The 50 Essential Pieces of Gear for Smart, Stylish Men
All of the coolest stuff that will instantly improve your life.
Gear: beautiful add-ons that take complicated tasks down in seconds. They optimize our work, free up our time, help us live better and longer. Some people claim the suit makes the man, but I ask those people this: can a suit monitor your heart rate to optimize your workout? Can it recharge your phone? Make you coffee? Protect you from the elements? Not a chance. But these 50 can't-live-without-'em items can. And if you find yourself going broke after 50 back-to-back backbreaking purchases, it may be time to look into some wealth-building tricks.
The Best Coffee Maker
The Bonavita BV1900TS
$124; buy now on Amazon
Coffee is gasoline to the mind's creative engine. When it comes to sitting down and getting shit done, a mediocre cup of Joe just won't do. While there are loads of brewers out on the market, for the quality and price, you really can't go wrong with the Bonavita BV1900TS. For max productivity, just add freshly-ground beans. Not a fan of the Bonavita? Don't worry, here are 14 more of The Best Coffee Makers on the Planet.
The Anker Astro E1 power bank
$17; buy now on Amazon
Getting stuck with your phone on empty means missing emails, losing GPS and possibly sending emergency calls directly to voicemail. If your battery kicks with no outlet in sight, all is not lost—that is, if you have a portable power bank. Most power banks will be good for two or three full iPhone charges, or plenty of time to keep your day going uninterrupted.
Mophie Juice Pack
$100; buy now on Mophie.com
Better yet, carry a power bank with you everywhere. Case versions of battery packs typically won't last as long as their bulkier brethren but, for most people, they offer enough life to get through 24 hours of heavy use.
The Perfect Duffel bag
Timbuk2 Navigator Duffel Bag
$119; buy now on Timbuk2.com
Home to work. Work to gym. Gym to home. Home to the Hamptons (it's a long weekend, baby). Without a sturdy, portable, organized duffel, you're not traveling right. Get one that fits even the most hectic back-and-forth lifestyle.
A Better Suitcase
"Alpha 2" Short Trip Rolling Four Wheel Packing Case by Tumi
$477; buy now on Nordstrom.com
For trips longer than a few days, a duffel just won't cut it. You'll need a suitcase that keeps your stuff packed away securely, and in style—one that won't bust open after being tossed around an airport conveyor belt. We have a great recommendation for you in this Tumi case, or plenty more on our list of The Best Suitcases and Travel Bags for a Sharp Getaway.
High-End Bluetooth speaker
UE BOOM 2
$187; buy now on Amazon.com
Carrying a high-quality bluetooth speaker grants the power to start a party at the drop of a hat. Carrying a tinny speaker you bought from the dollar store is known to have the opposite effect, repelling women, children, and small animals. Spend the money on a speaker that's durable, balanced, and heavy on the bass.
$180; buy now on Amazon.com
The Amazon Echo is one of those gadgets that seems like a fun novelty to mess around with, one you think you probably wouldn't use regularly—that is until you actually get around to buying one. This voice-controlled speaker does everything from sharing daily news headlines to playing all of your favorite songs to letting you make Amazon purchases (and so much more)—all without the use of hands.
The best smart watch
$269; buy now on Apple.com
A device that once merely told the time now offers news, weather, messaging, directions, and a slew of custom health information, like your daily activity and heart rate. The question really is: Why wouldn't you want that information available on your wrist? But, alas, if a smart watch isn't your thing, here are Eight Handmade Watches That Double as Works of Art.
Ray Ban Wayfarer
$150 on Ray-Ban.com
Sunglasses don't just look cool, they protect your eyes from UV rays, which, over time, can lead to macular degeneration and blindness. But yeah… they look pretty cool, too. Everyone has different preferences, but you truly cannot go wrong with a pair of classic Ray Ban Wayfarers. If you want to venture outside of tried-and-true, you can find some more stylish sunglasses here.
A Better Water bottle
Nalgene 32 oz
From $15; buy now on Nalgene.com
If you're going to pick up two habits today that will lead to better health, you could do far worse than getting a full-night's sleep (every night) and drinking more water (every day). Carrying water with you all the time makes it much easier to accomplish that second goal. And if you're looking for more ways to be healthy, now, check out The 100 Ways to Be a Healthier Man Right Now.
