The New (Less Expensive) Essentials

girevoy sport kettlebells The New (Less Expensive) Essentials

I’m a fan of Men’s Journal.  It’s sort of an active man’s GQ without being to fashion-centric or snobby.  Sort of.

Anyway, the March issue caught my eye with the Khaki Green Triumph Scrambler on the cover with “The New Essentials” emblazoned across the bottom with “59 Tools and Toys You Can’t Live Without.”

Being a slave to the media/corporate machine, I just had to buy it to see what 59 cool toys I couldn’t live without.

Once home and comfortably ensconced in my consumer’s cockpit, I cracked the pages and started putting my shopping list together.  Once I reached 5 figures, however, Mrs. Lane took my wallet and computer privileges and made me promise not to empty our bank account.

Okay, I promise.

In case you’ve been asleep for the last 20 years or so, you probably already know that the internet offers excellent shopping opportunities for anyone interested in taking the time to find them.

With that in mind, as a public service to my loyal readers, I decided to look for a few bargains more in line with these difficult monetary times.

Bargain #1

According to Men’s Journal, the 59 New Essentials are their answer to 59 problems which are making our lives a virtual rollercoaster of uncertainty.

Let’s start with time pieces.  Maybe it’s just me, but I never knew there were so many high end watch makers in the world.  I mean, everyone’s heard of Rolex, Cartier and Breitling.  But where did all these other companies come from and how do they get away with charging so much for a watch?

As Men’s Journal points out:  “PROBLEM NO. 49  Every luxury watch costs as much as a car.  SOLUTION:  Might we suggest the Bell & Ross BR 123 Original?  Inside is a 27-jewel Swiss automatic movement, but it’s the WWII pilot-inspired design we love.  Not too large or ostentatious, it’s perfect for work or play.  [$2500; bellross.com]”

$2500 WWII Pilot-Inspired Wristwatch

Really?  $2500 isn’t too ostentatious?  My daughter bought a used Lexus for $2200 for her first car.  Maybe $2500 isn’t too ostentatious for a single guy working as a day trader, but for the rest of us simple folk, $2500 for a watch is a deal breaker.

How about something that looks a lot like the BR 123 Original, at a fraction of the price?

I give you the Citizen Eco-Drive WR100At $123.00, that’s almost a $2400 savings and a pretty good looking watch too.  Kinda looks pilot-inspired even.

Bargain #2

Yes, kettlebells are great, but they’re not the only game in town.  Other activities like running, rowing and biking are pretty cool too.  Biking, even more so, because you can do it with your kids.  Get some family time.  Work your cardio.  Get some ice cream (For the kids, I’m trying to do the whole Paleo thing).

Men’s Journal likes the whole biking to work thing.  Not a bad idea if you live close enough to work.  Kill two birds with one stone and all that.

“PROBLEM NO. 42  Biking to work means risking grease stains.  (Where I live, biking to work means riding amongst drivers who might hit you and make you a grease stain.)  SOLUTION:  The Ghostly Focus Urban has the utmost respect for your pants.  In place of a fragile derailleur and greasy, rust-prone chain are an eight-speed internal hub and a nearly invincible carbon belt, which never needs lubrication.  [$1400; focus-bikes.com]”

Well damn Sam.  A bike that respects my pants.  Now I’ll admit, that’s pretty cool.  Used to be if you didn’t want grease or oil on your pants leg, you just rolled your cuff up.  Now an invincible carbon belt saves the day.

Let’s say I’m a little short this month on the whole $1400 thing.

How about a Trek Soho S?  Heck, at $620 a piece, I can get two for the price of one Focus and still have enough left over for two helmets.  Then my wife and I can both ride to work and save twice as much Planet.  Do the math.

Bargain #3

Along the same lines, hiking is another family activity with great health benefits.  There’s really no problem to be solved in this instance, so Men’s Journal enlists the help of Brenton Reagan, a climbing guide for Exum Mountain Guides.

Brenton recommends La Sportiva Ganda Guide Boots and explains:  “I wear it on higher peaks because it offers more support.  Down below, I wear the Ganda low-top version because it climbs a bit better, and it’s not as hot.  Both are so well made from the highest-end materials.  They take a beating and fit like no other boot.  [$235; sprotiva.com]

I can certainly see spending top dollar on an item that’s essential to your livelihood and one that you use every day.  But if you’re like me, you need a boot that’s equally good at ascending the 1500 foot Mt. Burdell as it is for moving a yard of new dirt from the street to the garden.

How about the Magnum Multiterra Boot with Composite Toe for just $84?  That extra $150 will get you a nice romantic getaway at a Bed & Breakfast and probable score you some major romance points with your better half, n’est ce- pas?

Bargain #4

This one’s a hoot.  “PROBLEM NO. 41  You don’t want to show up at the beach dressed like a 16-year-old surf rat.  SOLUTION:  Ditch the electric-yellow baggy boardshorts for a Steven Alan Surf Trunk in a monochrome color.  It’s cut slimmer and the legs are shorter, but not so much that you’ll feel naked – the hem hit’s just above the knee.  That said, it wouldn’t kill you to do some squats.  [$148; stevenalan.com]”

Let’s see…I could go to Ross on any given weekend and buy each of my kids 7 new t-shirts and spend about $148.

But let’s say you don’t need to buy your kids a new t-shirt for every day of the week.  Let’s say they have plenty of clothes, and the clothes in your drawers are about 5 or 6 years old.  Like mine.  ‘Cause you’ve got kids who destroy clothes.  But I digress.

How about representing your club when you go to the beach?  Someone might notice the cool logo and say;  “Hey!  What’s that cool logo mean?”  Then you can tell them that you’re reppin’ this kettlebell club and explain what kettlebells are, and what they do for your health, etc., etc., etc.

World Kettlebell Club Board ShortsSave $100 and rep your club.

Bargain #5

Shades.  You need ‘em.  You look cool in them.  You feel cool in them.  However, there’s a problem.

“PROBLEM NO. 13  Sport sunglasses are as fragile as Greg Oden.  SOLUTION:  Because they’re made for trail runners and mountain bikers, the Julbo Trail sunglasses needed lenses that could take a few smacks from a tree branch.  So Julbo developed the photo-chromic Zebra-Light lens, which can bend and flex like a gymnast without breaking.  [$160; julbousa.com]”

I have to agree that good specs are paramount for protecting your eyes.  So my bargain is more of a personal taste thing.  Yours will be too.  With that said, however, I have only three words for you – Oakley M Frame.  With the $50 dollar savings, you can hire someone to move the damn tree branches out of your way.

Bargain #6

I’m not even going to discuss the Bob Harper Contour Kettlebell.  There’s nothing WWII pilot-inspired about that thing.  Now that Triumph Scrambler…


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