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
Each month, Cult of Mac's Lust List has a date with the hottest gear in the world. This time around we're talking impressive audio experiences, fantastic bicycling equipment and awesome accessories for iPhone users (which basically means everybody, right?).
Soho Wireless headphones by Harman Kardon
“Hey Jim, what are those?”
“Hey Jim, let me check those out.”
“Hey Jim, are those any good?”
“Hey Jim, I bet those are expensive.”
Never has a pair of headphones brought me such attention. To a person, everyone wanted to know what was up with the wireless Sohos. There is no denying the fact these cans look good. The design is very much in line with Harman Kardon's aesthetic, but in a petite package.
The big question on everyone’s mind is, "Do they sound as good at they look?" And the answer is, "Almost."
The $250 Soho Wireless headphones are comfortable to wear, as long as you aren't overly active. The sound quality is good in the mids and treble, but lacking slightly in bass response. And the Bluetooth is great, when it works. But using numerous devices is mildly frustrating at best and downright annoying at worst. The touch sensors on the side of the cans is a great added feature, but can’t be relied on to work consistently, as I found myself trying to pause my music with a tap over and over and over again.
Oddly, I still find myself recommending these to friends as a pleasant alternative to traveling with earbuds, but with the caveat being you have to be prepared for the limitations of the Bluetooth connection. — Jim Merithew
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
BookBook case for iPhone 6/6 Plus by Twelve South
Looking for a wallet case for your iPhone that will get everyone talking? Take a look at the new BookBook for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus from Twelve South. I've been asked by waiters, bartenders and casual passersby whether I’m carrying a Bible, a dictionary or a tiny leather notebook.
When I flip it open to show the capacious five-card interior and my connected iPhone 6 Plus, the oohs and ahhs increase exponentially. When I show them how the iPhone separates from the BookBook for easy access and sharing, most people are ready to go buy one.
This is one fantastic iPhone case, and I can’t sing its praises loudly enough. The iPhone 6 Plus version has six pockets, including one with clear plastic for my ID. Snapping my iPhone out of the delicious leather portfolio wallet case is a breeze when I want to take the device on a run without carrying my wallet. You can even snap half of the iPhone off the wallet and prop it up for easy movie watching on an airplane. You can’t go wrong with this for any price, but the affordable $60 makes the BookBook, available in black or brown leather, an iPhone case you’ll take everywhere. — Rob LeFebvre
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Giro Synthe bike helmet
Giro designed the Synthe to be a high-end aero helmet, but it's really a great everyday, all-day road helmet. Sure they claim the Synthe is some percentage more slippery, while going some mph and at varying yaw angles, but what’s really impressive is how all this aero blabbity blah doesn’t stop the helmet from being comfortable, cool and stylish.
And by cool I don’t mean hip: I mean the airflow through this helmet keeps my head temperature regulated nicely. Also, you can thank the Roc Loc Air retention system for keeping the helmet comfortable and secure against your noggin, while eliminating hot spots.
Although the $250 Synthe's looks may not be for everyone, it is clear that only aesthetics should keep you from sporting this helmet, as the fit and finish are impeccable. — Jim Merithew
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
iRig PRO by IK Multimedia
I love me some saturated tube crunch more than just about anything in the world, but sometimes it is just not possible. That's when I turn to my iRig PRO and my laptop or iPad for jam time.
You can use IK Multimedia's multitude of apps, including the popular AmpliTube, but I still prefer to dick around in GarageBand on my iPhone 6 Plus, iPad and Macbook Pro. The iRig and your Apple device let you lay down a recording pretty easily, including using the microphone input with phantom power, but I mostly find myself plugging in my guitar and jamming through a bunch of preset amplifiers in GarageBand.
Whatever your software choices, the iRig works exactly as advertised, letting you plug in and jam on. And, for those looking for even more sonic possibilities, the little black box even has MIDI in capabilities. — Jim Merithew
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Spool Dock by Quell & Company
iPhone docks have never really been my thing, but the Spool Dock just begs to be appreciated. Quell & Company dock is “crafted in the U.S.A. from sustainable North American white oak, merino wool felt and a weighty metal base,” and it's quite the looker. From a design perspective, it’s also pretty smart.
The biggest issue I have with docks I’ve tried in the past is cord management. They usually make it difficult to plug the iPhone into the Lightning port, resulting in a bunched-up cable that looks messy.
Not the $65 Spool Dock, which comes in white and black metal. Its base swivels, letting you roll out the cable as much as you desire. It also lets you turn your docked device 360 degrees. Setting it up is super-simple, with removable support bars for the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5, 5s, 5c, iPad mini and 5th-gen iPod touch. Most normal cases will work just fine too, as long as they’re not bulky like an Otterbox. — Alex Heath
Photo: Alex Heath/Cult of Mac
bolstr bag by Koyono
I want extra pockets without having to wear goofy cargo pants. So while perusing one of my favorite guy websites, Everyday Carry, I came across a little bag made by Koyono called the bolstr bag.
It's perfect for tooling around Chicago, allowing me to discreetly store a phone, iPad mini, notebook and point-and-shoot camera. Plus, its slim design and asymmetrical shape look way cooler than knee-level flapped pockets on either leg.
The bolstr small carry bag comes in a variety of colors and left- or right-side orientations (as a lefty, I appreciate this design consideration). — David Pierini
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac
SRM PowerControl 8
With the PowerControl 8, SRM will finally add GPS to its line of outstanding cyclocomputer head units.
