Just because you’re hitting the international scene doesn’t mean you have to leave behind your flair for fashion. The Crush Felt Hat achieves what other stylish lids haven’t been able to offer—the ability to travel with a real hat that retains its shape, whether it’s on your head or smashed into your carry-on or the overhead bin. Made of 100-percent felted wool, the Crush will also keep you surprisingly warm. The other all-natural merino wool attributes apply, including wicking without any odor retention, and warm-when-wet comfort. We love the slight, almost pill hat-style brim as well as the circles of gray stitching around the hat base. You’ll love its all-natural, classic fashionable function.
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If you worship in the cathedral of outdoors from atop your bike, here’s a line of t-shirts that evoke the spirit of your adoration.We love just about every one of their long- and short-sleeved shirts, made from machine-washable cotton elastine that’s soft to the touch. But our go-to fashionista tester was instantly drawn to the True Religion T, with its sly “10 Commandment of Spin” badge on the side, contrast colored stitching, and fine printing on the front, rear, and sleeve. But we also confess we’re still struggling with the seventh commandment: “Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s bike.”
The problem with the binary fashion versus function is that, in order to satisfy one side of the equation, sacrifices must be made on the other. Not so with Burny sunglasses from Kaenon, a company founded by two elite-level sailing brothers in Southern California a decade ago. The Burny provides maximum performance with real style. The frame shape is evocative of a über-popular sunglass model from the mid-1950s, but Kaenon has matched the retro look with good functional design and cutting-edge technology. The Burny improves on a classic profile by molding the super lightweight, flexible, and heat-resistant TR-90 frame to more closely follow the contours of the human face to eliminate light leak over the brow and around the sides. Peripheral vision is not compromised. The effect is like, well, not wearing glasses at all. With lenses measuring 42mm by 62mm set in a large frame (135mm arm length, 141mm frame width) the Burnys provide maximum coverage, even for this reviewer, who literally has a big head. And the lenses! The Burny, like all of Kaenon’s glasses, features impact-resistant, ultra-lightweight, and durable SR-91 polarized lenses. Incorporating Glare 86 polarized film, the lenses reduce glare and offer unparalleled clarity, a claim reinforced by unsurpassed clarity scores awarded by an independent laboratory. Available in a range of tints, I found the G12 lens, the darkest grey tint (filtering all but 12% of visible light) to be perfect in bright conditions in a variety of scenarios—sailing, driving, playing tennis, hiking, and lounging by the pool.
Just as Murphy’s Law dictates that toast lands buttered-side down, so too will sunglasses inevitably fall, lens-down, especially on rocky terrain or concrete. Amazingly, given the number of trials I have (accidentally) conducted over the past 18 months, I have managed only to inflict a single tiny scratch on one of the lenses. It is an injury I don’t have to live with forever, happily, as the super friendly and helpful folks at Kaenon will set up a lens replacement (for a reasonable fee). In an era of multinational conglomerates that churn out hundreds of indistinguishable and mediocre products under a plethora of brand names, it’s a real pleasure to encounter an independent, family-run company dedicated to innovation, integrity, quality, and aesthetics. Sunglasses, in truth, function not only to keep the sun out of our eyes. They also operate as a statement about who we think we are and what we think we stand for. For this large-headed reviewer, the Burnys are a statement—about fashion and function—I’m very comfortable wearing on my face.
We’ve seen steady advancements in the collage-like trend of mixing and matching different fabrics to give you a product that’s the best of all possible worlds. But often these products feel like they’re awkwardly straddling disparate civilizations, a feeling that ultimately makes you yearn for what you don’t have. Thankfully, the Dose Jacket doesn’t fall into that jack-of-all, master-of-none trap. This highly versatile 2.5-layer waterproof/breathable DWR-treated shell has micro-fiber polyester four-way stretch panels strategically placed to provide soft-to-the-touch flex at the shoulders, forearms, waist, and chest. The rest of the jacket is bombproof, including the helmet-compatible hood and a wind- and waterproof flap over the front waterproof zip. The two hand-pockets and the small back pocket also rock waterproof zippers; the latter also has a tuck-away piece of reflective fabric that can be unveiled to keep you visible when biking in the dark. You also get two chest pockets—one on the outside, and another on the inside with a cord-routing path for your phone or MP3 player. Two zippered vents sit high on the chest, rather than under the arms. They increase breathability, but aren’t as efficient as the pit-zip style found on most shells. Accordingly, the Dose works best when temps aren’t too hot ’n steamy.
We became big fans of the Mission Workshop bags when we tested out their Sanction Backpack (which is still meeting our high standards), but the R6 Arkiv really hits the sweet spot. This backpack is built around a modular system that lets you add on various weatherproof bags to boost your carrying capacity. The system is anchored around a main backpack, and comes in two sizes: small (1,200 cubic inches) and large (2,200 cubic inches). Then you select from eight individually-priced accessories, which run the gamut from a laptop case ($86), to an utility cell pocket ($28), to a vertical roll-top or zippered pocket ($48 and $52, respectively). You can add a waist belt ($34) or a messenger bag shoulder-strap ($24). Each component attaches to the main packbag via a clever rail system; you slide the accessories onto the pack and secure them with a narrow Velcro strap. The main packbag has six rails anchored by highly durable steel, allowing for a variety of configurations. The backpack itself—like all the accessories—is made of waterproof, durable Cordura fabric with a roll-down top flap and a burly, secure buckle. We love the Folio addition ($68), which includes two zippered pockets, pen slots, space to hold a U-lock, and two more rails for more add-ons like the tool pocket ($58). The R6 also makes for a versatile carry-on; after boarding the plane, just slide off the laptop or folio attachments (pre-loaded with all your in-flight essentials) and the stash the big pack in the overhead without exceeding the max limits for carry-ons. As you’d expect, the pack weighs more than a traditional backpack. But that’s a minor drawback considering the bag can be custom dialed to fit your needs in pretty much every scenario.
For even greater waterproofness and style, add $30 for the waxed canvas version of the packbag.