Backed Hard: The Best Stuff We (Actually) Bought in June

July 1, 2021 Off By Rec Room Staff

Every day, we crack our eyes and pound the keyboard with our Barbie fingers to find the best stuff online that we might not need, but definitely require to stay alive. And if you’ve already pillaged our May editors picks, you know how we like our checkout cart: filled with good sci-fi books, affordable serums, and men’s jeans that are stretchy without being skin-tight. 

Well, this month, we’re in bike shorts. We’re sautéing for the children with shiny new frying pans, and wiping our bums with hot pink toilet paper. We’re finding home decor that trips us out (in the best way) and fanny packs to become human kangaroos (the real ones are assholes??), and whitening our teeth ‘till they’re blinding. Here are all the things we bought and back hard this month. 

An Adidas fanny pack 

When I moved to Brooklyn, I told myself I wouldn’t adopt the look de jour, but there is one thing the people hanging out by the Bedford Ave L-station got right: fanny packs. The person who decided fanny packs were out of style owes the world an apology. This one is perfect for wearing on the hip as intended or slinging over the shoulder for a more hypebeast look. It also won’t get in the way when you’re biking. —Ian Burke

A chest freezer for afternoon pints

Today is the day I out myself as a homebrew nerd on the internet. And, as most homebrewers know, bottling gets suuuper old after a while (especially when you’re making five-gallon batches in a tiny apartment kitchen). The answer? Kegs. The first thing you need to do when kegging is determine how you’re gonna control the temperature. For me, this Hisense 5 cu/ft Chest Freezer is perfect; it fits two corny kegs, gas and beer lines, and a CO2 tank with a dual regulator with ease. Just hook it up to an Inkbird thermometer, set it to your desired temp for either cold-crashing or serving, and voila. Plus, you can always use a chest freezer to store a shitload of meats and frozen foods. (I guess.) —Ian Burke

Padded bike shorts to protect your taint

The catalytic converter and muffler were recently sawed off my car in the middle of the night by some entrepreneurial New Yorkers, which was a bummer. Out of a car, I figured, why not buy a bicycle? Turns out, I love it. What I do not love, however, is a sore ass. Which, if you’ve never ridden a road bike at length, is a pretty common occurrence. These padded bike shorts ease the pain, can be worn discreetly under regular athletic clothing, and are great for when you're in between being a cyclist and a commuter—and you’re not ready to look like a boner Lance as you’re huffing and puffing up a one-percent gradient.—Ian Burke

A stainless steel fry pan to broil your life away

I’ve done the cast iron thing. I bought an enameled Dutch oven by Lodge, in which I cook literally everything, and I was super happy with that purchase. The problem was, while it’s ultra-versatile, it’s clunky and kinda hard to clean, due to its shape and weight. Enter: this affordable, stainless steel, high-walled frying pan. I’m not sure how I’ve been able to last this long without one—browning meat and making pan sauces are a breeze, and I truly love finishing things as close to the broiler as possible, which is tough to do in a Dutch oven.—Ian Burke

Aaron Murray ceramics

A few years ago, I was driving around north of Seattle and came across this truly amazing store in the tiny town of Edison, Washington (population: 147) called The Lucky Dumpster, a purveyor of artisanal pottery, home goods, and weird outsider art, including the ceramics of a local artist named Aaron Murray. I bought one of his beer can sculptures and soon after dug around and found that he actually has an Etsy store, which I've stared at with desire and admiration since. This past month, I made two purchases from it; a fake Insane Clown Posse beer can to gift to my juggalo friend, and a HOT CATZ mug that turned out to be absolutely enormous IRL, which is awesome. Everything's one of a kind, but his store is always full of great stuff, like this shoe sculpture. Recommended if you like Daniel Johnston energy. —Hilary Pollack

A digital meat thermometer, finally

I was vegetarian for 10 of my most formative years (age 16 to 26) and so I never really got into the swing of cooking much meat at home—some shrimp here, a roasted chicken there, maybe a steak every once in a while. Anyhow, somehow I've gotten by since I started eating meat again without poisoning myself, but lately I've been making a lot of chicken, so I decided to suck it up and get a digital meat thermometer. Yoooo, it is so helpful. Also this one is magnetic and sticks to your fridge, which is cool.—Hilary Pollack

A teeth whitening kit that works ridiculously well for under $50

I've been thinking about whitening my teeth for… I don't know… 12 years? Since some point in Obama's second term, maybe even his first? Anyhow, I was definitely due to blast my chompers with bleachy juice, but I didn't wanna go to a pro and deal with all that, so I thought I'd do a little research, pick a home kit, and roll the dice. Holy shit, you guys. Why didn't anyone tell me these things work so well? I think it's all in the blue light that it comes with, which you awkwardly grip in place with your lips for five minutes at the end of your strip sesh, so mentally prepare for that. But that thing is powerful. The kit comes with 10 strips, but after two I definitely saw a difference, and now I've used eight and cannot imagine my teeth getting any whiter. I'd show you a before and after, but I don't even wanna think about how my teeth looked before now that I'm a gleaming snow-smile princess. It's nuts.—Hilary Pollack

Maude’s sensational lube

A lube that looks beautiful on your nightstand. I've had multiple friends reach to examine it because they think it must be a fancy hand lotion of CBD tincture. All of Maude's sexual wellness products are so thoughtfully designed. Most unscented lubes smell like a freshly washed car tire, but this one lube literally has no scent (other than what I would call "silky cloud") —Mary Frances Knapp

Bright pink toilet paper

I was rewatching Amy Sedaris' bananas apartment video tour (for the 98th time) in which she shows off the pink paper towels her brother, David Sedaris, buys for her in London. It's a little risky to indulge the side of myself that wants to spend $17 on six rolls of hot pink toilet paper, but I love myself for knowing my butt is getting a Schiapparelli cleaning.—Mary Frances

This psychedelic bath mat

My roommate and I have decided to make our bathroom look like a teenage stoner’s basement from 1979.—Mary Frances Knapp

A classic Carhartt shirt for the big ‘n’ tall boys (a.k.a. my dad)

I bought this for my dad's birthday. He lives in Southern California, so this is going to become his summertime jacket when the marine layer comes in (and one of many to layer with over a turtleneck in the winter).—Mary Frances Knapp

See ya in August. Let us know what color toilet paper you get? 

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. VICE may receive a small commission if you buy through the links on our site.