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Staff Picks: Bryan Campbell, Staff Writer

Canvas-sided leather boots, a pen designed for outer space and much more.


Editor’s Note: As a collective, the Gear Patrol staff is a wealth of knowledge about products — everyone is an expert in his or her own right. Of course, every story we publish is a testament to that. In our personal lives, we pursue our product passion too. This series is our way of showcasing and sharing our insights on products we inpidually endorse and love and own. Our hope is that you enjoy it all — and perhaps discover something new as you meet our staff over the next few weeks.

I’ve never been the type of guy to wait in line for the new iPhone to get it the day it’s released and I’ve never understood the people who do. Year after year, brand-new smartphones hit shelves that are almost guaranteed to be plagued with initial bugs that necessitate immediate fixes — yet people still camp outside stores to be the first buyers. The gear I put to use on a regular basis needs to be reliable, ready to go out of the box, durable enough to tackle the elements and stand the test of time. A few of my picks from last year have made it to this year’s list for that exact reason.

Had my 2008 Kawasaki ZX10R not been stolen from in front of my apartment last December (a moment of silence please…) you can be damn sure it would have been on this year’s list too. As for the newcomers, I’m in the middle of putting them through the wringer. But I wouldn’t have even considered them in the first place if they didn’t have the rugged and timeless qualities that have worked so well for me in the past.

Caterpillar Abe Canvas

These boots have yet to let me down. I’ve hiked through deserts and up mountains with these and put more than a fair share of motorcycle miles on them. The only thing that wore down on them was the laces — and even then, they didn’t even completely break, they just frayed a little. When someone asks me if they know where to find a good, durable, affordable pair of boots, these get the nod, every time.

Buy Now: $114

Autodromo Stadale

I wouldn’t consider myself a watch guy by any means, but with my attraction to all things automotive and timeless style Autodromo seems like a natural fit — it’s the only brand of watch I’ve truly sought out. Equally timeless in design with just the right amount of automotive influence. It’s also my first mecahnical timepiece. Some watch guys might say, “this is how it begins…”

Buy Now: $875

Mott & Bow Wooster Slim

I endorsed these last year and I’m still wearing them — they’re still just as comfortable. That being said, there may be a hole starting form at the top of the inseam and you may be able to tell exactly how my wallet sits in my back pocket even when it’s not in there.

Buy Now: $118

Rustic Leather Pocket Notebook

More duarble than your averge paperback Field Notes book, it’s got a certain Henry-Jones-Sr. diary look to it. I’ve jotted down a few road notes from my own adventures on its pulpy pages, so it has a sentimental value to me as well.

Buy Now: $25

Velomacchi 28L Roll-Top Backpack

This is one product I’m still in the middle of testing. I’ve taken it on a few motorcycle rides, including one from Seattle, Washington, to Achorage, Alaska, and it has held up. Plus the strap and buckle architecture makes it feel almost non-exixstant on my back. I’ll let you know next year if it stands the test of time.

Buy Now: $339

Vans SK8-Hi

A pair of Vans SK8-Hi’s made an appearence on last year’s list too. Since then, I’ve picked up a few more in different styles.

Buy Now: $85

Fisher Space Pen AG7

I didn’t need to test out the Fisher AG7 because NASA already gave it their approval by sending some into space with the Apollo 7 mission. Though I have yet to put its zero-gravity writing abilities to the test, I can tell you it put ink to paper in my leather notebook perfectly when I was writing musings during roadside stops somewhere in the Yukon.

Buy Now: $34

Ashley Watson Eversholt Motorcycle Jacket

Yet another piece of gear I’m in the middle of testing. So far, it’s proving itself to be a future mainstay (it survived the full 2,678.5 miles from Washington to Alaska). Waxed canvas, brushed wool, waterproof, comfortable and has removable D30 pads for legitimate on-road protection — ingredients for a long-lasting, versitile motorcycle jacket, to say the least.

Buy Now: $709

Unroasted Coffee Beans

I recently decided to start roasting my own coffee beans because it’s easy, it’ll save me money and, well, it gets my girlfriend to stop buying Foldgers. I order it four or five pounds at a time. Experimenting with roasts and having fresh coffee to grind every morning for next to nothing is hard to beat.

Buy Now: $6 per lb

The Grail

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

To be completely honest, my grail has a massive caveat. I don’t just want any Rolex Daytona, I want the Rolex Daytona the winners of the 24 Hours of Daytona get. But just like I didn’t kiss the bricks at Indianapolis because I’ve never won the Indy 500, I wouldn’t buy a Daytona, either — I’d only have it if I could win it fair and square. I know what the odds are, but, hey, Paul Newman started racing when he was 46 years old and won the 24-hour race in ’95 when he was eight days into being a septuagenarian. And I’m only 28.

Buy Now: $16,900 or win the 24 Hours of Daytona

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