A great portable thermos
$27; buy now on Amazon.com
Picture this: You've just traversed to work on a cold winter's day, barefoot, uphill, through a blizzard. You sit down at your desk seeking the respite of a hot cup of coffee only to pour lukewarm sludge from your dollar-store travel mug. This is the type of situation that can break a man. Invest in a thermos that actually keeps hot drinks hot. Thank us later. And if you're struggling with blizzard season (admit it, you are), take a look at 10 Amazing Sweaters that Will Get You Through Winter.
The best in-ear headphones
1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones
$99; buy now on Amazon.com
The iPhone's standard issue headphones do the job, but that's really not what this list is about. For ear buds that take your portable listening to the next level, you'll need to go beyond Apple's little white tangle traps. However, if you're the type of person who loses headphones easily (hey, it happens to the best of us), you may want one of these Twenty Great-Sounding Headphones You Can Buy in Bulk.
Sleek noise-cancelling headphones
Bose QuietComfort 35s
$350; buy now on Bose.com
If coffee is the mind's creative gasoline, unwanted noise is its missed oil change. Babies crying, mindless chit chat, airplane engines roaring—none of them are what you should be focusing on. Block out everything that's driving you to distraction with a pair of top-notch noise-cancelling headphones. We recommend the Bose QuietComfort 35s. And here are five more High Class New Headphones You Can Buy.
The perfect e-book reader
Kindle Paperwhite E-reader
$200; buy now on Amazon.com
In his memoir On Writing, Stephen King called books a "uniquely portable magic." He was unquestionably right; the advent of ebooks stretches this thought by squeezing the magical portability of thousands of books into the size of one. Amazon's Kindle—the pioneer in the field—can hold around 3,000 at any given time. Should be enough to keep you occupied for at least a couple minutes.
The most dependable portable hard drive
Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Portable External Hard Drive
$80; buy now on Amazon.com
Cheap cloud storage may have erased the days of bulky external hard drives—and the name Western Digital—from your memory. But there are still certain documents and photos that you may prefer to store locally instead of having them floating around the cloud. That's where a solid (that's solid-state) portable hard drive comes in.
The bestDSLR camera
$750; buy now on Canon.com
Smartphones have completely decimated the point-and-shoot camera market. DSLRs, on the other hand, have comfortably occupied the void between the two, capturing a quality that leaves your iPhone in the dust. If you're serious about encapsulating life's special moments, do it on a Canon T6i. Getting a real camera could be one of many Easy Ways to Conquer Your Smartphone Addiction.
The best tablet
From $329; on Apple.com
When a laptop is not necessary—or if it's even a hinderance—use a tablet. They slide seamlessly into backpacks and cover most of what your laptop can do anyway.
The Perfect Multi-tool
$100; buy now on Leatherman.com
Every man should have a good multi-tool that covers the basics: Phillips head, flat head, knife, allen wrench, and pliers, at a minimum. The best multi-tools can replace 90 percent of a tool kit for those quick household repairs.
A High-End Electric toothbrush
Sonicare DiamondClean Smart
$150; buy now on Amazon.com
Poor oral hygiene doesn't simply mean poor oral hygiene. Gum disease increases risks for a whole mess of other problems, like heart disease, strokes, and diabetes, among other not-so-fun things. Protecting your teeth means protecting the rest of your body. Electronic toothbrushes make brushing easier by timing your brush while providing added agitation, removing more food and plaque.
A great water Pik
Waterpik Aquarius Professional
$89; buy now on Amazon.com
More oral hygiene gear! If you thought flossing was doing an adequate job of cleaning your teeth of debris, try blasting away the remnants of that filet with a high-pressure water jet. You've never been more plaque-free in your life. And for even more great ways to up your grooming game, here are Ten High-Tech Grooming Gadgets You Need Now.
ExOfficio Men's Give-N-Go Boxer
From $14; buy now on Amazon.com
A pair of comfortable, breathable boxers will change your life. Air will reach places you never thought possible. Hot summer days won't stand a chance. You'll leap tall buildings in single bound, especially with the ExOfficio Men's Give-N-Go Boxer. But if those chafe, check out another one of the Best New Pairs of Underwear for Men.
GustBuster Classic 48-Inch
$35; buy now on Amazon.com
Showing up to an important meeting or interview—or anything, really—soaking wet is a drag. Having an umbrella that won't bail on you (read: flip inside out) when you need it most is essential. Fortunately, gusts of wind are no match for the GustBuster Classic 48-Inch. Heck, busting gusts is the GustBuster's namesake. Toss in a double-reinforced, lightning-resistant fiberglass shaft and you've got a winner.
