The 40 Essential Albums To Own on Vinyl
Putting together a list of the essential albums to own on vinyl is not only impossible, it’s hugely stressful. I’ve done at least 30 variations; adding albums, taking off others, rearranging bits and pieces, or changing my mind altogether and taking it from the top.
There are sure to be some controversial takes, and there’s a swath of genres, records, and artists who didn’t make the cut, but I’ve only got one set of ears, a personalized palate, and a tight deadline.
Before you take a look at the list, here are some rules: these are in no particular order, there are no live performances or compilations, no more than one appearance by an artist, and the album has to physically sound good on vinyl. I’ve made it this far, but now I need a drink and a lie down.
1. Paul Simon - Graceland (1986)
This is my favorite album. I remember dancing around the lounge room with a literal boom box, and a massive set of headphones listening to The Boy in the Bubble, Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, and You Can Call Me Al, picturing the film clip with Chevy Chase.
Out of all of my father’s albums, Graceland is my favorite, both for its scope and its sheer enjoyment. Whether it’s the Ladysmith Black Mambazo Orchestra singing together perfectly, or the amazing South African session musicians involved in its creation, Graceland is a fantastic album and a must-own for any music lover.
2. Led Zeppelin - IV (1972)
Sprawling, decadent, and powerful, Led Zep’s untitled fourth studio album is their best. It features a short little ditty called Stairway to Heaven, the sexually charged Black Dog, Mordor LOTR–style The Battle of Never More, and epic Misty Mountain Hop.
Most superstar bands don’t have four songs as good as this in an entire career, let alone on one album. Now, please excuse me, I’ve got 7.5 minutes to kill listening to Stairway…
3. Nas - Illmatic (1994)
Nas was a 17 year old still in high school when his debut album Illmatic dropped. The record is widely considered one of the greatest rap albums of all time (it’s firmly in my top three) and was announced as one of the 2020 recordings selected for inclusion on the National Recording Registry.
It turned Nas into a star and brought attention back to the East Coast after the dominance of gangster rap in the West.
4. Michael Jackson - Thriller (1982)
You can’t make a list of essential vinyl albums without Michael Jackson, and Thriller is all killer, no filler. It’s disappointing the way things ended for the King of Pop, but Thriller reminds us that we were lucky to hear the brilliance of Michael Jackson.
There’s a reason it’s the greatest selling album of all time.
5. The Black Keys - Thickfreakness (2003)
This living, breathing behemoth from the Ohio two-piece brought hipsters out from their garages in droves. The pumping piston drums of Patrick Carbery – who laid the tracks down on an eight-track in 14 hours – are a yammering foil for singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach’s dirty lashes of the axe and pedals, while his lyrics scrounge around like he’s digging into the couch creases looking for loose change.
I saw the Black Keys live when touring this album – it was all sweat, beards, and beer. I swear I couldn’t hear shit except for Set You Free for a week after.
6. Sade - Diamond Life (1984)
Honestly, you could pick any of Sade’s six albums for this list, but for mine, it has to be their debut Diamond Life. Merging soul with R&B and jazz elements, it’s got a bit of everything that’s great about 80s music.
Smooth Operator and Hang On to Your Love are incredible compositions, with Sade Adu’s vocals completely mesmerizing.
7. Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (1966)
These days, you could release this cerebral Beach Boys album by saying: “There are goats on the cover,” and make a badass meme campaign.
Pet Sounds revolutionized recording music, although nobody in 1966 seemed happy to spend their money on it, given that it was vastly different from the 10 Beach Boys albums that came before.
It wasn’t until the UK got a hold of it that the production and sound engineering side of the Pet Sounds record got its due respect, and everyone realized the music was awesome too.
8. Marvin Gaye - What’s Going On (1971)
1971s What’s Going On is arguably the greatest album of all time from any genre. Rolling Stone has it at the top of their 500 Greatest Albums, and for good reason.
What’s Going On is a narrative concept album that tells the tale of a man’s return from Vietnam. If you’re unfamiliar with the brilliance, pain, and tragedy of Marvin Gaye, take 53 minutes out of your day to watch this documentary. It’s time well spent.
9. NWA - Straight Outta Compton (1988)
I scored this on cassette from my big brother when I was going into high school (on the other side of the 90-minute marvel was 2 Live Crew). A decade older than me, he didn’t say anything much about it except for, “Listen to this and don’t tell mum. Ever!”
Straight Outta Compton ushered in the gangsta rap era. Without NWA, the rap landscape would be very different; less realistic and raw, less creative, edgy, and honest. It certainly wouldn’t have been better.
10. David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
Bowie ushered in a new era of rock and pop fusion by creating different characters in his music and an amazing level of theatricality to his work.
Ziggy Stardust helped bridge the gap between the declining hippy culture and stadium rock with a burgeoning live music scene where the show was just as important as the music.
11. Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
She might have gone off the rails, but Lauryn Hill is still one of the greatest female vocalists I’ve had the pleasure of hearing live. While that’s highly unlikely to happen anytime soon, I can always put this album on and remember how talented she is.
A melting pot of hip-hop, soul, R&B, and pop, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is a phenomenal record from a once-in-a-generation artist.
12. Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde (1966)
Not being able to incorporate a greatest hits compilation album is hardest here. Folk legend, visual artist, and bourbon bottler Bob Dylan is not only brilliant but also prolific.
Any of 10 studio, live, or compilation albums could take this space, but for pure end-to-end quality, his seventh studio album Blonde on Blonde may be the finest.
13. Outkast - Stankonia (2000)
“They are threateningly talented individuals” – Cee Lo Green
Outkast’s Stankonia took rap music and threw out the rule book. They turned hip-hop into something interplanetary (and the South into a stronghold), where freedom of expression, musical innovation, and pure enjoyment melded with traditional rap bangers and everyday struggles.
14. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories (2012)
I’m not much of a dance music guy, but Daft Punk is cool, whether the helmets are on or not. If you throw this on the Technics (careful, it’s hard to get in non-collectible form), things are going pretty well.
Twan’s cool vlog about the making of Random Access Memories – Daft Punk’s most critically acclaimed album recorded over the course of four years – is well worth a watch for anyone who wants to know more about this chart-topping album that gave us the massive hit Get Lucky.
15. Miles Davis - Kind of Blue (1959)
Great jazz music is made for being enjoyed on vinyl, and Kind of Blue is the greatest of jazz music. Put it on your player, settle in, and let Miles take you somewhere else for a while.
Check out the making of this classic album by watching this fantastic documentary (apologies for Bill Cosby’s appearance).
16. Radiohead - Kid A (2000)
I’m going to come clean: I AM NOT a Radiohead guy. I can appreciate their music, its complexity, skill, and vision. But it’s just not my thing. I’m sorry.
This clip explains brilliantly why Kid A is so vital and so vivid for many music fans, something I could not articulate.
17. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
This one might be a little controversial, but this is Kanye at his artistic peak. Coming off the poor reception of 808s & Heartbreak (an underrated album and my second favorite Kanye record) and dealing with problems in his personal life, Kanye hit studios across the world and created a masterpiece.
All of the Lights. POWER. Runaway. Blame Game. Monster. This album is not only chock full of hits but features some of the best rap verses Nicki Minaj and Rick Ross have ever spit.
This is a reminder of a time when Kanye was the center of the world for his musical abilities and not his private life.
18. Bjork - Post (1995)
Another choice some might not agree with, but Post is an exceptional album from Icelandic goddess Bjork.
It’s hard to describe what this album sounds like, but if you imagine every genre of music baked in a cake and topped with Bjork’s fascinating soprano as the icing, then you have Post.
While known for spawning the hit single It’s Oh So Quiet, there is much more to this album.
19. Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang 36 Chambers (1993)
The debut studio album from the New York Collective is a stone-cold classic. Wu-Tang Clan announced themselves with gangsta rap’s signature braggadocio, plus a fusion of spare beats from the RZA threaded with Kung Fu samples.
Nine distinctly different voices and perspectives from inner-city New York can be heard, all with amazing lyrical flow and a willingness to experiment with beats, tempo, and personality.
The album gave birth to the highest-grossing hip-hop group of all time and ushered in an era of merchandise, film, and music production that still sees the group active and innovating today.
20. Fleetwood Mac - Rumours (1977)
The Rumours album from Fleetwood Mac showed that copious amounts of drugs, sex, and alcohol, and relationship breakdowns (there were two couples in the group who both split before recording), could be great for creativity.
Rumours sold more than 10 million copies in the first month alone, while singles Go Your Own Way, Dreams, You Make Loving Fun, and Don’t Stop all made the US top 10 charts.
Disfunction has never sounded so good.
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21. Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain (1984)
While the film doesn’t quite hold up, the album remains an absolute banger that mixes power-pop, shredding guitars, funk, and psychedelic influences into an almost perfect tracklist. This is Prince at the peak of his powers.
22. The Clash - London Calling (1979)
London Calling is what happens when a punk band develops their music into a force that reflects the uncertainty, angst, and disaffection of an entire generation. London was a mess in 1979, with heroin, unemployment, political, social, and racial tension ripping through the city (and all of Great Britain).
While their classic punk sound was still readily apparent, The Clash’s third album harnessed reggae, roots, rock, ska, and heavy metal elements into a soup of powerful, politically, and socially aware set of tunes.
23. The Roots - Things Fall Apart (1999)
The Roots (yeah, Jimmy Fallon’s Band) proved you could make a killer hip-hop album with a live band. Things Fall Apart is a socially conscious album that still found resonance with the gangsta rap set and old school b-boys, which at that time was difficult to accomplish.
It features Black Thought’s lyrical dexterity and boxer’s delivery, mixed with great production and special guests like Mos Def, Erika Badu, Jill Scott, Eve, and Dice Raw.
24. Pearl Jam - Vs. (1993)
Pearl Jam, along with Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and lesser-known bands such as Mudhoney and Temple of the Dog, brought Seattle’s grunge sound to the rest of the world. After the commercial success of their debut Ten, Pearl Jam opted to mix harder and more aggressive rock with Eddie Vedder’s iconic vocal range on their sophomore album.
They eschewed releasing any singles despite having a handful that would’ve certainly made it into the top 10. It remains their most influential album and one that moved beyond grunge into another realm.
Fun fact: They wrote Daughter on the tour bus!
25. The Beatles - White Album (1968)
Another band where their entire back catalog could have appeared on this list, The Beatles White Album gets the nod. 30 tracks including classics Back In The U.S.S.R., Helter Skelter, Blackbird, and George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps make up this influential double album.
26. Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
If I didn’t put this album on here, my sister would kill me. While many contemporaries looked outside, Pink Floyd focused on inside the mind with intense and dystopian fervor.
Dark Side of the Moon, much like Pet Sounds, transformed record arrangement, production, and recording, while the music itself was damn good to listen to as well.
Dark Side took out a lot of the long instrumentals and solos Floyd was known for while still maintaining a cinematic quality. Their audio innovation added the sonic effects that bands ever since have been copying.
27. Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, M.A.A.D City (2012)
“It ain’t nothing but a Compton thang.”
I don’t have too many contemporary musicians on this list (let’s face it, music now is made for a digital age, and I’m considered OLLLLLLD), yet Kendrick Lamar is an exception.
