From a hammock that’ll make sure you get a good night’s sleep to a high-tech workout recovery gadget, here are just a few of the coolest pieces of gear our editors and contributors put to the test this week.
Plus, we highlight a Timbuk2 backpack with ample storage along with a high-tech wireless speaker that takes speaker design to a new level.
Timbuk2 Foundry Pack
My work commute is an hour each way, so I take seriously what bag I tote. For the past two weeks, I’ve been hauling my stuff in the Timbuk2 Foundry Pack. The brand is known for intuitive design—for putting pockets and sleeves right where you need them, and the Foundry Pack is no exception. It’s got a generous nook for my laptop (and since I’m lugging around an 8-year-old MacBook, the space is appreciated), plus an inner and outer zipper area, good for wallet and passport (inner) and phone and keys (outer). I accidentally dumped a tumbler of tea on the thing the other day, and it’s no worse for the wear. I’m on the short side, and the straps do feel a little big for me, so if you’re a bit more of an, ahem, strapping guy, I think you’ll probably find it more comfortable than I do. But it’s so good-looking I’m willing to deal. — Marjorie Korn, Senior Editor
PowerDot 2.0 Duo
Tiny electrical currents cause your muscle fibers to contract—anywhere from a light twitch to full-blown spasms that can actually prime your body for a workout, hasten recovery, or aid an injury. It’s called muscle stimulation—and it’s never been easier to use on your own than with the PowerDot 2.0. For one, the device connects to the electrode pads magnetically, which makes attachment easier, especially in hard-to-reach places, like your deltoids or low back. The app illustrates proper electrode placement and lets you initiate the active/light/extended recovery, massage, and warmup/potentiation programs. What’s more, the wireless setup means you can recuperate post-workout while you watch TV, which means you’ll actually take the time to do it. — Brittany Smith, Senior Editor
Bang & Olufsen Beosound Edge
The aesthetically-driven Danish audiophile manufacturer has created another classic with this knee-high wireless aluminum speaker modeled after a British coin, though it also looks like a volume knob—and that’s kind of the point. You adjust the sound levels by rolling the entire unit right or left (or by sliding your finger over touch-sensitive controls that light up whenever you approach the speaker thanks to built-in proximity sensors). The Edge is an instant design icon for sure, but its technology innards and larger-than-life, 360-degree audio capability demonstrate that this style definitely has substance, too: The motorized active bass port automatically opens and closes depending on volume levels, enabling discreet detail when turned down, and delivering thumping, full-fledged bass when turned up to 11. — Tom Samiljan, contributor
[Available in November, $3,500; bang-olufsen.com]
REI Co-op Flash Air Hammock
Tent hammocks have gotten super-popular in the last few years, and this light and innovative setup from REI Co-op is one of the best we’ve tried. It features a sling cord for adjustments that is much lighter and more compact than traditional daisy chain straps, making the whole combo with ripstop nylon rain fly under three pounds. And the simple but sleek design has thoughtful touches and high-quality hardware—under-mounted gear sling, Dacron anchor lines, interlocking aluminum hooks, mesh storage pockets—sprinkled throughout. No need to be afraid of a little rain either: We survived a six-hour overnight super-deluge from a thunderstorm in the wilds of the Uwharrie National Forest in North Carolina with no leaks. We got supremely restful sleep while a small pond harmlessly formed below. — Adam Bible, contributor