a sleek design. It doesn’t take up too much space at all and the built-in storage for equipment is definitely a plus.”

Tonal

What do you get? The full Tonal device ($2,995), delivered and installed onto my wall by pros. I also got the [borderline essential] extras: a bench, two ‘smart’ handle attachments, a smart bar attachment, a rope attachment, a floor mat and a hard roller ($495).” 

What’s the setup process like? “It took under an hour. The Tonal has to be installed by pros and anchored into studs with adequate room above, in front of and around the device for all exercises and motions to work unimpeded. In a NYC apartment, that’s a tall order, but it fits almost perfectly in my room with slight adjustments when I work out.”

How does it fit into your living space? “The device itself fits well. The bench is a bit of a space hog, but that’s due to it being in my bedroom where I also have my desk/workspace. I’m already used to it being there, and honestly it looks pretty cool, like a wall-mounted Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Winner: Thanks to simpler, faster installation and an overall smaller footprint, Tempo gets the edge.

Test 2: Signing Up

Tempo

What’s it take to start up?To get started you need to set up an account. You can set up multiple accounts and each account has access to the workouts. For unlimited classes and personalized coaching, you pay $39 per month.”

How’s the app? “The app is cool. It provides additional workouts for when you’re not near your Tempo and the app also tracks your workout history/progress.”

Tonal

What’s it take to start up? “There is a monthly account fee of $49, which includes all classes, routines, workout regimens and features for multiple users. There is a single routine that measures your ability in order to automatically determine your weight limits, which will then increase over time as Tonal senses you getting stronger. But you are also able to set your own weights and choose/do your own movements and exercises.”

How’s the app? “Users can’t use the app to play workouts — not that I would expect it to, since the wall unit is… kind of the point — but it makes browsing for new workouts, tracking your progress and creating your own routines really easy. The interface is almost exactly the same as the wall unit.”

Winner: Pretty close matchup here, but the fitness-assessing routine that kicks things off for Tonal is a unique feature that gets our vote.

Test 3: Working Out

Tempo

What are the workouts like? “Tempo comes pre-loaded with hundreds of on-demand classes and programs encompassing strength, cardio, HIIT, mobility and recovery options, that are readily available for members upon delivery. They add new classes from their post-production backlog every day and, under the most cautious of circumstances, host weekly live content. The classes vary in level of difficulty and length of time. During your workout there is a leaderboard on screen that adds a competitive element, which makes the workout very fun.”

Can you live stream and get feedback?The workouts are live streaming, and you get real-time form feedback while you’re working out, which is pretty helpful. My only issue so far is that if I was not perfectly six feet away from the sensor, my reps did not get counted.” 

Have you seen results? “We did mostly arm workouts and definitely saw a change in only a couple of weeks!”

Tonal

What are the workouts like? “There are all types of workouts: full body, toning, high-intensity, muscle building, yoga, and more, including custom workouts you design yourself – your favorite movements, number of reps and sets, etc. There are literally hundreds of different workouts, all aimed to exercise toward different goals, whether that’s cardio, core, upper body, or straight-up building muscle. In all, Tonal claims the machine offers over 170 different movements using just the few tools and two bars of the machine.”

“The handful of coaches are all really positive and encouraging, and — this is nerdy — the way the video workouts are edited is very clever, allowing you to take the time you need to complete each set, and offer a demonstration rep on loop so you are certain to get yours right. You can select individual workouts or sign up for programs, which are multi-day series of workouts that build toward a specific exercise goal. The screen is super clear, but kind of hard to see from the ground (or when your glasses are slipping off your very sweaty nose), but overall they are very easy to understand and follow along with.”

Can you live stream and get feedback? “They are not live streaming, but you can pick the trainer that does them with you. The coaches run pre-recorded video workouts, and they are all very positive and encouraging without being annoying. On the Tonal home screen you can see your progress – how many complete workouts, reps per workout, weight lifted in total, etc. Stats are also broken down into “strength scores” per body region — upper, core, lower.”

Have you seen results? “I’m lucky in that my body responds to exercise relatively quickly, but even in that context I can already see and feel results after just a couple weeks of steady training.”

Winner: Tempo’s live streaming and ever-growing library of workouts is pretty cool. But Tonal’s accessibility and approachability, allowing you to formulate goals and work toward them at your own pace, really welcomes all skill levels, so we’re giving it a slight nod.

Test 4: Assessing Value

Tempo

Is it worth it? For whom? “If you can commit to working out consistently at home and not let it be covered in dust, then yes it’s a keeper! I look at this as an investment in one’s self-care, which is critical to daily functioning.”

What about for you? “Personally, I enjoy having the autonomy of working out at home as opposed to going to the gym where it may be crowded. Tempo has exercises for every level (even movement in a chair!), sorting from Absolute Beginner to Advanced in your personal space, making it easier to not physically compare your progress to others.

“The various live and on-demand classes offered are truly a favorite of mine as it feels good to switch up my routine and try something new while heading toward my workout goals. Again, since it is a pricey investment, make sure you are willing to commit to the workouts before purchasing.  Otherwise, get ready to show off your results!”

Tonal

Is it worth it? For whom? “A person who can afford the up front cost and values convenience and privacy – and either doesn’t want to go to a gym or doesn’t want too invest in lots of separate equipment due to space reasons.”

What about for you? “I feel like I am the target audience here. The cost is, on paper, honestly quite extreme. But if you weigh that number against what it would cost to either purchase all of the equipment Tonal replaces or invest in a gym membership, plus the cost of classes/trainers, it makes sense.”

“More specifically, there is huge value for someone like me, who truly and deeply dreads going to an actual gym. I don’t want to commute, carry my workout gear (and a lock that I always forget), and wait around for weights and machines that may have not been sanitized and that I don’t really know how to use. But now, those excuses are nonexistent. I really like Tonal because as a person who, frankly, is embarrassed that I don’t exercise enough and is really self-conscious about going to a physical gym, I don’t feel any of the pressure associated with that process.”