Lamar mixes old school gangsta sensibilities with furiously developed production on this coming-of-age concept album. To Pimp A Butterfly may be a stronger album, but I’ll argue forever that Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City is more influential and essential.
28. Nirvana - Nevermind (1991)
I can still remember, nearly 30 years later, exactly where I was when I heard that Kurt Cobain had died.
If I hadn’t heard Nevermind, and especially Smells Like Teen Spirit, I wouldn’t have paid attention to the hype this band created. It’s hard to put into words just how much Nevermind impacted not only music but youth culture.
29. Eric B and Rakim - Paid in Full (1987)
The rap game changed once Rakim took the Mike and Eric B got on the turntables. Other rappers focused on changing things (KRS One), talking tough (Big Daddy Kane), and the drug epidemic in New York (Slick Rick) – Rakim focused on being better than everybody else
They took the socially conscious early hip-hop and added elements of cool that to this day remain unchanged, and gave us Paid in Full, which is still firmly inside the top 10 rap albums of all time.
30. (What's The Story) Morning Glory?
Seriously, if this album came out now – with all that media stoushing with fellow Brit Pop legends Blur – the internet would have broken. While Liam has turned into an epic storyteller and entertaining parent, for most of their career the Gallagher brothers have been considered complete and utter knobs (Noel still is).
The fact remains, though, that with the possible exception of dance music stars such as Fatboy Slim, The Prodigy, and the Chemical Brothers, no one had a bigger impact on British music than Oasis did throughout the 1990s, which has carried over into pop-rock music today.
31. Metallica - Metallica (The Black Album, 1991)
While old-school metalheads point to this as the moment Metallica sold out, in reality, it’s the band taking the next step in their evolution and proving heavier music has its place in pop culture.
The album is full of classic tracks. Enter Sandman is a grinding stadium rock offering. The Unforgiven a heartfelt ditty. Through The Never a reminder of Metallica’s thrash past. Then there’s Nothing Else Matters, an emotional power ballad about expressing and opening yourself up to others.
It might have pissed off their core fans, but Metallica topped the charts and has gone on to sell over 25.2 million copies worldwide, turning the band into the face of modern metal and gaining them more fans than they lost.
32. The Highwaymen - Highwayman
Waylon Jennings. Willie Nelson. Johnny Cash. Kris Kristofferson. Four of country music’s greatest stars joined forces as The Highwaymen, a country supergroup.
The result is a fantastic outlaw country album showcasing the distinct qualities of each man’s voice. Opener Highwayman sets the scene for a collection of country covers (including two Cash originals) perfect for a road trip through the great US of A.
33. Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine
Few political bands have managed to sell millions of albums and sell out stadiums without deviating from their beliefs like Rage Against The Machine.
Despite their success, or possibly because of it, the LA foursome has been a driving force in alternate rock for almost three decades. Merging rock with rap before nu-metal was a thing, Rage has a distinct sound thanks to vocalist Zac de la Rocha’s biting lyrics and Tom Morello’s unconventional guitar playing.
Rage Against The Machine is a Molotov cocktail of hard-hitting raps, brain-damaging guitar licks, slick bass lines, and thumping percussion. I can still remember headbanging in my room to Killing in the Name. Good memories.
34. The Prodigy - Music for the Jilted Generation
Before becoming household names with the release of Fat of the Land, The Prodigy lit up clubs and raves with tracks from their sophomore release Music for the Jilted Generation. The record is a big “fuck you” to new laws introduced against rave culture that fuses elements of trance, techno, and jungle.
The album contains a raft of eclectic samples, from films such as Star Wars: A New Hope, Poltergeist III, and Smokey and the Bandit, across 13 tracks fueled by Liam Howlett’s production. Their Law, Poison, and Voodoo People are all huge tunes, but for me, it’s No Good (Start the Dance) that showcases the brilliance of The Prodigy.
35. Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
Both Joy Division albums should be part of any vinyl record collection, but if you had to choose one, I lean towards the Manchester group’s seminal debut Unknown Pleasures.
Four decades on and this album remains one of the greatest releases of all time. It’s responsible for creating the post-punk genre and has influenced almost every modern rock band ever formed.
Every song is a hit, from the droning bass of Peter Hook on opener Disorder to vocalist Ian Cutis’ fractured vocals on She’s Lost Control. This is an album addressing themes of angst, industrialism, epilepsy, and heartbreak brought together by Curtis’ pained baritone.
36. The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main St.
Recorded mainly in a villa in France, the making of Exile on Main St. is the stuff of legend. Keith Richards was in the depths of heroin addiction and Mick Jagger often missed sessions, but somehow when the band did manage to get together they created magic.
The Stones’ 10th album is chock full of incredible songs that merge rock and blues with soul and country, resulting in arguably the Stones greatest ever record.
37. Dr. Dre - The Chronic
After finding success with gangster rap group NWA, Dr. Dre proved he was a master of the art form with the release of The Chronic.
Creating the blueprint for g-funk, Dre blessed hip-hop fans with a classic album all about blunts, 40s, and attractive ladies. He also introduced the world to a then 18-year-old Snoop Dogg on hit Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang.
While the lyrics pose a problem in the current world, the beats still hold up, with Dre cementing his status as a hip-hop legend.
38. Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
Besides Adele, Amy Winehouse is the greatest female vocalist to come out of the past two decades. Possessed with a deep, soulful croon, you can feel Winehouse’s pain and sorrow on tracks such as Rehab, Addicted, and the glorious title track Back To Black.
A troubled figure who couldn’t beat her demons, Back To Black stands as Winehouse’s legacy – an emotional collection of soul, jazz, and pop songs that’s the biggest insight into her life we will ever get. RIP.
