Category Archives: Product Review

Products reviews by Gear Guide for Men on all things that will enhance your life!

Nick Offerman, otherwise known as Ron Swanson from NBC's Park's and Recreation, funny biography titled Paddle your own canoe

Nick Offerman’s Paddle Your Own Canoe review

This book has a special place in my heart, for there few people in the entertainment world who have shown such class, such tremendous work ethic, and are worthy of admiration. The reasons why Nick Offerman deserves such high accolades are evident throughout this entire book. His passion comes pouring from his heart and soul and bleeds onto everything he touches.

A little about my admiration for Mr. Offerman before we dive into his book. Before I ever watched a single scene this man acted in, I was graced by his presence on some show showcasing how this actor who played a character that was a carpenter was actually an amazing wood worker in real life. This captivated me that this successful actor was not just some guy who threw on a flannel shirt and a fake mustache to act manly, but a real hard working callused hand, whiskey drinking, steak loving man.  This obviously led me to binge watch all previous seasons of Parks and Recreation to take in every glorious episode of Sir Ron Swanson. If you have no idea who Ron Swanson is see clip below:

Needless to say after discovering this man was an incredible actor and someone who I could relate to as well as look up to for his genuine love for his trade (both in wood working and acting), I was a fan.  The path that Nick Offerman took to get where he is today is an incredible story.  It adds an element to his personality that can never be duplicated and explains why he is so incredible.

This path and journey is well documented in Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living. I am not one to exactly love reading books, however when it comes to the tale of Nick Offerman, one cannot help but be enthralled.  His use of the english language, spoken and written, is award winning!  In an age of flat out abuse of the english language, it is a refreshing tone and makes the reader almost take a step back to take in every word that is written.

This book may not be for everyone but most definitely has something to offer for every man out there. There are so many life lessons and tips that one can apply to their own chaos, that any guy who reads this will most certainly be a better man by the end of the book. This book is absolutely in the top 5 books I’ve read in my lifetime.  I hope that some of you will gaze upon it’s pages reading the words, spoken in Nick’s unique voice of course, and smile at how this farm boy has now come so far just by following his passion.

 

P.S. If you have a road trip coming up or just don’t feel like flipping through pages Nick Offerman actually narrates this book on tape:Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living

BIC SUP Inflatables-great paddle-board?

I am fairly new to the sport of paddle-boarding, as I only got my first paddle-board about a year ago. I actually own a non-inflatable BIC SUP and absolutely love it. I use it to go up and down the intracoastal waterways here in Miami.  I was able to take it once into the surf only to have a lifeguard tell me I was only able to use it literally in a 50ft. wide area…so that didn’t last long.

I have never been a big fan of the inflatable SUPs due to them not being able to be as rigid and they just seemed to lack the decreased drag of a non-inflatable board.  I really like BIC’s product line and the way they make their boards is different than a typical board which provides a longer life as it’s more durable.

However we’re here to discuss this inflatable touring BIC SUP. It comes in two sizes 11ft and 12’6. This inflatable does surprisingly better than inflatables before it. It has increased design measure to make it more rigid and comes with fins to allow for better handling in the surf. I also really like the amount of handles that come built in as well as the deck rigging for storage.

It only weighs 23 lbs and is about 6 inches thick and 32 inches wide. The nice EVA deck pad allows you to maneuver around the board with ease as well! Of course it comes with its own carrying bag and pump. It takes only 15 psi to inflate this bad boy to usable standards and away you go!

New Kokatat Kayak Gear Clearance Items at Outdoorplay.com – Free shipping!