Winner: Both testers seem pretty stoked about what these systems ultimately deliver. Tempo claims victory here for one simple reason: it costs at least $1,000 less.

Verdict

Tough to make a call here without taking individual needs and budget into account. If you’ve got a good grasp of how to work out, and maybe a bit less dough to spend, Tempo’s got all you need, and endless live streams to keep you motivated. Meanwhile, if you’ve got the money and are maybe a bit less experienced, Tonal’s a smarter play for how helpfully it assesses your fitness level and helps you progress.

Ultimately, if it were up to us, we’d rock the Tempo — and spend the cash saved on a sweet vacation to show off all the gains a year from now.

|

Tempo and Tonal provided products 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.
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

We’ve Never Seen a Hiking Pack That Does What This One Can

Anyone who’s ever done a day of hiking knows that, sometimes, you just want to sit down and take a break for a couple of minutes to rest your weary legs. Trouble is, nature hasn’t gotten around to accommodating our ever-so-reasonable desire to have chairs everywhere we go. Oftentimes, taking a load off can mean the indignity of flopping down on the ground (like some sort of… animal!), getting your clothes all dirty and ending up less content than you were before.

Thankfully, the good folks at Fjällräven have come up with a solution to this problem: the Singi Stubben backpack, which doubles as a stool.

Not the kind you step on, mind you, but the sort you’d find in a bar — a backless place to sit. You can’t tell just from looking at it, but beneath the sustainable fabric skin (a new feature for the bag) lies a metal endoskeleton that provides added strength far and above what you’d expect (kind of like a Terminator). The folding top cleverly conceals a padded cushion, which provides a place for your tired tuchus to rest once you set the bag down on its base.

The 27-liter main compartment can be accessed either through the top or, if you don’t feel like undoing the handy clasp, using a zipper around the periphery of the front. Two smaller zipper pockets on the front offer room for smaller items you want easy access to, while daisychain loops on the sides provide a way to suspend more gear if need be.

Having tested this pack camping and as a daily travel bag, I’ve found it to be quite handy. The frame is light enough that you’d never know it was there, though it does restrict the bag’s capabilities a bit; larger objects like (my giant-sized) hiking boots took some Tetris-ing to get past the mouth of the bag, and you don’t have the ability to pack it to the limits of the fabric the way you can with a squashy bag. The welcome tradeoff? The seat itself is much more comfortable and sturdy than you’d expect from, ya know, the top of a backpack.

But while the stool function is certainly cool and clever, I’ve actually found this trademark feature to be helpful in another way. With most backpacks, loading them vertically is a bit of a pain; you either need to reserve one hand for holding the bag upright, leaving you with just the other hand to grab items and stuff them in, or you’re stuck trying to balance it somehow and hoping it doesn’t fall over and spill all your stuff on the floor (a particular annoyance of mine at the gym.)

With the Singi Stubben, though, those concerns disappear; the pack will stay upright with the top open until the stars turn cold. Once the gyms reopen and I’m back in the habit of popping by after work, you can bet this bag will be my daily companion.

Fjällräven 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.
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

This New Bike Helmet Will Make You Want to Wear a Bike Helmet

Those of us who pay way too much attention to bike helmets can’t miss one eternal conundrum: the safest helmets almost invariably look overly technical, while the best-looking helmets almost always lack the most progressive protective elements.

Until now, that is.

Because the latest release from the fast-rising new leader in stylish brain buckets, Thousand, just happens to be super safe, too. It also packs a couple of other uncommon, awesome features. Here are three things that stand out about Thousand’s Chapter MIPS Helmet, besides the low-profile style.

1. Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS)

The Chapter is the first Thousand helmet to integrate MIPS, a research-backed technology that essentially allows your head to rotate a bit inside the helmet to reduce the trauma caused by various impacts. It’s that yellow lining you see in the photo above, and you’ll forget all about it until it saves your brain.

2. USB-Rechargeable Magnetic Light

This super-clever feature is unique to the Chapter. The helmet comes with a magnetic rear light and charger, along with a little groove at the back to stick it before you hit the road. There’s also a rubber mount you can use to attach to your seatpost. Considering how important bike lighting is, even during the day, this user-friendly execution is incredibly appealing.

3. Secret Poplock

A third cool innovation that Thousand pioneered is the Poplock, a more secure way to lock your helmet to your bike rather than lugging it around. It’s basically a small hole near the back, normally covered by a magnetic cap, that allows you to slip the lock through the body of the helmet, rather than one of the straps, for foolproof safekeeping.

At just 12 ounces for a size medium, the Chapter is also 25 percent lighter than its big brother, the Heritage, and it’s quite comfortable, too. I feel confident in this statement, considering I’ve been wearing it throughout the course of writing this post. The Chapter is available now in three colorways: Supermoon White, Racer Black and Club Navy.

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

You Should Consider This New Protein Powder for One Weird Reason

<!–You Should Consider This New Protein Powder for One Weird Reason • Gear Patrol<!– –>

The idea that the protein athletes need can only come from meat or farm animal-sourced products is bunk. Even professional athletes and trainers know this, and many swear by vegan protein powders as critical ingredients in their workout regimens. A new brand called Human Improvement — or Hi! for short — formulated its recipes based on those principles, but its protein isn’t technically vegan because of one key ingredient: crickets.

It seems as though scientists and pundits have been heralding the vocal little insects as “the food of the future” for years now, based on the fact that crickets pack far more protein by weight than beef, chicken and eggs and high levels of B vitamins, iron and calcium while requiring less food and space to farm. Back in 2013, the UN put out an in-depth report on insect consumption for future food security.

Crickets also contain all of the amino acids you need in a day and chitin, a biopolymer found in their exoskeletons that has prebiotic properties that are good for your gut (chitin is also present in crustaceans and mushrooms you may already be eating).

