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.
I grew up in such a place and in such a way that made me wary of the control objects have over us, how they can tie us down; the Tao of Stuff, if you will. I try to want as little as possible and appreciate what I have. I try to hone in on the few quality products that enhance my life rather than flounder in a stream of replaceable and forgettable goods. And I try to make sure everything I own fits in the back of my car, so I can always hit the road.
Gregory Avenues Millcreek Pack
I probably have five different backpacks into which I can pack away my life. This is my favorite for my daily routine — it’s a bucket with a padded laptop sleeve and a small mesh zip pocket, and that’s about it. The fabric is TPU-coated polyester ripstop which means my stuff won’t get wet on my urban commute. I did once manage to rig my skis to the sides for a quick trip up a mountain, too.
RVCA Backyard Long Sleeve
Rarely will a tie constrict my collar or shirttails burrow below my belt. I prefer a casual style dominated by patternless button downs and RVCA’s Backyard Long Sleeve is a good example. Like a flannel but without the cheque, the 100% cotton Backyard is comfortable and looks good enough for the bar but is appropriate enough for the office (this office, in any case).
Biolite PowerLight Mini
The PowerLight Mini is, like a good pocket knife, one of those gadgets that lives in my pack at all times. You just never know when you’ll need a decent light source and this little guy works about five times harder than you’d think, judging from its size. It has dimming, strobe and red light functions and comes with a bicycle mount. There’s also a metal clip that doubles as a kickstand.
Orage Rambler Jacket
I like precipitation, especially of the frozen variety, but I don’t like to get wet. The Rambler is a high end tech shell that’s incredibly lightweight but near bombproof when it comes to fending off the elements in the mountains. It has a 30K/30K waterproof breathability rating, which is almost unheard of in most ski jackets. Accessible pockets and lots of vents also make me a happy hiker when the sun is shining high.
I’ve always been interested in photography, but only recently made the investment in a more serious camera system. The a6300 is a mirrorless camera that’s tiny compared to most DSLRs — making it great for travel — and still produces solid photos. It also records 4K video and can shoot at 11 frames per second, which is great for catching moving targets.
Mizu V12 Bottle
I never leave home without a full water bottle because, well, you never know. When it’s hot out, I like my water cold and when it’s cold out I like my tea hot, and the V12’s insulation keeps it that way for hours. I also appreciate Mizu’s message of reducing our consumption of single-use plastics.
The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway: Finca Vigia Edition
When I first read Hemingway’s writing in ninth grade, I hated it. Years later, I picked up a copy of this book while I was living in Madrid, (cliché, I know), and could hardly put it down. Hemingway’s unadorned prose is populated by characters gritty and real, romantic but not embellished. “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” and “The Capital of the World” are good places for newcomers to start.
Rossignol Sickle Skis
I bought the Rossignol Sickle on eBay two years following its release after my older brother described them as the “funnest” ski he’d ever ridden. I couldn’t agree more, and at 110mm underfoot they’re fine on inbounds groomers and amazing in deeper snow. Sadly, it seems that there aren’t any more to be found in my size, but I’m looking forward to trying out the new Black Ops once my edges crack and my bases look like Swiss cheese.
Cabot Cheddar Cheese
Speaking of cheese, I can’t get enough of it. As a Vermonter, I know that the tiny state makes the best cheddar in the country, and I’ve gone so far as to have my mom ship a three-pound brick of Seriously Sharp across the country to get my fix. Eat it straight or add it to scrambled eggs or a homemade burger, and you can’t go wrong. Also, cheese is made from milk. Milk is white. Therefore, cheese should also be white. Don’t buy orange cheese.
Balance 526 Catamaran
I don’t know how to sail a sunfish, let alone a 52-foot twin hull catamaran. One day I will, though, and I’ll leave all the trappings of civilization behind for a life on the open seas. Instead of a desk and a screen, my days will be filled with tropical islands, spiced rum and sashimi caught off the stern. It will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.