Gear of the Year - Men's Lifestyle Edition

Saturday, December 28, 2013

It is the times when we get to truly escape, even if only briefly, which so many of us cherish.  We spend hours and countless dollars getting the perfect gear for a particular adventure.  Meanwhile, life just keeps happening and our daily "gear" may not be all that thoughtfully selected.  We spent the majority of the fall hunting for items that blur the lines between Lifestyle and Trail Ready.  So, here are a few things we love for off trail, but don't forget your style.

Icebreaker's Stealth Hood:  This is one of those jackets you can wear literally anywhere.  From a spring day at the ballpark to a winter day traveling, you simply can't go wrong with the Stealth.  Lined with Icebreaker's amazing 100% merino wool, but with a polyester soft shell outer, you get warmth, breathability and mild rain protection in one neat little package. Two deep side pockets provide tons of storage and one chest zip pocket keeps your essentials handy. Drawstring hood and waist adjustments and Velcro cuffs help keep the elements at bay. An athletic fit that allows sufficient range of motion so you can ride your bike or grapple with a boulder unimpeded. The perfect balance of ruggedness and style, so whether it's casual Friday or crag weekend the Stealth is ready to tag along. 
MSRP: $324.99




Wolverine's 1000 Mile Krause Boots:  These boots are an immediate style upgrade.  Named after the founder of Wolverine, G.A. Krause; they went above and beyond to make sure they lived up to his reputation.  American made with special attention to the details, top quality Horween Dublin Leather and classic styling make these boots a Team Paddle Junkie favorite for both the office and an evening out on the town.  A full lace up, with contrast stitching highlight it's archival pattern and toe cap.  These boots are not your hikers; what they are is the ultimate boot for any activity on tarmac.  They are a bit pricey at $555.00, but this is definitely a case of you get what you pay for.



Dakine's Benny ShirtJac:  When your go-to plaid flannel just doesn't cut it, grab this hybrid shirt/jacket.  A non-traditional red and black plaid takes a classic favorite and adds a little style.  The 80g Poly Micro Fill in the body and arms provide enough insulation to take the chill out of a winter day, but once you find yourself back inside you aren't overheating.  I am a huge fan of live music, and this is the perfect companion for a night at the club.  It will keep me warm while waiting in line to get in, but I'm not looking for the coat check.  Heading out for an afternoon hike, you don't need a super technical rain jacket, just grab your buddy Benny and you're good to go.  They run a little big, so bump down a size if ordering online.  MSRP: $135


KEEN Flint Pants:  When über awesome footwear maker KEEN announced that they were diving into the apparel market, we were more than just a little excited.  Their first attempt at pants hit it out of the park.  These incredibly well thought out bottoms sport articulated reinforced knees, bomber seams and overall construction that should lat these pants last a lifetime.  Pockets, these things have more storage than a Sprinter van, and even the pocket linings are reinforced so you wont be losing gear through little holes. Large wide belt loops help keep the pants securely planted where you want them without the risk of loop blowout. Made from a heavy cotton canvas, they are obviously solid while still being soft and comfortable.  The only problem with these pant is that I need to wash them occasionally, which means I need to wear something else.  So, KEEN, if you can figure out how to get these to clean themselves, that would be great.  MSRP: $115.00

SealLine Urban Shoulder Bag:  When looking for a messenger style bag, waterproofing may not be a concern for the average guy, but we are not average guys.  I needed a bag that I could proudly carry into a meeting with prospective clients as well as to haul around my necessary gear at an outdoor event.  When covering a music festival or a sports show, the possibility of getting caught in the rain is always in the back of your mind.   This rugged bag holds more gear than you'd expect while keeping it safe and dry inside.  While not a "dry bag" water falling from the sky simply can't get it.  Trust me, it's tried.  Available in Small ($169.95) and Large ($189.95).

Columbia Sportswear's Zonafied Softshell:  We did a full review of this jacket not too long ago, which you can find HERE.  The short versions goes something like this.  AWESOME!  This unassuming looking hoodie is loaded down with some of Columbia's most epic technologies.  Take an already great softshell made, add Omni-Wind Block as well as the OmniHeat lining and zoned insulation and you have a personal cocoon against the elements. When normal softshells are stored away in the closet until temps come up a bit, the Zonafied is rocking all day long.  "35 degrees and windy, HA!  I scoff at you silly weather..." - Zonafied Softshell  MSRP: $180 (another major bonus, you can afford this without a second mortgage too.)



LocallyGrown T-Shirts:  Show a little home state pride in these environmentally conscious t's.  Available in just about every state (well, a lot of them anyways) and the subtle messages and creative graphics help convey the spirit and ethos of the people that reside there.  Made from a super soft Poly-cotton-rayon blend and printed using eco-conscious inks, they are not only comfy but easy on Mother Earth at the same time.  See if your state is represented here.  Let everyone know you are "Locally Grown" and look good doing it.  MSRP:$ 32.00









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