This Holiday Season, Here’s What Not to Buy

There’s plenty to shop for, but not all that glitters should be sold.

a collage with a roomba, fleece jacket, whiskey glass, and toyota 4 runner

Our fundamental aim at Gear Patrol is to provide you, the reader, with the best product advice we can. Sometimes, that’s breaking down the best choices for a specific item you’re looking for, whether that’s a cast iron skillet, a new mattress or a new weed vape (we’re not here to kill your vibes, man). Other times it’s heralding the good news about the cool stuff you didn’t even know you wanted yet.

But that product mission is two-sided. And sometimes the best product advice is to challenge conventions, scythe through the marketing bullshit and tell you what not to buy. Some products are overrated. Some wreak havoc on the environment. Some overpromise and under-deliver. And some you (or the person you’re buying the gift for) just do not need.

The holidays are coming up. And if you’re looking for a gift guide, don’t worry. We’ll definitely have you covered. But here are our staffers’ equally important recommendations about what not to buy this holiday season.

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That Cozy Fleece Jacket? It's Terrible for the Environment
fleece jacket

Most fleece jackets are made from polyester. And polyester (aka polyethylene terephthalate) is plastic. The microplastics that fleece jackets shed are hard to see, even harder to corral and infiltrate the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink.


Are Roombas Worth It? Think Twice Before Buying
roomba on a dog poop illustration
Kailah Ogawa

Robotic vacuums claim to offer the height of convenience. But in reality, they clean superficially, you end up having to clean up for the vacuums, and, yes, the occasional misplaced deposit from your pet is a disaster waiting to happen.


It's a Terrible Time to Buy an Off-Road Toyota SUV or Pickup
two pick up trucks in a desert and mountain setting

We love Toyota off-roaders. The 4Runner SUV and Tacoma pickup are cool. They’re capable. Their build quality is excellent. If you’re not doing performative feats of rock climbing on the regular, they may be perfect for you. But now is an awful time to buy one.


Is Gucci's $950 Oura Ring Worth It? We Did the Math
gucci aura ring

Buying an Oura ring and then paying a subscription fee to use it is a drag. Gucci offers you a way to avoid doing that by buying their version. But there's a $651 catch.


Why You Don’t Need an Electric Kitchen Composter
electric kitchen composter

Whether the electric composter has revolutionized composting is actually a bit beside the point. Because the truth is, you don't need one. If you're truly after an easier composting option, one already exists – it's called vermicomposting.


Please Stop Buying Cloth Bath Mats. They’re Gross and Weird
a towel draped over a tub

Wooden bath mats are a modern, minimalist and usually inexpensive way to make your bathroom feel more like a calming Japanese onsen. Your cloth bath mat? It's kind of gnarly.


No, You Don't Need to Buy a Pickup Truck
illustration of a pig in a pickup truck
alashi Getty Images

Yeah, we love pickup trucks too. But they’re enormous. They’re incredibly expensive to buy and fuel. They’re overkill for the towing and hauling you’ll seldom do with them. And they’re ill-suited for the everyday driving you'll actually do with them.


That Expensive Home Gym? It Probably Won't Turn You into an Adonis
man riding an indoor bike

Pricey Bluetooth-enabled dumbbells that count reps for you won’t magically give you massive biceps. The bottom line is, when you look in the mirror — even if it’s a Mirror — you have to be motivated and disciplined to do the work yourself. Day after godforsaken day.


Start Your Collection with an Affordable Watch. But Don't Buy a Shitty One
man looking at a watch on his wrist
Tawan Boonnak / EyeEm

Everyone has to start somewhere, and with watch collecting, this often means an inexpensive watch. While not everyone can afford a timepiece from a big Swiss brand the first time around, a cheap watch doesn't have to be a shitty watch.


Whiskey Stones? No One Needs Them. No One Uses Them
glass with whiskey stones
Getty Images

On the surface, they seem to be the perfect gift. But the simple fact is, no one needs, wants or actually uses whiskey stones. They are almost entirely useless. Whiskey stones are intended to do two things: cool your drink down and prevent dilution. In each of these pursuits, the whiskey stone fails.


Just Getting Into Mid-Century Modern Furniture? Don’t Bother
illustration of mid century furniture
Sherry Wang

We have more in common with the climate of the late 1970s and '80s than that of the postwar years. For those tired of the unimpeachable clean lines of mid-century modern, reinterpreting the often over-the-top era is an appealing challenge — and an easy way to stand out.


No, You Shouldn’t Buy a Crossover. This Is Why
kia crossover surrounded by deer

Raging against crossovers can feel pointless. One might as well rail against time, taxes, or the incoming tide. But the fact remains, the crossover is not the ultimate vehicle for navigating modern American life. They're expensive. They're less efficient. And many are less fun to drive than their car counterparts.


No, You Don’t Actually Need a Watch Winder — Here’s Why
books, magazines, and a watch winder on a table

This tabletop box masquerades as an essential tool for the obsessive watch dork. But it’s also overpriced, gaudy and almost wholly unnecessary for maintaining your prized mechanical watch.


Why Plastic Water Bottles Are Better Than Insulated Ones
camelbak plastic water bottle with an ocean in the background
Clayton Herrmann

Your $40 vacuum-insulated water bottle may have become an everyday essential for you — to the point that it has assumed the role of life partner. But in certain situations, a solid plastic reusable water bottle is the better option.


Why You Should Never Buy a Three-in-One Jacket
3 in 1 jacket

The idea of a 3-in-1 jacket can seem dreamy, and paring down is usually in sync with the ideals held by those who spend lots of time outdoors. But while they are marketed as a buy one, get three solution, it’s really more like buy one, get two halves.


Don’t Use an Electric Knife to Carve Turkey on Thanksgiving
electric knife on a marble countertop
Chandler Bondurant

There are many wonderful traditions associated with Thanksgiving — watching football for hours on end, bickering with almost-forgotten family members, midday naps. Brandishing an electric carving knife, however, should not be one of them.


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