2016 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Gear

Guys are pretty easy to shop for. Most of the time, you can just get stuff you’d buy for yourself. Here’s a grab bag of Father’s Day gift ideas geared towards looking good and improving your daily life. And for more great suggestions, be sure to check out the other categories in our annual gift guide.

Burley D’Lite Bike Trailer

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Just because you have kids doesn’t mean that you still can’t enjoy the great outdoors, and with the Burley D’Lite bike trailer, your little ones will be begging you to take them wherever you go. The company’s top-of-the-line model is loaded with premium features to maximize comfort, performance and safety, including a full internal aluminum roll cage, seating for one or two children (up to 100 lbs.), adjustable suspension for different terrains, and Spring Integrated Technology seating to prevent tangled and limp straps. The D’Lite also features a water resistant cover and zippers, UV protection windows, an adjustable sunshade, interior pockets for things like snacks and toys, and a spacious rear cargo area for bigger items. This is the Cadillac of child bike trailers, and that’s before even mentioning its ability to convert into a one- or two-wheel stroller, jogger or sled. More importantly, the D’Lite provides a smooth ride that distributes passenger weight remarkably well and easily breaks down for storage and transportation. Though Burley has an excellent range of bike trailers that fit most budgets, this is one of those rare instances where splurging for the high-end model is totally worth it.

Husqvarna 136LiL Trimmer

Yard work doesn’t have to be fun, but it can at least be a little less miserable with the right tools from Husqvarna. We reviewed their AWD lawn mower a few years ago and were very impressed with the quality and performance, so it’s no surprise that this battery-powered trimmer continues the company’s tradition of delivering first-rate products at reasonable prices. Lightweight and easy to use thanks to its intuitive keypad, the 136LiL is powered by a 36-volt lithium-ion battery that is interchangeable between all Husqvarna handhelds (like chainsaws and leaf blowers) and features an eco mode called savE that extends battery life during less demanding projects. It’s also one of the quietest trimmers we’ve ever used, and it does so without surrendering performance. In fact, it boasts 25% higher efficiency than a standard brush motor, all while reducing the vibrations caused by a gas-powered trimmer. To say that the Husqvarna 136LiL is a massive improvement over our current trimmer is an understatement, but buyer beware, because once you own one Husqvarna product, you’re going to want to replace everything else in your garden shed as well.

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New Flash Collection Hiking Boots and Shoes from Hi-Tec

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With spring weather around the corner, it’s a great time to find some great hiking trails in your area. Of course, you’ll want to have the latest gear, and I recently tested new hiking shoes from the Flash collection from Hi-Tec.

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2015 Holiday Gift Guide: For the Home

Gifts like these might not be the most romantic if you’re buying for your wife or girlfriend, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find cool stuff that will put a smile on their face. Products for the home can be just as desirable if you focus on items with great design or that make someone’s life a lot easier, and if you stick to those simple guidelines, you’ll make whoever is on the receiving end very happy.

Click the links within the write-ups to purchase each product online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

iDevices Thermostat & Switch

Transforming your house into a smart home has never been easier with these new products from iDevices, which work in conjunction with the free iDevices Connected app to allow users to control, monitor and schedule their thermostat and other electronics from any compatible iOS device. While Nest may own a large share of the market with its smart thermostat, the iDevices version is a great alternative for nearly half the price. It features a sleek, minimalistic design and gives you the ability to change the temperature wherever you are, set schedules for different times and days of the week, and even create “Scenes” (like “Going to Bed”) that can be activated with Siri voice commands. The real game-changer, however, is the iDevices Switch, which controls any product (15 amps or less) that you would plug into a standard wall outlet and includes a customizable LED night light that can be turned on or off separately. Better yet, when paired with a Thermostat or multiple Switches in certain rooms or “Zones” (like upstairs or downstairs), it delivers the smart home experience that all those science fiction movies promised us. Just don’t expect it to make you breakfast as well. You can also find these devices at Lowe’s.

