All posts in “Gear”

Today in Gear: A Versatile Rucksack Duffle Bag, Opinel’s Kitchen Knife Release & More

Today in Gear is our daily roundup of all the latest product announcements, drops and deals. Comments or concerns? We’d love to hear from you at .


The 5-Day “Mule” 55L backpack from Roark Revival is the brand’s most versatile and purpose-built pack yet. This hybrid rucksack duffle has increased storage and accessibility, allowing you to strap it on for a trek, or sling it into your flight’s overhead compartment. The litany of compartments are set up for anything you might need, from a hidden passport pocket to a laptop sleeve and protected sunglass pocket. And with the compression straps and tie-downs, you can pack as much as your back can handle. On the streets or on the trail, the 5-Day “Mule” 55L backpack can stow whatever your itinerary calls for. It’s technical enough to withstand the elements you may find yourself in during journeys of any season, but never compromises style either.

New & Noteworthy Releases

Want a Funky Vintage Off-Roader on the Cheap? Check Out This Subaru PickupWant a Funky Vintage Off-Roader on the Cheap? Check Out This Subaru Pickup

Want a Funky Vintage Off-Roader on the Cheap? Check Out This Subaru Pickup

This rare and exceedingly quirky Subaru needs a new home.

5 Affordable Watches We Hope to See on Sale This Black Friday5 Affordable Watches We Hope to See on Sale This Black Friday

5 Affordable Watches We Hope to See on Sale This Black Friday

From a handwound dress watch to an automatic diver, we want to see discounts on these five timepieces.

This Is the Big Sonos Update that Spotify Listeners Have Been Waiting ForThis Is the Big Sonos Update that Spotify Listeners Have Been Waiting For

This Is the Big Sonos Update that Spotify Listeners Have Been Waiting For

It solves one of the biggest issues that people have had with Sonos.

Shinola Debuted Its First Watch with a Bronze Case, and It Looks KillerShinola Debuted Its First Watch with a Bronze Case, and It Looks Killer

Shinola Debuted Its First Watch with a Bronze Case, and It Looks Killer

The new Monster from Detroit-based Shinola features an automatic Swiss movement and 300m of water resistance for $1,650.

It’s Winter Now Apparently, So You Should Have a ParkaIt’s Winter Now Apparently, So You Should Have a Parka

It’s Winter Now Apparently, So You Should Have a Parka

With a sudden drop in mercury reported throughout the country, you might want to consider your winter gear sooner than you thought. But don’t worry, we’ve rounded up some of the best parkas to keep…

These Gift-Worthy Kitchen Knives Were Made By a Famous Pocket Knife MakerThese Gift-Worthy Kitchen Knives Were Made By a Famous Pocket Knife Maker

These Gift-Worthy Kitchen Knives Were Made By a Famous Pocket Knife Maker

Opinel’s latest – a four-piece set of forged kitchen knives – is the perfect gift for the new home cook.

Like Supreme? Noah Is Its Grown-Up CousinLike Supreme? Noah Is Its Grown-Up Cousin

Like Supreme? Noah Is Its Grown-Up Cousin

Noah is the brainchild of former Supreme creative director Brendon Babenzien and what happens when you graduate from beer to whiskey and still wear hardcore tees under your button-ups.

This Awesome NES-Inspired Wireless Mouse Is Fun and FunctionalThis Awesome NES-Inspired Wireless Mouse Is Fun and Functional

This Awesome NES-Inspired Wireless Mouse Is Fun and Functional

The new 8BitDo N30 Wireless Mouse, slickly slathered in mid-1980s NES style, is not just a striking bit of retro-chic tech that would look dashing on your desk. It also has everything you could want…

Want a Premium Pocket Knife? Start with This OneWant a Premium Pocket Knife? Start with This One

Want a Premium Pocket Knife? Start with This One

The James Brand’s newest pocket knife expertly balances high-end components with an approachable price.


Fresh Deals


Herman Miller Sale
Save 15% Off: Now you can bring a piece of mid-century design history into your home. Until December 3, Herman Miller pieces are 15 percent off at Design Within Reach, with free shipping.


These Titanium-Laced Motorcycle Gloves Are $70 Off
Save 44%: The Dainese X-Run Gloves pack titanium knuckle protection, enabling them to protect your hands from even high-velocity scrapes, and they’re currently on sale.


Columbia Mountain Masochist IV OutDry Extreme Trail Running Shoe
Save $80: These innovative kicks boast loads of features designed to withstand inclement weather, and right now they’re 50 percent off, dropping the price to just $80.


Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Save More Than $50: You can already score a deal on Bose’s latest and greatest noise-canceling headphones. Bose and basically every other retailer is selling them for $400, but eBay is selling brand-new models for over $50 off.


Citizen Eco-Drive Nighthawk
Save 49%: Japanese-built, powered by light, rugged, affordable and handsome, get the Citizen Eco-Drive Nighthawk now on sale for $240, nearly half off its retail price of $475.


Today on Gear Patrol

How to Build a Smart Home, a Beginner’s GuideHow to Build a Smart Home, a Beginner’s Guide

How to Build a Smart Home, a Beginner’s Guide

We’ve rounded by the best smart home devices to get you started on your journey to build an entry-level Apple, Amazon or Google smart home.

Should You Even Buy Winter Boots? Well, It DependsShould You Even Buy Winter Boots? Well, It Depends

Should You Even Buy Winter Boots? Well, It Depends

Do you really need a pair of boots just for winter? Or can you make a pair of three-season boots work? We can’t make that decision for you, but we can help you get there.

2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel Review: The Wrangler, Enhanced2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel Review: The Wrangler, Enhanced

2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel Review: The Wrangler, Enhanced

The new diesel engine proves an ideal match for Jeep’s iconic off-roader.

You’ll Want Literally Everything from This New Collection from Best Made Co. and Chef Francis MallmannYou’ll Want Literally Everything from This New Collection from Best Made Co. and Chef Francis Mallmann

You’ll Want Literally Everything from This New Collection from Best Made Co. and Chef Francis Mallmann

From stoneware to a bandana to a shearling coat and more.

