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When you've got to get gear, open up Uncrate

February 2, 2009

Men really aren't complicated, but we are nuanced. For example, most of us really hate to shop, but we like to have cool stuff. This is why we aren't all that excited about ties (a necessity for most of us) but can spend quite awhile talking about a new hand-held Garmin GPS unit that most of us will never have occasion to use to save our hides.

I was reminded of this at the end of the day yesterday when I received an email from Uncrate (www.uncrate.com). Uncrate is a simple concept, and one that is becoming increasingly common.

Billing itself as "a Web magazine for guys who love stuff," Uncrate posts daily updates about the best guy stuff found across the Internet and around the globe. Divided into the five basic food groups (Gear, Cars, Style, Body, Crib), each item is posted with a small photo, a quick description and a link to more information.

Even better, the site features a daily digest sent via e-mail just before quitting time. So when you find yourself fading at about 4:45 pm, your Uncrate e-mail shows up and you learn that something you didn't even know existed is the very thing that you simply must have.

OK, so maybe some of the items are only of use if you are a superhero. Take, for instance, the Pocket Grappling Hook. This little gem (a mere 1" x 5.5") was designed for special warfare operators to handle detonation and trip wires. It supports up to 350 pounds to handle whatever you want to throw its way.

Too esoteric for you? Consider the ZUCA Pro Suitcase. This revolutionary little gem maximizes storage capacity in a very small package, fits in an overhead bin, and is built within a lightweight anodized aluminum exoskeleton. Why does the latter matter? Well, it's strong enough to protect everything inside while doubling as a seat capable of holding up to 300 pounds.

Maybe you're just a dad, in which case Uncrate uncrates a whole bevy of items intended to help you perform at your peak.

Consider the Porsche Design Aluminum Sled, the ingenious Fire Fork (I couldn't help ordering several of these), or the Lego Ice Cube Trays, which form ice in the shape of standard Lego bricks. They are, of course, stackable.

Interest still not piqued? Maybe you've got a vision for taking over the world with attack sharks mounted with lasers. If so, it's got something just for you, too: The Villain Chair is an oversize, futuristic chair made of steel, aluminum, leather and chrome in a rounded formfitting design absolutely built for maniacal cackling.

Uncrate has featured more than 5,000 items since 2005 and is one of a growing number of sites dedicated to daily product highlights. Others include Gizmodo (www.gizmodo.com), CoolHunting (www.coolhunting.com), Engadget (www.engadget.com), but I prefer Uncrate for both design and content. (For women, in case you're wondering, the gold standard seems to be Daily Candy (www.dailycandy.com).

The Uncrate site is organized like a blog, with periodic posts arranged both by order of posting and categories. The search function works well if you have an idea of what you're looking for, and the clean design removes the clutter in favor of concise, pithy content. You can subscribe to either the daily email or an RSS feed, whichever fits your "get in the know" preference.
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Cota is creative director of Rare Bird Inc., a fullservice advertising agency specializing in the use of new technologies. His column appears monthly. He can be reached at jim@rarebirdinc.com.

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