En español | The coronavirus pandemic has changed our perception of what's important — even on gear and gadgets that can make our lives easier.
So for this Father's Day, consider something that will help Dad adapt, whether he's working out at home instead of at the gym or finding fun things to do while self-isolating. We've tested a raft of gear over the past year to find a variety of equipment that Dad will really appreciate, whether he's a neophyte runner or biker, or just looking for the latest tech to keep busy.
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PHOTO BY: Courtest Stihl
Battery-powered chain saw
Stihl MSA 160 C-B
The details: Because everybody is being encouraged to stay home as much as possible, Dad is looking for projects around the house. For those who like to manicure the backyard and deal with detritus like dead trees on their own, a new breed of electric chainsaws requires no messy mixing of fuel and operates quietly so it won't bug Mom. Plus it has an instant start button and lots of power.
In the countryside, Stihl is the name in chainsaws, and this battery-powered model lives up to its well-deserved reputation. The 12-inch blade should handle most tasks and the lithium-ion battery means no cord. You even can adjust the chain tension without tools, making it the perfect power tool for a weekend lumberjack.
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PHOTO BY: Courtesy of Hoka One One
Cushioned running shoes
Hoka One One Elevon 2
The details: Originally touted by ultramarathoners — people who think running 100 miles in a single stint is fun — Hoka's super-cushioned running shoes are the perfect trainers for those who may never go those distances but need to protect their knees. The Elevon 2 shoes deliver the maximum amount of protection, especially if Dad has had to switch from a treadmill to the harder pavement outside and is looking for more support.
The runners use a cushy foam layer with additional rubberized foam to give them a little bit of bounce. After years of roadwork, I credit Hoka for allowing me to continue running by sparing me any serious injuries.
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PHOTO BY: Courtesy of Wahoo
Indoor bike trainer
Wahoo Kickr Snap
The details: Serious cyclists know that inclement weather can foil even the most dedicated biker. Indoor stationary trainers that attach to an existing bicycle are a popular solution, and are a fraction of the cost of dedicated spinners like those from Peloton, which start at more than $2,200.
Wahoo's Kickr Snap is perfect for occasional indoor rides because Dad won't have to remove the rear wheel of his bike to make it work. Just clamp it in. Yet it can deliver a realistic virtual ride when used together with a $15-a-month app such as Zwift, including increased resistance when he's heading uphill or riding on various routes ranging from New York's Central Park to Innsbruck, Austria.
It easily pairs with a laptop or smartphone. And when Dad's done, it's small enough to tuck away in a corner of the den or home office.
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PHOTO BY: Courtesy of Hyperice
Hyperice HyperVolt Plus
The details: Sore and strained muscles are an inevitable fact of life for those who exercise regularly. So to kill the pain, prevent more serious injuries and allow you to keep moving, some therapy is required.
In an era when going to a sports therapist or a masseuse is not an option, a percussion massager is the next best thing. Professional athletes use them to help muscles recover faster, alleviate pain and break down lactic acid buildup. That's the “burn” those who exercise are supposed to feel.
Most of these handheld gadgets are noisy, but the HyperVolt Plus is incredibly quiet — no basement exercise room required. When Dad uses it regularly, it can help improve his flexibility and range of motion.
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PHOTO BY: Courtesy of Cobra
The details: As we gradually return to the highway, certain quarters have had a renewed interest in enforcing speed limits. Tested over hundreds of miles, this little Cobra detector consistently warned me about police lurking on the roadside and at least once saved me from an expensive ticket. (The poor fellow behind me wasn't as lucky.)
Detectors can cost more than $500, so the RAD480i is a relative bargain. Yet it boasts the latest technology to warn drivers of radar and laser traps, and it includes access to a nationwide database of red-light and automated speed cameras.
Note: Radar detectors are illegal in the District of Columbia and Virginia. In other states, they're permitted in passenger vehicles but not commercial vehicles, according to AAA, the Florida-based nonprofit auto and travel services organization.
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PHOTO BY: Courtesy of Suunto
The details: Before smartwatches and fitness bands, Suunto was on the scene. Anyone who was a serious athlete or mountain climber or Indiana Jones-type wore a Suunto.
With the Suunto 7, the Finnish company has updated its line to catch up with the smartwatches of the world. This model has built-in GPS, free offline outdoor maps, a heart rate monitor, a workout tracker, a fitness program and even breathing exercises to help relaxation.
The watch, which works with Android and Apple iOS smartphones, can trigger alarms and check your calendar or contacts as well as operate as a stopwatch or a mini flashlight in the dark. To top it off, the Suunto 7 uses a touch screen, which makes it easier to find all of its features.
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PHOTO BY: Courtesy of Anker
Anker Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro
The details: Music lovers can find countless wireless ear buds on the market. What distinguishes the Liberty 2 Pro in-ear models is their superior sound quality, extended battery life, excellent microphones for noise cancellation during the occasional phone call and killer price point.
This Soundcore model includes a case that automatically recharges, so Dad can get up to 32 hours of listening after a single plug-in. The ear buds support the aptX wireless format for better high-fidelity audio, and a smartphone app is available to tailor the music to match his personal listening preferences.
Liberty 2 Pros are perfect for travelers, but they pair just as easily to a smart TV for private, late-night listening. They also can endure a 5K daily run without problems.
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