The 25 Best Coffee Roasters in AmericaThe 25 Best Coffee Roasters in America

The 25 Best Coffee Roasters in America

From old-school coffee stalwarts to deep-cut competition roasters, these are the absolute best coffee roasters in America.

Everyday Style Essentials Fit for Your Holiday Wish ListEveryday Style Essentials Fit for Your Holiday Wish List

Everyday Style Essentials Fit for Your Holiday Wish List

While everyone is scrambling to get holiday wish lists covered for all of their loved ones, we made one just for you. From classic sneakers to the perfect t-shirt, this is our list of everyday…

Snow Removal Tools Every Car Owner NeedsSnow Removal Tools Every Car Owner Needs

Snow Removal Tools Every Car Owner Needs

The best products for chipping, scraping and digging your way out of the snow and ice before your morning commute.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Today’s Best Deals: The Le Creuset x Star Wars Collaboration, a Discount on Herman Miller Furniture & More


Welcome to Deals of Note, where Gear Patrol captures all the best deals of the day. You can also follow all our deal posts in the Deals section. Comments or concerns? We’d love to hear from you at deals@gearpatrol.com.

Your favorite Star Wars characters may be from a galaxy far, far away, but now you can enjoy their company right in your own kitchen. The Le Creuset x Star Wars collaboration joins the two iconic and timeless brands together to bring excitement and fun to your countertops. The collection features Le Creuset’s classic round Dutch Oven, cast with the iconic helmet of Darth Vader — but you are going to have to act quickly to get one of them, availability is getting scarce. The collection also includes a set of 3 mini cocottes emblazoned with the likenesses of R2-D2, C-3PO and BB-8, but you will have to track them down in store — the online store has already sold out. Among the other items in the collection are trivets, pie birds and of course dutch ovens — all resembling various Star Wars characters. Plus, you will get a free copy of the Le Creuset cookbook on orders of $150 or more with the code THANKSGIVING and free shipping with any order.

Home


Herman Miller Sale
Save 15% Off: Now you can bring a piece of mid-century design history into your home. Until December 3, Herman Miller pieces are 15 percent off at Design Within Reach, with free shipping.

Motoring



These Titanium-Laced Motorcycle Gloves Are $70 Off
Save 44%: The Dainese X-Run Gloves pack titanium knuckle protection, enabling them to protect your hands from even high-velocity scrapes, and they’re currently on sale.

Save Up to $450 on Some of the Best Motorcycle Helmets Out There
Save Up to 60%: If you’re trying to hit the road every chance you can before the snow flies, then why not take this chance to grab a new Arai helmet for up to 60 percent off at RevZilla’s closeout sale?

Outdoors and Fitness



Columbia Mountain Masochist IV OutDry Extreme Trail Running Shoe
Save $80: These innovative kicks boast loads of features designed to withstand inclement weather, and right now they’re 50 percent off, dropping the price to just $80.


The North Face Denali 2 Fleece
Save 25%: One of the few tweaks The North Face has given the Denali over the decades is that it’s now made with 100 percent recycled materials. Right now, you can pick one up for 25 percent off at REI for a savings of nearly $50.

Style



Ralph Lauren Mid-Season Sale
Save 50%: Ralph Lauren’s mid-season sale is live and you could score some deals on top of deals with its extra 30 percent off promotion.

Tech



Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Save More Than $50: You can already score a deal on Bose’s latest and greatest noise-canceling headphones. Bose and basically every other retailer is selling them for $400, but eBay is selling brand-new models for over $50 off.

Watches



Citizen Eco-Drive Nighthawk
Save 49%: Japanese-built, powered by light, rugged, affordable and handsome, get the Citizen Eco-Drive Nighthawk now on sale for $240, nearly half off its retail price of $475.


Seiko 5 Sports Watches
Save 40%: The King of Beater Watches, the Seiko 5 Sports, recently got some great updates, and they’re now on sale with great gifting or wearing options starting at $117.

See More Deals

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Want a Funky Vintage Off-Roader on the Cheap? Check Out This Subaru Pickup

Everyone appreciates a vintage off-roader. But Broncos, Defenders, and Land Cruisers will cost you dearly in this day and age. Pristine, capable and legendary just isn’t going to happen on a budget.

You can still get something rare, quirky, and fun on the cheap, however: check out this 1986 Subaru BRAT pickup currently up for auction on Bring a Trailer.

BRAT, for the record, stands for “bi-drive recreational all-terrain transporter.” This truck was a light-duty pickup Subaru sold in the U.S. from 1977 to 1987. It’s basically a Subie version of the Chevy El Camino — a car where the Japanese company took a two-door wagon, chopped the top off the back, and made a truck. It was sort of the 1970s equivalent of the Subaru Baja. Ronald Reagan once owned a BRAT; one also makes a brief appearance in the film Napoleon Dynamite.

Yes, those are horrifically unsafe open-air jump seats in the cargo bed. Subaru used those as a ploy to get this vehicle classified as a passenger car instead of a truck to avoid the 25 percent “chicken tax” tariff that the federal government slapped on imported light trucks in 1964. Subaru had stopped including them on the BRAT by 1986, but this Subie has the seats from a previous model retrofitted. Other notable stock peculiarities include the t-top with removable glass panels and the spare tire mounted under the hood. The seller also added a winch.

For extra rarity, this Subie has a swapped-in EA-81S engine from the early 1980s. That gets paired with a four-speed manual transmission and a four-wheel-drive transfer case, to create a capable (if not very powerful) off-roader.

The high bid on this 1986 BRAT, as of this writing, is still under $7,000. Sadly, while it is a California car and California seems like the ideal place to enjoy the BRAT’s open-air majesty, the seller asserts that it will not pass California smog regulations.

All the Essentials You Need to Upgrade Your Bedding

Under the Canopy is dedicated to making sustainable bedding we can all enjoy. Before “organic” and “zero-waste” were ever-trendy buzzwords across all industries, Under the Canopy was hard at work developing everything from bed linens to full mattresses that meet myriad sustainable certifications. With our sheets being GOTS and OEKO-Tex certified, it ensures the prevention of pesticide sprays on cotton fields, or testing for toxins and carcinogens in dyes, each component of manufacturing is scrutinized and optimized to make the best quality product — so you can feel at ease when you’re resting in bed. Here are the essential Under the Canopy products you need for a better night’s sleep.

