Polaris’ latest low-slung three-wheeler delivers a rush of adrenaline on the open road, while the newest hiking gear brings you back to nature in the great outdoors.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY FRANKIE BATISTA STYLING BY HEIDI MEEK
If you’ve long thought of urban driving as more drudgery than fun, you’ve been behind the wrong wheel. More specifically, you’ve been relying on one too many wheels. The Polaris Slingshot SL, an open-air three-wheeler, captures the thrill of piloting a go-kart in a street-legal package. A lack of doors, no roof, and only 5 inches of ground clearance can do that. Priced from $26,799, the Slingshot SL, like all five Slingshot models, is customizable through a bevy of accessories. Some are merely aesthetic, while others are more functional, such as excursion tops, wind deflectors, and storage bags for personal belongings.
Drivers who analyze performance specs and powertrain configurations might dismiss the Slingshot’s capability on paper. But given the vehicle’s curb weight of just over 1,600 pounds, the 178 hp and 120 lb-ft of torque generated by its Prostar 4-cylinder engine packs a punch. This sleek, petite, low-riding autocycle (its official classification) incites an adrenaline rush at moderate speeds precisely because it is sleek, petite, and low-riding.
The driving and riding experience is not unlike a motorcycle; and those who have experienced one—especially passengers—will particularly enjoy the Slingshot, since the autocycle delivers the same exhilaration without the need to hold on. (Be forewarned: Drivers and passengers must follow state motorcycle helmet laws.)
Still, the Slingshot is more car than bike, and motoring purists can order theirs with a traditional manual transmission (complete with a floor-mounted clutch and a center-console shifter); though an AutoDrive transmission ($1,750 extra), accented by optional paddle shifters, does broaden the consumer base. Upgrade to the Signature LE (from $35,000), which features styling enhancements such as a tri-tone paint scheme and customized interior LED lighting alongside traditional automotive comforts that include heated and cooled seats, a backup camera, and a 7-inch touchscreen display complete with GPS navigation, weather and traffic overlays, and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
Once you have reached the end of the road and are ready to set out on foot, the Danner Trail 2650 is a versatile, lightweight (around 12 ounces per shoe) hiking shoe (from $170) that provides plenty of stability and underfoot protection on rocky or uneven terrain.
When even more stability is needed, Black Diamond Equipment Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles ($140) can extend as long as 55 inches and their natural cork grips are comfortable in hand, even when the occasional white-knuckle grip is required. The 36-liter Patagonia Altvia Pack ($180), constructed from rugged recycled nylon, features a breathable back panel and shoulder straps built around a frame that can support heavier loads for longer, overnight excursions. It offers ample storage space for necessary gear, like the 16.9-ounce Grayl UltraPress Water Purifier ($90), a compact bottle that can filter river or lake water into purified drinking water in just 10 seconds. And don’t forget the Garmin inReach Mini ($350), a lightweight and compact satellite communicator that provides two-way messaging, offers location-sharing capability, and is equipped with an interactive SOS alert system in case of emergency. —Shaun Tolson
ARC’TERYX shirt, $175; arcteryx.com
KÜHL shorts, $79; kuhl.com
PARKS PROJECT socks, $20; parksproject.us
DANNER TRAIL 2650 hiking shoes, $180; danner.com
ELECTRIC sunglasses, $220; electriccalifornia.com
BELL & ROSS watch, $4,300; bellross.com
PATAGONIA Altvia backpack, $180; patagonia.com
GARMIN inReach Mini GPS, $350; garmin.com
GRAYL UltraPress Water Purifier bottle, $90; grayl.com
BLACK DIAMOND EQUIPMENT Trail Ergo Cork trekking poles, $140; blackdiamondequipment.com
PETZL Actik Core headlamp, $70; petzl.com