Organic cricket protein powder isn’t the only ingredient in Hi! protein, though; its list includes organic pumpkin protein powder, organic brown rice protein powder and organic pea protein powder, all of which are tried and tested in plant-based fitness nutrition products that are already out there. With that pedigree, we can only hope the response to this new product is more than… crickets.

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

<!–

–>

<!– –><!–

–>

This New E-Bike Promises No Frills, All Thrills

<!–This New E-Bike Promises No Frills, All Thrills • Gear Patrol<!– –>

Ready to Roll


In recent years, Rad Power Bikes has staked a name for itself as a purveyor of excellent urban e-cargo bikes. They are not the lightest or the fastest or the prettiest, but they are reliable, affordable and indispensable for getting around town with your essential gear in tow.

The brand’s latest launch, however, takes things in a decidedly different direction. It’s called the RadMission, and with its more aggressive frame shape, beefy tires and bright colors, it honestly reminds me of the BMX bike I used to rip around on as a kid.

But beyond looks, it stands out from Rad’s other bikes for a number of reasons. At less than 50 pounds, it’s 15 pounds lighter than any other bike the brand makes. At $999, it’s also the only one to dip under a grand, $200 cheaper than the beloved RadRunner. And it’s a single speed, the original non-stop thrill ride.

The RadMission 1 still packs the type of technical capabilities that make the company’s bikes popular. It’s got a 500-watt high-torque motor that lasts up to 45 miles and will get you to 20 miles per hour via the twist grip throttle. There’s also an integrated rear light that comes on anytime you brake and a handlebar-mounted LED panel that lets you control the pedal assist and headlight while monitoring battery and assist levels.

Yet the bottom-line proposition is clear: an affordable, approachable ebike that gets you where you need to go with minimum fuss and maximum fun. Dammit if this promo video doesn’t make me want to go hop on one right now. How about 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.
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

<!–

–>

<!– –><!–

–>

This Hiking Pack Has a Surprisingly Useful Alter Ego

Anyone who’s ever done a day of hiking knows that, sometimes, you just want to sit down and take a break for a couple of minutes to rest your weary legs. Trouble is, nature hasn’t gotten around to accommodating our ever-so-reasonable desire to have chairs everywhere we go. Oftentimes, taking a load off can mean the indignity of flopping down on the ground (like some sort of… animal!), getting your clothes all dirty and ending up less content than you were before.

Thankfully, the good folks at Fjällräven have come up with a solution to this problem: the Singi Stubben backpack, which doubles as a stool.

Not the kind you step on, mind you, but the sort you’d find in a bar — a backless place to sit. You can’t tell just from looking at it, but beneath the sustainable fabric skin (a new feature for the bag) lies a metal endoskeleton that provides added strength far and above what you’d expect (kind of like a Terminator). The folding top cleverly conceals a padded cushion, which provides a place for your tired tuchus to rest once you set the bag down on its base.

The 27-liter main compartment can be accessed either through the top or, if you don’t feel like undoing the handy clasp, using a zipper around the periphery of the front. Two smaller zipper pockets on the front offer room for smaller items you want easy access to, while daisychain loops on the sides provide a way to suspend more gear if need be.

Having tested this pack camping and as a daily travel bag, I’ve found it to be quite handy. The frame is light enough that you’d never know it was there, though it does restrict the bag’s capabilities a bit; larger objects like (my giant-sized) hiking boots took some Tetris-ing to get past the mouth of the bag, and you don’t have the ability to pack it to the limits of the fabric the way you can with a squashy bag. The welcome tradeoff? The seat itself is much more comfortable and sturdy than you’d expect from, ya know, the top of a backpack.

But while the stool function is certainly cool and clever, I’ve actually found this trademark feature to be helpful in another way. With most backpacks, loading them vertically is a bit of a pain; you either need to reserve one hand for holding the bag upright, leaving you with just the other hand to grab items and stuff them in, or you’re stuck trying to balance it somehow and hoping it doesn’t fall over and spill all your stuff on the floor (a particular annoyance of mine at the gym.)

With the Singi Stubben, though, those concerns disappear; the pack will stay upright with the top open until the stars turn cold. Once the gyms reopen and I’m back in the habit of popping by after work, you can bet this bag will be my daily companion.

Fjällräven 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.
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

One of the Best Bike Saddles Is Made by a Company You’ve Never Heard Of

When it comes to cycling gear, the best stuff always feels as if it isn’t there. You want bibs that are comfortable, jerseys that are tight yet breathable, and a helmet that bonds well with your head. A saddle is no different, and as the place where the most contact is made between rider and bike, it’s among the most critical parts.

I got a bike fit back in 2018 and after being measured in every way imaginable, I found out that I have wide sit bones. Sit bones support the body’s weight and are the main point of contact between the rider and the saddle. I could go on for hours about how important the relationship of sit bones and saddles are, but I digress. The big takeaway is that I have a wide ass, and Latus is latin for wide, so my curiosity was piqued by Selle Repente’s Latus CL.

Founded in 2016, Selle Repente is relatively new to the cycling scene. It’s an Italian outfit (as if the name didn’t give that away), everything is made in Italy and, despite being just four years old, the brand offers some incredibly high-tech saddles.

My previous saddle came from the Specialized Power line and is similar in design to the Latus CL. The shape is dubbed “snub nose” because it’s essentially a normal saddle with the nose chopped off, reducing the overall length quite a bit while keeping the essential parts. Many companies such as Specialized, PRO, Fizik and Prologo produce such saddles. I was curious to see if a scrappy Italian upstart could take on these better-known brands.

What We Like

Weight

My saddle weighed in at 143.6g, which is less than the manufacturer’s claimed weight of 145g. I’ve probably had sneezes that weighed more. This saddle is lighter than almost everything other brands offer for a wide full-carbon race saddle. The truth is in the numbers, and I guess this makes me a weight weenie now.