Hotel Border Bedding

Create an elevated hotel look at home with this 100 percent organic cotton bedding that is thoughtfully designed for a sophisticated aesthetic. With intricately tailored details, European closures and secure corner ties, the Hotel Border 300 Thread Bedding Collection adds the perfect elegant touch to your bedroom.

Organic Cotton Matalesse Blanket

Wrap yourself in layers of breathable and soft organic cotton, crafted in the renowned French style and made with only 100 percent GOTS and OEKO-TEX certified organic cotton. The Organic Cotton Matelasse Blanket will become your go-to blanket no matter the season.

Organic Cotton Satin Weave Comforter

The Organic Comforter combines earth-friendly materials with unparalleled comfort for a wonderful night’s rest. Crafted with a breathable organic cotton cover and GRS-certified recycled down alternative polyfill, the comforter is a lightweight, temperature-insulated must-have that you’ll use year-round.

Hybrid Organic Latex Mattress

The new Organic Hybrid Latex Mattress was designed to give the perfect amount of support and comfort for any sleeping position. The recycled steel coils are individually encased with a natural latex layer and topped off with an incredibly soft pad made from organic cotton and Joma wool.

Want a Premium Pocket Knife? Start with This

The James Brand’s knives aren’t known as affordable; not, at least, next to the blades you might pick up at a gas station or hardware store for $20. So when we say that the company’s new knife, a folder called the Carter (no relation to Jay-Z), is the best value the company has created in a pocket knife yet, you have to remember that its flagship knife, the Chapter, costs $300. You also have to remember that cheap knives are made of cheap materials, and The James Brand has no desire to utilize them (take its titanium key carabiner as example).

All this is to say that even at $139, the Carter is a bargain — once you look underneath the hood. It comes with machined G10 or Micarta handle scales, a clip that thoughtfully positions the knife low in the pocket — plus an included loop if a lanyard is more your style — and a simple sliding lock mechanism that, until recently, was inaccessible to knife makers because Benchmade owned the patent (it calls it the Axis Lock).

But it’s in the blade, the core of any knife, that the Carter makes its case. “We spend a lot of time looking at the trade-off in steel upgrades and what they’re going to mean to folks in terms of performance and cost,” says Ryan Coulter, The James Brand’s founder. “We try to focus on actual use.”

That’s how the team landed on a Japanese steel called VG-10. While it’s still more affordable than very high-end knife steels, VG-10 exhibits a high grade of corrosion resistance. In Japan, it’s commonly used in chef’s knives because of that very element, which helps blades stand up to the corrosive environment of cuisine commonly characterized by saltwater and seafood. VG-10’s high edge retention is equally important in the kitchen (think: slicing fillets and chopping bone) and translates fluently to the needs of everyday carry users.

You can’t get a VG-10 knife for $20, plain and simple. And certainly not one that’s bolstered by all of the other elements The James Brand packed into the Carter. So if you’re used to $20 pocket knives, or even $50 pocket knives, you have to think about the Carter (and any other high-end knife) through a different frame. Think of it as an introduction to premium knives, a gateway knife.

Everyday Style Essentials Fit for Your Holiday Wish List

You might be inundated with lists of gifts to get for all your loved ones. But has anyone ever stopped to think about you? We did. Whether you’re a style obsessive or not, we filled this list with the style essentials everyone should have. All you need to do is copy and paste this list to family and friends.

Nalukai Kapa Boot

Price: $130
From: Olukai.com

These hearty boots from Olukai bring together water-resistant waxed canvas and a moisture-wicking microfiber lining to combat any nasty winter weather. The sneaker boot hybrid is the perfect urban do-anything shoe you need over the holiday season. The Nalukai is relaxed yet refined and deserves a place on your holiday wish list.

1. Uniqlo U Crew Neck Short-Sleeve Shirt

Price: $15
From: uniqlo.com

T-shirts may be relegated to the basics category, but that doesn’t mean a t-shirt has to be an afterthought. It can be this one, designed by Cristophe Lemaire.

2. American Trench Silver Crew Socks

Price: $17
From: americantrench.com

Treat your feet right. These socks from American Trench are knit with a touch of silver, which itself has anti-microbial properties.(read: no more smelly feet).

3. Calvin Klein Boxer Briefs

Price: $25
From: amazon.com

We all need a good support system. Calvin Klein is part of ours.

4. L.L. Bean Boat and Tote

Price: $30
From: llbean.com

Your everyday carry doesn’t add up to 500 pounds. If it did, though, L.L. Bean’s legendary Boat and Tote could handle it.

5. Levi’s 501

Price: $33+
From: amazon.com

If you’re gonna have a single blue jean in your closet, the Levi’s 501 is the one to get.

Gear Patrol Magazine Subscription

Price: $39
From: store.gearpatrol.com

Gear Patrol Magazine is a deep dive into product culture. Inside each issue, you’ll find seasonal buying guides, rich maker profiles and long-form dispatches from the front lines of product design. Get four print magazines — delivered quarterly — with an annual subscription.

6. Lee Denim Jacket

Price: $37+
From: amazon.com

It’s hard to overstate the need for a classic denim jacket. But God knows we’ll try. The whole reason you have a torso in the first place is so that you can put a denim jacket on it.

7. Filson Watch Cap Beanie

Price: $45
From: filson.com

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Better keep it warm through winter with one of these Filson beanies, made from 100-percent virgin wool.

8. Outerknown Sojourn Pocket Tee

Price: $48
From: outerknown.com

Maybe you’ve sojourned from t-shirt to t-shirt trying to find the perfect one. Outerknown’s Sojourn Pocket Tee ends the search.

9. Noah Core Logo Water-Repellent 6-Panel Hat

Price: $48
From: noahny.com

Look up from your dang phone and look at how many people have a dad hat on. This one from Noah has a shape that’s just right as well as water-repellent cotton so you can block the sun and the rain.

