The Ironwood Pack from Patagonia has the simple and classic design of every backpack you have ever owned. What sets this pack apart from every other one out there is its sturdy construction and superior padded Human Curve shoulder straps that make it feel like I’m not hauling many pounds of gear on my back. Patagonia uses recycled polyester fabric that keeps the pack light and durable enough for the mountains or professional use. Not only is the body made of 100-percent post-consumer material, it is treated with a polyurethane coating and a durable water-repellent finish, and the lining offers the same treatment to ensure that gear stays dry. The inside offers a raised 15-inch padded sleeve with an adjustable buckle to keep your laptop in place. While the main compartment is huge, the secondary “stash” pocket is big enough to store all of the smaller necessities. The Ironwood Pack is available in nine different colorways that look good regardless if you’re running to class or down a dusty trail. The last few packs I’ve had were rough and slow (either from the start or after a month), but the zipper on the Ironwood is one of the smoothest I have ever used—it even sounds clean. Some of my favorite features on this pack are the five exterior lash points, top-mounted, reinforced haul handle and lower accessory loop. The lash points are perfect for clipping carabineers to, or running paracords through for water bottles, or any gear you need to get to on the fly or larger items that wouldn’t fit in the main compartment. I have a feeling that this bag will last me many years of professional commuting and recreation. –Granato
COPS: Wildest Chases
COPS has been the staple TV show in my life since it premiered in early 1989, and it was even part of family night in my house growing up. Up until 2013, Fox was home to the original and only real reality show, but now you can find the newest episodes on Spike. Cops: Wildest Chases showcases some of the most insane pursuits from the 2013/14 season and reminds you that our fine nation is populated with entertaining idiots who think they can get away from the boys in blue. The highlight of this 2.5-hour DVD is the arrest of an extremely intoxicated man who hides in a large rose bush. It took five officers to hogtie the perp, who would not stop screaming nonsense and proclaiming that Obama was his friend. Any TV junkie knows that they can get their reality television fix on almost every channel, but sometimes the basics won’t cut it and you need to hear that legendary Bad Boys theme song. From high-speed chases and foot pursuits to runaway children and drive-by shootings, this DVD collection has it all. –Granato
in1 Case for iPhone 6
With how expensive phones have gotten, it is super important to protect your investment with a sturdy case. The in1 Case is pretty much the modern day equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife. Constructed from black, white or clear polycarbonate, this utility phone case has your back with eight readily accessible tools. Our smartphones have an app for everything, but when was the last time you actually fixed something with your phone? Whether you need to pick beef jerky out of your teeth before the big meeting or you need to fix your eyeglasses, the in1case has a tool for that. It might not be waterproof or protect your screen, but if you are good with your hands, this is a must have. One thing I did notice is that the white case started getting discolored from my jeans, and the pen can be a bit difficult to use, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too. When first pulling out all of the tools, the tweezers were stuck, requiring the use of another multi-tool to extract them. Once word of this malfunction reached the company’s CEO, I received an email letting me know that a replacement case was in the mail at no cost. in1 Case really care about the quality of their products, and in our throw-away culture, it is refreshing to find a product that lives up to its claims. –Granato
Having worked with plants both professionally and as a hobby, I know how hard it can be to know just what our green friends are in need of. Parrot has brought smart tech to our house plants with their Flower Power Bluetooth plant monitoring system which pairs flawlessly to its mobile app. Once you install the included AAA battery, jam the subtle sensor into any plant and wait the 24 hours it takes to collect set up data you quickly learn everything your favorite plant needs to thrive on. With an eight plus-month battery life and automatic push notifications sent right to your most used device, it will be hard for you to accidentally kill a plant. I like to think of the Flower Power as a Fitbit for plants because of all the overall health data that it collects. I care for plants professionally, so you would think that all of my plants are in perfect health and I wouldn’t need an app to tell me how to do something better—wrong. Within a day of monitoring, the Flower Power let me know I needed to move my plant into better light and it would let me know in 24 hours if it needed even more light exposure. The only thing I don’t believe Flower Power can do is accurately monitor fertilizer levels, as I haven’t treated the soil for almost two years, but according to the data collected, it has plenty of fertilizer. If you enjoy plants in your space but kill everything you touch, the Flower Power will turn your black thumb green. –Granato
Carhartt Force Line
Having grown up in a working-class household, I was introduced to Carhartt’s quality products at a very young age. In fact, I still wear a work coat that my old man bought in ’87—sure, it has a lot of burn holes and has changed colors a few times, but it still stops the cold air from getting in. The Force Line is geared even more towards the worker than the rest of their products. This new line has the answer for your apparel needs, whether they be sweat-wicking or flame-resistant. You will also find shirts that repel stains and fight odors. Most of the items in the line have been field tested to ensure that they can withstand whatever you put them through.
Carhartt hooked me up with a little bit of everything from their new line. Their shirts really do wick the sweat away from the wettest bodies. I spent an afternoon in July chasing the kid around the playground sans antiperspirant. I stayed pretty dry, and once the shirt was tossed in the hamper it didn’t take any odor with it. As I’m a fairly clumsy person, stains just happen to me, and these shirts only kind of handled my mess. I was able to get a stain on every shirt the first time wearing it, and it took a few washes to get them out all the way. I thought about trying to set the flame-resistant shirt on fire to test how well it resisted, but it looks too damn good, so I am taking Carhartt’s word on this one.
