Covet

The Hasselblad Stellar with zebra wood    

Hasselblad Stellar Camera

Old-school look, modern technology

Hasselblad took a camera resembling the compact Sony RX100 and gave it a woodsy makeover.

The camera has an aluminum body and metal controls, but its coolest feature is the ergonomic handgrip made from wood. The camera comes in six different styles, including walnut, zebra wood, and mahogany.

The RX100-esque Stellar offers the same 28-100mm equivalent Zeiss-branded zoom as the Sony—with a significantly higher price tag. In fact, you could buy three Sony RX100 cameras for the price of one Stellar.

But hey, if money is no concern and style is what you’re after, check out this luxury gadget from Hasselblad.

$1,995, hasselblad-stellar.com

0 Comments

The Dalene Cabin by Tommie Wilhelmsen     Photo: Courtesy of Tommie Wilhelmsen

Dalene Cabin

Cast off in this Norwegian getaway

Like the prow of a ship, the roof of this 1,290-square-foot cabin glides over the retreat’s sliding glass doors. It’s a stunning way to enter this getaway located on the Norwegian island of Rennesøy.

The prow creates a deep overhang before curving back toward the ground and rolling out into the sunken patio. The recessed area is encased in rough stacked stones, while the wooden deck is outfitted with a stone counter and barbecue. Blackened vertical fir boards cover the bedroom’s façade opposite windows that look out on the sea.

Inside, a long wall of burnished concrete supports the simple kitchen. Mimicking the patio outside, the oak-floor living room is sunken, too. Open on two sides, the wood-burning fireplace sits in a notch in the wall. The best part? A natural fire-side window bench to help you stay warm on cool spring nights.

0 Comments

Osprey got a lot of things right with its Rev 12, a hydration pack for trail runner and endurance racers.    

Osprey Rev 12

Designed for trail runners and endurance racers, the mid-size Rev 12 is almost perfect.

Endurance racers are the gear-annihilating guinea pigs of the outdoor world. When you’re living with products non-stop for days at a time, even minor annoyances can snowball into deal-breakers. Ergo, smart designers listen closely to these PETA-approved testers.

If the new Rev series is any indication, Osprey’s design crew has both listening skills and problem-solving abilities. Designed for trail runners and endurance racers, the mid-size Rev 12 is almost perfect.   

Available in S/M and M/L, I found the fit to be spot on thanks to a form-fitting cut and two chest straps that can be adjusted vertically. At 6'2", I went with the M/L size—the pack fits so well it feels even lighter than its 26 ounces. Plus, the lean Biostretch harness and belt are lighter than most, making the Rev 12 feel practically tailored.

This pack thrives in motion because you can access important storage without stopping. The strap-mounted water bottle pocket doubles as a great place to stow sunglasses. The strap-mounted media pocket keeps your smart phone secure and is ear-bud friendly. 

Capacity-wise, it's an honest 12 liters. During a trip to Napa and the Clif Family Winery, I discovered the pack comfortably accommodated 2.5 liters of water in the reservoir, as well as three bottles of wine, a mid-layer, vest, and shell. 

All Rev packs include Osprey’s new reservoir, which is about 50 percent lighter than its predecessor. It also has a detachable hose for easy filling and two baffles to prevent the liquid from sloshing around while you run. 

With plenty of utilitarian bells and whistles in a lightweight package, the Rev will make you feel like a dromedary on a diet. And maybe even a gear-crushing guinea pig.

$110, ospreypacks.com 

0 Comments

The Prologo CPC gloves    

Prologo CPC Gloves

The most comfortable cycling gloves on the planet?

Before you try on the Prologo CPC gloves, one thing stands out—the price. The fingerless model costs $100. Even by Assos standards, they’re spendy, and Assos sells a $520 bib.

Take a quick look at the CPC’s palms, though, and you’ll see where the money is going: countless tiny, upright cylinders that vary in size and are built from elastic polymer. Diameters range from the size of a pin tip to a pinhead and they’re about as deep as a dime is thick. Dubbed Connect Power Control (CPC), the cylinders all but completely remove road buzz transmitted from crappy tarmac. And the no-slip keeps your digits right where you want them, even when you have sweaty palms.