10. Everlane French Terry Crew

Price: $50
From: everlane.com

Everlane’s sweatshirt is classic with a capital ‘C’ and is made from 100-percent organic-cotton French terry fabric that’s been wear-tested to death. It also comes with a 365-day guarantee, somehow. We don’t know why, but we’re glad to throw one on. You know, for testing purposes.

11. J.Crew Classic Leather Belt

Price: $65
From: jcrew.com

Wear this snazzy belt with that Kamakura button up and you’ll definitely nail that job interview (assuming you also wear pants and shoes with it).

12. Converse Chuck Taylor ’70 Hi Top

Price: $70
From: amazon.com

The Chuck ’70 started as a redux of an archival sneaker. Better canvas, a thicker rubber sole, a comfier insole and an arguably better shape made it the best $15 upgrade ever.

13. J.Crew 484 Stretch Chino

Price: $75
From: jcrew.com

Give your jeans a break.

14. Naadam Essential $75 Cashmere Sweater

Price: $75
From: naadam.com

Naming your sweater the ‘essential sweater’ won’t automatically get you on this list. Making it from luxe, sustainably-sourced hand-combed cashmere will.

15. Kamakura Vintage Ivy Oxford Button Down Shirt

Price: $99
From: kamakurashirts.com

The best Ivy-inspired shirt comes from Japan. How about that?

16. Alex Mill Natural Dye Waffle Henley

Price: $145
From: alexmill.com

Waffles and berries sounds like a natural combo, even when it’s a waffle henley in a ‘botanical berry’ color. Alex Mill gave a handful of its overstock henleys a second life, enlisting NYC artist Maddie Provost to dye them using madder root. The result is a naturally-dyed shirt that will only get better with age.

17. Blundstone 510 Boots

Price: $145
From: amazon.com

Whether you’re tending to your garden or tending to a bar, Blundstone’s are a go-to boot that’ll get you to point B in style. We’re not gonna say it’s the Chuck Taylor of boots. But, like…maybe.

18. Reigning Champ Mid Weight Terry Pullover Hoodie

Price: $145
From: amazon.com

Reigning Champ’s made a name for themselves knitting some of the best sweatshirts this side of anywhere. Their hoodie features a combination inset-raglan sleeve with flatlock stitching throughout, all made in its Canadian factory.

19. Persol Sunglasses

Price: $146
From: amazon.com

Originally engineered for pilots and racecar drivers, Persol sunglasses are now worn by the stylish pedestrians the world over. They’re made in Italy with premium acetate and their signature Meflecto stems give them a comfortable fit.

20. Carhartt WIP OG Chore Coat

Price: $298
From: eastdane.com

We’re all a work in progress. Carhartt WIP’s Chore Coat, however, is a final product that has nothing left to improve.

The Dark Knot Livingston Navy Knitted Silk Tie

Price: $65
From: store.gearpatrol.com

A woven silk tie is a staple in any wardrobe. Whether he’s dressing up jeans and an oxford, or adding texture to a more formal ensemble, handmade silk ties from The Dark Knot are a great choice. While coming in a range of colors and patterns, a simple navy knit tie will go with most of his looks and will blend in effortlessly with other wardrobe go-tos.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

You’ll Want Literally Everything from This New Collection from Best Made Co. and Chef Francis Mallmann

Last year, outdoor lifestyle brand Best Made Co. tapped Argentine chef Francis Mallmann to curate a collection of products that reflected his unique lifestyle. It included both a $98 bandana and a $2,298 towering steel grill — appropriate for the open-fire cooking king whose restaurants serve patrons in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, France and the United States.

Now, Mallmann and Best Made Co. are back again with an expanded holiday collection of clothing and hard goods. These functional products reference Mallmann’s everyday life, whether on his private island in Patagonia, at his chateau in Provence or on the road, traveling between engagements. The items — ranging from stoneware to a shearling coat — explore the balance of function and beauty in everyday goods.

The Mallmann Best Made Capsule features an expanded collection of bandanas, a beautiful travel backgammon set, two hats (a beret and Stetson), a Pendleton wool blanket and a luxurious shearling coat, among other things. While offering real functional value, they also manage to be romantic and, at times, nostalgic. To better understand the pieces in the capsule, we caught up with Mallmann before the holiday season.

Q: You’ve expanded on your first capsule collection with Best Made Co., offering more and different products. What was your inspiration behind this curation?
A: For me, cooking is an extension of my lifestyle, which includes games, beauty, taste, decor and clothing. This collection speaks to opposites and contradictions — two important departments of my life.

Q: Do you always carry a bandana? What, to you, is special about this humble accessory?
A: A bandana in my back pocket or in the top pocket of my tuxedo is a must. I use it cooking when out in the wild, tied up as a colander for fruits and vegetables, or even pasta and rice — or even to tie my baby to my chest for a walk. 

Q: Other items in this collection like the stoneware and the wool blanket are tactile and purpose-built, yet beautiful in their simplicity. What do these products capture that other more modern items lack?
A: The contrast between the past and modernity. We have to be able to mix them to create a life that matters. Both on their own, I feel, are a bore.

Q: Do you play backgammon for fun or are you a gambler?
A: Backgammon is a matter of math, memory, and being able to look ahead! Isn’t that the best exercise for life? I’m not a gambler, although sometimes I am slightly tempted to be.

Q: Do you have a favorite hat you reach for when stepping out each morning? What are the best qualities of the hats in this collection?
A: The beret has been part of my daily outfit for so many years, no matter if I am wearing a tie or sneakers. Wool in winter, indigo cotton in summer. As for the Stetson — we designed this one to be softer, so it can bend and take on the shape and humor of the day. It’s elegant and will age so gracefully.

Q: Is the shearling coat modeled on a favorite from your past or is it something you’ve always wanted?
A: The shearling [coat] is a cousin of a gamulán, a very similar coat from my childhood, with this one being a bit shorter and more shaped. I can’t wait to wear it with a tie and the Stetson.