Uniqueness

Had you ever heard of Selle Repente before this review? Don’t lie, you haven’t. Until this test unit, I’ve never come across any of its saddles in the wild or in any bike shops. Almost all of the press coverage on Selle Repente was in Italian, and I bet most people riding these saddles measure their rides in kilometers rather than miles. There is only one distributor for Repente across the US. For me, it’s exciting to find new cycling brands that are relatively unknown, and there are definitely some cool points to be scored for running stuff no one else has.

Performance

It took a few rides to dial in the correct fit for the Latus CL. I had to really pay attention to how my sit bones were hitting the padding, but I eventually found pure harmony. The Latus CL is what I imagine a perfect race-day saddle should feel like, offering extreme lightness and freedom of leg movement, paired with firm but all-day comfort for when you want to spend a few more hours in the saddle. I’ve logged about 1,000 miles with this saddle and I’m ready to log many more.

Tech

Selle Repente uses a process called Autoclave Resistance Enhancement, an advanced method of machining carbon fiber, avoiding any use of moolding. I’m not well versed on how it works, but the UD carbon buildup of the saddle allows for more stiffness while keeping the weight way down. The padding is lightweight EVA foam, which is stiff to the touch but quite comfortable in the long run. Stiffer padding over a long period of time is better for the sit bones, not allowing them to sink too deep.

Value

When it comes to a full-carbon racing saddle, be ready to spend well north of $200. Some saddles even reach $300 or more. The Selle Repente Latus CL retails for roughly $246 USD, a reasonable price for such a product.

Watch Out For

Aesthetics

Though Selle Repente’s logo reminds me of Blade Runner, I think it looks badass. It’s definitely proud to be an Italian saddle, what with the little Italian flag detail and the shouty graphics. The looks are marmite: people will either love or hate them.

Availability

These saddles ship from Italy, and as I noted earlier, I’ve never seen products from them before. I can’t say I know of any bike shops that stock them, so if you’re the type to want to try out a saddle before buying it, that may be a tall order.

Is it for me?

Do you… have a wide butt but don’t want to feel burdened by it? Do you want your legs to be free to drop the highest of watts? Do you want to pedal fast and look fierce doing it? Do you desire high-end products from brands you’ve never heard of? If you’re nodding along to most or all of those questions, the Latus CL is your answer.

Verdict

The Selle Repente Latus CL is a superb product from a relatively new brand unknown to most Americans. It’s priced fairly, offers racing performance and endurance comfort and is lighter than most of the competition. All these winning points make it pretty hard not to recommend.

Selle Repente 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.

Some Wonderful Outdoor Products Have a Weird Ingredient

Do a blind taste test of an Impossible Burger and a Big Mac and you probably won’t be able to tell them apart. They both taste, feel, and look like beef – and that’s far from coincidence. Impossible Foods uses fermentation to replicate every quality of meat down to the juice that squirts out as you bite, camouflaging the soybeans you’re digesting. Many biomanufacturing companies see this model as the path forward.

“Performance needs to come before impact,” says Matthias Foessel, CEO of Beyond Surface Technologies. “A lot of companies get this wrong. If our fabrics don’t perform we won’t stay alive as a business, let alone succeed in reducing the industry’s carbon footprint. It’s the only business model that works.” 

“Performance needs to come before impact. If our fabrics don’t perform we won’t stay alive as a business, let alone succeed in reducing the industry’s carbon footprint.” —Matthias Foessel, CEO, Beyond Surface Technologies

After more than three decades in the textile industry, Foessel is qualified to speak in such candid terms. Beyond Surface Technologies (Beyond ST for short), a Swiss lab with a staff of 10 full-time scientists, is a world leader in green chemistry, creating textile chemicals from plant seeds and more recently, microalgae.

Unlike sustainable fabrics of a decade ago, the lab’s products are engineered to outperform their crude oil peers. Brand partners include Patagonia, Adidas, Levi’s, The North Face and Lululemon, and last year Beyond ST supplied fabric for upwards of 150 million garments, from soccer jerseys to outdoor baselayers.

Growing microalgae in fermentation tanks is a very sustainable process, with lower greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption than oils produced from other sources. Microalgae grown in fermentation tanks efficiently convert sugar into renewable, low-emission oils and materials that go into consumer products.

The process also cuts the ugly parts of manufacturing, like heavy metal extraction and long, carbon-expensive supply chains. This reduces costs while simultaneously reducing the environmetnal impact of the products — and it revolves around tiny organisms like microalgae.

The history of biomanufacturing dates back to the early 1900s, when the first few companies started using biological systems to produce a commercial product. While microbes like yeast had previously been used for thousands of years for things like bread, beer, cheese, pickles and yogurt, they came from wild sources.

The future for algae is bright. Brands like Patagonia, Lululemon, Adidas and Puma that already employ biotech solutions made from plant seeds are likely to adopt algae-based materials with similar or better qualities, opening up a big market for the new and surprising source.

Synthetic creation has expanded, notably for tires during the auto boom, antibiotics like penicillin, and agricultural solutions. While source organisms vary, the rising star is microalgae for its unique ability to allow precision production of better performing and more sustainable oils.

“Our life cycle assessment shows an eighty percent reduction in carbon compared to synthetic materials, but this won’t sell a fabric by itself,” observes Foessel. “There are many other factors necessary for us to get into established mills and factories. We needed to be plug-and-play for machines they already have. You can’t sell a fabric just on impact.”

The textile supply chain, like other commodities, is driven by cost. Foessel knew his fabrics had to stay within a small marginal upcharge, which he estimated at 0 to 4 cents per garment, while taking away other potential excuses. Beyond Surface Technologies got its first break during the 2014 World Cup, working with Adidas to create jerseys for many national teams, including Germany, the eventual winners. 

These days, it’s safe to say the future for algae is bright. Brands like Patagonia, Lululemon, Adidas and Puma that already employ biotech solutions made from plant seeds are likely to adopt algae-based materials with similar or better qualities, opening up a big market for the new and surprising source.