They call is the “go anywhere SUP” and it just might be that! I mean its not very heavy, the bag it comes in easily fits in a car and inflates quickly. This is probably the first inflatable SUP I stand behind due to their focus in development on ensuring that it performed like a regular SUP.  Having my own issues of storage for my hard 12’6 SUP I can totally see why this might a wise investment for the casual paddle-boarder especially at a decent price of $999. So whether you’re cruising the lake, running rivers, or paddle-surfing into the sunset, this sounds like a good buy to me!


iFlask – The world’s first “smart” flask (sorta)

Gear Guide for Men would like to introduce everyone out there to an ingenious product that has been long sought after.  We remember back in our party/college days the “McGuyver” like ways we would would come up with to sneak alcohol into events. I recall one instance where herbs and spices containers were even used, needless to say it left for some unique tasting booze!  The iFlask however seems to have answered all of our prayers!

This super cool flask is designed to look like a smartphone and will hold about 5 oz. of your favorite spirit! That’s about the only smart thing about it, so not too sure why they chose to call it a smart flask…it has no other capabilities besides a bottle opener. However, the creativity and solution to our drink smuggling needs allows us to over look this poor slogan.

They did do a pretty good job in the design and manufacturing of this flask though. It has a stainless steel frame covered by a non-toxic ABS plastic outer shell.  The phone itself really can pass for a generic smartphone at first glance, so you will feel comfortable letting any rent-a-cop security guard search you if they “randomly select” you!

It’s being sold at a decent price of $29.95 which isn’t bad compared to the cost of 5 shots of your choice liquor being tossed out after being confiscated.  The geniuses over at iFlask even have an ultimate kit which include the iFlask and a handy-dandy collapsable key chain shot glass, for those who wish not to merely sip from a fake iPhone but feel the motion of pounding a shot glass!

This may seem like a cheesy item to some but to others this is the perfect gift!  I’m sure we all know a few guys who would be showing up at every event with their new iFlask in hand! This should make a great stocking stuffer, a nice “Bro” gift, and won’t break the bank.  So we give it two thumbs up for sure! We even tried to get our hands on one for the holidays! We are looking forward to the iFlask2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 due out next month…just kidding this isn’t apple, hell it’s not even technological.

Get yours here:

Yoogo: brass knuckles on a key chain?!

This post may be a bit short, but only because there isn’t much to this cool self defense tool.  It’s a simple idea which literally packs a powerful punch.

Let’s face it, most normal people don’t look for fights and if you ever get into a fight in the street you better have a quick way to put your attacker down because there aren’t refs or ropes or rules in a street fight. Plus 9/10, if you’re in a street fight you are probably being attacked. For those 1/10 of you who are the attacker please stop reading…and go seek help.

For the rest of us, we just want to make it out alive and as unharmed as possible. Most of us aren’t trained fighters and heck most men in the world these days are hardly in shape enough to handle a brutal beating. Here is where the Yoogo self defense keychain comes in!

This small little tool allows you to pack one hell of a punch without carrying around some type of weapon all day and it simply attaches to your key ring. This video effectively shows you how it works and what it can do for you when the times comes.

It has an ergonomically correct design which allows it to fit right in your hand but still protects your hand when in use.  This is a great item for any guy (and gal) to attach to their keys.  Self defense unfortunately is something that we all need to be aware of these days. Actual self defense instructors claim not only is it lightweight but it’s very easy to use. This is important come time to fight or flight…you’re adrenaline won’t even give you the ability to think much, so you need something you can react with.

Do yourself a favor if you ever want to have a safe way to escape a fight or attack, grab the Yoogo. It’s under $20 and actually makes a pretty damn cool stocking stuffer too! I mean think about it…”oh ANOTHER golf ball self monogramer”…or “hell yeah the yoogo, now i can kick ass all day long”…or something like that!

Grab yours here:

SylvanSport GO just might be the best Pop-up camper/ trailer ever!

Let me first start out by saying that for some reason the idea of a pop up camper always seemed cheesy and almost dorky…I personally never liked the idea of a camper versus an actual tent. However time and technology has been able to change my mind when I was introduce to the SylvanSport GO pop up camper and trailer.