Q: Do believe products can be nostalgic, romantic or emotional? Should they be?
A: When I get out of bed every morning, I think of my day ahead and what I will wear to make love to the day. It’s the only way to live. And clothing old and new has to have charm, and hopefully a bit of irreverence. Break the rules. Be disobedient.

Q: What are five products or tools that are most essential to your cooking?
A: When I walk outside I like to take an onion, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Then when I am near a river bed I can fish a trout, light a fire, and cook it with my simple seasoning for lunch. So, a big coat pocket, like the one on my shearling jacket, is essential. 

In my small outing backpack, I take a change of clothing, a radio to talk to base camp, binoculars for birds and animals, first aid and some basic food. That, and a large bandana, which can be used to improvise so many things!

Another Conversation with Francis Mallmann

Outdoor lifestyle brand Best Made Co. has tapped legendary Argentine chef Francis Mallmann as its new Creative Advisor. The New York-based brand’s products have always enabled exploration and adventure, so we reached out to Mallmann to discuss the collaboration. Read the Story

The Foundational Luxury Watches to Grab on StockX

Knowing where to start when you’re getting into luxury watches can be a bit of a head-scratcher. Never have there been more luxury watches available — and at ever-higher prices. If you are looking to dip your toe into the market, it can be intimidating. The first thing you should know is that you don’t have to buy new. The second-hand marketplace can be a great place to score the watches you are lusting after at a good price, but it can also be full of its own pitfalls. To help eliminate stresses on both fronts, there is StockX.

StockX can be the perfect partner on your luxury watch journey. Its selection of pre-owned luxury watches is thorough and diverse, with helpful customer service during every aspect of the bidding and purchasing process. We took a look at StockX’s selection to put together three foundational luxury watches you should certainly consider when you are looking to upgrade your wrist.

When you buy a watch through StockX, you can rest assured its as advertised, with StockX watchmakers verifying and authenticating every watch that’s sold on its platform. You will be able to rest easy and find the perfect watch for you — these are a few of our favorite foundational luxury watches you can find on StockX.

The Rolex Sky-Dweller 326934 is the lauded Swiss watchmaker’s most complicated timepiece, outfitted with a stunning blue dial. These are hard to find, but you can always find it on StockX. It’s powered by a Rolex Calibre 9001 automatic movement that supports an annual calendar and a second-time zone.

The next is the go-anywhere, do-anything Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time. This visually stunning watch has a few features that put it into a league of its own. The centered second-time zone is next to the day-night indicator, and the dial is rounded out with a power reserve indicator as well as the date. This Vacheron Constantin is sure to be a head-turner.

Of course, we had to include this grandfather of all wristwatches, The Cartier Santos De Cartier. It’s a steel icon, an everyday watch that is as timeless today as it was in 1904 when it was designed as one of the first watches to be worn solely on the wrist. These are all great places to start your luxury watch journey and are all available through StockX so you can get the best possible deal — maybe you could even buy two.

Should You Even Buy Winter Boots? Well, It Depends

If you buy your boots like they’re an investment, you want them to be versatile. So it can be a hard pill to swallow to drop a few hundred on a pair of winter boots that you’ll only get to wear for one season out of the year. Can you make that three-season boot a year-rounder?

But, maybe you just want a boot that gets the job done. If that job is specifically getting your feet to your destination with all 10 toes dry and intact, then a master-of-one-season boot could be what you really need. When you’re waffling between whether or not you should even buy winter-specific boots, make sure you know what you’re getting into.

The Case for a Seasonal Boot

Winter boots usually come equipped with some form of insulation like Thinsulate. Not only will they keep your feet warm, insulated winter boots often come with other features that make them better equipped to take on snow and rain. That can mean a waterproof Gore-Tex lining, impermeable sole construction and slip-resistant soles. If you’re feeling luxurious, you can also opt for fur or fleece-lined boots. They’ll toast your feet like a marshmallow and feel as soft as one, too.

While all of these qualities can make a polar vortex much more comfortable, there are some downsides. Watertight properties can be a great thing when you find yourself facing a downtown tundra, but most waterproof boots are made using cement construction which makes them harder to resole compared to a Goodyear welted styles. That said, if you invest in a decent pair of winter boots, they should last you a long time before you even have to think about crossing that bridge, especially if the only play they’re getting is in the snow between December and March.

If your day to day requires you to be outside a fair amount or if your winters are lengthy, you’ll probably want to invest in a pair of solid slush stompers.

X Ultra Winter CS WP 2 Boots by Salomon $180

Shearling-Lined Bean Boots by L.L. Bean $230

Avalanche Butte by Ugg $300

1460 Pascal Boot by Dr. Martens $269

The Pros and Cons of a Versatile, Seasonless Boot

While the specificity of a winter-ready insulated or lined boot makes it great for the frigid months, it also makes them less than ideal when the temperatures don’t warrant thermal base layers beneath wool sweaters and down-filled jackets (that’s why they’re called winter boots, my guy). If you want to get the most use out of your boots, a non-insulated leather boot might be a better option for you.

During the cold season, it’s easy to winterize your boots using the proper accoutrements like appropriate winter socks, boot liners and shearling insoles. When the warm weather comes back to play, you can easily continue wearing your boots sans winter accessories. That means more space in your closet and more bang for your buck.

But, who wants to go through the trouble of buying all the extra accessories? Aside from the initial investment into the boots themselves, stuffing your them with these space sucking boot implements will cause them to stretch out slightly, a fact you probably already know if you’ve ever owned a pair of shoes with Horween Chromexcel leather. And when you make it to spring and summer with stretched out boots, you can fill them with insoles. Sure, you can wear your year-rounders through every season, but that also means more frequent maintenance. If you don’t like the idea of spending your Sundays doing boot upkeep, you might want to steer away from a boot that could be a jack of all trades.

Go with unlined boots if you live in a milder climate where winters don’t dip below freezing for months on end. And if you’d prefer a versatile style, make sure you stock up on the accoutrements and maintenance products, too.