Meantime, a lot of other products are already manufactured from algae-based materials (or will be very soon). Here are a few of our favorites.

Merrell Trail Glove Shoe

A simple and utilitarian trainer intentionally built for durability, from algae. Through a partnership with Bloom, a supplier of low-density foam for shoes made from algae, Merrell designed this ultralight trainer to enhance the foot’s ability to stabilize during movement, while reducing their impact. Bloom works with other footwear makers including Altra, Billabong, and Red Wing, too.

WNDR Alpine Intention 110 Skis

One of the most versatile backcountry skis in the world, the Intention uses an algal composite from materials company Checkerspot, vertically laminating it along the length of the ski to create stability, without adding the weight. This makes long tours and big climbs a lot more fun. The ski shape compliments the materials within, using a design that’s great in an array of snowpacks.

Surftech Aleka Tuflite V-Tech SUP

This stand-up paddler doesn’t only look gorgeous and provide a versatile ride that can handle flat water cruising and small to medium waves with equal aplomb. It has also been verified Level One by Sustainable Surf’s ECOBOARD Project for its use of bio-based resin and BLOOM (20 percent algae biomass based) foam.

Tommy Hilfiger Sport Apparel

Built for a variety of uses from running to hanging around home, Tommy Hilfiger’s sport collection uses the same wicking material from Beyond Surface Technologies to create a next-to-skin layer that keeps you cool and comfortable, and is made from algae. The fabric is designed to outperform materials from crude oil in nearly every way – feel, longevity, and breathability.

Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Shirt

This performance knit tee made with a plant seed based wicking finish is popular among hikers, runners, skiers and bikers. Future iterations not available will employ an algae solution that helps the garments breathe and dry faster, keeping you cool in hot conditions. Mammut uses the same material in its tees too.

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

How to Add Cricket Protein to Your Fitness Nutrition

<!–How to Add Cricket Protein to Your Fitness Nutrition • Gear Patrol<!– –>

The idea that the protein athletes need can only come from meat or farm animal-sourced products is bunk. Even professional athletes and trainers know this, and many swear by vegan protein powders as critical ingredients in their workout regimens. A new brand called Human Improvement — or Hi! for short — formulated its recipes based on those principles, but its protein isn’t technically vegan because of one key ingredient: crickets.

It seems as though scientists and pundits have been heralding the vocal little insects as “the food of the future” for years now, based on the fact that crickets pack far more protein by weight than beef, chicken and eggs and high levels of B vitamins, iron and calcium while requiring less food and space to farm. Back in 2013, the UN put out an in-depth report on insect consumption for future food security.

Crickets also contain all of the amino acids you need in a day and chitin, a biopolymer found in their exoskeletons that has prebiotic properties that are good for your gut (chitin is also present in crustaceans and mushrooms you may already be eating).

Organic cricket protein powder isn’t the only ingredient in Hi! protein, though; its list includes organic pumpkin protein powder, organic brown rice protein powder and organic pea protein powder, all of which are tried and tested in plant-based fitness nutrition products that are already out there. With that pedigree, we can only hope the response to this new product is more than… crickets.

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

<!–

–>

<!– –><!–

–>

This New Bike Helmet Is the Safest and Coolest We’ve Ever Seen

Those of us who pay way too much attention to bike helmets can’t miss one eternal conundrum: the safest helmets almost invariably look overly technical, while the best-looking helmets almost always lack the most progressive protective elements.

Until now, that is.

Because the latest release from the fast-rising new leader in stylish brain buckets, Thousand, just happens to be super safe, too. It also packs a couple of other uncommon, awesome features. Here are three things that stand out about Thousand’s Chapter MIPS Helmet, besides the low-profile style.

1. Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS)

The Chapter is the first Thousand helmet to integrate MIPS, a research-backed technology that essentially allows your head to rotate a bit inside the helmet to reduce the trauma caused by various impacts. It’s that yellow lining you see in the photo above, and you’ll forget all about it until it saves your brain.

2. USB-Rechargeable Magnetic Light

This super-clever feature is unique to the Chapter. The helmet comes with a magnetic rear light and charger, along with a little groove at the back to stick it before you hit the road. There’s also a rubber mount you can use to attach to your seatpost. Considering how important bike lighting is, even during the day, this user-friendly execution is incredibly appealing.

3. Secret Poplock

A third cool innovation that Thousand pioneered is the Poplock, a more secure way to lock your helmet to your bike rather than lugging it around. It’s basically a small hole near the back, normally covered by a magnetic cap, that allows you to slip the lock through the body of the helmet, rather than one of the straps, for foolproof safekeeping.

At just 12 ounces for a size medium, the Chapter is also 25 percent lighter than its big brother, the Heritage, and it’s quite comfortable, too. I feel confident in this statement, considering I’ve been wearing it throughout the course of writing this post. The Chapter is available now in three colorways: Supermoon White, Racer Black and Club Navy.

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

An Insanely Popular Streetwear Brand Collaborated on a Rock Climbing Shoe for a Very Good Reason

Earlier this month, a small streetwear brand called Brain Dead raised over half a million dollars for charities supporting the Black Lives Matter movement by selling two exclusive t-shirts. The first, a collaboration with contemporary R&B artist Dev Hynes, aka Blood Orange, came together in less than 24 hours. Now the brand, led by Kyle Ng, is back on the fundraising path with a collab of a very different kind: a rock climbing shoe produced by the California-based climbing company Evolv.

The shoe is the Ashima x Brain Dead Zenist, a performance climbing shoe with a downturned toe profile constructed with a fine-tuned rigidity to deliver feedback and control on the wall. Its design features a colorful, unlined synthetic upper and a Trax rubber outsole and toe patch for steep and inverted climbing, outdoors are at indoor climbing gyms.

This isn’t the first time Ng has worked with an outdoor gear maker. Brain Dead teamed up with The North Face in late 2019, and it was through that work that Ng met Ashima Shiraishi, the 19-year old phenom who is considered one of the best female climbers in the world.