Cadillac-plush with Carrera-performance, it’s no surprise some F1 drivers also use a version of CPC technology, which has a pretty cool backstory. The tech was first developed for soldiers who rappelled out of helicopters and needed to be able to stop in a hurry.

The summer-weight gloves are cool enough for the hottest rides, but this lightweight fabric may adversely affect durability. And all those cylinders on the palm make you think twice about rubbing a tire after going through debris that could cause a flat.

Those imperfections aside, it’s tough not to come to the same conclusion as I did after six weeks of testing: Prologo CPC gloves may well be the most comfortable cycling gloves on the planet.  

0 Comments

Lopez Island Cabin by Stuart Silk Architects     Photo: Courtesy of Stuart Silk Architects

Lopez Island Cabin

A seaside shelter

This cabin on Lopez Island, Washington was built in homage to the area’s striking natural beauty.

Resting on a bluff in a meadow of native grasses, the shelter, circled by a forest of native cedars, firs, and madronas, faces the sea. The architects chose the materials—concrete slabs, birch plywood, and corrugated metal—to make the cabin blend in with the island environment and to reduce building maintenance.

Two small towers flank a long rectangle. The single-slope roof angles out toward the ocean, while the corrugated metal towers appear to hold it back. Concrete masonry unit walls enclose the combined living, kitchen, and dining area—all of which have spectacular views.

Featuring a 14-foot high wall of glass, the interior doesn’t disappoint. Earth-toned furnishings surrounding the modern fireplace give the place a comfortable, rustic look. 

0 Comments

The Flathead Lake Cabin by Andersson Wise Architects     Photo: Courtesy of Art Gray

Flathead Lake Cabin

A wilderness retreat overlooking one of the largest lakes in the country

On a perch overlooking Flathead Lake—one of the largest freshwater lakes in the U.S.—there’s a stunning cabin masquerading as a tree house.

The getaway, hidden in a pine forest, sits atop steel posts encased within concrete piers. An equally discrete gravel path leads to the front door, where the sloping butterfly roof covers the entrance bridge.  

Cross-laminated timber and traditional lumber frame the retreat’s exterior. Inside, the unpolished floor and walls are made of wood slats that fit together almost seamlessly. But it’s the living room and bedroom that really make you feel like you’re camping. Here, nothing but screens separate you from the woods outside. At dusk, the screens' geometry and translucence mimics shoji—the traditional room dividers of Japan.

Of course, there’s a tiny central kitchen adjacent to a storage closet. A bathroom with sink, toilet, and outdoor shower (made from galvanized metal) are also included. There’s no central heating or air conditioning, so you’ll have to find other ways to stay warm in the winter and rely on lake breezes during the summer. Water is pumped up from the lake below. Can you say glamping? 

0 Comments

Nike's Power Laces from "Back to the Future" fame will debut next year.    

Nike "Back to the Future" Power Laces

Your Marty McFly dreams just came true

Who doesn’t want to live in the world of Marty McFly via Back to the Future Part II? And even if you can't actually use a DeLorean to go back in time, you can at least dress like the movie's hero. 

In 2011, Nike came out with a limited edition of the MAG shoes featured in the film. For 2015, the company is stepping up its futuristic game by creating a pair of kicks with self-tying laces. Yes, you read that right, although we’re still not sure just how well this system will work in real life.  

Nike will make a pair of sneaks with power laces that tighten themselves. A little too futuristic for you? Don’t worry. You have at least a year to prepare for the debut, and it’s still unclear how many pairs will be made.

$TBD, solecollector.com

0 Comments

The key to surviving the unexpected is being prepared for any situation.     Photo: Courtesy of Gerber

Gerber Bear Grylls Card Tool

A pocket-size survival device

With Gerber’s Bear Grylls Card Tool in your pocket, you never have to worry about being unprepared again. 

The tool—which is about the size of a credit card—features all the emergency survival basics former special forces officer Grylls demands in the backcountry. The steel-backed card houses a 1.5-inch fixed-blade knife, while a Phillips screwdriver lets you make quick gear repairs in the field.