Wool Insoles by Glencroft $5

Felt Insole by Moneysworth & Best $7+

Shearling Insoles by L.L. Bean $30

Boot Socks by American Trench $30+

Waddington Ribbed Cashmere-Blend Socks by Pantherella $65

Ice Socks by Wigwam $18

Leather Insole by Saphir $15
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

How to Build the Perfect Cheap Smart Home From Scratch

So you want to build an entry-level smart home and you don’t want it to cost a fortune. Good news: that’s totally possible. The first thing you want to do is decide whether you want to have an Apple, Amazon or Google smart home — Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant?

There’s a good chance you already own a smart speaker. Roughly 25-percent of US households already do. If not, you’re probably already comfortable talking to a virtual assistant, so when it comes to deciding between Apple, Amazon or Google, there is probably already a way you are leaning. If not, then you’ve got the chance to make a big choice before you get started. Here are the reasons to choose Apple, Amazon, or Google, and the best entry-level devices to get you off the ground.

The Apple Smart Home

Apple’s smart home ecosystem has some pretty pronounced pros and cons. On the plus side, the HomePod and its assorted gadgets are uniquely suited to work well with other Apple products and services like your iPhone and Apple Music. Apple is also very committed to privacy in ways that its harder for data-slurping companies like Amazon and Google to be, even despite their promises. But Apple’s hardware is also on the more expensive side, and you basically need an iPhone to get the most out of the setup. All that said, Apple is a great choice for iOS die-hards, go figure.

The Smart Speaker: Apple HomePod

The HomePod is still one of the best-sounding smart speakers you can buy. Apple was one of the first companies to bake an autotuning feature into a smart speaker; no matter where you place it, the HomePod will adjust its EQ settings so that it sounds the best that it can. The big catch with the HomePod is that in order to use one to its full potential, you really need to have an iPhone and be a subscriber to Apple Music. This is because the HomePod has some pretty neat iPhone-centric features that no other smart speaker has; you can send iMessages, make calls, handoff audio to and from the HomePod, and listen to voicemails, all with “Hey Siri” voice commands. And you need to be an Apple Music subscriber to summon music with your voice.

Alternatives: N/A

The Smart Home Camera: Logitech Circle 2

Most smart home cameras, somewhat surprisingly, aren’t compatible with Apple’s HomeKit. Of those that are, Logitech’s Circle 2 is the most popular. It can be set up indoors or outdoors (yes, it’s weatherproof), and you can swap out its traditional base with a wall/window mount. A little forewarning: the Circle 2 can be purchased in wired or wire-free models, but HomeKit only works with the wired model. This smart security camera is also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant.

The Baby Monitor: Arlo Baby ($200)

The Smart Light: LIFX Mini White

The LIFX Mini White is our favorite smart light that works with Apple HomeKit. At just $20, it’s one of the most affordable smart lights you can buy. And, because all of LIFX’s smart lights have built-in Wi-Fi, it’s really easy to install and setup — you don’t need to buy a separate smart home hub or bridge.

The Upgrade: LIFX Mini Color ($30)

The Smart Plug: Wemo Mini Smart Plug

The Wemo Mini Smart Plug is a super-popular smart plug that is compatible with Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. From the perspective of an Apple smart home, this little plug is a great way to control various electronic devices — such as lamps, tabletop fans, diffuser, space heaters and A/C units — from your iPhone or iPad, or with even your voice. Using the Wemo mobile app, you can also set automatic schedules for various plugs to turn on and off.

The Upgrade: ConnectSense Smart Outlet 2 ($60)

The Smart Doorbell: Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell

This is really the only smart video doorbell that’s currently compatible with Apple HomeKit and, unfortunately, it’s not actually available yet. Netatmo announced it last January and it’s expected to be released before the end of 2019. Like other video doorbells, it promises to give you 24/7 live feed of your door as well as send you smartphone notifications whenever somebody rings your doorbell.

Alternatives: N/A

The Google Smart Home

The biggest strength of a Google smart home is that Google’s Assistant is by far the smartest of the currently existing bunch with the ability to understand questions in context, process complex search queries, and more Google-service-related superpowers every day. Google’s ecosystem is a great pick if you’ll be relying on the assistant as much for question-and-answer work as you will be for home automation, or if you’re already deep in Google’s ecosystem in terms of using services like Calendar, or a Pixel phone.

The Smart Speaker: Google Home

At around $100, the Google Home is a great middle-tier smart speaker. It sounds significantly better the the Nest Mini, Google’s new entry-level smart speaker, and it allows you summon music from most streaming services with your voice (the big absentee is, go figure, Apple Music). Maybe more importantly, it gives you a direct line of access to the smartest virtual assistant available today, Google Assistant.

The Upgrade: Sonos One ($199)

The Smart Home Camera: Wyze Cam Pan

What makes the Wyze Cam Pan really great is that, in addition to being pretty cheap, it’s one of the few smart cameras that allows you to “pan” and tilt the camera’s view from within the app. You don’t have to perfectly position the camera in just the right spot to see who is entering or leaving your house, or what the dog is doing, because within the app you can get the camera to rotate left and right 360 degrees, or tilt up or down. This camera also works with Amazon Alexa.

Affordable Option: Wyze Cam ($20), Nest Cam Indoor ($199)

The Smart Light: GE-C Smart Bulb

GE’s smart bulbs are probably the best entry-level smart bulbs for a Google smart home as they work seamlessly with Google Assistant. In fact, Google actually sells smart light starter kits ($45) consisting of a GE-C Smart Bulb and a Google Home Mini.

Affordable Option: Wyze Bulb ($8)

The Smart Plug: Aukey Wi-Fi Smart Plug

Google doesn’t makes its own smart plugs, so you’re going to have to look to a third-party solution. These by Aukey are a great affordable option. They’re easy to setup and, afterward, you’ll be able to control your home appliances and electronics with your voice.

The Upgrade: Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini ($15)

The Smart Doorbell: Nest Hello

The Nest Hello is probably your best bet when it comes to smart doorbells that work with Google Assistant. Google owns Nest, meaning this Nest device is going to be easiest to integrate into a Google smart home. It doesn’t hurt that this is also one of the best-reviewed smart doorbells you’ll find.

