Starting around 2011, or roughly 9 years ago, I embarked on a journey with this site to find the best things. Things which would make my life easier in all the roles I play. To that end, those things are spread out all over the place on the site, in various articles and reviews, while members have access to them in ‘The Best‘ page. So I broke down three categories which I feel, I have a very good handle on, and want to offer you some items for each of those categories.
These items are not only that which I consider to be the best, but things which I think genuinely make your life better/easier for having. Here we go…
If you work in an office and have an office, then this list is for you. Roughly…
- Ministry of Supply Aero Shirt: I spent a lot of time this past year finding the best dress shirt you could wear to the office, not stand out in, and still reap the performance clothing benefits. These are the ones. They are wrinkle free, breathable, comfortable, and they move well. All of that and they have no swishy sounds, or odd looks. A wide variety of colors, fits, and sizes. They aren’t cheap ($125), but they are worth it, and what I primarily wear to the office everyday.
- Ministry of Supply Kinetic Pants: When you walk into an office as a professional you want your pants to be boring, but to be comfortable to wear all day. These pants are that, and then some. They stretch, move, and breath like no other pants I have worn — not just dressy pants, but any pants. They look sharp and only have a slight look to them which isn’t 100% ‘normal’. That said they are fantastic, and they dry super fast. You could take only these and travel the world. I will note: lint magnets with pet hair, but it comes off easily enough.
- Drop ALT Keyboard: This is my go to office keyboard. When you work in an office, you work at a computer. You should use a keyboard you love, so pick up this keyboard, and then do one of two things: buy a set of sweet ass keycaps from Drop, or head here for a shorter wait on keycaps. Consider your keyboard another item that says something about you, so make it say something great.
- A Good Pen: I am not going to tell you what pen, but I recommend a rollerball. Get something that speaks to you. Here are a few options you might want to consider. Get a good pen, and I recommend a broader tip than you might think. This pen is for big ideas and signatures, not for tiny little notes.
- Puffs Plus with Lotion Tissues: Here’s the thing, tissues need to be good and take it from someone with severe grass allergies — these are the best. Nice and soft, and very strong. Don’t turn into Rudolph just because you blew your nose three times in an hour.
Ok, the above not withstanding, this list is for the people more on the go. You grab the bus, a train, you get yourself to the office any way you can. I did this off and on to start at my new office and still occasionally grab the bus when traffic is a total mess. Adding to the list above, here’s some things which were indispensable.
- GORUCK GR1: There is just no beating this backpack when you are commuting. You’ll never have to worry about it, it will keep your tech safe, the rain out, and it will be comfortable no matter how long it is on your back, or how much crap you loaded into it. It is also a blank canvas for you to organize, or not organize, how you see fit. It could be highly modular one day, and the next day pack a set of overnight clothes so you can roll out of the office and into adventure. There’s no beating it, any reader of this site should own one by now.
- RTIC Water Bottle: I love these 20oz water bottles. They will keep your water cold basically all day, and they are very durable. At sub-$20 they are also a steal. I carry one with me anytime I commute outside of my own car.
- Battery Backup Charger: I’ve found 10000mah to be a sweet spot, I have this one right now. It’s quite nice.
- Chapstick: nuff said.
- Surefire Titan Plus: sometimes work goes late, and the last thing you want is to have to walk through dark areas without some comfort system. Make it a flashlight, and a good one. I carry this everyday in my pocket. It’s lightweight and powerful. Get one, get two, they are awesome. Honestly they could be the only flashlight you ever need.
Ok, let’s take everything from above as stuff you have, but you still are a dad when you aren’t working. Here’s some killer stuff I keep on hand for that part of life:
- GORUCK Bullet Ruck 15L: This is the ideal weekend backpack for exploring and having fun, I love it. It is everything the GR1 is for the weekdays but slimmed down for the weekend. It stays out of the way, while still holding plenty. What’s more to want.
- Matador Droplet: this thing is so great, it is a tiny little dry bag. So when you kids have an accident, or just soak something you didn’t want them to soak — pull this out and stuff it in there. Keeps the rest of your gear clean and dry. Life saver.
- Outlier Grid Linen Towel, Small: This is wash cloth sized, and I cannot tell you how handy it is with kids. Seriously worth the money as it is very absorbent and yet takes up very little space.
- Western Rise Diversion Pants: I have just started testing these, but yeah, they are super comfortable and far less dressy than the pants listed above. Very nice.
- Benchmade Proper: with kids, you always have to open random stuff for them. The Benchmade Proper is basically the best pocket knife you can get, and still not very threatening at all. Just get one, or two, they are fantastic.
Ok, a lot of the above works well down here. Like that SureFire Titan, perfect travel flashlight. Here are 5 more things for those who travel often that you should consider.
- GORUCK GR2: I talk a lot about GORUCK bags, but this GR2 is actually the core bag that the company was designed around. It comes in two sizes, and I prefer the smaller, but the 40L will work as a carry on if you want. Either way, like GORUCK says, if I had to pick and could only have one backpack it would be this backpack. Hugely versatile and truly amazing. (My reviews, here, here, and here.)
- Filson 48 hour Duffle: Not every adventure needs a backpack, I hear ya, and sometimes you look out of place with one (traveling with coworkers for instance), my new go to is this 48 Hour Duffle. Built to last a lifetime, with looks that kill. What more could you want. If you don’t like this, search “weekender bag” to see more like it.
- Outlier Futureworks: Push come to shove, if I could only own one pair of pants, these would be the pants. In fact, I did only wear a pair of these for a full 8 months as my only pants. They are comfortable in a wide range of temperatures and situations, while being nearly indestructible and dirt resistant. They kind of defy logic, I own three pairs, while owning just one pair of all the others listed here so far. That’s how good they are.
- Wool and Prince Button Down: Part of travel is looking sharp, and being versatile. Wool and Prince changes the game with their shirts. These button downs look great, I wear them to the office all the time, and perform even better. They dry fast, don’t hang on to odors, and look clean all the time. I never travel without one. Whenever I am in one of those situations where I know I might need to wear one shirt for a really long time, through a range of scenarios, this is the shirt I grab.
- Shemag: I like the GORUCK ones, but there are a few other great options out there. This is a big square scarf, and a staple of world travelers for years. I have used mine: as a dust mask on an off road adventure, as a blanket on a cold flight, neck warmer for cold days, a towel when a rain storm soaked me, and an eye mask for an impromptu nap. Very versatile and I almost always have one nearby.
That’s my list, there you have it, enjoy.