The two became friends, and soon after The North Face release started to dream up a shoe that would bridge the void between gear and fashion. “In climbing you just don’t see that many cool shoes, shoes with different colorways and different options, and we wanted to introduce that,” Shiraishi says. She brought the idea to Brian Chung, Evolv’s founder, who immediately gave it the green light.

Compared to the other producers of technical climbing gear that populate the industry, Evolv is a newcomer. Chung prides Evolv’s products as cutting edge while contrasting its aesthetic with traditional “Hot Wheels-colored climbing shoes.” Founded in Los Angeles, Evolv is smaller and more nimble as a result, which is why Shiraishi and Ng’s idea — which she admits “was kind of bizarre and far-fetched” — is actualizing just months after their meeting.

It’s also why the company is able to make the timely decision to use proceeds of the shoe to support organizations working to get marginalized groups into climbing, just like Ng did with his t-shirts. “You can’t just let this sit and not take this opportunity to do something good for the climbing community,” Shiraishi says.

Rock climbing has been steadily growing, particularly in recent years — the US is building new climbing gyms faster than traditional gyms and fitness clubs — but, like many outdoor sports, there are unavoidable barriers to entry such as proximity to outdoor areas and expensive gym memberships.

That’s a reality not lost on Shiraishi, who started climbing at age six in New York City’s Central Park, for free. The local climbing community supported her progress with free gym memberships, and Evolv brought her onto its team before she rounded out age 10. “I probably wouldn’t have continued climbing if they didn’t give me that hospitality,” she says.

To Evolv, inclusivity in climbing means “opening up opportunities for everyone with all different backgrounds, abilities and disabilities, and socio-economic situations to climbing by making it more accessible and also by helping those who need more support,” according to Chung. The company’s track record in that includes the creation of an adaptive foot and accompanying shoe for leg and foot amputees.

As for the Ashima x Brain Dead Zenist, Shiraishi, Ng and Evolv employed an outlook of “thinking globally and acting locally,” says Chung. Profits from sales of the shoe will support five organizations: YWWC (Young Women Who Crush), a New York-based program that empowers high school girls through climbing; Adaptive Climbing Group, a community for people with disabilities that creates inclusive opportunities in climbing; Brown Girls Climbing, a program dedicated to leadership development for girls of color through climbing and adventure; Long Beach Rising, an all-bouldering climbing gym that has programs that get disadvantaged youth into climbing; and an upcoming DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) film festival.

The Ashima x Brain Dead Zenist climbing shoe will be available for preorder on Thursday, June 25 for $160.

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

We Put 2 New Smart Home Fitness Systems to the Test

As you’ve probably noticed, the coronavirus pandemic has torpedoed a number of businesses. Any industry that relies upon large groups of people gathered in close quarters — from sports to airlines to restaurants — has sustained colossal hits over the past few months. 

The $94 billion fitness world is no exception. Gyms are just now starting to reopen, but with awkward protocols — and, in some cases, weird workout pods — that will likely put off many clients. The trade group IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association) estimates that more than a quarter of gym-goers will drop out this year, and just in the past few weeks, major chains like Gold’s Gym and 24 Hour Fitness have filed for bankruptcy

Into the breach have rushed a variety of home fitness solutions. Bike-based systems like Peloton are a noteworthy example; the eight-year-old brand saw its revenues rise 66 percent in the first three months of the year, while sales of the less-expensive Echelon were five times what the brand expected over that period. 

An even newer home-based approach, meanwhile, seems to have emerged at just the right time: sleek, interactive screens that deliver a variety of heart-pumping, muscle-blasting workouts before silently receding into one’s living space — an especially compelling proposition when we’re all spending so much time at home. 

The first and best-known of these products is, of course, Mirror. Still less than two years old, the original, $1,500 digital home workout set-up has seen sales more than double since COVID-19 hit the US. And while we’ve documented the enticing possibilities Mirror brings to the table, these days it’s not alone. 

Recently, two other high-tech, small-footprint systems have emerged: Tempo and Tonal. Both products promise a bit more than Mirror does in the form of resistance training equipment; while Mirror comes with resistance training bands, Tempo packs a stashable barbell, dumbbells and plates, and Tonal comes with built-in electromagnetic arms offering up to 200 pounds of resistance.

Naturally, we had to put these muscled-up spinoffs to the test. Thankfully, two GP staffers, Multimedia Producer Kasey Martin (Tempo) and Coordinating Producer Nick Caruso (Tonal), were up to the challenge. 

Here, in their own words, are comparisons of the two products in four key areas: the physical set-up, the subscription and app, the workouts and the overall value. 

Test 1: Setting Up

Tempo

What do you get? “The Tempo Studio (including integrated storage), barbell, dumbbells, collars, change plates, workout mat, heart rate monitor, and foam roller ($1,995).” 

What’s the setup process like? “Delivery and installation was included and it took around 10 minutes to put together. The process was easy and straightforward.”

How does it fit into your living space? “It looks cool and has a sleek design. It doesn’t take up too much space at all and the built-in storage for equipment is definitely a plus.”

Tonal

What do you get? The full Tonal device ($2,995), delivered and installed onto my wall by pros. I also got the [borderline essential] extras: a bench, two ‘smart’ handle attachments, a smart bar attachment, a rope attachment, a floor mat and a hard roller ($495).” 

What’s the setup process like? “It took under an hour. The Tonal has to be installed by pros and anchored into studs with adequate room above, in front of and around the device for all exercises and motions to work unimpeded. In a NYC apartment, that’s a tall order, but it fits almost perfectly in my room with slight adjustments when I work out.”

How does it fit into your living space? “The device itself fits well. The bench is a bit of a space hog, but that’s due to it being in my bedroom where I also have my desk/workspace. I’m already used to it being there, and honestly it looks pretty cool, like a wall-mounted Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Winner: Thanks to simpler, faster installation and an overall smaller footprint, Tempo gets the edge.