Affordable Option: Ring Video Doorbell 2 ($139)

The Amazon Smart Home

Amazon’s Echo speaker kicked off the smart speaker craze and, as a result, got in on the ground floor. A huge amount of products play nice with Amazon’s Alexa assistant. Alexa also has the distinction of being able to directly order things from Amazon, which makes this the obvious choice if you’re a Prime member and/or are constantly making orders. The downside? Alexa isn’t the smartest assistant of the bunch, but she’s excellent at her strength of navigating Amazon for you.

The Smart Speaker: Amazon Echo (3rd Gen)

Amazon’s third-generation Echo was released this past fall and delivers iterative upgrades over its predecessor. It sounds slight better and looks a little bit nicer. If you’re looking for Alexa smart speaker that’s affordable and is pretty good for listening to music, this is the perfect entry-level smart speaker.

The Upgrade: Sonos One ($199)

The Smart Home Camera: Ring Indoor Cam

Amazon owns Ring, so any of its smart home cameras are going to work seamlessly with the Alexa app. The Indoor Cam, specifically, is a great entry-level option because it’s super affordable and delivers many of the same features as Ring’s and Amazon’s more expensive smart cameras.

The Upgrade: Ring Stick Up Cam ($100)

The Smart Light: Wyze Bulb

At $8, you’re not going to find a cheaper smart bulb than the Wyze Bulb. The other cool thing about this bulb is that you can use “Alexa” voice commands to turn it on, per usual, but you can also adjust its brightness or color temperature, too.

The Upgrade: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance ($200/4-pack)

The Smart Plug: Amazon Smart Plug

The Amazon Smart Plug is specifically designed for people who have an Alexa smart speaker in their house. You can plug a much of different things into this smart plug — lamps, Christmas lights, fans or a coffee maker — and you can then turn it on and off using Alexa voice commands.

The Upgrade: Koogeek 2-in-1 Smart Plug ($20)

The Smart Doorbell: Ring Video Doorbell 2

The big thing with Ring Video Doorbell 2 is that it uses a rechargeable battery, meaning there’s no wire work to worry about and it’s super easy to install. The Alexa integration is great especially for people who have one of Amazon’s smart displays, or a Fire TV, because you can summon a live 1080p feed on the screen with your voice whenever you want.

The Upgrade: Ring Doorbell Pro ($179)

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

These Are Three of the Best Hydration Packs On the Market for Trekking, Hiking and Military Use

In 1989, a trained EMT and competitive cycler named Michael Eidson created a makeshift hydration system using an IV bag filled with water, a tube sock and a clothes pin. Several months later, he began selling an improved version of this product, the first of the now-famous CamelBak. American soldiers began using his system during the First Gulf War, and by the time Bear Stearns Merchant Banking bought the company for $210 million in 2004 (and subsequently resold several times), it was well poised to fill enormous government contracts for hydration systems to various militaries around the world.

These days, such portable hydration systems that make use of a bladder-and-tube design are so widespread and ubiquitous that we hardly give them a second thought: Indeed, so many options abound that it can be overwhelming to differentiate one from the other. A water-filled sack held in a backpack-like pack with a tube coming out of it is basically the same thing no matter who makes it, no?

Sort of. As it is with many product categories, it’s the small differences that differentiate one hydration system from another. How big is the bladder? What materials are used, and do they provide taste-free water? Does the pack integrate with military load-bearing systems easily, such as PALS webbing (a type of grid patchwork that allows for the attachment of different types of gear)? Is it comfortable to wear for many hours at a time?

We found a convenient testing ground for three hydration systems in Colombia recently, which we visited with Waves for Water, an American NGO dedicated to bringing in clean water solutions to areas affected by natural disasters, conflict and remoteness. With support from Panerai, the Swiss-owned dive watch manufacturer with Italian military origins, Waves for Water brought in Sawyer water filtration systems to a remote village outside Medellin, and Gear Patrol had the opportunity to tag along and witness the mission firsthand.

The Competition

Agilite Edge 3L Hydration Pack

The Edge 3L from Israeli company Agilite is a more traditional system in the sense that it’s a tall 3L back with included shoulder straps. Agilite primarily builds military products, and the Edge 3L can be integrated with MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-Bearing Equipment)-style vests and plate carriers. However it’s not a compact design like the Rider or the Armorbak.

The CamelBak Armorbak

The Armorbak is similar to the Source Rider in that it’s optimized for use with military MOLLE systems. It doesn’t provide shoulder straps for use as a backpack like the Rider, but this isn’t its chief purpose. It uses a 3L bladder and 500D Double-rip Cordura® Fabric to ensure a tough build quality.

The Source Hydration Rider 3L

Israel-based Source Hydration’s Rider is a natural evolution of the original CamelBak system. More compact than many hydration products, it still provides 3L of water in a Cordura 500 pack that can be used as a backpack or attached to a multitude of vest and armor carriers, which is ideal for military use.

The Test

Fit

The Agilite Edge ships in several configurations, and the user has the choice of including shoulder straps, padded shoulder straps or no shoulder straps. I was given the padded strap-version for testing, and worn as a pack, it featured probably the most comfortable fit of the three systems. If you’re in the military and you wanted to use the entire system within the pack portion of an equipment vest or plate carrier, it would be better to remove the hydration sleeve and simply use that, as the cover itself is tall. If your vest doesn’t have a pack, you could simply attach the Edge to your MOLLE gear.

The ArmorBak doesn’t include shoulder straps for use as a pack, but is rather intended for integration with a modular system such as MOLLE. In a pinch, you can toss the entire ArmorBak in a traditional backpack, which works just fine. But either integrated with MOLLE gear or used within the pack on an equipment vest, this system fits well due to its compact design — you don’t have to remove the bladder from the pack itself if you so choose.

The Source Rider is similar to the ArmorBak but features shoulder straps that tuck into the pack itself when not in use. Though they aren’t padded like the available straps on the Edge, they do provide a comfortable fit when wearing the Rider as a pack. Alternatively, as the Rider is moderately compact, you could fit the entire system in the pack of an equipment vest, or attach it to web gear.

