Note from Ben: If you are a member of the site, please view this post in your web browser, and signed in, as this will reveal additional images for you.
Over the course of 2022, I’ve been tracking my gear usage — how many times I have used something, and when I’ve used it. This tracking has given me a ton of insight into what I actually use, and thus what I seem to like the most. With an added benefit of seeing how those preferences changed over the course of the year.
With the new method I used for logging, I am going to talk a bit about not only the top gear, but how my gear changed throughout the year for each of the categories I tracked.
I tracked my usage of 24 different knives over the course of the year, and by far the most used knife of the year was my Chris Reeve Small Sebenzas, of which I own two. It wasn’t a clear walk away with those, but they did beat out the rest by a good margin.
This year had a lot of new knives join the fray, and a lot of knives leave my possession by the end of the year (like the Hogue Deka which had massive usage, but ultimately was sold off). So much so, that at the end of 2022, I had just 5 remaining knives I was rotating/using.
While the Small Sebenza was the most used, the usage of it was on a gradual decline through the end of the year, thanks mostly to the addition of the Tactile Knife Co Bexar, which I absolutely love. By the last quarter of the year, the Bexar was being used 50% more frequently than the Sebenza. Of the remaining three knives, the Winkler dropped completely after testing, and the Mini Adamas and Super Tinker both saw steady usage at a very low level throughout the year.
All of this makes sense, and is a large reason I ditched everything else. The combination of the Small Sebenza and Bexar is essentially all I need, and all I want — the data reflects that as well.
On the flashlight side, I tracked my carry of 23 different lights over the course of the year. It should be no surprise to any regular reader here, that the most used light was my HDS Rotary, which I have several of. The margin here is so astronomical, that it’s almost not even worth talking about the others.
That said, perhaps the most interesting part of this data is summed up in two quick points:
- Even though I tested a ton of lights, my usage of the HDS Rotary only increased throughout the year. To me this is a resounding assurance that this is the light I love to use, prefer to use, and tend to use the most.
- The FourSevens Preon P1 had a steady increase in usage from the start of the year to the end of the year. It’s clearly the light I fall back to when I don’t feel the HDS is the right selection for that day — and that’s how I think about it too.
I love flashlights, its just that I have yet to be convinced by using any other lights that there’s anything out there better than the HDS Rotary.
I tested/used 30(!) bags this year, and this is by far the most diverse lot of gear I was tracking. The data is a little messy to look at here, but the ASAP (and ASAP SB, I tracked them together) are clearly the favorite in overall usage through the year. But I think the story of the year here is seen with the GR1 Heritage.
That bag came on really strong, and then just kind of held that position. So much so, that by the last quarter of this year, it was being used more frequently than the ASAP — but that also shows how large a lead the ASAP already had. I suspect this to invert in 2023, where the GR1 Heritage is the most used backpack by a decently wide margin.
The only other bags which came close to rivaling these two bags are the Axiom 24, GR2 26L, and Spartan — all of which slowly were eliminated from contention after initial love affairs from me. All good bags, but it’s clear to me that the GR1 Heritage is just outstanding, and yet the ASAP SB is right there with it and remains in rotation.
The hardest part with bags is that there’s a lot of work involved in switching between them, so in 2022 I consciously forced myself to change bags everyday. Something I am not planning on repeating in 2023, instead I’ll be using the bag I want to use without any planned switching.
This is a more expensive hobby for me, and thus only 14 watches went through my normal wearing rotation this year. The most worn watch was the Tudor Black Bay GMT, but that is not really that indicative overall, as I got a couple watches later in the year which really took over. Instead I like looking at this on a quarterly basis.
In the first quarter of the year I was wearing three watches: Black Bay GMT, GA2100, Datejust — in that order. The second quarter was the same amount of wear for most of the watches, but the GA2100 dropped as I got the GAB2100 and that started to be worn over the GA2100.
By the third quarter, shit was crazy. There’s a sliver of random stuff I was testing, but this is when the SBGM221 entered into my life. The GA2100 was gone, and the SBGM221 started to eat wearing time from the GAB2100 and slightly from the Datejust. The reason is that I started primarily wearing the SBGM221 to the office taking away from the Datejust, and the Black Bay GMT started to get worn primarily on the weekends, taking away from the GAB2100.
And then there’s the fourth quarter, oh my. Here, the GAB2100 is basically not getting wear time. The SBGM221 dropped a little in wear, the Black Bay GMT certainly dropped down in use, and the SBGE285 Mist Flake entered my life and started to take over. (The SBGX261 entered with only a few days left in 2022, so nothing really to say one way or the other about that one.)
That’s the story of the year. I really spend most of the time rotating through the SBGE285, SBGM221, and Black Bay GMT. The Datejust still gets worn, but it’s more intentional wear and thus it’s not worn nearly as often. Most of the first three quarters of the year, I was finding new watches to replace everything I wore that wasn’t the Black Bay GMT. But by the end of the year, the Mist Flake really as eaten time from the Black Bay GMT — and is for sure one of my favorite watches to wear right now.
Heading into 2023, I feel good about my collection of watches and look forward to letting that stabilize more and see what is and is not being worn.
Ok, this one I am including because I had every intention this year of trying to find ideal pens to carry in my pocket. But I basically hit it out of the park with the Prometheus Alpha Executive Pen when I got it, and that’s what the data here shows.
As you can see, by the end of the year, I had given up on carrying anything else. Good pen, I have two. I’ll keep testing new pens here and there, but I am not overly interested in exploring this more right now — I am quite happy.
Heading into 2023, my goal is to focus less on new stuff, and really get to know some of this more heavily used gear and write up some longer term thoughts on much of it.