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GearBox: 10 necessities the cofounders of Grove can’t live without

If you’ve hung around the DT site long enough, you’ve no doubt noticed a few posts about the iPhone and iPad cases made by Portland, Oregon company Grove. Using bamboo and a keen artistic eye, the young company designs thin and snug iPhone cases (as well as a great iPad 2 case) that are most often laser-engraved with quirky and fun designs. Cofounders Ken Tomita and Joe Mansfield combined their respective talents: Tomita had experience with custom-designed wood furniture, and Mansfield had previously worked engraving laptops, laptop cases, and leather covers for Moleskine notebooks. Now they run a successful small company (where everything is done in-house) that focuses on design, quality, and customer satisfaction. 

We talked to Grove’s cofounders to find out what they can’t live without, tech-related or not. Below we’ve gathered together what the two say are the essentials that make life a littler easier and a little more enjoyable. 

MacBook Air 13-inch

“Incredibly lightweight and slim profile.  The battery life is long enough that I never carry a power source and the touchpad is so good, I never carry a mouse.  It completely changed my experience of using a laptop by enabling true portability.  Solid state drive makes it feel snappy and faster than the specs, making it a true game changer. I carry it around everywhere!” – KT

MacBook Air 11-inch

“Paired with a 27-inch thunderbolt display, my 11-inch MBA is a super-versatile system. The ultra-light laptop is a breeze to carry from home to the office and the solid state memory offers incredibly quick performance for its size. When docked at home, the laptop does a great job running the large external display.” – JM

iPhone + Grove bamboo case

“Ok, Im a little biased… but I can’t live without my iPhone and I’m nervous if it’s not in my Grove case. I prefer the feel of the expertly sanded natural material and hand rubbed oil finish over the delicate glass and harsh metal of the iPhone 4. My case has developed a nice patina over time, making me even more attached to it.” -KT

“An iPhone junkie from the very beginning, I’ve been amazed with the continuous improvement with each revision. I’m most impressed with the enhanced speed, camera, and video performance of the iPhone 4S. Our hand-finished bamboo cases give the cold delicate hardware a human feel. The bamboo makes a great canvas for laser engraved artwork and allows people to share their favorite art with the world.” -JM  

 Nike Air Force 1s

“I started collecting these five years ago or so and now own 20 pairs or so. I really like the concept of taking a basic shape and seeing how many variations can be made of it. Truly a timeless design.” -KT

Arc’teryx Rho LT Zip

“This thermal long sleeve shirt makes getting out the door for morning runs easier. The moisture wicking and anti-microbial fabric keeps me comfortable in a range of temperatures and doesn’t stink like other synthetics. The laminated zip chest pocket is a great place to stash a key and an ID.” -JM

Pulse app for iPhone

“The best RSS aggregater out there, period.  You can carry 50 feeds in 5 categories with easy scrolling vertically and horizontally. My preferred way of browsing blogs and news. Even better for the iPad. Great for those of us with information addiction! ” -KT

Tyler Stout Posters

“One of the first Portland illustrators I discovered when I moved here in 2006. Tyler consistently creates incredible limited edition movie posters that disappear minutes after he releases them to his rabid fans. His unique hand-drawn style and awesome color palettes are silkscreened by D&L screenprinting.” -JM

’94 Toyota Pickup 4×4 (black) with canopy and lumber rack, brush guard + PIAA 525

“Nothing like my trusty old work truck. It’s been to hell and back and won’t break down.  The lumber rack allows me to haul just about anything. Old school 4 Wheel low can get me out of anything.  They don’t make ’em like they used to!  I like the more rugged body style of the pre-Tacoma (1994 and older) Toyota pickups.” -KT

Surly long Haul Trucker Touring Bike

“After buying a used Long Haul Trucker frame, I spent months collecting used components and building up my dream commuter bike. My first test was a two week bike tour with a friend from Portland to the San Juan Islands. The bike is my daily commuter and I’m constantly improving the ergonomics, durability and efficiency of the bike.” -JM 

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