SkyMall Monday: Beard Cap

gadling skymall monday beard capI’ve been a bit cranky in this space recently. I’ve railed against the Nuddle Blanket and the Ponchillow in the last few weeks. Many of you, I’m sure, have begun to worry that I’ve lost my zest for SkyMall. Rest assured that I remain optimistic about our favorite in-flight catalog and that there are still countless products that leave me engorged with excitement. In fact, SkyMall Monday headquarters is abuzz over this week’s featured invention. As you might know, I typically sport a beard. I’m a bit of a follicle aficionado and, as such, appreciate all things whisker-related. I understand, however, that not everyone can grow out their facial hair. Women, pre-pubescent boys and many Asians lack the ability to cultivate a thick, luxurious face garden. Thankfully, there is now an alternative. As winter clutches us in her icy grip, stay warm and sport the chin mane of your dreams with the Beard Cap.Beards are sacred and personal things. In a perfect world, we would also have flowing locks dangling from our faces. Sadly, that is not nature’s way. Beards can be fickle and there are those who conspire to remove them through nefarious means. The Beard Cap allows you to sport a beard when needed and hide it when danger presents itself.

Think that a cap with a beard is a waste of fabric? Believe that there are better ways to protect your face from the cold? Well, while you figure out how to put on a balaclava, we’ll be reading the product description:

Gray and black cap has attached mustache and beard.

1 size fits most adults.

It is what is says it is. Isn’t that the mark of any good beard – real or otherwise? Beards lack pretense. They’re the working man’s facial hair. They’re not for everyone (one size fits “most” but not all) but everyone is for them. Think about it.

Don’t let your lack of testosterone or ethnic makeup keep you from sporting the beard that you so richly deserve. Ignore the aspersions cast by those who would rather see you “clean shaven.” There is nothing dirty about beards (except for when you cupcakes and chili dogs) and you have every right to grow or buy your own. Even if the one you buy makes you look like an atomic ginger.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

Beard and Mustache Championship

Photo of the Day – Sicilian man

This elegant gentleman was captured in Sicily by Flickr user TravelSeminar. The weathered creases that line his face, the pulled back curtains and shy grin all suggest a moment of welcome and openness. It’s the perfect visual accompaniment to a brand new year – take it as an invitation to get your own travel plans off to a great start. Here’s wishing you all the best in 2012!

Have any great travel shots of your own? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Gift Guide for Warm Weather Adventurers

Gadling Gift Guide: Hiking BootsAs December approaches and the holiday season draws near, those warm summer days that we enjoyed just a few months back are already a distant memory. But no matter what the calendar says, I guarantee the adventurer on your shopping list is already plotting his or her next warm weather escape. Considering summer really is just a short plane ride away, here are some suggestions for what to buy them for their next adventure.

Keen Voyageur Hiking Boots
A good pair of shoes are essential for any adventure and the Keen Voyageur hiking boots are a great option for any summer escape. Both comfortable and durable, these shoes are well ventilated, keeping your feet cool and dry, while also preventing unwanted moisture from getting in. Amazon has them starting at $87.21, making them a bargain for trail shoes of this quality.

Gadling Gear Girl Pam Mandel is a fan of Keen shoes too, recommending the McKenzie as a versatile warm weather shoe for a variety of activities. ($85)

ExOfficio Sol Tech Tee
Staying cool and dry is one of the most important aspects of enjoying any outdoor activity in warmer weather. The ExOfficio Sol tech tee not only wicks moisture away from the body, it is also highly breathable, and provides UPF 50+ sun protection as well. All of that is marketing speak for “it’s comfortable to wear when it’s warm outside.” Available in a variety of colors, the Sol is perfect for hiking a local trail or traveling to the far side of the planet, and is a perfect addition to any adventurers closet. ($25)

Pam also recommends the BugsAway line of shirts from ExOfficio as well. The shirts earned high marks in her review of a variety of mosquito repelling gear. ($40)

Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts
A good pair of cargo shorts are a necessity for any warm weather adventure, and Columbia delivers a comfortable, durable product with the Silver Ridge. Super lightweight and breathable, these shorts are quick drying and include large pockets, as well as an adjustable waistband. With a UPF rating of 30, they also provide solid protection from the sun, and look as good around town as they do on the trail. ($20)Gadling Gift Guide: Marmot PreClip Safari HatMarmot PreClip Safari Hat
Staying protected from the suns rays is an important aspect of any warm weather adventure and a good hat helps considerably. I’m a big fan of Marmot’s PreClip Safari Hat, as it has a wide brim, is comfortable and cool to wear, and is highly packable. It is also waterproof and so lightweight that it actually floats. I’ve carried mine with me on six different continents and it remains one of my favorite pieces of gear. ($35)

Sierra Designs Meteor Light 2 Tent
The summer months are tailor made for camping and a good tent is an essential part of enjoying evenings in the backcountry. The Meteor Light 2 from Sierra Designs is a perfect 3-Season option that stays warm on cooler nights, but provides plenty of ventilation when it gets warm. It sets up in just minutes and sleeps two comfortably. ($210)

Kelty Cosmic Down 20º Sleeping Bag
While a tent is important for any camping trip, when it comes to getting a good nights sleep, it is only part of the equation. A good sleeping bag is essential as well, and the Cosmic Down 20º is a great choice for warm weather outings. Kelty has managed to make a comfortable, lightweight, down sleeping bag that won’t break the bank. ($75)