39. Bruce Springsteen - Darkness on the Edge of Town
You could put any number of Springsteen albums on this list, but for mine, it has to be Darkness on the Edge of Town. This is an exploration of the working class in America, with Springsteen fully embracing his love of rock and roll.
From the driving opener Badlands to the sax-heavy The Promised Land and the tale of a down on his luck loser on album closer Darkness on the Edge of Town, this 10 track record is a compelling masterpiece.
Springsteen would go on to release records that charted better and produced bigger hits, but this remains a touchstone in his career.
40. Black Sabbath - Paranoid
The godfathers of metal, Black Sabbath have released 19 albums over a 50-year career. Picking their best isn’t easy, but Paranoid stands the test of time. There’s not a bad song on it, from the demonic War Pigs to lo-fi Planet Caravan, this album highlights everything incredible about this band.
If you only own one metal album, make sure it’s Paranoid.
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The 9 Most Unique Pocket Knives on the Market
Finding a great pocket knife is like looking for a needle in a stack of other needles. It’s seemingly impossible. Sure, there are a lot of folding knives out there, and plenty of them are well-made and of perfectly adequate quality. But at the end of the day, most of the knives on the market just look like… knives. There’s nothing special about them. They have no personality.
But some knives are different. If you can wade through all the average, uninspiring knives on the market, you’ll find some that are beautifully crafted, uniquely designed, and truly exceptional.
Luckily for you, we’ve gone through the trouble of doing all the searching for you. What we’ve found are some of the most unique pocket knives available today.
1. My Deejo Creation
The ability to essentially design your own knife from the ground up makes My Deejo Creation quite possibly the most unique knife on the market. Every knife carrier’s needs and preferences are different, which makes this a perfect option for those who know exactly what they want. It’s also a perfect option if you don’t know what you want because you have a lot of options to browse through.
With My Deejo Creation, everything from the size and weight of the knife to the blade finish and handle material is up to you. Choose between a mirror, black titanium finish, along with numerous blade tattoo designs (or none at all).
Handle options include coralwood, ebony, composite and gold plating. Sizes range from a dainty 0.53oz (2.75” closed) to a more substantial 1.3 oz (4.3” closed).
2. Gerber Flatiron
The emergence of “pocket cleavers” as a style of pocket knives has been an interesting trend to watch in recent years. The Gerber Flatiron is one of the leaders in this unique knife subgenre. Boasting a stout, squared-off 3.6 inch stainless steel blade that folds neatly into a black machined aluminum handle, it’s a knife with a bold design and workmanlike functionality.
The Gerber Flatiron is not lightweight by any means. It tips the scales at almost 7 oz and measures 8.5” open. It rests comfortably in one’s palm and excels at heavy-duty cutting and slicing tasks like breaking down boxes and preparing meat for the grill. The blade has a handsome satin finish, and the overall design is an excellent melding of form and function.
3. Opinel No.8
Opinel’s folding pocket knives are about as basic as it gets. But these iconic knives are so perfect in their simplicity that their design hasn’t changed since the 1890s. There’s still no other knife quite like it. Opinel knives are also lightweight, budget-friendly, and sport well-honed blades made of super-hard carbon steel.
The Opinel No.8 is the most popular versatile model, but Opinel makes these knives in sizes ranging from No.6 up to No.12. The numbers roughly correspond to the length of the opened knife in inches – the No.8 measures 7.59” from point to pommel, and has a 3.28” blade – making it easy to choose the right knife for your needs. One thing to be aware of is that the hard steel blades are brittle and prone to breaking if you use them for prying or twisting.
4. Deejo Tattoo 37G
When it comes to choice, it’s hard to go past Deejo and their huge selection of knives. The French brand has been crafting a wide array of functional, customizable, and high-quality knives for over a decade for customers around the world.
There are several things that make Deejo’s Tattoo line of knives stand out. First and foremost is the custom “tattoo” design, which allows you to carry a knife that feels like an extension of your personality.
Deejo offers dozens of designs that can be laser-engraved onto the blade, which makes these knives as unique as the individuals who carry them. Deejo even offers a “Tattoo Your Deejo” kit if you prefer to engrave your own design onto the blade.
The Deejo Tattoo 37G is also a well-crafted and beautifully designed knife through and through. It weighs an ultralight 37 grams (about 1.3 oz) so it won’t weigh down your pocket or your pack. The blade is made of durable 420 stainless steel and comes razor-sharp right out of the box. It’s a trusty travel companion with a uniquely personal connection.
5. Boker Plus Subcom Knife
Boker makes some of the more interesting and eye-catching knives on the market, and the Boker Plus Subcom is one of the more intriguing additions to their lineup. While its small, stout profile might not be for everyone, it’s a good everyday carry folder that comes in handy when you need it.
The Boker Plus Subcom Knife is super lightweight at just 2.5 oz and its diminutive 1.8” partially-serrated clip point blade is sturdy and sharp, folding into a 2.6” handle with a black textured grip. It’s small enough to slip into your pocket, and you might forget it’s even there until you need it. The blade is made of strong AUS-8 stainless steel and comes razor sharp right out of the box.
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6. Albatross Damascus Folding Knife
With its unique hand-forged blade, the Albatross Damascus Folding Knife is sure to turn some heads. The blade measures 2.6” and the knife opens to a length of 6” with a handle design that rests comfortably in hand. The knife also has a handy belt clip, and the linear locking function makes it safe to use and carry.
Rugged and dependable, the Albatross is popular among hunters, anglers, campers, and outdoorsmen of all kinds. The yellow sandalwood handle and striking Damascus blade with its unique curvature make this knife easy on the eyes too. One minor complaint is that the steel dulls easily, but it’s also quick and easy to sharpen.
