Each month, Lust List rounds up the products that made us break out the hats and hooters. This time we're throwing down the jam with perfect packs, an electric mountain bike, a super-sick selfie stick and other essentials.
Steelcase Gesture office chair
This chair saved my ass. After months of sitting on a cheapo spinner made of molded plywood from IKEA, I was getting a little sick of the numbness in my hams: Every time I got up after a long session of hacking away at the keyboard, my legs felt almost useless.
Plopping down on the Gesture chair by Steelcase (starts at $974, with options) changed all that. I feel much more comfortable after a long day of at the desk, but the Gesture goes beyond that: It's designed to accommodate a variety of sitting positions, from straight-up typing to kicked-back tapping on an iPad or smartphone. A four-position selector lets you dial in your level of lean; an easy-turn knob lets you adjust the seat depth while a simple lever allows height adjustments.
The truly novel part is the "limb interface" adjustments: The chair's grippy rubberized arms adjust effortlessly up, down, in and out so you can position them right where your arms want to be at any given moment. And unlike some overly complicated office chairs, tweaking this beast to your heart's (and your back's) content is very intuitive.
When it comes to looks, it's stylish enough for any modern office. The comfy gray fabric covering the seat and back reminds me of a subtle flannel suit, but Steelcase offers the Gesture in a wide variety of less-staid colors (and leather, too). — Lewis Wallace
I discovered Rite in the Rain notebooks like a lot of people: struggling to write in a downpour while standing next to someone effortlessly jotting notes as if there wasn't a cloud in the sky.
My days of covering football games in all sorts of weather are behind me, but these notebooks have stayed with me. The company has been around since 1915 and produces all sorts of products, from index cards and loose-leaf paper to notebooks of all sizes. The specially coated paper allows you to write through a wet surface using a pencil or ballpoint pen (though not gel or fountain pens). I prefer the 3-inch-by-5-inch spiral-top notebooks ($3.95) and the small Field Flex books ($4.95). Don't wait to get caught in bad weather to learn about these rugged notebooks. — David Pierini
The most important feature when looking for an infant carrier pack is the fit. Not just for you but also the baby. Osprey Packs' Poco Premium is the Cadillac of carrier packs, with enough adjustments to fit both newborns and young toddlers, while also fitting perfectly for both parents.
Our 2-year-old was more than happy to come along for hikes around the lake, and he was even comfortable enough to doze off during nap time. We've got baby No. 2 on the way, and once he is old enough for adventures, fitting the carrier for him will be a breeze. The saddle raises and lowers, the baby’s shoulder straps adjust, and the entire harness has straps on the sides for a secure fit.
The sun shade is perfect for hot summer hikes and sets up much more easily than expected, providing ample protection to prevent your kid from getting burned. It also comes with a ton of storage. There's a hydration sleeve that can fit a 3-liter bladder; large, zippered compartments that are easy to access on the go; and a removable pack for when you're tired of carrying Junior around.
Osprey even threw in a changing pad that's all too handy for swapping out diapers in the middle of the desert. Initially, I thought carrying around my son on my back would be a pain, but Osprey makes the experience ridiculously comfortable. My son is always asking to go hiking and now I am happy to oblige. — Blake Abel
iZip E3 Peak electric mountain bike by Currie Technologies
Mountain biking has never been my thing. I’m a hiker and I love to take my sweet precious time on trails instead of hurtling down them at breakneck speeds. But Currie Technologies' iZip E3 Peak electric mountain bike may have converted me into a cyclist.
Powered by a 350-watt center-drive motor, the E3 Peak ramps up the torque while still making it feel like you’re riding a regular bike. It can reach top speeds of 28 mph if you’re pedaling with all your might, or you can cruise around at 20 mph for a more leisurely pace.
Riding this thing is incredibly fun. I took the E3 Peak on a few spins through Papago Park and it felt like I was riding a rollercoaster through the desert. Just select between four levels of pedal assistance, rev the motor for a quick start, and you’ll be blowing past crews of cyclists as they struggle to climb a hill while you barely break a sweat. It feels like cheating, but who cares?
Not only is it wicked fast, but iZip made the E3 Peak super-easy to set up and maintain so you can spend less time fiddling with the mechanics and more time on the trail. Using the drive-assist control pad was more intuitive than I expected, and with a range of 25 to 35 miles, I get in more sights in one hour than I would in 10 hours of hiking. And my legs don’t even complain. — Buster Hein
Lepow's Poki external battery is thin, powerful, fast and fashionable. With a touch of pleasing aesthetics, thanks to pastel colors and a crafty carrying satchel, it stands out from the boring array of generic power bricks.
Just in time, too. Moments ago, we packed away our external battery cases and power bricks because the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus battery life is so amazing that the need for extra juice was basically eliminated. But along comes the Apple Watch, with battery life being short of a full digital day of activity, all of a sudden we want an extra charge cable and an external battery to toss in our backpacks alongside the watch's magnetic charger. — Jim Merithew
Carrying a selfie stick can be pretty embarrassing (they're banned from this year's WWDC), but these trendy devices can be truly useful. Getting a shot of yourself and all your pals at a sporting event, on top of a mountain or even just goofing around the backyard is much easier when you can extend your iPhone away from you a bit to get a wider shot.
The iKlip Grip is a great selfie stick, for sure, but it packs loads of extra functionality into a seriously useful package, letting it serve as a tripod and remote shutter button as well. The mount is based on IK Multimedia’s iPhone holder for musicians, the iKlip Xpand Mini, so the Grip is a solid, safe way to hold your iPhone when it's not in your hand.
