Spring Gear 2021

With any luck the fresh breath of spring is at hand, and the shackles of Covid are loosening. Here are several items that are accelerating my shift into spring time.

CLIQ Chair

In a dozen seconds I can deploy this bottle-sized folding chair. Whether to gaze at the stars, pause to do some journaling or copping a great seat at the forthcoming return to outdoor music events, the CLIQ chair is a great solution to a seemingly persistent conundrum…relaxing with your butt off the ground. It is a delightful design, with sturdy aircraft grade aluminum construction. The ripstock ballistic nylon is twice-stitched and comfortable. You will be stable on sand, dirt, grass or (horrors) asphalt. The webbing will keep your butt cool as the calendar shifts into summer. Speaking of butts, you will be 10 inches of the ground. That is high enough to get you up and down with ease, but not high enough to peer over any punters standing in front of you. But with any luck you will be far from the madding crowd with this lightweight solution in your backpack.


Colorado Aromatics: Springtide Gold Face Cream

Whether you live in arid climes, moisturizing your body’s biggest organ is crucial. Laying the smooth texture of this cream before applying your favorite sun block is the smart move. Most men have finally realized that the foregoing is a smart move, and the manly decision to go it alone is foolish. Of course, to eschew skin care you can take comfort that the lesions won’t show for years. Here, Colorado Aromatics has developed a moisturizer packed with anti-oxidants and peptides to encourage collagen production. This vegan product is packed with natural ingredients including alpha lipoic acid, vitamin C ester, green tea and rosemary extract. It can be used as an after-the-fact emergency solution, but I prefer more regular use. Time (and my wife) will tell me if I am indeed astute in my regimen, but medical experts seem to agree.


Wearable Gear & Pop: Smart Audio Glasses

Whether you are hiking the terrain of Yellowstone or the canyons of Manhattan, you may want to not only protect your eyes but also listen to your favorite playlist or podcast. If you are in NYC (or anywhere the signal can reach), you can also handle phone calls. The temples of these eyeglasses contain Bluetooth technology and surprisingly effective speakers. I quickly learned how to sync and navigate, as well as conduct phone calls. The fashionable design also includes ergonomic considerations, including water resistance and lenses that are impact-, scratch-, and shatter-resistant. For the fashion conscious city dweller, you can easily change designs with the magnetic connections. Just be ready for some interesting looks until people become accustomed to seeing you talking to yourself with no earpiece or phone visible.


Hubble MaskFone

Less likely needed out in the wild, but certainly helpful as you are whipping through your favorite outpost and provisioning for your walkabout, the MaskFone can ensure your ongoing access to fresh air and Bluetooth connectivity. With four filter layers, you will become a stranger to particulate matter, pollen and pollution. The razor and razor blade model means you can purchase replacement filter packs, which is helpful as it appears that masks will be around for the foreseeable future. With a decent waterproof rating, you can sport this mask in all sorts of weather, including the coming spring rain showers. The in-ear headset and mic are sufficiently robust, especially when coupled with the background noise isolation science. The robust battery will ensure up to 12 hours of your favorite playlist.


SafeSleeve Anti-Radiation Wallet Case

If your excursions take you through the canyons of NYC, or practically anywhere, you probably prefer to streamline your smartphone and wallet paraphernalia. The folks at SafeSleeve have provided a crisp design that combines protection for your phone along with sufficient space for cash and credit cards. But the unique selling proposition here is the FCC-accredited lab tested shielding technology that can block up to 99% of radio frequencies (5G, Wi-Fi, cellular, etc.) and up to 92% of ELF (battery, AC power, etc.) cell phone radiation from your iPhone. The case is drop tested as well, so the protection is quite thorough from seen and unseen dangers. The clever design lets you prop your phone horizontally for longer term viewing.


Livall BH51 Neo Helmet

Keeping your noggin safe while on two wheels (or four polyurethane wheels) (or one big fat wheel) is job number one. The folks at Livall have combined comfort with smart technology to deliver a stylish way to protect your brain. The lighting on the helmet is tremendous; the front warning lights are integrated with the 270° tail lights, providing you security in all directions. The built-in gravity sensor will trigger the lights when you are decelerating, a clever feature. By connecting the helmet with your phone, an array of functions are available: a theft alarm if the helmet and phone become further than 15 feet apart, full hands free functionality, fall detection to send a signal to your emergency contacts, walkie-talkie communication with fellow pack riders via wind-proof mic and voice navigation. The blend of features and focus on safety make this helmet a winner.