7. SOG Cash Card
An interesting twist for EDC enthusiasts, the SOG Cash Card is essentially a knife and wallet all in one. Made of satin polished stainless steel, the knife handle boasts an oversized money clip just the right size for your cash and cards.
It’s a unique design that’s great for anybody looking to pare their pocket contents down to the bare essentials. Of course, none of this would matter if the knife itself wasn’t functional, but the SOG Cash Card has a sharp 2.75” drop-point blade, and the overall design is slim and practical.
It feels comfortable in one’s pocket and comes in handy for any of the countless situations in which a small blade might be needed. One small issue that some users have noted is that the clip is a little too tight for more than a few bills.
8. Petzl Spatha Knife
Made with mountaineers and alpine hikers in mind, the Petzl Spatha Knife is an innovative pocket folder that’s right at home in extreme outdoor situations. The hole in the knife allows it to be clipped to your pack or harness using a carabiner, and the textured wheel around it provides an easy one-handed opening, even when wearing gloves. The 4” blade is partly serrated for cutting ropes and cordage.
It weighs a lightweight 1.5 oz, which is a nice perk for backpackers and climbers who obsess over pack weight. Plus, the Petzl Spatha Knife is available in high visibility colors like bright yellow, making it nearly impossible to lose it in the wild. The stainless steel blade is extremely durable but may need frequent resharpening.
9. Higo No Kami 10 Pocket Knife
This beautiful, hand-forged Japanese pocket knife looks like it comes from another time. And in a way, it does. The knife harkens back to a traditional design created by a blacksmith in Japan during the 19th century, which included an innovative lever to aid in opening and closing the knife.
But with its 3” Wharncliffe blade and handsome brass handle, the Higo No Kami 10 Pocket Knife is much more than just a novelty throwback. It’s a versatile and functional pocket knife that’s perfect for everything from gardening to filleting fish.
Its carbon steel blade is easily honed to a keen edge, but be aware that this is a knife that requires some care. It will rust and corrode if you allow it to do so.
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The 10 Best Sunglasses for Men This Summer
Do you spend time outdoors or like to cruise down the highway on your motorcycle? If so, one of your biggest pet peeves is likely the sunlight hitting your eyes. Wayward sunlight can be a nuisance, but some tools combat this natural daily occurrence.
We’ve discovered that numerous reputable sunglass companies design and manufacture fashionable eyewear. Contrary to popular belief, sunglasses don’t only keep your eyes protected from the sun. If you choose the right pair, you can make quite the fashion statement.
However, if you select the wrong pair for your face shape or if the style doesn’t entirely match your look or vibe, you could end up looking awkward and unfashionable. With the hundreds of different brands, colors, styles, and shapes, it can be challenging to find the perfect sunglasses.
That’s why narrowing down your search can be hugely beneficial to finding the perfect pair for you. With that said, we’ve found a few different sunglasses by various brands we believe will suit almost anyone. The sunglasses we will speak of have unique features which will help you quickly and easily find the ones meant for you.
1. Ray-Ban Aviator Classic Sunglasses
Since 1936 Ray-Ban has been designing and manufacturing high-end luxury sunglasses. One of their most popular sunglass fashion lines is their classically styled vintage Aviator sunglasses.
The Ray-Ban Aviator Classic Sunglasses is an ideal pair for those looking for a distinguished look. This pair of sunglasses is incredibly versatile because they come in seven unique color combinations.
This pair has lenses that measure 2.28 inches with a lens height of 1.97 inches. Additionally, the bridge width is 0.55 inches and the temple length is 5.31 inches. These measurements ensure a comfortable fit on your face.
However, one of the most notable and attractive features that this pair possesses is the option to have the Ray-Ban 3025’s made into prescription glasses. You can have these sunglasses made into glasses suitable for near and far-distance reading for an extra fee, and you can make them bifocals.
The gold frames and gunmetal green-tinted lenses on the Ray-Ban Aviator 3025’s are attractive to consumers as they offer a military appeal. If you want a pear-shaped frame, you’re in luck, as this pair is specifically designed to provide a quirky take on the classic aviator style. Additionally, the double bridged frame is durable and has a sleek look without it being flimsy.
2. Tom Ford Polarized Square Sunglasses
Tom Ford is easily one of the greatest and most recognizable name brands in the world. This company is well known for its incredible attention to detail and supremely made fashionable lenses and frames. If you buy the Tom Ford Polarized Arnaud Square Sunglasses, you’ll have a pair that is specifically designed to the specifications of an authentic 21st century luxury brand.
These polarized sunglasses have the signature T-bar inlays that give the pair a genuinely retro vibe. The frames are dark black with silver detailing and the color of the tint is smoke. Additionally, the lens width is 2.08 inches, the temple length is 5.7 inches, and the bridge width is 0.8 inches.
One of the most significant features that the Tom Ford Polarized Arnaud Square sunglasses are equipped with is the excellent protection against glare. They offer 100% UV protection because of a special coating. Unlike other brands, this protective coating doesn’t blur your vision but provides you with superior clarity.
3. Knockaround Fort Knocks Sunglasses
If you want a decent pair of sunglasses that are value for money, you may want to have a look at the classically designed, form-fitting Knockaround Fort Knocks sunglasses. You’ll find these sunglasses to be incredibly well priced. Arguably they are also almost certainly one of the most durably designed injection molded sunglasses on the market.
Unlike other sunglasses, the Knockaround Fort Knocks sunglasses are produced in multiple hues that are brightly colored with many lens and frame options that will let you match your shades to your personality.
Additionally, each pair is specifically manufactured to be unisex, and there is even the option to completely customize your design and lens color. These sunglasses will also suit larger face shapes because of their timeless design that includes logo detailing on each arm.
