Dedicated urbanite or committed naturalist, there are high-tech playthings for everyone.
The Arc’Teryx Alpha SV is the Ferrari of the jacket world. Words like “high tenacity nylon” and “tight in both the warp and weft direction” describe its super-technical Gore-Tex N80p-X fabric, which took five years to develop. But all you really need to know is that when you’re out in the elements, the Alpha SV is dependably water repellent and engineered for longevity. Men’s and women’s styles available. $650, arcteryx.com.
While Instagram software made everyone with iPhones “experts” at the art of taking vintage-looking Polaroid photographs, brains elsewhere in the camera world figured out that the right hardware would truly improve shooting skills. These days, there’s an attachable iPhone lens for every need imaginable, whether you want to shoot in fish eye and telephoto, or make a 360-degree panoramic video. Particularly cool is the iPhone 4 SLR Mount, an adapter that lets you mount your Canon or Nikon lens to your cellphone, essentially turning it into a DSLR camera with powerful depth of field and manual focus. From $250.
Vancouverites pride themselves on their discerning palates, which is why a typical French press, which can leave grit in your cup of coffee, just won’t do. Enter the Espro Press, a unique coffee brewer conceived by a couple of Vancouver entrepreneurs (naturally), which has a patented two-stage micro-filter that keeps all sediment out of your cuppa joe for a smoother caffeine fix. It’s also quite attractive on your table because, as we all know, in Vancouver style matters, too. Standard single-serving size (shown) $69.95, espro.ca.
What it lacks in the cool, grungy esthetic of original ghetto blasters, the B&O Beolit 12 portable audio system makes up for in crisp, round sound. A tribute to Bang & Olufsen’s popular transistor Beolit radios from the ’60s, the 12 is extremely robust (perfect for the beach, boat, cabin or camping), and lets you crank your tunes wirelessly from your iPod, iPhone, Mac or PC when connected to your wireless network. Available in yellow, blue and light grey (shown), each with a durable leather carrying strap, its rechargeable battery will even juice up your iPhone while you rock out. $899, bang-olufsen.com.
Makes the Cut
You lost your trusty pocketknife going through airport security – again. Upgrade to a Victorinox Swiss Army Spartan Knife, which now comes in organic hardwood, its 12 functions running the gamut from knife and can opener to tweezers. $44, swissarmy.com.
Like a favourite pair of jeans, the Urbanears Plattan Denim Earphones look better the more you wear them. Exceptionally flexible, they fold down to the size of your fist for easy storage. But besides stellar sound, their best feature – one we haven’t seen nearly enough since the days of Sony Walkmans – is the “zoundplug,” an outlet wherein a second user, using their own earbuds, can splice into the Plattan earphones so you can both escape, simultaneously, into the same music. $90, urbanears.com.