In addition, the iKlip Grip features a three-legged tripod that folds up into the selfie stick's handle; it’s a brilliant bit of engineering, letting you use the Grip either in hand or on a flat surface. And if you need to get away from the tripod-mounted iPhone for a big group picture, the iKlip Grip comes with a remote key fob that will let you click the shutter from a distance.
At just $59.99, the iKlip Grip is a great deal for anyone who needs to capture selfies and group shots as part of their adventurous lifestyle. — Rob LeFebvre
I'm a wine drinker but when the price on the bottle reaches the $10 mark, I keep my wallet in my pocket. I'm the same way with camera and computer bags. I love them, even collect them so I can switch them out, but anything more than $100 seems outrageous to me.
But I discovered a vintage that is worth the extra money. The Buttpack by Able Archer costs $250, but its style and construction suggest you'll enjoy it forever.
Weatherproof, military-grade canvas (in leaf, sand, cement or ash colors), pockets of various sizes, and grids of webbing inside and out provide added protection for your gear and extra places to attach pouches. Get this bag in your hands, explore the main pouch and sling it on your shoulder. — David Pierini
This is perhaps the most innovatively designed Bluetooth speaker I’ve ever seen: It's like a travel alarm clock for your tunes. InnoDevice's INNOFlask Bluetooth speaker comes in attractive black, blue, orange and white colors, and closes into a clever holder — about the size of a glasses case — that also serves as a stand.
The $129.95 speaker, which resembles a flask for your favorite hard alcohol thanks to its rounded back and basic rectangular shape, is perfect for slipping in your back pocket as you head out the door. It’s an easy pairing situation, as well: Just hit the Bluetooth button, find the INNOFlask in your Bluetooth preferences on your iPhone, and you’re rocking the latest Mumford & Sons in style.
The sound quality is good, and only improved by the resonating chamber created by standing the speaker up within the case. This is a solid, useful little speaker that will definitely turn heads when you set it up on the picnic table to listen to your favorite podcasts while you write in your journal this summer. — Rob LeFebvre
In direct sunlight, the GoSun Sport solar grill ($249) can cook a hot dog in 10 minutes and a steak in about 40. That’s a pretty impressive use of the sun’s rays. Designed to be used as a smokeless food cooker and water sanitizer, the GoSun Sport heats your vittles in a vacuum tube that’s been placed in the center of two parabolic metal reflector “wings” that direct sunlight onto the tube.
Just slide a tray of cut-up food down the center of the vacuum tube to be cooked at temperatures up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. You can even boil and sanitize water with the GoBrew, an optional insert for heating liquids. A larger model, the GoSun Grill, is coming soon.
The company donates one out of every six stoves it makes to a family in need through an empowerment program, helping those in endangered by cooking with dirty fuel. For those of us in the first world, it’s a great way to get off the grid and cook foods without a lot of impact on the environment. — Rob LeFebvre
Sometimes you just need a little extra power to get you through a busy iPhone day. While the Boostcase's rechargeable 2,700-mAh battery only provides 60 percent of a full iPhone 6 Plus charge, the design of this thing lets it transcend that limitation.
With the Boostcase ($99.95), you slide your iPhone into a clear, thin plastic sleeve that will protect it from most drops and bumps. The power case attaches to the rear of this case and the Lightning port on your iPhone, bulking it up only when you need the battery. It’s like having two cases in one, really, with the clear plastic showing off both the beauty of your iPhone (when the battery isn’t attached) as well as the inner battery and circuitry of the Boostcase through the back and sides of the attached battery case.
I’m loving leaving the battery case to charge at home until I know I need some extra boost, then simply clipping it onto the back of my iPhone 6 Plus when I head out the door. You can even charge your iPhone and the case at the same time via the micro USB port on the bottom of the Boostcase. Five LED lights let you know how much boost you’ve got left, and an on/off switch lets you save your battery bump until you really need it. — Rob LeFebvre
We’re nosey as anyone here at Cult of Mac. We are also complete nerds, which means that we’re always peeking into people’s bags at conferences, or checking out what gear people use.
And we figured that you all might be just as bad, so we figured we’d rip open our man bags, handbags and purses and show you what’s inside, and why we carry what we do.
We’ll be doing this periodically from time to time. This week, we’ll be checking out what’s usually in the three (!) separate gadget bags of Cult of Mac Deputy Editor John Brownlee, and he’ll be filling us in on what everything is and why he carries it.
The iPhone gets great battery life, but we no longer live in the era of simple cell phones with week long battery life. That smartphone in your pocket isn’t just a way to make calls, but a real humming along inside your pocket, checking email, playing music, keeping an eye on your location, accepting text messages, sucking up push notifications, running Skype and a million other uses beside. That all takes up precious charge, and the more you pull that iPhone out of your pocket, the more quickly you use your battery up.
Given the realities of smartphone power management, battery cases like the Mophie Juice Pack are a necessary evil. Sure, they double and sometimes triple your battery life, but they also double and sometimes triple the size of your iPhone in your pocket. Worse, they are all-or-nothing affairs: if you want to use one, you need to take your existing case off your phone and put the juice pack on instead.
Boostcase’s new Hybrid Case does away with all that. It’s really two cases in one: a lightweight plastic protective case that can snap onto a beefy battery upgrade pack as needed that can juice your iPhone back up. And it’s a pretty great choice for anyone who doesn’t want to juggle cases on the go.