In each issue of Athlon Sports & Life, we pick six of our favorite things. They may be books, automobiles, games, gear, booze, apparel or whatever happens to be awesome. Here's what made our short list this issue:
2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
There's one good reason this track-bred beauty has been making the rounds on automotive magazine covers recently: it's fast...really, really fast. It travels 0-60 in 3.6 seconds and handles the quarter-mile in 11.8 at 118 mph. Power comes courtesy of a 6.2-liter LT1 V8 engine, capable of 460 goosebump-producing horsepower. Buyers can choose between a 7-speed manual or 8-speed paddle-shift automotic, and can keep this naturally-aspirated beast in check thanks to a Brembo braking system—adapted from the Corvette Z06—that takes it from 60-0 mph in less than 100 feet. All hail the new king of the road!
This 22-ounce capacity refillable water bottle is a must-have for any hiker or outdoorsman. If you need water, simply stop by any water source (note: it doesn't filter salt water), fill it up and drink with the peace of mind knowing that it's not going to make you sick. We also love that there's no weird aftertaste. The secret to what makes it unique is the two-stage filtration that removes 99.9% of waterborne bacteria like E-Coli and 99.9% of waterborne protozoa parasites. We also recommend this for frequent travelers who may not always have access to filtered water. Expect to get about 264 gallons of water filtered through the bottle before you need to order a new filter.
Etymotic’s mk5 Isolator Earphones
There's a lot to like about these earphones. Let's start with the fact that they fit snug in your ear, canceling out ambient noise. The headphones come with three choices of earware: two are rubbery (coming in different sizes to fit small or large ear canals) and one set has foam eartips. Our favorites were the foam, which expand to fill the ear canal completely, keeping outside noise out and music in. One thing we realized quickly, if you don't get a good seal on the earpiece, the sound gets lost. In other words, make sure you have them in snug. Speaking of sound, the highs and mid-range are fantastic, making it ideal for audio books and podcasts. The lows (aka, the bass) was lacking, but certainly not enough for us to enjoy 90% of our music selection. We can't recommend these enough for commutors or frequent flyers who are looking to drown out the outside world.
Louisville Slugger MLB PRIME Bats
Produced by the legendary bat maker, this new wood bat line features a proprietary finish called EXOARMOR, which makes the bat two times harder that their traditional performance wood bat. That means more pop and distance to hitters. Beyond that, Louisville Slugger also allows players to customize their own via sluggercustombats.com. We tried it and found the options (color, size, fade, lettering, etc.) to be engaging and addictive. Better yet, you can see how the bat will look before you buy it, allowing you to experiment with crazy color combinations and finishes. It would make a perfect gift for any baseball fan, whether they use it on the field or as decoration for an office.
Camerons/Budweiser Indoor Outdoor Stovetop Smoker
For those who love smoked BBQ and other meats, but don't have the space or want the hassle of a large outdoor smoker, this is the answer to your prayers. The metal container comes with a rack to place the meat on, along with flavored wood pellets and/or chips to infuse a distinct flavor into your meat. The lid keeps the flavor trapped inside the container, so there's no need to worry about a smoke-filled kitchen, if you choose to cook it on your stovetop. We put it to the test with a large rack of ribs and the results came out great. There was no smoke in the kitchen and the flavor worked as promised. We found the smoked flavor to be moderate in taste that complemented but didn't overpower the meat.
Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling
We were interested as soon as we read the title. Inside Meathead Goldwin (check him out at AmazingRibs.com) and physicist/food scientist Greg Blonder take readers through the chemistry, physics and meat science behind barbecue, grilling, marinades, searing, and more in this must-read for every Man-Card carrying guy who loves to helm his outdoor grill. Better yet, this beautifully designed book comes with more than 100 tested recipes. A true bible for every barbecue and grilling nerd.