Over the last year we have had the opportunity to test and review some of the best gear available. During the Holidays I took a little time to think back about the over 150 products we tried and here are the 10 we feel deserve our "Gear of the Year" award.
Most of these products were new for 2011, some may have just been new to us, either way we think they represent the pinnacle of what's out there. So, if you are looking to spend some of those Christmas Gift Cards, this is the place to start!
Keen Pyrenees Hiking Boots: I live in these boots. They fit so well, I look for reasons to wear them. Do I really need hiking boots to run to Target? Probably not, but should I run into rocks, ice or a serious incline in aisle 7, I'll be covered. Plus, you just don't get any more all-American cool than these... Full Keen Review Here
Sierra Designs Lava Jacket: New Years in Minnesota normally calls for a jacket just like the Lava from SD. This thing will keep you warm and dry well below zero and in the sloppiest of conditions. It lives for playing in the snow, I just wish we had some. It may not be necessary this weekend, but trust me when I tell you, I have it on stand-by. Full Lava Jacket Review Here
Platypus Gravity Works Water Filter: My favorite piece of back-country gear; hands down. Lighter and smaller than any hand pump. Cleans 3 liters of water in about 2 minutes. Best of all, I sit by the fire while good old Mr. Gravity does all the heavy lifting. Brilliant! Full Platypus Review Here
Costa's Grand Isle Sunglasses: These glasses deliver the whole package. Incredibly well made, they feel solid as a rock. The lenses are unrivaled in clarity and glare reduction. They perform when you need them to and look great because you want them to. Full Costa Review Here
First Ascent Rainier Storm Shell: Mother Nature has nothing this jacket can't handle. Battle a monsoon and come out bone dry. Beyond performing like a champ, the Rainier doesn't look or sound like rain gear. No more life inside a garbage bag for this guy. Full First Ascent Review Here
Sport Science Performance Tie-Dyes: I mean, what do I really need to say? Yeah, tie-dyes that stack up with any performance shirt in your closet. Fast wicking, super soft and built move in, these shirts are just awesome. One of these days I am having a "Team Paddle Junkie" version made. That's be sweet. Full Sport Science Review Here
Clif Climber Pouch Wines: Vino. Camping. Indestructible Pouch. Yup, that works. Many of us have been bringing wine as our back-country beverage for years. Clif makes it easier than ever, and the wine is better than most other box/bag wines. Clip a bag (or 2) of Cab to my pack, point me in the right direction and I'm good. Full Clif Wine Review Here
Fenix Light's LD01: How would you like to have a lip balm size flashlight that lights up the night like a giant Mag Light? You simply have to see this tiny thing in action to believe me. 5 nights in the Boundary Waters and not once did I think I needed something bigger. Further proof that size DOESN'T matter... Full Fenix Review Here
CRKT Ripple 2 Pocket Knife: You are looking at my Every-Day-Carry knife. Not huge, but not a kids toy either. Built solid and ready to handle just about any cutting task you have. The milling on the scales add tons of style and the "blade flipper" launches it open like a switch blade. Full Ripple 2 Review Here
ENO's One Link Shelter System: Hammock camping in a neat little package. If you have been thinking about trying it, this is the way to go. Everything you need to make a bomber shelter, while resting comfortably swaying back and forth, all right here. Once you try it, it will take quite a bit to get you to crawl back into a tent again. Full ENO Review Here