This is truly a computer designed by bike nerds for bike nerds. It lets you use from one to four screens, with two to eight fields per screen. You can configure your data in so many ways it will make your head spin as fast as your wheels. The new $850 model, available for preorder now and shipping before summer, also comes with Wi-Fi and is compatible with ANT+ and Bluetooth. — Jim Merithew
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
UE Megaboom 2 by Ultimate Ears
If you think the UE Boom is fantastic, you’ll double over with delight at the newer, bigger version of the best portable Bluetooth speaker we’ve ever used. This thing is seriously loud with deep bass, sparkling highs and clear mids that will faithfully reproduce pretty much any music you throw at it.
It’s also seriously rugged, with a strong, rubberized top and bottom and a tough outer mesh cloth shell. Just toss it in a bag and go. Hell, this bad boy is waterproof to the point of still working after a full-on shower or dip in the pool.
The UE Megaboom's battery life is amazing, too, taking just a couple hours for a full charge that seems to last all day long (rated at 20 hours of play). Download the iOS app and you can remotely EQ your sound, set up a booming alarm and turn the speaker on and off. You can even connect two Megabooms for a massive stereo blast in any room. At $300, this thing is worth every penny. — Rob LeFebvre
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Flite 747 by KHS Bicycles
Freakishly tall bicyclists no longer need resort to modifying a smaller bike or paying the tab for a custom frame. They can just take flight on an off-the-shelf Flite 747 from KHS Bicycles.
The company partnered with the Tower of Power, Leonard Zinn, to create this huge road bike. Zinn, who has been building bicycles for big fellas for somewhere around 30 years, helped design the Flite 747. It comes in 64 cm and 67 cm frames made of Reynolds 520 chromoly, and delivers standard road bike geometry at those massive sizes. (It's so huge i couldn't even get my leg over it.)
All Zinn's trials and tribulations came to bear on this bicycle, which sports impressive 200 mm crankarms. It's allegedly plenty stiff going up and a blast coming down. Priced at $1,899 list, this is the second year the model has been offered (last year they sold like hotcakes). Big fun for big guys like Zinn. — Jim Merithew
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
MiniSuit Selfie Stick
There we were, walking down the street, when suddenly I decided to snap a quick selfie of the six of us. We all hunched together, trying to jam ourselves into the frame of the iPhone that I was holding out as far as possible with my arms to make sure we all got in the picture. It was that moment when I realized that I wanted one of the more ridiculous gadgets out there, a selfie stick.
With the MiniSuit Selfie Stick's telescoping pole and Bluetooth shutter button on the handle, I could have taken a much more well-composed shot of all the people in my party, with much less effort and grunting. The included adjustable mount holds smartphones small and large, and the selfie stick has a standard tripod mount so you can even use it with a regular point-and-shoot camera.
My iPhone 6 Plus nestles nicely in the holder and lets me take photos of myself and many other folks from farther away than my own arm can handle. And, at $20, it’s hard to not grab one for a friend, too. — Rob LeFebvre
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
VX Adventure Race mountain bike pedals by VP Components
Taking a play from their strong platform mountain bike pedal lineup, the team at VP Components has released the Shimano SPD-compatible VX Adventure Race pedals. The clipless pedal adds a giant platform for additional stability. At a reasonable 460 grams and spinning on a roller and double-sealed cartridge bearings, these trail-worthy pedals are rider serviceable and run about $130. — Jim Merithew
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight
If you want to know if your smoke or CO alarm is going off while you’re away from home, the Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight could be your best option. It’s an attractive little $99 night-light that lets you customize its color, but its real trick is letting you monitor your home’s safety alarms remotely.
You use an iPhone app to connect the Leeo to your home Wi-Fi network for set up and monitoring, and if your alarms go off while you’re out and about, the Leeo will notify you right on your iPhone. If you don’t respond, it will even notify other folks that you specify in the settings. If that isn’t enough, the Leeo will monitor your home temperature and humidity and notify you if they change much. — Rob LeFebvre
If you use your iPad or iPhone (or both!) onstage when you perform, you know how hard it can be to find a good place to put them. Putting your iPad on a flimsy music stand just won’t cut it, and leaving your iPhone on the floor near your guitar pedals is just asking for a stomped-on smartphone.
The solution, for me, has always been iKlip iPad stands, which connect right to my mic stand. The new versions, including a sweet new iPhone mount, keep my iPad and iPhone safe from all musician-based harm, and always at the right height and angle to get at my lyric sheets, set lists and guitar effects.
Sliding two distinctive iRings between my middle and ring fingers on each hand and then conducting the bouncy electronic beat coming out of my iPad mini and into my big fat headphones made me feel less like a conductor and more like an awkward boxer, punching at a touchscreen.
Once I relaxed into it, though, the music started to flow and my hands began to dance; this is one cool iOS music-making peripheral.
The iRing is made for making music, but the potential here is stunning: Imagine a video game controlled with your hands, a webpage that scrolls at a speed you define with your fingers, or an e-book that turns pages with a swipe through the air. This is a truly innovative new product.
This probably isn’t the “iRing” you’ve been waiting for — assuming you’ve been waiting for the mythical (One) Ring, forged by the skilled elves of Logbar, that wants to control, well, pretty much everything in your life.
No, this particular ring — IK Multmedia’s iRing — won’t control your TV, your phone or your wallet. But it is imbued with the power to create music on your iDevice.