A Better Raincoat
$50; buy now on Marmot.com
A good umbrella won't do all the work when the skies open up. Having a light, foldable, rain coat that keeps air coming in and rain staying out is a must. We recommend the Marmot PreCip. And for more great ways to get through nasty weather, here are The 20 Essential Pieces of Rain Gear Every Man Needs.
The Best Notebook
Moleskine Classic Notebook
$17; buy now on Amazon.com
You can't open Apple's app store without being smacked in the face by a myriad of note-taking apps, many of which are more than competent at what they set out to do. Still, there are some ideas that are best fleshed out on paper. For the thoughts that turn into billion-dollar business models, you'll need an old-school notebook.
$25; buy now on Amazon.com
Getting cold feet isn't just an idiom for being nervous. No, it's a very real physical, very horrible experience, one you've surely known if you live anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon Line. So, don't be a dummy. Keep your feet warm.
The perfect mobile WiFi hotspot
AT&T Unite Explore
$50; buy now on AT&T
There's a good chance your phone already acts as a mobile hotspot, but using it to funnel heavy bandwidth means burning through your battery and data in no time. Opting instead for a dedicated hotspot affords the access of WiFi, without usage limitations, wherever you need it.
The best safety razor
Merkur Long Handed Safety Razor
$24; buy now on Amazon.com
Some tasks—like shaving—are best left without modernization. Sure, you could use the fancy cartridges with four blades and a vibrating lubricant strip, but will it result in a closer shave with less razor burn?
The old-fashioned safety razor your grandfather used is just as good—some, in fact, say better. And you can get a whole year's worth of blades for the price of one month of the alternative.
A better iPhone camera lens
$80; buy now on Olloclip.com
We've already noted that the iPhone's camera has its limitations. What few users know, though, is that its capabilities can be stretched dramatically with the addition of a simple, multi-function lens. Disclaimer: Even with a fancy lens, that Instagram photo of your eggs Benedict still won't look cool. But don't not eat it! Eggs are one of the 10 Best Everyday Sex-Drive Boosters for Men.
The best pen
$12; buy now on Amazon.com
Pens—like notebooks—have become unfortunate casualties of an era dominated by smartphones. But typing a note just doesn't have the same effect met by a pen and paper. You don't need anything fancy here, just something that feels good in your hand and smooth on the paper.
A top-notch projector
$1,998; buy now on Amazon.com
Big TVs are cool. Huge digital projection, double the size of your TV screen, is cooler. For a third of the price of the fanciest TVs, you can obtain a projector that'll have you watching Monday Night Football on wall space twice the size of your living room Jumbotron. Just make sure you have a flat-white screen to display on.
A great bike
$5,400; buy now on Alchemy.bike
Biking where you need to go is an easy way to incorporate a quick workout into your everyday activities. In some cases—typically in dense cities—biking is even the fastest way to get around. Use the extra time however you please. For starters, check out the Alchemy Eros, or one of these 17 Insanely Cool Luxury Bicycles.
A reliable helmet
Bern FL-1 MIPS
$120; buy now on BernUnlimited.com
Unlike peanut butter and jelly, your skull and concrete is not a winning combination. Whether you're biking, boarding, or scootering (come on, man, really?), do the right thing and protect your dome. And also be sure to wear a helmet if you go on one of the 5 Best Luxury Ski Trips to Take in the Spring.
Sturdy work gloves
Carhartt Grain Leather Work Gloves
$21; buy now on Carhartt.com
Not every man chooses to exercise his masculinity through acts of backyard shed construction, gutter cleaning, and car tinkering. But if you are that man—or aspire to be him—you need a solid pair of work gloves. Period.
The best blanket WiFi system
Eeero Home WiFi System 3-pack
$399; buy now on Eero.com
Blanket WiFi—as you might infer—is designed to "blanket" all parts of your house or apartment with wireless internet. It eliminates dead spots by transmitting its signal from multiple routers located strategically around the space. That means no more buffering when you transition your web browsing from the living room to the kitchen, the basement, the backyard, infinity, and beyond.
A better cooler
Yeti Tundra 65
$399; buy now on Yeti.com
Ever been planted in the sand on a hot summer's day, gone to reach for a cold beer to quench your seemingly insatiable thirst, only to wrap your hands around a lukewarm abomination of fermented water wrapped in aluminum? If you've never experienced that horror firsthand, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. You must have a good cooler.
High-end home speakers
$499; buy now on Sonos.com
A rechargeable bluetooth speaker that you can throw in a bag is a required piece of gear, no doubt. But what happens when you're trying to blow the roof off your house or apartment? That little thing won't do. Better to go big—or leave home. While you're at it, check out our guide on How to Buy an Amazing Home Sound System.