We mentioned before that these frames are incredibly tough, and there are two features, in particular, that back up this statement. The Knockaround Fort Knocks Sunglasses are made with impact-resistant lenses and have a specially formulated lens finish that provides UV400 protection.
4. Oakley Holbrook Sunglasses
Sunglass style has come a long way in recent years, with more sunglasses becoming an increasingly popular fashion accessory for many different occasions. One of the best types of sunglasses to rock if you’re a sportsman who spends hours outdoors at a time is the Oakley Holbrook 009102’s.
The Oakley Holbrook 009102 sunglasses have a lightweight and durable design, which is ideal for those who are participating in activities while wearing them. Although the frames have a sporty look, they feature stylish full-rimmed frames with a lens width of 2.17 inches, a lens height of 0.71 inches, a bridge width of 0.71 inches, and a temple length of 5.39 inches.
Uniquely the Oakley Holbrook 009102 sunglasses have a futuristic design characterized by their solid black frames and blue anti-glare tinted lenses. If you want to be noticed while participating in an outdoor activity, these sunglasses will definitely draw the eye of those within your vicinity. If blue lenses aren’t to your liking, you will be pleased to learn that you can also choose between more than five other colors.
5. Warby Parker Fletcher Sunglasses
Some people prefer their sunglasses to have a modern look with clean lines that draws inspiration from 80s fashion culture. If you enjoy this style, you may want to look at the hand-polished cellulose acetate Warby Parker Fletcher sunglasses.
Warby Parker is known for its quality eyewear. The Fletcher sunglasses have an uber sleek design and come in three different color choices. These sunglasses are incredibly versatile as they also come in three different frame sizes. You can choose between medium, wide, and extra-wide, so you likely won’t have any issue finding the perfect frame for your face.
Some of the most mention-worthy features these stylish sunglasses are equipped with include akulon-coated screws that increase durability, scratch-resistant lenses that block 100% of UV rays, and the non-prescription lenses option is made from CR-39 for maximum clarity.
Additionally, if you opt to have prescription lenses with your Warby Parker Fletcher sunglasses, you can fit progressive or reader lenses. These prescription lenses are made from polycarbonate, which is the most impact-resistant material for sunglasses. In fact, the brand is so confident in the lens’s durability, they offer an exclusive 12 month no-scratch lens guarantee.
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6. Sunski Seacliff Sunglasses
Sometimes, there is no avoiding regular wear and tear, and it can become costly to continuously replace your sunglasses every summer. With the Sunski Seacliff polarized sunglasses, you won’t have this worry.
When you own a pair of Sunski Seacliff sunglasses, you’ll be covered by the brand’s industry-leading forever warranty. This warranty will cover your glasses forever, whereby if you break them under regular use, the brand will replace or fix them for you, which is incredibly convenient.
However, it’s unlikely you’ll need to utilize this warranty as the Seacliff sunglasses by Sunski have passed the FDA basic impact test and offer UV400 protection. Those who are environmentally conscious will likely love that the Sunski Seacliff sunglasses are made from superlight recycled frames.
Additionally, you will have the choice of two different frame sizes and can opt to purchase them in either a small or medium. Depending on your face shape, these could provide the perfect fit. Another vital aspect to consider is sunglass lenses. With the Sunski Seacliff sunglasses, you will have highly fashionable, non mirrored grey tinted lenses.
Moreover, these frames are not only environmentally friendly but also provide an all-day comfortable fit. The modern rectangular design and neutral color choices guarantee they will match any outfit you put together.
7. Le Specs Oh Boy Gradient Round Sunglasses
The circular sunglasses design is likely to never go out of fashion with celebrities, musicians, and artists still opting to wear this classic vintage style. The Le Specs Oh Buoy gradient round sunglasses offer a fresh take by adding a touch of glamour to their indulgent circular frame.
Le Specs Oh Buoy sunglasses are comfortable to wear despite their shape. They have a lens width of 2.04 inches, a bridge width of 0.74 inches, and a temple length of 1.57 inches. Additionally, they are unisex and compatible with most face shapes.
These sunglasses are suitable for everyday use because they are stylish and because they are designed with materials that ensure they are durable. The lenses have a gradient tint, are shatterproof, scratch-resistant, and provide 100% UV protection. Additionally, the black frames offer a seamless design and are made with robust Tritan plastic.
8. Oliver Peoples Circular Sunglasses
If you want a pair of luxury sunglasses manufactured explicitly in Italy, you may like the Oliver Peoples Circular sunglasses. With sunglasses like these, you’ll exude elegance because of their olive green lenses and transparent frames, which is not often seen in sunglass designs.
The Oliver People Circular Italian luxury sunglasses frames are suited to smaller face shapes because of their measurements. The lenses have a diameter of 1.9 inches, a bridge length of 0.9 inches, and an arm length of 5.7 inches.
Rectangular frames are often overrated, especially for smaller face shapes. That’s why if you like your sunglasses to be smaller in size or if you want to change up your look, you should consider these circular framed sunglasses by Oliver Peoples.
If you’re not entirely won over yet, you might be after learning that they have a 100% acetate composition. This makes them durable without taking away from their uber elegant appearance.
9. Mykita Boost Square Sunglasses
Square sunglasses give a very no-nonsense vibe that manages to be both captivating and intimidating. The Mykita Boost square sunglasses are perfect for those wanting to show off their fashion savvy mindset. These spectacular sunglasses are uniquely designed with bar cutouts on the sides to draw attention to your eyes and keep the spotlight on you.
The frames on the Mykita Boost square sunglasses are solid black and feature straight arms with curved tips. Additionally, the lenses are also tinted black and durable. Square frames are incredibly flattering, and the Mykita Boost, in particular, works well for those who love an oversized look.
