The wrapping paper is thrown away, the turkey is consumed, and the New Year is right around the corner. It’s almost time to look ahead and plan out the awesomeness that 2012 is going to bring. Before we look ahead, it’s good to go back and see what the previous year contributed to our gear-crazy lives. And there was plenty to look fondly on. Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite pieces that I got to test and review this year.
Club Ride Go Long Cycling Shirt ($99.99, clubrideapparel.com)
This cycling shirt looks classier than half my wardrobe. Made of a quick-drying polyester and loaded with hidden vents, the wrinkle-proof Go Long shirt rocks a modern-western motif that’ll work in the snobbiest hipster bar (even that one with no signs). This thing spends more time on my back when I’m walking than it does on the bike.
Gerber’s Apocalypse Line (Prices vary, gerbergear.com)
Gerber Gear, a well-established brand known for their blades and tools, have risked their credibility by making a kit specifically for surviving the zombie apocalypse. I salute them. Because when (not if, WHEN) it happens, I want a handy-dandy satchel of machetes at my disposal. Scoff if you must, but don’t come crying to me when the undead are after you.
Stanley Ninteen13 One-Handed Vacuum Mug ($28, stanley-pmi.com)
Despite my cupboard-load of stainless steel bottles Stanley’s one-handed Stainless steel vacuum mug managed to stand out as one of my most-used pieces of gear. One-handed access to agua and a spill-resistant drinking spout have kept the front of my shirts dry all year. Add vacuum insulation to keep your hots hot and your cold drinks cold, and you've got the perfect water bottle.
4. Vibram Five Fingers Bikila LS ($100, vibramfivefingers.com)
I firmly believe that the speed lacing system is Five Finger’s biggest leap forward since putting toe-sleeves on their shoes. That velcro strap was the only thing that drove me nuts about the shoes. The Bikila’s interior has a soft, brushed feel, and the padding on the ankle cuff and topline (along with the lacing) make it the most comfortable FF shoe so far. Check back in 2012 for a report on the Spyridon LS.
5. Airblaster’s Merino Ninja Suit ($179.99, myairblaster.com)
Merino wool is essentially a magic fabric - it’s super-soft, it regulates temperature, it’s sweat-wicking, it dries quickly, and it doesn’t stink. I always said that if I could drape my whole body in it, I would. Well, thanks to Airblaster, I can. And I did. The Ninja Suit Baselayer lets you wrap your body in a one-piece wool baselayer for snowboarding, mountaineering, and any sport in which you might freeze to death. Complete with scuba hood, thumbloops and the least dangerous “elimination” system, Airblaster’s Merino Ninja Suit is the choice for the discerning assassin.