This year has been a big year on gear reviewing side of things, as I’ve poured through a lot of stuff to try and find things worth owning. Below, are some of the very best things I found and reviewed this year:
Triple Aught Design SERE Pouch
I spent a good amount of time over the last year looking at different pouches for carrying a few extra items with me on a daily basis. The SERE Pouch from Triple Aught Design was better than I thought it would be from looking at the descriptions alone — it has proven itself a great addition. I love this pouch: it offers great organization, and is small enough to actually carry in a pocket if you needed to.
GORUCK is a perennial favorite of mine, and this year was no exception with a addition of the 34l GR2 and an updated look at the world’s best backpack, the GR1, but the real winner this year was the new 10L Bullet. Now, I did sell my Ranger Green 10L Bullet as I was convinced there was something else out there better. Embarrassingly, I’ve now purchased a Steel color Bullet to replace my Ranger Green because I was wrong. And perhaps the third 10L Bullet you own is the charm? Either way: the new design is better than ever and it’s a fantastic bag.
One Bag Travel
One bag travel is very popular right now, and I am a huge advocate, but most recommendations I make for that category are hugely expensive (the GR2 is nearly $400) and that turns people away. The less expensive options are not as great, which turns people away. This year that was fixed with the Arcido Faroe which even for someone who owns more expensive options, this is still a phenomenal bag. It’s light, it’s inexpensive, and the size is fantastic.
It wouldn’t be a normal year if I didn’t dig through some new knives, be it Benchmade’s Griptilian or a Swiss Army Cadet — both knives I love. But the big winner for me this year was right in my backyard: Bradford Knives. Their fixed blades knives are unmatched — they look, perform, and feel amazing. I absolutely love these knives. Do yourself a favor and get that Guardian 3, I use mine just about daily.
On the briefcase front the year started off strong with Nock’s Lanier. A very simple, very deceitfully great, briefcase. For me, the Filson Original Briefcase was the end all, be all, when it comes to briefcases. It’s far from a perfect bag, and yet that makes me love it all the more. I go out of my way to use this bag, and I love it every time.
It’s hard to pare down just the very best of tech for the year, so instead here are the ones which surprised me the most:
- Things 3: last year I would have sworn to you there was nothing that could convince me to move to Things. Glad I was wrong.
- QC35s: People like to talk a lot about headphones. While AirPods are awesome, these are what you want when you want to isolate yourself from the world.
- Yohann Stand: These iPad Pro stands are still my absolute favorite.
- Fastmail: email is, and should be, boring. Fastmail makes sure that things stay so boring that I never have to think about my email service.
- Pok3r: This is the perfect keyboard.
I did a deep dive on flashlights (part one, part two, part three) at the beginning of 2017, which means I am well prepared should the power ever go out. And yet out of all the flashlights I tested, which do amazing things and are insanely bright, my favorite by far is Reylight’s Pineapple Light. I use it more than any others and love that little light.
Of course, continuing from last year, I poured into more technical clothing and transformed the way I dress daily. There were some absolute standouts, like the Cubed Travel Jacket which is my favorite rain jacket. For me though, this was a year of Outlier, as the brand continued to impress me with every single purchase I made (t-shirt, SDs). I anticipate new items from them every week. The quality, comfort, and everything else with Outlier is outstanding.
An honorable mention to Flowfold Wallet as well, as that ended a lot of wallet searching for me.
That and more was just last year — in the first full year of the revamped membership system which helped provide the funding for those reviews. Thank you so much for those whom chose to be a member.
Here’s to another great year of reviewing.
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