The 2.7-ounce tool also has a compact ferrocerium rod to help start a fire if you run out of matches. Top it off with a water-resistant LED light and rulers (with both metric system and standard units), and you have a pretty handy little gadget.

Oh, yeah, and there’s a bottle opener—likely the tool that will get the most use. Available now.

$31, gerbergear.com 

0 Comments

The Lake Cottage by UUfie architects     Photo: Courtesy of Naho Kubota

The Lake Cottage

A real house of mirrors

It looks like something out of a fairy tale, but this two-story A-frame cottage is quite real.

Located in a pine and birch forest along the Kawartha Lakes in Ontario, the cabin is cloaked in blackened vertical cedar siding and a glossy metal roof. The form is inviting, as are all the other whimsical details inside and out.

A deep cut in the roof and façade creates a protected patio, and there’s a cordwood terrace floor to ground the mirrored ceiling and walls. Inside, a modern fireplace with clever wood storage—and lines that mimic the house’s shape—dominates the living area.   

The architects carved the staircase from a single tree trunk, topping it with tile slabs to reach the loft above. That attic is a wonky space with sloping walls and well-placed skylights and windows. Blue fish-scale shingles cover the interior wall. 

Back down on solid ground, the dining room connects to the outside through black-framed floor-to-ceiling windows. A child’s drawing of trees is keenly outlined in the glass panes to mimic the forest outside.

0 Comments

Come on, you know you want it.     Photo: Courtesy of Aol.com

The $300,000 Igloo

Own an Alaskan landmark

Anyone who’s driven up Parks Highway to Denali National Park and Preserve has seen it—a massive urethane igloo hunched over on the side of the road.

And if you have a spare $300,000, you can buy the famous Alaskan landmark, according to the Associated Press.  

For that price, you’ll own the 80-foot high structure, which was built about four decades ago over a plywood shell and is definitely showing signs of age. Never completed, the igloo hasn’t ever attracted anything except tourists and vandals, who once exploded firecrackers inside the building before it was boarded up.    

But the $300,000 will also get you the 38-acre site where the building sits. And that might be where the true covet-worthy value lies, at least according to property owner Brad Fisher.

The beautiful location in Alaska’s interior offers phenomenal hiking, snowmobiling, and backcountry skiing opportunities—perfect for some entrepreneur looking to open a seasonal restaurant or hotel. Of course, starting a viable business (and getting the building up to code) is going to cost much more than $300,000. For starters, there’s no available electricity from the grid. 

So if you have deep pockets and time on your hands, consider moseying up north to buy the ultimate Alaskan cliché. 

0 Comments

The Aluminum Cabin by JVA architects     Photo: Courtesy of Nils Petter Dale

The Aluminum Cabin

In a Norwegian archipelago

While aluminum might not be the first material that comes to mind when building a cabin, turns out it makes for some stunning architecture—even in the middle of a Norwegian wilderness.    

This cabin lies in sparkling contrast to the boulder-strewn seaside where it’s located. Sheathed in aluminum from head to toe, it reflects its surroundings with a smooth radiance. The pitched aluminum roof, which stretches toward the sea, rests on an aluminum-framed floor to ceiling glass walls. The spare, yet elegant, furniture clusters around the cast-iron black bubble fireplace.

The glass front door and the glass wall beyond show off the archipelago out back. Three bedrooms and two baths take advantage of the natural rocky perimeter, affording some privacy opposite the lake. Terraces—fitted with canvas sun screens— are located on either end of the cottage. There’s even an outdoor shower for en plein air bathing.  

0 Comments

Make your own moonshine still     Photo: Courtesy of Clawhammer Supply

DIY Copper Moonshine Still Kit

From Clawhammer Supply

Behold the copper moonshine still for home-distillation from Clawhammer Supply, a small company started by one guy who really likes beer.

The coolest part? You build the still yourself. With the kit, you’ll get pre-drilled machine-cut parts, copper rivets, plus all the required pipe and fitting. Grab a hammer, a plumbing torch, a small spool of lead-free plumbing solder, some pliers, sandpaper, and maybe a vise—oh, and your computer to follow the step-by-step online videos.