You will notice that the lens diameter is an impressive 2.12 inches, with an arm length of 5.5 inches and a bridge width of 0.72 inches. Moreover, as an added benefit, when you’re not using your sunglasses, you can easily store them in a protective case that comes with the product when you purchase it.
10. Persol Steve McQueen Aviator Sunglasses
Should you like the aviator sunglasses design but also want to express your quirkiness and creative style, the Steve McQueen Aviator sunglasses by the brand Persol may be ideal. With these leopard-framed sunglasses, you could be the talk of the town.
However, if leopard print isn’t quite to your tastes, you can choose a different frame theme as there are luckily more than five to choose between. These Steve McQueen aviator sunglasses are produced with a lens diameter of 2.12 inches, a bridge of 0.82 inches, and an arm’s length of 5.51 inches. With these measurements, the sunglasses will provide a snug fit for most, and they are unlikely to fall off your face which is always a bonus.
Notably, the Steve McQueen aviators have a durable acetate plastic frame composition and bright blue polarized glass lenses coated with a specially formulated UV coating. Not only will this coating protect your eyesight, but it will also ensure your sunglasses stand the test of time.
There are many types of sunglass styles that suit different face shapes. Below are a few of the most popularly bought sunglass designs. We have also given a brief description of each so that you can properly decide which style would best suit you.
- Aviator or pilot design: This simple style is characterized by a teardrop lens design and usually has a distinctive metal frame. Interestingly they became popular because real-life aviators and pilots were wearing them.
- Cat-eye: Nowadays, the cat-eye sunglasses shape isn’t only suited to women. Many brands manufacture unique cat-eye frames for men. Cat-eye frames are distinctive because of their feline appearance.
- Butterfly: Sunglasses with the butterfly lens shape are often large and oversized. Butterfly lenses cover most of one’s face, which provides ample coverage against the sun.
- Rectangular: It may sound like an odd lens shape, but it is still one of the most popular. The rectangular shape of the lenses characterizes rectangular sunglasses. These sunglasses are also usually thicker and broader near the lens area.
- Round: If you want to make a fashion statement, you should consider round sunglasses. Round sunglasses have circular lenses that often only cover around the area of the eye. If you have a smaller face, it can highlight a narrow jawline.
- Wayfarer: Classified by a thick frame and trapezoidal lens shape, wayfarer sunglasses have long been a timeless go-to look. This style of sunglasses is known for its versatility, and the form of the lenses usually suits most face shapes.
- Square: Square-framed sunglasses are perfect for adding balance to a narrow jawline. They are also great at giving a round face a hint of angles. Oversized square sunglasses have become increasingly popular for those wanting an edgy and incognito look.
Purchasing a new pair of sunglasses can be an exciting but complicated process. If you don’t pick the right pair, you could end up with a style you hate and waste money. You shouldn’t worry too much, though, as we have listed below a few pointers you should keep in mind when you go sunglasses shopping.
If you look out for the below-mentioned points, you will likely end up with a pair of sunglasses that matches your personality and needs.
- Bigger frames are better: The bigger your sunglasses frame, the more coverage and protection you will receive from the sun. Additionally, bigger sunglasses can help balance your face or highlight the angles you have.
- Polarized lenses are ideal for cutting glare: Contrary to popular belief buying a pair of sunglasses with polarized lenses will not protect you better from the harmful effects of UV rays. However, a polarized lens will prevent the glare from reflective surfaces from hitting your eyes. This is incredibly handy for those who spend time outdoors and those who often drive in sunny conditions.
- Look for 100% UV protection: Although it may cost you more in the long run, buying a pair of 100% UV protection sunglasses will be highly beneficial to preserving your eyesight. Look out for a sticker, tag, or online description that stipulates that the sunglasses you are interested in are protective against 100% of UV rays.
In the past, sunglasses were not an essential fashion accessory, but that has changed with the many styles that have become available. Sunglasses are almost a fashion staple item in the modern world because they come in numerous different colors, textures, and materials. You can match a pair of sunglasses with any outfit including, beachwear, formal wear, casual wear, and sport wear.
The Best Golf Pants for Men Who Hit the Greens Regularly
Every guy who’s into golf knows that warmer weather and longer days make for great times on the green. Regardless of how much you know about golf, it’s no secret that clothing means a lot more when hitting the golf course than compared to most sports. Though stereotypical golf attire may come off as a bit too prep for some, there are several options that are nothing of the sort, and actually work in a player’s favor in terms of both function and fashion.
Seasoned golfers know that feeling good and playing good tend to go hand in hand, meaning a regular pair of jeans or athletic shorts just might not cut it when it comes to having a good game. Whether you’re brand new to the sport or a true and steadfast linksman, knowing your options when it comes to golf pants is imperative, hence why we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best golf pants for men who hit the greens regularly!
1. Nike Dri-FIT UV Golf Chino
Out of all the golf pants available, the Nike Dri-FIT UV Golf Chino pants take the cake as our overall best pick due to their fit and flair. These sweat-wicking, stretchy cotton and polyester pants are perfectly designed and comfy and will have you on the top of your game.
The Nike Dri-FIT UV Golf Chino’s are slightly tapered, giving them a more professional and formal look so that you can look just as good as you play. They also come in a decent array of colors, however, the “Healing Jade” color is probably our favorite. It’s both unique and eye-catching, making it the perfect pair of pants for putting on the green.
2. Peter Millar Durham Performance Trouser
Our premium choice for golf pants is hands down the Peter Millar Durham Performance Trouser. This bestselling pair of trousers boasts high-performance polyester woven twill fabric that’s both comfortable and full of quality. The fabric of these Peter Millar Durham trousers allows for maximum mobility, giving you the best range of motion for your swing.