A vintage record player
$295; buy now on Amazon.com
Even the highest fidelity just doesn't touch the je ne se quois of listening to Kind of Blue on vinyl. Same with the safety razor; some activities are best left old school. Don't fix what ain't broke.
$69; by now on Google
A good streaming device—one that connects your choice of display to the internet—might as well be an essential add on with any TV or projector. (Most higher-end TVs have even begun incorporating them directly into their hardware.) The fact of the matter is, if you're only plugged into cable, you're not getting your TV's full value.
The perfect document scanner
Epson Perfection V600
$187; buy now on Amazon.com
Tax paperwork, old photos, business docs: they're all important pieces of paper that you'd like—and will probably need—digitized for use or recollection later. A good document scanner can convert these perishables into 1s and 0s that maintain forever in the cloud.
The better flashlight
Streamlight 75458 by Stinger
$162; buy now on Amazon.com
Whether you're planning a camping trip or preparing for that one time (or two or three times) a year when the power kicks out, a durable, bright flashlight is an essential tool for getting your bearings.
The most comfortable running sneakers
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2
$90; buy now on NewBalance.com
Running is the timeless workout that can be done nearly anywhere, any time—unless, of course, you're injured from running. And sure, to prevent injuries, there's no substitute for good form and ample rest. But a nice pair of running sneakers that fit you properly will help prevent nasty blisters and shin splints from popping up, keeping you on the road or trail every day. For starters, check out the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2, or something off this list of the Top 5 New Running Shoes.
The best light laptop
From $999; buy now on Apple.com
We're talking about a laptop that you can throw in your backpack, run out the door with, and still maintain that sweet access to the entire world at your fingertips. Moore's Law has continued to shrink those processors inside your laptop to literally the atomic level so finding a powerful computer that won't torment your lower back is totally possible. And if the beast you're lugging now is hurting your back, learn How to Conquer Lower Back Pain Forever.
Korin Masamoto VG
$162; buy now on Korin.com
A razor sharp, well-balanced knife is the cornerstone of any chef's arsenal. If you're going to splurge on one—and why shouldn't you—go German or Japanese, preferably something made of Vanadium steel (which, we promise, is a real thing and not out of Game of Thrones). And while you're upgrading your kitchen, be sure to look over our list of The 25 Kitchen Gadgets Every Man Needs.
The best vacuum cleaner
Dyson V8 Absolute Cord-Free Vacuum
$547; buy now on Amazon.com
Sure, you think your place is clean—that is until you run through it with a vacuum that can suck white off rice. What's all that stuff in the canister? That's dirt from the city streets, crumbs from a month-old hoagie, and hair. There's always so much hair. Suck it up and throw it away.
A better air purifier
Alen BreatheSmart HEPA Air Purifier
$599; buy now on Air-purifiers-america.com
Much like a vacuum, once you have a upper-echelon air purifier, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. Get one. Take a deep breath. Notice the difference. There's no going back now.
Squatty Potty Slim With Teak Finish
$60; buy now on SquattyPotty.com
Squatty Potty claims that it provides users with "The Best Poop of Your Life" by positioning the legs in a way that encourages, ahem, movement. Just when you thought you were pooping at your best, nope! Take your bowel movements to new heights—or, rather, depths—with the Squatty Potty.
The best home security monitor
Canary Starter Pack
$349; buy now Canary.is
Peace of mind is priceless. Modern home security monitors don't just record video, they stream it to your phone in real time. Tack on sensors for motion, temperature, air quality, and sound, and you just put your house-sitter out of a job.
The perfect juicer
Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite
$286; buy now on Amazon.com
Because drinking your vegetables is way easier—and way tastier—than chewing them. Once you've got your juicer, try making one of The 4 Best Smoothies for a Zero Belly.
The most reliable foam roller
TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
$29; buy now on Amazon.com
The saying goes: If you don't have time to stretch, you don't have time to workout. The same should be said for rolling out your muscles after a workout. A good roll will break up lactic acid and scar tissue lurking in your muscles, helping you to recover better and faster for tomorrow's lift or run. Remember, stretching is one of The 4 Essential Steps for Running a Perfect Race.
Tile Combo Pack
From $90; buy now on TheTileApp.com
A fitting way to end this list: Tile is a nifty little device that attaches to your stuff (keys, wallet, baby, et cetera.) If you lose your stuff (again, it happens to the best of us) Tile will locate it using an app. No longer will precious mental bandwidth be tapped searching for the things you can not find.
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