10 Products That Helped Make 2020 a Little More Bearable
When the going got tough, the tough got ... a Peloton
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With just a few days left in the year, we are as sick of writing about how terrible 2020 was as you are of reading it. But it was. It was, quite literally, a fucking disaster, and while we harbor no delusions that everything is going to magically improve when the clock strikes midnight and we ring in 2021, we are still very much ready to leave 2020 in the past.
But in doing so, and in being grateful that we’re still here with a future to move on to, we’ve gotten to thinking about the products that we — and as evidenced by how frequently many of them were out of stock, you as well — turned to for comfort.
Some of them helped us explore new hobbies or dive back into old ones; some helped us stay fit when gyms were closed; and some helped us stay as comfortable as possible when we were stuck at home.
And because this shit was truly no joke, one of them just helped us get high.
We’ve been singing the Solo Stove’s praises for years now, and, lo and behold, with people trying to do their part by gathering outside rather than in each other’s living rooms, 2020 turned out to be the year everyone caught on. We love it for its good looks and ability to keep our clothes smelling smoke-free.
Dutch Ovens and Other Cast Iron Cookware
With restaurants closed for much of the pandemic, many of us cooked more than we had in years. And since it was not uncommon to have to spend entire days inside, there was plenty of time to take on time-consuming dishes like stews and sauces, the kind of things that need hours to develop flavors. Dutch ovens, by brands like Le Creuset, Staub and, on the more affordable end of the spectrum, Milo, proved invaluable in these pursuits.
Guitars and Online Guitar Lessons
Have we mentioned that many of us had a lot of extra time on our hands this year? Well, it’s true. And one of the nice benefits of that was that we were finally able to explore those hobbies we’d either neglected long ago or, worse, had never managed to try out in the first place. For lots of us, that meant either learning how to play guitar or doubling down and finally deciding to get better at it. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of online resources for players of all skill levels to improve.
For better or worse, there were not a whole lot of reasons to get dressed up this year. But this didn’t mean you couldn’t still look good and, even more importantly, feel good: the number of brands making high-end loungewear and athleisure right is simply astounding. The cuts are stylish and the materials are versatile, providing not only extreme comfort but, in many cases, tons of performance attributes as well. We’ve written about a ton of this stuff over the past nine months, from lounge pants to hoodies, but we keep finding ourselves coming back to Outdoor Voices.
Outdoor Research Face Mask
As we’ve said before, this is the best all-around face mask we wore in 2020. Forgive us, but we don’t really feel like writing any more about face masks right now, other than to say that you should obviously fucking wear one.
Trade Coffee Subscription
As shitty as the coffee you were getting from the office Keurig was, well, it was there and it was free. And then … it wasn’t. What’s nice, though, is that this sudden need to feed one’s own coffee addiction led many of us to subscription services like Trade Cofee, which has high-quality third-wave coffee from roasters all over the country delivered to your doorstep however frequently you require it.
As trains and subway cars became COVID breeding grounds and gyms shuttered their doors, the bike industry flourished. And it wasn’t just specific bikes: commuters, mountain bikes, and road bikes all became hot commodities and bike shops had month-long waits for service.
High-End Home Fitness Equipment
As if gyms shutting down wasn’t bad enough, it then became clear that you wouldn’t even be able to buy yourself a set of dumbbells to use at home because they immediately sold out everywhere. So what did we do? We turned to the real high-end stuff. Tons of you have joined the cult of Peloton, which we’re a little snarky about only because we haven’t joined yet. It was a big year for Mirror, too, the wall-mounted virtual fitness system that offers thousands of classes and one-on-one training.
Or, alternately, if you didn’t go all in on high-end home fitness equipment, you may have taken a back-to-basics approach and hit the pavement or the trails. Fortunately, we’re living in something of a golden age for running shoes, and we fell particularly hard for Hoka One One’s current lineup, which features a nice mix of shoes for every type of runner.
Levo II Herbal Infuser
Because 2020 was the year you finally had to upgrade your amateur edibles.
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