Most people opt for the pop up because its not big and bulky like an RV but offers the comfort and stability that a tent is lacking.  This ultra-lightweight pop up is towable even by a small hybrid car for christ’s sake! Talk about usability!  The latches and handles to make the GO function are even designed to be easy to use and operate.  The functionality is really where it shines though.  The conventional Pop ups were a standard box and you could possibly store bikes or kayaks on top if you were lucky.  The GO is a utility trailer allowing for storage on the inside during transport as well as on top!

bike_9

With the motto on their site of “One trailer. Countless uses.” we believe them!  It can carry 10 mountain bikes or 10 kayaks and when you get to the campsite you’ve got room to sleep 4 people and 6 1/2 feet of head room.  It’s design allows for multiple variations of use and it has the perfect layout for a functional and spacious interior.  The term of “swiss army knife” of campers is pretty accurate.

Some specs to keep in mind for the long term are that it’s exo-frame made of lightweight aluminum and the fabric is 200d rip-stop polyester material to keep you bug free and dry!  The storage boxes will never corrode and are a durable polyethylene material. You’ve got a durable roof out of thermoformed ABS plastic and lightweight, high-strength panels for sleeping platforms that are hidden out of sight for storage.

I can’t explain enough how easy the GO is! It has a one step coupler for hitching and hydraulic assist when opening the sleeping pod! Even the trailer has a tilt deck to allow for easy loading!  A product that can offer so many uses really does hold its value!

Here is what you get:

The fully loaded SylvanSport GO camping-trailer, only $8,495. Includes:

  • SylvanSport Mobile Adventure Trailer and Tent System
  • 2 Bed/Table Panels – Allows up to six different interior configurations
  • 4 Self inflating mattresses – GO sleeps up to four, comfortably, on a King-and-a-half sized bed.
  • Awning Kit – adds 80’ of outdoor living space
  • Spare Tire Kit – Mounted securely underneath the Control-tilt Deck
  • Control-tilt Deck – Allows for ramp free loading of motorcycles, lawn mowers, ATVs and more

It really does have us sold that is the best pop up camper and trailer!

Microsoft Fitband

Microsoft Fitband: did we need another fitness band?

Apparently there was a meeting that took place between the watchband makers of the world and technology leaders of the world. The technology leaders must has felt so incredibly sorry for the watchband makers due to no one really buying watches anymore because everyone uses their smart phone to tell time these days. I say this because every tech company these days is coming out with some wearable bracelet/watch to do some function that a phone would usually do. The latest to jump on this bandwagon is industry mega-giant, Microsoft. Before you say oh didn’t Apple just come out with the Apple Watch? Yes, yes they did but here is the kicker!  This Microsoft bracelet is not targeting the Apple Watch so much, it’s actually targeting fitness band companies like Fitbit, Jawbone and the Nike Fuelband. To be honest it looks like it’s going to really tackle both markets in way.

The athletic and fitness band industry has been going back and forth for years between multiple companies rivaling over who has the latest and greatest, but the Microsoft fitband may have just said “Check-mate”.  The outside is impressive with full color touch-enabled display, so text, call and email notifications can be read. Of course it acts as a watch and connects to its host using Bluetooth 4. But what launches this device ahead of its predecessors is what’s inside.

The components that make this fitband so much better are things like the GPS tracker built in to better track your movements,  as well as a UV sensor to monitor sunlight exposure.  The skin temperature monitor and the optical heart rate monitor also make the fitband stand out amongst the crowd. Keep in mind this isn’t just a fitband, as it allows the user to access Twitter, Facebook, calendar, weather, and yes, even stocks.  The Windows 8.1 user will even be able to connect to friendly helpful Cortana!

Microsoft Fitband

Image: Microsoft

The fact that this device will actually be cross device compatible with Android 4.3 and 4.4, iOS 7.1 and later, and Windows 8.1 means that users don’t really have a reason why they wouldn’t prefer this over any other device like it! As the icing on the cake, Microsoft has introduce a cloud-based health service that collects data with the idea to give “personal insights so you can reach your fitness goals.” And all of this is going to start at only $199 which is on par with some of the other fitbands and much less than the Apple Watch.