Test 2: Signing Up

Tempo

What’s it take to start up?To get started you need to set up an account. You can set up multiple accounts and each account has access to the workouts. For unlimited classes and personalized coaching, you pay $39 per month.”

How’s the app? “The app is cool. It provides additional workouts for when you’re not near your Tempo and the app also tracks your workout history/progress.”

Tonal

What’s it take to start up? “There is a monthly account fee of $49, which includes all classes, routines, workout regimens and features for multiple users. There is a single routine that measures your ability in order to automatically determine your weight limits, which will then increase over time as Tonal senses you getting stronger. But you are also able to set your own weights and choose/do your own movements and exercises.”

How’s the app? “Users can’t use the app to play workouts — not that I would expect it to, since the wall unit is… kind of the point — but it makes browsing for new workouts, tracking your progress and creating your own routines really easy. The interface is almost exactly the same as the wall unit.”

Winner: Pretty close matchup here, but the fitness-assessing routine that kicks things off for Tonal is a unique feature that gets our vote.

Test 3: Working Out

Tempo

What are the workouts like? “Tempo comes pre-loaded with hundreds of on-demand classes and programs encompassing strength, cardio, HIIT, mobility and recovery options, that are readily available for members upon delivery. They add new classes from their post-production backlog every day and, under the most cautious of circumstances, host weekly live content. The classes vary in level of difficulty and length of time. During your workout there is a leaderboard on screen that adds a competitive element, which makes the workout very fun.”

Can you live stream and get feedback?The workouts are live streaming, and you get real-time form feedback while you’re working out, which is pretty helpful. My only issue so far is that if I was not perfectly six feet away from the sensor, my reps did not get counted.” 

Have you seen results? “We did mostly arm workouts and definitely saw a change in only a couple of weeks!”

Tonal

What are the workouts like? “There are all types of workouts: full body, toning, high-intensity, muscle building, yoga, and more, including custom workouts you design yourself – your favorite movements, number of reps and sets, etc. There are literally hundreds of different workouts, all aimed to exercise toward different goals, whether that’s cardio, core, upper body, or straight-up building muscle. In all, Tonal claims the machine offers over 170 different movements using just the few tools and two bars of the machine.”

“The handful of coaches are all really positive and encouraging, and — this is nerdy — the way the video workouts are edited is very clever, allowing you to take the time you need to complete each set, and offer a demonstration rep on loop so you are certain to get yours right. You can select individual workouts or sign up for programs, which are multi-day series of workouts that build toward a specific exercise goal. The screen is super clear, but kind of hard to see from the ground (or when your glasses are slipping off your very sweaty nose), but overall they are very easy to understand and follow along with.”

Can you live stream and get feedback? “They are not live streaming, but you can pick the trainer that does them with you. The coaches run pre-recorded video workouts, and they are all very positive and encouraging without being annoying. On the Tonal home screen you can see your progress – how many complete workouts, reps per workout, weight lifted in total, etc. Stats are also broken down into “strength scores” per body region — upper, core, lower.”

Have you seen results? “I’m lucky in that my body responds to exercise relatively quickly, but even in that context I can already see and feel results after just a couple weeks of steady training.”

Winner: Tempo’s live streaming and ever-growing library of workouts is pretty cool. But Tonal’s accessibility and approachability, allowing you to formulate goals and work toward them at your own pace, really welcomes all skill levels, so we’re giving it a slight nod.

Test 4: Assessing Value

Tempo

Is it worth it? For whom? “If you can commit to working out consistently at home and not let it be covered in dust, then yes it’s a keeper! I look at this as an investment in one’s self-care, which is critical to daily functioning.”

What about for you? “Personally, I enjoy having the autonomy of working out at home as opposed to going to the gym where it may be crowded. Tempo has exercises for every level (even movement in a chair!), sorting from Absolute Beginner to Advanced in your personal space, making it easier to not physically compare your progress to others.

“The various live and on-demand classes offered are truly a favorite of mine as it feels good to switch up my routine and try something new while heading toward my workout goals. Again, since it is a pricey investment, make sure you are willing to commit to the workouts before purchasing.  Otherwise, get ready to show off your results!”

Tonal

Is it worth it? For whom? “A person who can afford the up front cost and values convenience and privacy – and either doesn’t want to go to a gym or doesn’t want too invest in lots of separate equipment due to space reasons.”

What about for you? “I feel like I am the target audience here. The cost is, on paper, honestly quite extreme. But if you weigh that number against what it would cost to either purchase all of the equipment Tonal replaces or invest in a gym membership, plus the cost of classes/trainers, it makes sense.”

“More specifically, there is huge value for someone like me, who truly and deeply dreads going to an actual gym. I don’t want to commute, carry my workout gear (and a lock that I always forget), and wait around for weights and machines that may have not been sanitized and that I don’t really know how to use. But now, those excuses are nonexistent. I really like Tonal because as a person who, frankly, is embarrassed that I don’t exercise enough and is really self-conscious about going to a physical gym, I don’t feel any of the pressure associated with that process.”

Winner: Both testers seem pretty stoked about what these systems ultimately deliver. Tempo claims victory here for one simple reason: it costs at least $1,000 less.

Verdict

Tough to make a call here without taking individual needs and budget into account. If you’ve got a good grasp of how to work out, and maybe a bit less dough to spend, Tempo’s got all you need, and endless live streams to keep you motivated. Meanwhile, if you’ve got the money and are maybe a bit less experienced, Tonal’s a smarter play for how helpfully it assesses your fitness level and helps you progress.

Ultimately, if it were up to us, we’d rock the Tempo — and spend the cash saved on a sweet vacation to show off all the gains a year from now.

|

Tempo and Tonal provided products 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.
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

Tony Hawk Is Finally Gonna Teach You How to Kickflip

<!–Tony Hawk Is Finally Gonna Teach You How to Kickflip • Gear Patrol<!– –>

Higher Learning


Don’t know about you, but I can count on one hand the times I’ve been biking or strolling around Manhattan and witnessed a street skater land an actual trick. Granted I’m not cruising the legit skate spots or parks, but it’s ridiculous. If only these miserable souls had some sort of guru to guide them. Well, now they do, thanks to the launch of the “Tony Hawk Teaches Skateboarding” MasterClass.