In addition, they also feature quick-dry and moisture-wicking technology, ensuring you will remain cool and dry on the course. With a classic fit and flat-front design, you’re sure to love the way you look and feel in these premium pants.
3. Royal & Awesome Golf Pants
While gold attire does tend to fall on the pricier side of the spectrum, there are some great, money-conscious options available. For example, the Royal & Awesome Golf Pants from Amazon run between $52.49 – $80.90, making them our pick for best “bang for your buck.”
These golf pants also come in a very diverse arrangement of colors and patterns, making them a practical yet fun pick for a guy wanting to show off his style and protect his wallet. Being that these pants are mostly cotton with a touch of spandex, they are not as stretchy as some of the other options. However, if you’re looking for a solid pair of pants for some lighthearted play, these are sure to do the job (in style).
4. Under Armour Golf Rain Pants
If you’re the kind of golfer who sticks out 18-holes no matter if it’s rain, hail, or shine, then the Under Armour Golf Rain Pants are a must-have for your closet. These UA golf pants are 100% waterproof and breathable, and they even feature windproof construction in order to truly keep sheltered from the elements.
In addition to repelling water and keeping you dry, the pants are also lined with super-soft brushed fleece in order to maintain warmth and comfort. The fabric is 2.5-layer bonded for extra protection, yet the pants remain lightweight and out of the way. They only come in one color which is black, and while they do look a bit more on the casual side, it doesn’t get much better in terms of functionality.
5. Stateapparel Clubhouse Pants
If you’re a more serious player, then the Stateapparel Clubhouse Pants will certainly stick out to you. These lightweight golf pants were designed specifically with professional US Open golfers in mind, meaning they have everything from the four-way mechanical stretch for optimal mobility, to a special wiping element in the pockets for cleaning your clubs and hands without hassle.
While the Stateapparel Clubhouse Pants are durable in any climate or weather pattern, they thrive best in the heat, keeping the player cool and content while swinging a golf club in 80+ degree weather. These professional-grade pants are a quality bargain worth taking part in.
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6. Polo Ralph Lauren Mid-Rise Twill Slim-Leg Trousers
Ralph Lauren continues to impress with their versatile pair of Mid-Rise Slim-Leg Trousers. These golf pants are made out of 100% polyester, giving them a very thin yet roomy feel. While they work great for going out on the green, these black pocketed trousers can also be worn during the day for work or even during a casual night out.
They’re a bit more basic and plain than some other options, but this understated look is necessary for certain occasions, even in golf. Having a pair or two of these isn’t a bad idea for anyone needing a little more fluff in their golfing wardrobe.
7. Adidas Ultimate365 3-Stripes Tapered Pant
The Adidas Ultimate365 3-Stripes Tapered Pants are a bit more unconventional in terms of style and look, however, they are great for hitting the golf course. With a stretchy material that allows for unrestricted movement and fabric managing moisture, these tapered pants work great for either heat or humidity. They come in a few different colors, though their navy option tends to be the most popular.
The style is a bit unique, looking like a very even cross between a pair of athletic pants and work pants, meaning that if you do it properly, you have the option to either dress them up or down. The Adidas Ultimate365 3-Stripes Tapered Pants are also on the more affordable side, making them great for those paying hefty green fees.
8. Bonobos Highland Tour Golf Pants
Bonobos Highland Tour Golf Pants are a grade-A option all around. From style to quality to comfort, these golf pants really set the standard for what should be worn while playing this beloved sport. With more than eight different colors to choose from, the Highland Tour Golf Pants from Bonobos feature flex panels, shirt grippers, and even UPF protection, meaning they do a whole lot more than simply look good.
According to most of the reviews, these pants are also extremely comfortable, meaning they are also a great transitional pair of pants for those needing to rush around from the course to elsewhere without much time in between.
9. Puma Jackpot 5 Pocket Golf Pants
Another great value pair of golf pants comes from the athletic brand, Puma. The Puma Jackpot 5 Golf Pants have been named “the best pants we’ve ever made” by Puma themselves, meaning there must be something worthwhile to them.
These golf pants are available in some of the best color options, from orange to mint green, making a wonderful pair of pants to own in more than one color. With moisture-wicking technical fabric and a mesh stretch waistband, these pants go beyond style and check the boxes for support and practicality as well. These pants are also great for both work and golf, and Puma even makes shorts with the same exact color options and material for those really hot days.
10. Linksoul Chino Boardwalker Pant
If you’re looking to go green as you hit the green, then Linksoul’s Chino Boardwalker Pants are the perfect eco-friendly and sustainable item to add to your closet. Linksoul’d Boardwalkers are made mostly from recycled polyester found in discarded plastic water bottles.
These high-performance, four-way stretch pants are finished with a saltwater wash in order to bring added comfort and smoothness to their innovative design. Though the color options are a bit more neutral, having a couple of different pairs will make for a solid selection when you visit the range.
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Golf Pants FAQs
Investing in high-quality golf pants means giving yourself the highest level of comfort and function as you play a precise game. In addition, golf pants tend to last longer and be better suited for sudden weather changes, something that sometimes happens while in the middle of an 18-hole game.
The simple answer is, yes! While some men might prefer to keep their golf pants separate, most golf pants are extremely comfortable and nice looking, making them very tempting to wear on a daily basis. Plus, you won’t have to change before hitting the green after getting off work!
It is important to stick with golf pants that offer four-way stretch. These will offer you the greatest amount of flexibility and movement as you twist and swing. If possible, it’s also nice to have a pair that’s also waterproof, just in case you encounter poor weather during a long game.