The Coolest Pieces of Gear We Tested This Week

We get to test a slew of different gear for our job—and for our everyday life. Here, with no particular theme, are the pieces of gear we love this week. We think you will, too.

LAST WEEK: The Perfect Insulated Water Bottle, Better Bib Shorts, and More Gear We Love

SoftScience Fin Wading Boot

I don’t understand why wading boots are so heavy. Ever since I started fly-fishing, I’d come to accept that every pair would feel akin to wearing construction boots with ankle weights, and I hadn’t really thought to question why. Then the SoftScience Fin Boot showed up at the office. The boot soles are made of a quasi-magical material called Trileon that’s super-lightweight and, I discovered, clings to rocks just as well as traditional rubber soles. Fins weigh all of 10 ounces or so, and thanks to them this trout season, I was able to move around the stream and actually feel nimble doing it. The experience was revelatory. Why other fly-fishing boot manufacturers haven’t already followed SoftScience’s lead is beyond me. But until they do, these are the boots I’ll be wearing. — J.R. Sullivan, Senior Editor


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Weber Jumbo Joe Portable Grill

This summer I’ve spent a majority of my time either at the grocery store buying hot dog buns and bags of charcoal, or outside grilling. This is all pretty new to me since moving to New York. Years of living in apartments with no outdoor access meant not being able to use the grill I received one year as a gift and kept in storage. Now that I finally have some outdoor space, almost every meal gets some quality charcoal time on this small, portable beastwatermelon slices, corn, shrimp tacos, filet mignon, burgers, brats. It sits lower to the ground than larger versions, which takes some getting used to, but its unassuming size is perfect for any apartment renter (there’s even a useful attachment that lets you easily rest the lid when you’re flipping your steaks). See you in the charcoal section. — John Lonsdale, Deputy Editor


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Boulder Denim 2.0

The ’90s-era tech reference aside, Boulder Denim’s newest jeans are a fresh take on active jeans. At face value, these jeans are sharp-looking enough to fit right into any wardrobe, with either a roomier athletic cut or a slim style. But if you bike to work, climb during lunch, or do just about anything that requires lifting your thigh 90 degrees to your waist, you can have your cake and eat it, too.

These new jeans are a mix of denim with a proprietary stretch fabric that promises to keep its shape after washing. They’re also treated to resist stains and water. They flex like an engineered fabric, but simply look like a durable pair of jeans. Maybe our favorite feature? A smaller pocket inside the left hip to hold a phone securely. — Sal Vaglica, Senior Editor

[Launching on Kickstarter now for about $110;]

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Brava Oven

I’m gonna blow your mind. Well, Brava is. Engineers have crafted the world’s fastest oven that drastically cuts cooking and preheating time. Steak and potatoes? Done in 15 minutes. A four-pound chicken? Roasted in an hour. Frozen pizza? Out in 10. Brava harnesses infared to transfer energy (heat) into your food, rather than heating the air around it like a traditional oven. Six individual lamps heat three cook zones at different times to perfectly sear salmon while rendering onions and caramelizing mushrooms so they’re done all at the same time. Brava’s equipped with a protein thermometer to deliver readings up to a tenth of a degree, which lets the oven know how quickly your food’s cooking, and dynamically dials the temperature up or down for optimal results. Brava also has machine vision—essentially a camera that recognizes visual cues, like color, texture, and sear marks—and, over time, it’s learned what foods should look like when they’re perfectly toasted (think: bread). The touchscreen interface lets you choose individual ingredients or sync full recipes from Brava Meal Kit via the app. It also has a camera that lets you watch your food as it cooks. Our prediction? This’ll become a new premium essential kitchen item, like the Vitamix, that deserves a spot on your counter. — Brittany Smith, Senior Editor

[Starts at $995, ships in November 2018;]

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Giant Inflatable Narwhal

I bring home lots of gear to test, but few impressed the 12- and 10-year-olds as much as this giant pool float. But I want to ignore its obvious charms, and focus on how surprisingly well-made it is. In the past few years we’ve seen our share of swans, donuts, and loungers pop and sink, but the Narwhal is built to last. The plastic exterior feels thicker than most pool toys and also manages to be more comfortable on the skin, too, thanks to a patented “Soft Touch Vinyl.” That’s a good thing, because you’ll wind up dumping the kids off and spending the day balancing on this giant whimsical creature’s back. — Greg Emmanuel, Editor-in-Chief


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