1MORE Triple Driver Wired In-Ear Headphones

A solid set of in-ear headphones can add sonic color to any spring activity. If audio fidelity and comfort are high on your list of must-have attributes, check out these well-engineered headphones. As the world’s first THX® certified headphone you will enjoy consistent frequency response, low distortion and impressive noise isolation. The triple driver design means two balanced armatures and a separate dynamic driver, delivering smooth power across the sonic range – from solid bass through clear highs. Tuned by renowned producer, mixer and sound Engineer Luca Bignardi the unit accurately replays the source material. I found the thoughtful ergonomic design very comfortable, with 9 sets of included ear tip sizes ensure a proper fit for all ear sizes. The flexibility provided by the MEMS microphone allows for phone calls without switching modalities. Further, the in-line remote control handles volume, song selection and switching to calls with ease. Of course, being wired means no battery drain, a real issue when deep into your walkabout.



AccuVoice AV100 TV Speaker

Mom allowed me to attend my first Led Zeppelin concert if I wore earplugs. She was not quite as intense as the Mom in Almost Famous, but I am grateful all these decades later that my hearing is not too bad. My wife says I have selective hearing, but I won’t let on. In any event, have you noticed that watching TV does not deliver the same audio experience as being in the theatre? That is likely due to the crappy speakers accompanying your TV. This simple addition might be considered the world’s smallest home theater system, it is less than 10″ wide and weighs less than one pound. It provides a discernible improvement in boosting the voice of dialogue. Whether you want to better track the banter in an action flick, or better discern the thick northern England accents in Peaky Blinders, the AV100 is a great solution at a great price: $170. The unit packs two high output wide range speakers, deftly coupled with a passive radiator for richer bass. The remote lets you tailor a half dozen sound levels. Turning it up to 11 is not a solution, the AV100 is.


After you are all done with your hike, your shoes undoubtedly smell like an elk. The same phenomenon occurred during the prior season, after your skiing or skating session. This handy invention, developed by a Mom who was confounded by the grinchy smell left after her kids’ athletic endeavors, alleviates that stank that just won’t quit. The clever design encourages ease of use, just slip them into the offending footwear. The unique composition of the plastic inhibits 99.9% of odor-causing bacteria within 24 hours, and apparently lasts ten years. In other words, this item absorbs the nasty elements, leaving the area around your backdoor or closet much happier.


Persona Nutrition

And to ensure you can keep up with all the activities spring bring, a thoughtful vitamin supplement regimen is logical. The folks at Nestlé have developed a customized program, blending research with medical expertise and your particular data (gender, age, diet, sleep patterns, stress levels, fitness routines, allergies, lifestyle factors, current health conditions and prescription medication use) to deliver a personalized recommendation. I filled out the three minute questionnaire online and soon had a month’s supply of supplements at my door. The morning and evening packets were well-labelled, in an environmentally sensitive (reusable) dispenser. The company boasts over a century of experience and research by doctors and nutritionists, resulting in over 5 trillion possible combinations of supplements. The algorithms cross check over 2000 prescription medications for potential drug-nutrient interactions. Subscribers get seven day a week live access to nutritionists. I felt good during my month supply, and not just because Nestlé has partnered with the nonprofit Vitamin Angels® to help 700,000+ malnourished children.


CUT1886 Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Eating well is the best revenge, say some. Eating well to enjoy many seasons of Spring is a great strategy, and this cold pressed olive oil is just the ticket. A 135 year old mountain tunnel flows into the Santa Barbara vineyard whence the olive oil is created. Blended by a Master Miller to extract the most beautiful flavor profiles and colors from the flourishing olive trees, the result is medium bodied with a touch of spice making the oil perfectly balanced for cooking or on its own with breads and vegetables. The first two production batches sold out, and now Batch #3 is available. I have used it as the foundation of my favorite eggplant parmigiana recipe, and we dipped our baguettes in the oil during the meal. Molto bene.


Hatch Restore

After a full day of Spring activities, the last thing you want is fitful sleep. The folks at Hatch have been studying the art of sleep for years, and have condensed their research into the Restore, a clever and well-designed unit. You can personalize your sleep habits and goals with this ‘sleep assistant,’ comprised of a sound machine, sunrise alarm, smart light, meditation app and an alarm clock. We know by now to stay away from screens before sleep time, so what could be better than using the soft-glow reading light (minus the the eye-straining blue hues) to tuck into a great book? Gently waking to the sunrise alarm (chirping birds are far more natural than a jangling bell) gets your morning off to a great start, and you can go back to the top of this list and start your activities all over again!


Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.