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«  2006 of 0

gift guide
 
New Year Upgrades
 
 
 
Our unabashed lifestyle enhancement
guide for 2006 focuses on the most
important element of any journey—you
 
text and photography
by steve casimiro
 
1 Swiss Army watch The art of chronography takes its inspiration from aviation in the Victorinox Swiss Army AirBoss Mach 6 ($1,195; www.swissarmy.com), but this leather-banded mechanical wristwatch seems to beg for an open-cockpit roadster. Water-resistant to 330 feet, the caseback features a window so you can keep an eye on its inner workings.
 
2 Contourwear travel apparel kit It isn't cheap, but the women's Contourwear Adventure Travel Pack ($506; www.contourwear.com) takes the misery out of choosing a travel wardrobe. The seven pieces in the kit (also sold separately) combine to create 35 outfits, all of which were designed by women to look good in any circumstance. Items include two pairs of pants, two tops, a convertible skirt, a vest, and a zip-up blouse, all in nylon or more technical Schoeller fabrics.
 
3 iPod Nano Apple's crafty designers can crack even a Luddite's resolve, and this time they've done it with the iPod Nano ($199; www.apple
.com), a sleek little MP3 player that replaces the much fetishized Mini. The 2GB version holds up
to 500 songs, the 4GB up to 1,000. Battery time is 14 hours. And unlike the iPod, it's solid-state, which means you can run, jump, and dance
without fear of skipping. As a bonus, the Nano has a sharp, backlit color screen, which can also display photos. Resistance is futile.
 
4 USB-connected SanDisk Transferring
pictures from camera to laptop? Toss that USB cord or card reader: The clever new 512MB and 1GB SanDisk Ultra II SD Plus memory cards ($80, $135; www.sandisk.com) have hinged covers that reveal USB contacts. Pull the card from your camera, flip the cover, plug it into any USB port, and start the migration.
5 Samsung video camera Weatherproofed and sports-oriented, the Samsung SC-X105L Sports Camcorder ($600; www.samsung.com) is smaller and lighter than a deck of cards, cranks out great quality MPEG4 files, and is your ticket to adventure filmmaking. As well, it comes with an external "lipstick cam" that can strap to your bike helmet, snowboard boot, or parachute harness. One piece of advice: The 512MB solid-state memory holds only ten minutes of top-quality footage, so stock up on memory sticks for storage.
 
6 Prana shirt From climbing gym to hip nightclub, Prana's superversatile designs can carry you a long way. Thanks to a cotton-polyester blend, the short-sleeve men's Cuban shirt ($48; www
.prana.com) survives nicely in the bottom of your duffel, and, even slightly wrinkled, it dresses up the mangiest of crag rats.
 
7 Muji speakers Muji is Japan's un-brand—the company's name translates to "no-brand quality goods"—but its no-nonsense products and unadorned styling have won it cultish adherents around the world. The cardboard (no kidding) Muji speakers ($42; www.momastore.org) won't knock down the walls of Jericho, but they fold flat, pop up quickly, and travel just about anywhere.
 
8 Nikon WI-FI camera One day soon, all
digital cameras will probably include a Wi-Fi function, but they are going to have to reach pretty high to top the new Nikon Coolpix P2 ($400; www.nikonusa.com). This lightweight, five-megapixel point-and-shoot is a joy to use: The focus is speedy, the image quality is excellent, and the 2.5-inch LCD screen is bright and sharp. But the real sell is that you can send images to your PC over standard Wi-Fi networks, even as you're snapping away.
 
9 La Sportiva SHOES The La Sportiva
Mandala ($80; www.sportiva.com) has got it goin' on: sticky rubber, skate styling, and a
new-school vibe that stretches the boundaries of what can be called an approach shoe. It's
critter-friendly, too, constructed of hemp
canvas and synthetic rubber.
 
10 Horny Toad hoodie Nothing beats velour for pure, slinky, lounge-lizard comfort, and no velour beats the women's reversible Horny Toad Vixen hoodie ($68; www.hornytoad.com). With a soft, lined hood, full-zip, and trim, feminine fit, it is the gotta-get-it piece for early spring.
 
11 Havaianas sandals Flip-flops are scorchingly hot in the fashion world, but that's not why we like Havaianas ($10; www.havaianasus
.com). These Brazilian sandals—2.2 billion have been made since 1962—resemble dime-store slaps but have a fatter, cushier rubber bottom to protect your dogs. They're cheap and come in eight styles for men and 21 for women.
 
12 Patagonia travel bag Patagonia weaves ruggedness and style in its new Overhead
Shed travel bag ($245; www.patagonia.com). Constructed of heavy-duty two-layer nylon,
the 2,150-cubic-inch carry-on absorbs friction
to prevent wear, and the bathtub-shaped
foam-and-plastic bottom makes for an easily packable form. Add to that wheels, a telescoping handle, and a wet compartment, and you've
got the perfect go-bag.
 
13 SkullCandy MP3 player watch An MP3 watch? Please. At first it sounds schlocky, but Skullcandy's MacGyver MP3 Watch ($170; www.skullcandy.com) pretty quickly becomes indispensable: backcountry tunes for fastpackers! It stores 256MB, 512MB, or 1GB of tunes or data, all transferred via a slick USB cord that tucks into the strap, and it has a five-setting equalizer and a voice recorder. One tip: When running, secure the headphones wire with an armband or risk serious entanglement.
 
14 Pacific Cornetta coffee cup We still don't understand why the federal government wastes its research dollars on space shuttles
and genome decoding when it should be focusing on caffeine delivery systems, but thankfully the private sector has filled the breach. Pacific
Cornetta's 20-ounce Hector French-press mug ($25; www.liquid-solutions.com) uses a double-wall construction to maintain that black gold's heat for three precious hours.
 
15 Teva footwear Not since Maxwell
Smart's shoe-phone has footwear pulled such double duty: The Flipsole insoles of Teva's
Fennels 2 boots ($100; www.teva.com) pull out and morph into flip-flops.



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