Editor’s Note: It’s pretty clear that we’re passionate about gear. And with this series, we want to share with you our own personal favorite pieces. Over the next few months, we’ll bring you our staff’s 10 personal favorites — goods we personally own and use. The selection will run the gamut, from heirloom pieces to practical gear that can be easily procured. Last but not least, each will share one “holy grail” item that still remains the stuff of dreams, out of reach, but hopefully only temporarily so.
Gear has, ironically, always come second to me at Gear Patrol. I love stories about the people and places that surround a particular product — its context. But, if you work at a place that writes about cool shit day-in and day-out, eventually, even against your best intentions, you get sucked in.
Scott Radian Fly Rod
Like an extension of your arm when you cast it. Before this, I was using a $100 Redington — one hell of a beater rod, but compared to this, like casting with a two-by-four.
Grand Trunk Single Parachute Nylon Hammock
The best outdoor napping spot money can buy. And tough. Some brigand burned a hole in it at a music festival last summer, and the ripstop’s held up fine. In fact, it was kind of an upgrade: now it has a drainage hole when it rains.
Seiko 5 SNZF17K1 ‘Sea Urchin’ Diver
On an orange GP strap, I can wear it most anywhere; it was my first mechanical watch, and even though it costs less than $200, I want to give it to my kids someday with lots of scratches and dings as proof that their old man had some adventures.
Martin M36 Guitar
Not just a top-of-the-line acoustic guitar, made in the US — a special edition. My girlfriend and I won it in a raffle at the Philadelphia Folk Festival (the same one where some jerk burned a hole in my hammock, actually). She and her dad had been buying tickets since she was a little girl. Now we play it most nights. I’m still mastering my F major chord.
Complete Collected Short Stories of Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl is my favorite author, and his short stories are a major inspiration for my own writing. Rather than simply looking online for a complete collection, I slowly acquired a library of his collected works as I found them in bookstores and shops. Last year I finally found an unabridged collection deep in the stacks of New York’s Strand Bookstore, with the final few rarer stories I had never read. The process made it that much sweeter.
Ashton VSG Pegasus
Ashton’s Virgin Sun Growns have long been my favorite cigars, and the size of the Pegasus seems just right, whether it’s to be enjoyed while shooting the shit with buddies or reading a few stories from Mr. Twain.
Smithey Ironware No 10 Cast Iron Skillet
Great for cookin’, very nice-lookin’.
Engraved Fly Box
A gift from my girlfriend. She even had some of my own writing engraved on the back, next to something by Hemingway. If you wanna make a writer happy, just stroke his ego about words. She’s a keeper.
NOMOS Metro Datum Gangreserve
It’s very modern, and unique enough to start a conversation but not shouty in its design. A hell of a lot pricier than my Seiko, but also not all that far out of reach on my budget.