You will find shirts for you whether you’re a plain tee or print tee kind of person. Hell, they have shirts with breast pockets. I like to call those “Stoner Pockets,” because it seems like only stoners use them. Carhartt also offers the Tappen Cargo pant and shorts on the Force Line. I tried out a pair of both and they breathe better than I do in the triple digits. They also were almost impossible to stain—that says a lot to me. One of my favorite features of the pants and shorts are the pocket options. I may be a dude, but some dudes carry a lot of stuff and it’s not cool for dudes like me to carry a purse, nevermind the fact that I would lose a purse 24 times a day if I had one. Carhartt knows how to cater to dudes like me with every kind of pocket there is. Both pairs of these bottoms have your standard side pockets along with zippered knee pockets, Velcro flap cargo and rear pockets. Another thing I really liked about the shorts is that they weren’t that short. I am a modest man and hate showing my knees.
One complaint I have about the pants is that even though I ordered the shortest inseam they offered they were still about 18 inches long, leaving me drowning in tan fabric. The pants and shorts really lived up to the FastDry technology, claim as they kept me just as dry as the shirts did in the summer heat and after a dip in the lake they dried out in no time.
Carhartt has everything from footwear to headwear & underwear in their Force Line, and yes, the undies are sweat-wicking and odor-repelling, but not flame-resistant. If you need clothing that can be as hard-working as you are or just want to look like you work harder, drop your next paycheck at our local Carhartt store or online. And, ladies for the love of GOD stop wearing Carhartt beanies year-round like you’re always on the job site. –Eric Granato
ViDi Transparent Camera Kit
This little camera was quickly nicknamed the FauxPro because, well, it’s the same idea as that national name brand action camera. What sets the ViDi apart from those other guys is the price, and we are talking a few C-notes of separation. You can score the ViDi kit for under 100 bucks, and you get all the extras the other guys make you buy separately. For the bill you drop on a ViDi you get the camera, waterproof case, selfie sick, detachable helmet mount, car charger, USB cord and an 8GB memory card. Everything is included for whatever adventure you want to capture on video right in one package. If you only plan on filming your perfect runs on a powder day then you will be fine with the 8GB card, but if you want to document whole day or weekend you will want to upgrade to the 32GB because you will want to film in HD the whole time. The waterproof case works the way it was designed to, but you lose 90 percent of your audio with its added protection. The battery life also leaves something to be desired, but with a smaller memory card you will run out of space before it dies. This little camera does well indoors as long as you have decent light while capturing those precious “home movie “ moments. I think I forgot to mention the coolest thing about the ViDi. Their action camera kit comes out of Utah. If you live an action packed lifestyle and want to have the video footage to prove it but don’t want to drop close to a G on a set up, the ViDi is right up your alley. –Granato
Olio Beard & Co.
Let’s face it: There is a good chance that most of you have some “sweet tats” that you paid good money for, and you want them to look better than your bro’s “sweet ink.” All stereotypes aside, most of us have body art that we love and paid good money for, and sometimes we want to use something other than Aquaphor on it. Salt Lake Valley natives Olio have two products in their all-natural, personal-care line solely for tattooed skin. The Tattoo Balm is a solid, balm-like chapstick that melts on contact. A two-finger swipe of this lavender-scented cream, and you are halfway to seeing your oldest tattoo look like it was done only a month ago. The Tattoo Balm is also good for healing new tattoos—I used it on a Wu-Tang W, and it healed really clean and fast. If you are more of a liquid person, Olio’s Tattoo Oil is for you. The Oil is pretty much the same as the Balm, but it comes in a glass bottle that will break if it slips out of your lubed hands onto the bathroom tile, so be careful. All in all, both the oil and balm will ensure your investment looks its best. –Granato
Bo Hemp Co.
Hemp Vape, CBD Elixir, Redstrap Hemp Extract
CBDs and Hemp extract are said to help many conditions, like nausea, anxiety and sleep disorders, without the mind-altering effects of THC. They can also counteract some of the negative side effects from ingesting THC and even lessen paranoia in some users—or prolong the effects of THC. The cool thing about CBD extracts is that they are legal in the U.S. What Bo Hemp offers a wide variety of products allowing you to treat yourself in many ways. I tried their E Juice Hemp Extract. Once I got the wattage dialed in, it had an amazing taste, even though it is technically meant to be a treatment and not a treat. I tried their Hemp Elixir next. This liquid supplement can be taken in a drink or alone, as its favor is quite mild. A dropper or two a day worked for me. Lastly, I tried their Hemp Extract, which comes premixed with high-end coconut and is meant to be mixed with your morning smoothie, not taken alone. (Trust me: Don’t take it right out of the bottle.) I saw mild benefits from two of the three, and they yielded mild results at best. The elixir seemed to curb mild anxiety, and on top of other natural remedies, it also helped clear my mind when stressed. Even though I didn’t experience many benefits, these kinds of supplements work in different ways for different people. All of these products come from a company that happens to be local, so check out their site for all your natural hemp extract needs. –Granato