A few hours later, and you’ve got a five-gallon moonshine still.

$249, clawhammersupply.com

0 Comments

The power-meter revolution is here.    

Garmin Vector

A pedal-based cycling power meter

Imagine if you could measure your power output where it matters—at the pedal.

Well, Garmin's new Vector Power Meter lets you do just that. The new cycling power meter measures wattage at the pedal, and it syncs with other compatible Garmin devices.

Even cooler? The Vector can calculate power for both legs individually or average the watts for a single reading. It also measures cadence and other metrics, including your “Intensity Factor” and calories burned. Want to know more? Check out our full review

At $1,700, it’s definitely a splurge item. But what's a couple grand for the sake of getting faster, right? 

$1,700, garmin.com

0 Comments

The Tongabezi tree house    

Tongabezi Tree House

An airy hideaway above Zambia’s Zambezi River

Floating over the Zambezi River in Zambia, built around four ebony trees, and tucked into a basalt riverbank, this tree house exceeds expectations. 

The private winding path that leads to the retreat is carved from the rocky slope. Inside, the only solid wall is the rounded rock enclosure at the back. Everything else looks out onto the river, with only a few wooden posts to support the wood batten and grass-thatched circular roof.

And let’s talk about the bath, which wouldn't be out of place in an old-fashioned European mansion. This luxurious space has a pair of vessel sinks and a somewhat incongruous claw-foot tub. A few young trees are just tall enough to give a bit of privacy. Under it all, pine floors stretch diagonally toward the river.

This tree home is rich with amenities, including: a king size bed with a white net canopy; lush Anatolian carpet; a chair carved from a tree; and a beverage bar complete with a mini refrigerator and tray. Top it off with the hanging egg-shaped grass chairs, and you have a stunning African hideaway.  

0 Comments

Just putting the Feelgoodz Kinderz on might make you a better person.     Photo: Courtesy of Feelgoodz

Feelgoodz Kinderz

The most wholesome flip-flops in the world?

For starters, they’re made out of all-natural materials by a company called Feelgoodz which, regardless of how you feel about “z”s standing in for “s”s at the end of words, should at least make you smile.

And it’s not just a catchy name: the company is based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and goes out of its way to support the farmers and workers in Guatemela, Thailand, and Vietnam who grow the natural rubber and make the sandals.

These particular models—the Kinderz—were designed in collaboration with musician Jack Johnson, who recently released his new album, From Here to Now to You. And even if he’s not on any of your Spotify playlists, how can you not like a guy who collaborates with Curious George and has written universally appealing kids’ songs about the merits of the three Rs? (For those of you who don’t have kids, that’d be reduce, reuse, recycle.) 

And here’s the kicker: One hundred percent—not one percent or 10 percent—of the proceeds from the Kinderz (and Slimz, a women’s model), benefit the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, a non-profit founded by Johnson and his wife that supports environmental education in his home state. Just putting them on might make you a better person.

0 Comments

The Case Inlet retreat by MW Works architects     Photo: Courtesy of Jeremy Bittermann

Case Inlet Retreat

A luxury sanctuary in the Pacific Northwest

Burrowed into a bluff overlooking Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, this private family retreat sits within a lush forest just south of Seattle.  

The bedrooms are housed in a cedar-clad wing, while a floating concrete staircase leads to the glass front door. Living, cooking, and dining areas can be found in the airy open space to the south. The views are spectacular from any of the rooms—the walls are almost 100 percent glass. Wood floors extend from the interior to the outside deck where a staircase with a metal pipe rail heads up to the rooftop seating.

The natural palette of mixed wood walls, weathered grey pendant lights and upholstery, concrete slabs, open-timber book shelves, and a modern cast iron wood-burning stove provide simple luxuries. High ceilings wrapped in wood and black framed windows and doors mimic the forest outside.

But it’s the main bedroom suite that steals the show. Floor-to-ceiling windows make up the corner of the sleeping area. The bath—a modern-soaking marvel with ridiculous views—even has its own balcony and a rain shower. Unless you swap the cabin for a transparent tent, you’d be hard pressed to feel more immersed in nature.