Osprey Stratos 24 Backpack
Nothing inspires adventure like a good backpack and Osprey makes some of the best. Their Stratos 24 daypack provides plenty of storage for a long day (or even overnight) on the trail. Its size makes it perfect for peak bagging or other short, yet gear intensive, adventures. The Stratos’ integrated suspension system helps you to stay cool on the move and the pack is hydration ready, keeping water close at hand at all times. ($89)

If you’re looking for something a bit smaller, Gadling gear reviewer Mike Barish recommends the Raptor 14, also from Osprey. He found it to be the perfect options for day hikes in warm weather destinations such as Zion Natoinal Park. Read his review here. ($81)

Polar Bottle Insulated Water Bottle
Staying hydrated on our warm weather adventures is vitally important, but that doesn’t mean we have to settle for drinking warm water while on the trail. The Polar Bottle uses an insulating foil to reflect back the heat of the sun, keeping the liquids inside cooler for a lot longer. These bottles make fantastic and affordable gifts for the hiker, trail runner, or cyclist on your list this year. ($11.25)

Protect your melon; pack the right hat.

This is kind of gross, and I’m a little bit sorry for that, but I still have scaly bits on the tops of my ears. This because I burned the daylights out of them by wearing the wrong hat while on a recent adventure. I made it worse by neglecting to apply sunscreen to my poor ears — I’ll skip the part about what happened when I started to peel.

I pack a baseball style cap for my travels. I’d picked up a Sun Tripper cap from Sunday Afternoons while at the Outdoor Retailer show. It’s really cute, it’s that military shape, it’s got a split bill so it packs down nice and flat, and it’s got a stretchy drawstring on the back so it stays on your head in the wind. This matters; I watched the wind take a travel-mate’s cap and hurl it into the desert, there was no retrieving it. My cap stayed securely on my head the whole time. I also found that the funny little pocket in the top of the hat was actually useful. I tucked my ID and a little bit of cash in there, it was nice to have a secret stash and I didn’t worry about my head being pick-pocketed.

But as I’ve mentioned, I needed coverage for my ears. This was a tactical error on my part — I should have gone with a safari hat instead of just a cap. Sure, the extra coverage looks a little silly, but my ears hurt like hell and did I mention, they were kind of gross about a week later. Sunburn isn’t a joke, even when it’s limited to the tops of your ears, and I could hear my doctor’s voice in my head giving me the melanoma lecture. What I’m saying, is go with the extra coverage. Sunday Afternoons has some other options that I’d have done better to choose for this trip. I won’t soon forget that painful sunburn and I don’t expect to make that same mistake again. Get the coverage, people. The Sun Tripper cap is 24.00, the safari range starts there and goes up to 48.00. There’s a convertible cap too — just snap on the ear and neck coverage — that goes for 28.00. That would have kept the sunburn at bay.

In addition to sun coverage, I was delighted to find that I still had my SmartWool beanie in my photo bag. I’d used it to wrap up some camera gear I wasn’t using, but I ended up wearing it on cold mornings and evenings in camp. This stretchy little reversible beanie takes up negotiable space in my kit (really, I’d no idea it was in there!) and I was delighted to find that it had hitched along with me on my camping trip. SmartWool brands this little cap as a “training beanie” — whatever with that. I’m calling it a travel beanie and leaving it right where it is, stowed in my photo backpack, holding my lens polarizer. I’ll be happy the next time I find the wind is biting my ears or the night is a little cold. 25.00 from SmartWool.

SkyMall Monday: SunCap Hat

gadling skymall monday suncap hatSure, it’s nice to look a little bronzed in the summer. Who doesn’t enjoy being just a bit “sun-kissed” when they’re showing off more skin in the hot weather? However, the sun is a fickle bitch-goddess and things can go from tan to burnt quicker than you can say SPF. It’s always important to protect ourselves from the sun (which is why we’ve stopped using our foil reflector when we have our SkyMall Monday Tanfests). Beyond sunscreen, doctors recommend wearing a hat to shade your head and face, along with sunglasses to prevent damage to your eyes. But who wants to carry all of that stuff around? And how many pairs of sunglasses have you lost over the years? Thankfully, SkyMall is here to keep us from turning red. The next time you’re ready to hit the beach, pool, music festival, picnic, sporting event, festival, monster truck rally or poker tournament, be sure to don your very own SunCap Hat.Who wants to attach one of those lanyards to their glasses? Those things are just for the elderly and boat owners. Flip up sunglasses haven’t been hip since we graduated from Hillman College. If you need sunglasses and a hat (both of which are essential travel items), it’s best to combine them so that you never lose either (or, you know, to ensure that you lose both).

Think that combining a hat and sunglasses makes as much sense as attaching a watch to gloves? Believe that the words ‘cap’ and ‘hat’ mean the same thing and are redundant when used together? Well, while you apply some zinc to your nose, we’ll be reading the product description:

The unique design of the SunCap incorporates stylish polycarbonate sunglasses that slide up and down through a slit in the hat’s bill with just the push of a finger.

Don’t worry about losing, forgetting or damaging your sunglasses. They’re always there when you need them, fastened to your cap.

It’s the most fun you’ll have sliding something through a slit all day.

So, if you have fair skin and an icy stare that needs to be revealed, be sure to protect yourself in the most stylish way possible. If you can’t do that, then get the SunCap Hat.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.