Honestly, can you think of a better instructor than this guy? Dude is the Michael Jordan of skateboarding, a man who has influenced sports and culture and video games for going on four decades without ever coming off as a dickhead. And while he’s definitely much better known as a halfpipe man, he’s got tips for all kinds of riders, thanks to demos from his son, street skating star Riley Hawk, and park skating sensation Lizzie Armanto.

[embedded content]

The 16 video lessons (over 101 minutes) take you from the basics of ollies and backside pop shove-its to more advanced tricks like the Madonna and McTwist. Along the way you get life lessons from Tony, too, about dealing with bullying, riding out skateboarding’s periodic dips in popularity and general secrets of success.

I’m looking forward to checking it out. If nothing else, it’ll be nice to watch people land some tricks.

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

<!–

–>

<!– –><!–

–>

We’ve Never Seen Bike Gear like This Before

<!–We’ve Never Seen Bike Gear like This Before • Gear Patrol<!– –>

Tokyo Story


Ever since Giro Creative Director Eli Atkins discovered a book of fascinating black-and-white patterns on his first day with the company, he’s been kind of obsessed with the man behind them. That man’s name is Hironori Yasuda, he’s a Tokyo-based artist and designer, and he unknowingly lit a fire across the ocean that burned for more than 20 years — ultimately leading to one of the most eye-popping mountain and road bike gear releases we’ve ever seen.

Dubbed, appropriately, the Yasuda Collection, it came to life after Atkins traveled across the planet to actually meet Yasuda, who over the years has produced a series of SPATS books, hundreds of patterns inspired by everyday sights that are free for any designer to use. Atkins, who now owns several of the books, sat with him for a few hours, then used a pattern he recommended as the basis for this capsule of helmets, gloves, shoes and apparel.

See a few of our favorite selections from this gorgeous collection below, then check out the behind-the-scenes video at the bottom and the full 16-piece set. We’re not quite sure how to describe the geometric, string-painted fusion in action here, but we dare say Mr. Atkins’ journey was worth it.


Montaro MIPS Helmet by Giro $160

Chrono Expert Jersey by Giro $110

Jag Glove by Giro $20

Empire SLX Shoe by Giro $375

Peloton Cap by Giro $22

??

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

<!–

–>

<!– –><!–

–>

How a Billion Dollar Eyewear Company Started in the Back of a Honda Civic

Like many multi-billionaires, Jim Jannard is somewhat reclusive. But back in the mid-1970s, you could find him at motocross events around Southern California, hocking motorcycle gear out of his Honda Civic under the banner of a company named after his English setter, Oakley.

It wasn’t a total man-with-a-van job; Oakley Products had catalogs — complete with a logo of an acorn riding a dirt bike — from which riders and vendors might purchase JT Racing gear, Scott goggles, Koho pads or Mikkola gloves.

Oakley the English setter

Eventually, though, Jannard decided to make a product of his own. At the time, handlebar grips were essentially just rubber sleeves. Jannard imagined something better. After all, if bike control comes from the handlebars, shouldn’t that crucial point of contact be made of something more evolved?

So he created the Oakley Grip, which was anatomically shaped and tactile with tentacle-inspired suction cups. One grip, the B-1B, was described as “the first motocross guidance system.”

Brian Takumi, a 14-year Oakley vet who’s currently vice president of its product creative catalyst team, remembers Jannard coming to the bike shop that he used to frequent when he was a BMX freestyle rider. Takumi was close with many riders sponsored by Oakley, and after he eventually joined the company, he worked closely with Jannard for over a decade.

“This idea about ‘define problems, find solutions, wrap them in art’ was always kind of an underlying mantra for him,” he says.

One unsolvable problem with handlebar grips, though, is that they don’t offer much real estate for getting a company’s name out into the world. That realization, plus a passion for photography and optics, initiated Jannard’s jump into goggles. A goggle strap fastened over the side of a BMX rider’s helmet is the perfect place for a logo, so Jannard and his skeleton crew began producing them, screen printing the branding onto straps by hand. Race spectators could read their handiwork from the stands.

Oakley began making snow goggles, too, but it wasn’t until the dawn of performance sunglasses that the company reached, as Takumi puts it, “a different level.” In 1983, Jannard made a sales trip from San Diego to LA and, driving with the sun beaming over the Pacific Ocean on his left, wondered why he couldn’t bring the wraparound style of goggles into a pair of sunglasses.

“He went back to his shop, took a goggle lens, cut out a smaller shape, took some coat hangers, bent them into ear stems, taped them on the goggles, and basically the sport eyewear market was invented right there,” recounts Takumi. “Until that time, nothing had existed like that.”

The production version of Jannard’s taped-together prototype was called the Eyeshade, and when pro cyclist Greg LeMond wore them on his ride to second place at the 1985 Tour de France, its popularity skyrocketed.

The Oakley Eye Jacket

Even as Oakley blossomed beyond anything Jannard could’ve imagined from the back of his Honda Civic — the company currently has around 3,400 employees and its annual revenue tops $1 billion — it preserved a DIY approach to product design. According to Takumi, hands-on methods that might involve sketching and clay modeling have retained their value, even with competition from digital tools.

“The one thing I will say about Jim is, he’s always been one to have a vision,” Takumi concludes. “When you think about people like that, you think about Steve Jobs, Elon Musk — guys like that. I mean obviously, you’re talking about sunglasses and cameras — [Jannard founded Red Digital Cinema in 2005] — but when you have that, really probably the only way to bring it to life is if you have your own hands on it.”

Put that way, it’s not so surprising it all started with bike grips.

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