So all in all we didn’t really NEED the Microsoft Fitband, but damn now we kind of want one!

Garcinia Chews: Healthy Candy?

The word candy might be a bit of a stretch here but these chews are designed to be more of a replacement for candy and surprisingly a weight loss supplement.  Candy is probably the worst thing you can grab to snack on during the day. For most of us, it is just to fill a mindless need for something to do. For others, the hunger is what drives us to eat and eat and eat!  Whatever it is that drives people to eat bad foods, this is a great alternative. The Garcinia Chews by Top Secret Nutrition are designed to curb appetite, boosts metabolism, and even help turn carbohydrates into energy. The bottom line is that it aids in weight loss whether through prohibiting calorie intake with less food consumption or turning the foods we eat into energy instead of being stored as fat.  This happens because it inhibits an important enzyme called citrate lyase, which turns carbohydrates into fat. The component responsible for this is hydroxycitric acid which is the active ingredient in Garcinia Cambogia extract.  This extract comes from a fruit found in India and southeast asia. The chews themselves contain roughly 500mg of Garcinia Cambogia extract (60% HCA). At only 20 calories per serving it allows for those really counting calories to use them and not worry about going overboard. They do have 4g of carbs and 3g of sugar but the benefits should outweigh these numbers.  Chewing on one of these instead of basically anything else is going to be helpful. Not only will you be eating less calories than whatever else you would have grabbed but when it comes to eating your next meal you may eat less and also your body will use the food consumed more effectively. Plus as an added bonus it basically tastes like you’re eating a healthy starburst. They really do taste pretty good and from what I’ve experienced some of us enjoy them so much they have difficulty sticking to the recommended dosage of only 4 chews per day. So whether you’re looking to shed a few pounds or looking for a way to not keep putting on the pounds, these Garcinia Chews by Top Secret Nutrition are really a great choice!

Polaroid Cube-the poor man’s GoPro?

When I first saw this product it caught me off guard for two reasons, 1) Someone dare challenge the all amazing GoPro and 2) The price.

Let’s go over the first reason.  GoPro has all but established a dominance in this adventure camera arena.  Yes there have been other models to try and get a piece of the pie, but most have been but blips on the radar. Maybe its been poor marketing or subpar performing cameras that most people just skip only to be forced into the expensive GoPro.

Now I don’t want to take anything away from what GoPro has been able to accomplish.  They have a great product, its versatile, functional, high quality, and not  too insanely priced. However for the average person who doesn’t make a living filming their adventures the GoPro can be a bit excessive.

This leads me into the 2nd reason the Polaroid Cube made my neck snap and further inspect this unique looking piece of filming equipment.  The cost is $99. No typo there, no missing 2, 3, or even 4.  The price fits right in with the other products that attempted to fill the gap between normal and GoPro expensive, but this is different.

The reason why the Polaroid Cube is a game changer in my eyes is that it effectively does what the GoPro does but cheaper and if i may make a bold statement…better!  The durability of the cube over time has yet to be seen but it offers a standard housing that is already a magnet, with a durable shell before even adding the water proof housing.  It’s a lot smaller and already has the optional attachments that most GoPro users need.  It has the plug and play feel that comes with most Apple products which means its easier to use. Heck with some of these photo tips you’ll be making art from your adventures before you know it! Check out some of our pics with it in our review about Shark Valley in the everglades.

The cube should be an effective means to revive an age old name brand in the film industry.  The name recognition alone will drive sales of these mini cameras. Let’s not forget some of the specs because it may look cool but it has to do what we need right? Well it comes capable of recording up to 90 minutes with its battery, of course 1080p quality, a 6 MP still photo camera, 124 degree wide angle lens, up to 32GB micro SD card, and its weatherproof/splash proof.

It comes with the regular options for cases and mounts like GoPro but I have to say the Monkey Stand is our favorite.  So for the cost, we feel that this is really a great action mountable camera that every guy could use to capture his daily life. Stocking stuffer? Ohhh yeah?!