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Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 740HD Projector

The traditional moviegoing experience has gotten so bad that more and more people have decided to stay away from theaters altogether by creating one of their own inside their homes, and with the PowerLite Home Cinema 740HD projector from Epson, it couldn’t be any easier. In addition to featuring widescreen, high-definition 720p resolution, the Home Cinema 740HD offers up to 15,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio for rich details in dark scenes and boasts three times brighter colors than leading competitors thanks to its three-chip LCD technology. This results in a viewing experience that’s much closer to a typical theater chain, even if it can’t replicate it exactly. The projector itself is fairly lightweight and compact, so you can take it to your friend’s house or stage a movie night in your backyard, and along with HDMI connectivity for Blu-ray/DVD players and gaming consoles, there’s a USB port that can be used for the latest plug-and-play streaming sticks from Amazon and Roku, as well as a built-in speaker. For home theater junkies looking to upgrade their current setup, the Home Cinema 740HD is a great alternative to buying one of those massive TVs, and at a fraction of the price.

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2015 Back to School Gift Guide

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The new school year will be starting soon (and it likely already has for some people), which means that it’s time to get those students in your life the tools they’ll need in order to survive the next nine months. No, we’re not talking about boring stuff like pencils and notebooks, but rather the cool gadgets and gear that help make campus life a little more enjoyable. Here are some great gift ideas that just about any student can use.

SOL REPUBLIC Shadow Wireless Headphones

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One of the hottest trends on the headphones market these days is those futuristic looking Bluetooth headsets that people wear around their necks. But while they definitely take a little getting used to compared to more traditional headphones, it’s easy to see what makes them so appealing to some consumers. SOL REPUBLIC recently released its own version of a wireless, around-the-neck headset with the Shadow, and not only is it incredibly lightweight and flexible, but it rests so comfortably on your neck that you sometimes forget it’s even there. In addition to boasting CD-quality audio that’s good enough for the average user, the Shadow features a built-in microphone and three-button remote, as well as a fairly decent battery with up to 8 hours of playback and a week of standby time. It can also control two devices (like your phone and laptop) at the same time, and is both water and sweat resistant, so you can wear it just about everywhere you go without worrying about damage. Although it would have been nice if the headset included retractable earbuds like some of its competitors, it’s not a deal breaker, especially when there’s so much other stuff to love about the Shadow.

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2015 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Gear

Guys are pretty easy to shop for. Most of the time, you can just get stuff you’d buy for yourself. Here’s a grab bag of Father’s Day gift ideas geared towards looking good and improving your daily life. And for more great suggestions, be sure to check out the other categories in our annual gift guide.

The “Cleveland” Shoe from Lebron James

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Lebron James has taken the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals, and now, this new color scheme for his Lebron 12 men’s basketball shoe from Nike is flying off the shelves, especially in areas rooting for James’ hometown team. If your dad still appreciates a cool pair of sneakers and likes to play hoops, you’d be hard-pressed to find a cooler gift than these vibrant kicks. Of course, there are other color choices as well, but this pair featuring the Cavs colors may be your best bet… unless he’s a Bulls or Warriors fan!

Shinola Watches

While everyone else may be talking about a new watch from Apple, there are incredible watches made right here in America that you should be checking out as well. The Runwell model (pictured below) is a classic, hand-assembled watch made in Detroit by Shinola. If dad appreciates stuff made in America, then this could be a great gift idea. Features of the watch include a sapphire crystal, Super-LumiNova printed dial details, a solid stainless steel case with screw down crown, three hands and date indicator driven by the Detroit-built Argonite 1069 high-accuracy quartz movement, and a laser-etched case and etched lightning bolt on the buckle. Anyone who values attention to detail and beautiful styling will love these watches. Browse the Shinola site for watches, and then check out their leather goods as well, along with the bicycles!

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