0 Comments

The Echo Carbon Four-Weight fly rod    

Echo Carbon Four-Weight

A medium-fast fly rod that's affordable and good looking

In certain parts of Michigan, Echo fly rods have achieved a sort of cult following. After hearing enough friends sing their praises, I finally decided to try one.

The Carbon isn’t new—it was introduced in 2008—but it came highly recommended. After testing it out on small streams of New Mexico I can see why. First, it’s cheap. You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a rod of that looks this good—matte brown finish, anodized aluminum reel seat—and fishes this well for under $200.

But even better, Echo didn’t chase the ultra-fast craze with this. They say it’s a medium-fast rod, but it definitely tends towards the medium end. And that’s perfect. It was ideal for making soft casts with small dries onto a small meadow stream, and had just enough backbone to toss big dry/dropper rigs at distance. We only had a few hours with it—a front moved in, and we had to hike 1,000 feet up a mesa to get back to camp—but that was enough. Count me among the cult.

$179, echoflyfishing.com

0 Comments

The super.natural Sport Zip Hoodie 220    

super.natural Sporty Zip Hoodie 220

A do-it-all midlayer for women that blends wool and synthetic fabrics

I have a weakness for midlayers. Fleeces, wool pullovers, synthetic hoodies—they all seem to multiply in my closet.

But the super.natural Sporty Zip Hoodie 220 is different. Unlike most of my performance midlayers, it’s nice enough to wear to an upscale restaurant (keep in mind I live in Santa Fe where dress code is admittedly lax), yet functional enough for a cool spring hike.

Part of the reason for that is the cut. I’m 5’6” and 120 pounds, and my extra small hoodie is definitely form-fitting, but not skin-tight. (I can easily wear a thin short- or long-sleeve base layer under it.) I usually wear a small in layers like this from Icebreaker, Patagonia, The North Face, and Mammut, so keep in mind that the super.natural hoodie runs a hair large. 

The trim fit plus the textured look of the fabric make the Sporty Zip look more like a nice cashmere-esque sweater than something you’d wear hiking or skiing. But with a 47 percent merino wool, 46 percent polyester, and 7 percent Lycra blend, the midlayer doesn’t restrict your movements at all. It’s also very soft on your skin and works well in a broad range of temperatures—from about 30 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. 

This is an excellent, stylish hoodie best suited for travelling, hiking, skiing, and après. Plus, it’s made by an European company relatively new to the U.S. market that should give the outdoor industry wool goliaths a run for their money. The Sporty Zip will be available fall 2014.      

$125, sn-supernatural.com

0 Comments

Cabins by Gracia Studio     Photo: Courtesy of Luis Garcia

Encuentro Guadalupe Antiresort Cabins

Tucked away in a Mexican vineyard

Just an hour and a half south of San Diego, twenty single-story cabins dot the rugged hillside in the wine region of Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico.

The architects aimed to respect the landscape as much as possible, so each 65-square-foot cabin sits over the craggy terrain on steel legs. Corten steel covers the walls and roofs of the buildings, making them blend into the hillside. The cabins have private wooden terraces with their own clay chimineas to warm you up on chilly nights.

Inside, the cabins have minimal—but luxurious—bedrooms and baths with either a black or white interior. Well-placed windows offer stunning views. 

0 Comments

The Point65 Martini GTX Tandem Kayak    

Point65 Martini GTX Tandem Kayak

The two-in-one, take-apart boat

Point65 has figured out the best way to save money when it comes to paddling—a kayak that functions both as a single-person and as a two-person boat.

Sounds too good to be true, but you can convert the kayak in seconds. Plus, its Snap-Tap design makes it easy to take apart and stuff in your trunk. Simply line up the sections, connect and tighten the straps, and attach the rudder.

The touring kayak comes with all the essentials, too—comfortable cockpit outfitting, an enclosed deck, carrying handles, watertight oval hatches for gear, a paddle-park, a fish-o-meter, and of course, cup holders.

Should you worry about leaking? Point65 doesn't seem to think so.

$TBD, point65.com

0 Comments

Comments