Get yours here and don’t forget to get the cases!

“Vertu for Bentley” a luxurious smartphone

Automaker Bentley collaborated with luxury smart phone maker Vertu to create a phone simply called Vertu for Bentley.  This was announced earlier this month and it’s sticker price still has some people’s jaws on the floor.  A Vertu for Bentley will only set you back an easy $16,000 well to be more exact it’s $15,896 but whose counting right?

The price does come with some “value” though.  The Vertu includes a 4.7 inch sapphire crystal display with 1080 x 1920 pixels, LTE, stereo speakers, quad-core snapdragon 801 processor with speeds of 2.3 GHz, 64 GB, and a 2275 mAh battery.  Now we all know smartphones these days are more like smart cameras, so of course this comes with a 13MP camera on the back and 2.1 MP on the front. Oh by the way the speakers come from electronic powerhouse, Bang & Olufsen.

Vertu-Bentley-Signature-Touch-01 Vertu-Bentley-Signature-Touch-02 Vertu-Bentley-Signature-Touch-05

It will be operating Android 4.4 KitKat from the store and will come fully adorned with Bentley’s logo and a standard calf leather case of course. It will feature a custom Bentley app and a 3D animated start up sequence. There will only be 2,000 of these bad boys made so you better start cashing in on some stocks, children’s college funds, or selling family heirlooms to grab yours soon.

For many of us this is about as close as we will ever get to saying we own a “Bentley”. However I hope most of us realize the fact that this luxury phone still doesn’t have wheels and can’t get us to and from work to pay our bills makes it an unwise purchase.

We are still impressed by the Vertu for Bentley nonetheless as it screams elegance, sophistication, too-much-money, and technology built for those who can afford it.  So if you are faced with the question should I buy 16 iPhones…then maybe this would be a space saving option for your pockets! Still it pulls off the Bentley of smartphones looks if we’ve ever seen one. What do you think?

Dollar Shave Club: should you join?

With No Shave November coming around the corner and trending hashtags like #MoustacheMonday being used on social media Gear Guide for Men thought it should take a look at this Dollar Shave Club that has been marketed so well.  In the past year or two the manly beard has made a strong comeback but there are those who haven’t made the switch to the burly lumberjack look and choose to maintain that smooth look which some ladies still claim to prefer!  Most beards and facial hair still needs to be maintain and controlled to avoid the “Robin Williams fresh out of the Jungle in Jumanji look”.

This is where a good old fashioned razor comes in!  The art of shaving is making a strong comeback as more and more men are finding that they should try and take care of their face rather than let it feel like a steel wool brush that could clean bugs off a chrome bumper.  Razors have made huge leaps in innovation of technology and prices are rising on each and every new razor that comes out!  No one wants to be spending that kind of money to constantly keep buying fresh sharp blades, so that leads to dull blade usage, which leads to uncomfortable shaves, which no one likes and now we’re at No Shave November…or something like that.  The point is Dollar Shave Club is here to save money in a way like never before.

Their packages literally start at just $1 per month for a 2 blade razor but you have to add shipping and handling. Now I haven’t used a 2 blade razor since the 90’s so why don’t we see what I think a better option and value would be.  The 4 blade middle of the road option includes shipping and handling and only costs $6/month.  Now compared with how much one might spend on their own constantly replacing razors at a local drug store or grocery store, the Dollar Shave Club is going to save you a lot of money year over year!

Let’s not forget they offer Shave Butter, post shave care and wipes as well to offer the complete shave package all from one company.  They are based in California and allow cancellation at any time so there’s no fear of contract.  The best part of all is that if you are a guy like me who prefers to let a little stubble grow in over a few days and shave less often then you can get your fresh razors delivered over other month.

So guys do yourself a favor sign up, shave with fresh razors, keep your face maintained whether you go full beard, baby’s bottom smooth, or even fu-manchu style Dollar Shave Club is a smart option for your face and your wallet.

 

All opinions are my own and I was not paid for this product review