Quality

The Agilite Edge is manufactured from 1000D mil-spec tactical nylon with plastic hardware and uses an oversized zipper to open and close the hydration reservoir compartment. The particular reservoir used is made by Hydrapak, an American company that specializes in hydration tech. It’s made of heavy-weight TPU with welded seams and, critically, features an internal divider, key to redistributing the water volume such that the bladder is less susceptible to bursting. While there’s nothing technologically novel to the Edge, it’s made of first-grade materials and tough enough for military use.

The Camelbak Armorbak is made from 500D double-rip Cordura, and the reservoir is divided, similar to that of the Agilite Edge. The zipper on the hydration reservoir sleeve, though not as large as that of the Agilite model, is still heavy-duty (there are actually two zippers on this model), and the plastic hardware for direct attachment to plate carrier systems is heavy duty and robust. The bladder includes a convenient push-button system for quickly and easily disconnecting both the hose and mouthpiece, and the on/off valve is well-constructed.

The Source Rider 3L is also constructed from 500D Cordura with a nylon liner. The zippers used are heavy-duty YKK and the MOLLE-attachment hardware is acetal thermoplastic. The included straps, while not passed like those of Agilite, are constructed of double-lengths of nylon and designed to fold away into an included pocket when the system is in use on a tactical vest, so it’s understandable that they wouldn’t be as thick. Very similar to construction and quality to the Agilite and Camelback models, the Source is well built and made especially for tactical settings.

Comfort

Considered on its own, 3L of water isn’t particularly heavy, but carried for long periods of time along with other gear, this much water certainly makes its presence known. To that end, the optional padded shoulder straps that ship with the Agilite Edge are a welcome addition to the design — they attach and remoive easily, are comfortable and render a full load of water significantly less cumbersome.

As the Camelback Armorbak is made to either attach directly to a plate carrier or equipment vest (it can, alternatively, be stored inside a backpack) and doesn’t include backpack straps, I can’t comment on its effectiveness as a pack. Camelbak does, of course, have plenty of models in its catalog with this functionality.

Because the Source Rider’s backpack straps are meant to be store in an internal pocket when not in use, they’re not padded, and thus not as comfortable as those of the Edge. However, a padded shoulder strap isn’t the point, here — rather, adaptability is key, and in that sense, the straps are sufficiently comfortable to carry a load of water for short periods of time.

Utility

The utility factor is chiefly what differentiates one hydration system from another, to my mind. I’ve used different models over many years of hiking, and several different models in the military, and it’s truly the little design tweaks that will keep one particular system parked in my grab-and-go kit and another relegated to the bottom of a storage bin — or a rubbage bin.

The Agilite Edge’s (available in four colors) different K Series strap options are a great touch — I wish more hydration systems offered these add-ons at point-of-sale. The padded straps are highly comfortable and have built-in loops for feeding the hydration tube down your shoulder, as well as D-rings for hanging extra gear. Reinforced stitching and perforations for increased breathability on the shoulders are also appreciated.

The pack attaches to MOLLE-equipped vests and plate carriers via a strap system — this is easy to work with and though I didn’t have the chance to test it on my own equipment vest on this trip, I did try it on a different MOLLE vest, which worked well. Additional webbing on the front of the system provide attachment points for miscellaneous MOLLE gear.

The main compartment for the hydration sleeve opens and closes via an oversize, heavy-duty YKK zipper, which should never snag, and there are two openings near the top of the compartment for feeding through the hose so it can rest on either shoulder. The Hydrapak sleeve itself features an internal divider, which I’ve noticed is a feature on most current-generation hydration systems for good reason — previously, bladders that were simply one large “sack” full of three liters of water were highly susceptible to bursting. (I once broke three identical bladders in the military, one after the other, when each one either fell from a short height onto a hard surface or simply experienced too much pressure.) The divider ensures any one portion of the bladder doesn’t have too much water volume in it and won’t burst.

The fill design features a slider top, in which the reservoir snaps shut and then an integrated “clip” slides over top in order to seal the bag. Personally, I don’t care for this design and much prefer one in which the reservoir is accessed via a screw-top. When you’re part of a platoon (let alone a company) of forty soldiers who have exactly ten minutes to fill their hydration reservoirs from a mobile water system, I wouldn’t want to be fumbling with this system, and would prefer a screw-top.

However, I’ve seen this clip-top design in several hydration systems lately (including on both the Agilite and the Source models reviewed here), and since both of these are military designs, it may well be that I’m missing something — perhaps because the opening is larger the thought process is that these are easier to fill quickly, or that (more likely) they tend to leak less than a screw-top design. As used by a civilian, this system strikes me as easily operable, but again, I personally prefer a screw-top.

All this being said, the Hydrapak reservoir is otherwise very well made, with an internal divider, a fill capacity gauge for measuring precise water levels, and an easy on-off bite valve. Constructed from BPA- and PVC-free, abrasion-ressitant TPU with welded seams and increased elasticity, the reservoir is sturdy enough to be used frozen and up to temperatures of 140° F. Had I need to use the sleeve on its own within a pack on a load-bearing best, it would certainly work fine, but the tall form makes designs like these difficult to fit into certain packs. Overall, I think this is a great hydration system for hiking and trekking, but slightly less suited to use with load-bearing gear in a military setting.

The Camelback Armorbak (available in two colors) is made specifically for integration with a load-bearing vest, and as such I can’t comment on its utility as a backpack. However I did use it within another backpack, as I wasn’t utilizing any load-bearing kit on this trip, and in this regard it worked perfectly — the compact design means that it doesn’t poke out the top of your pack the way some conventional 3L designs tend to do. (I did attach the Armorbak to another load-bearing vest for fit purposes, and the Direct Armor Attachment System clips work well — rather than utilizing a strap system, these simply open and hook into the webbing on MOLLE-equipped vests.) A convenient hook-and-loop patch allows you to put an identifying tag on the system front for easy ID.

The Armorbak reservoir has the screw-top design that I prefer, with the benefit of a heavy plastic “handle” for easy purchase during filling. There’s also a capacity gauge for measuring up to 3L of water, a quick-release system for the hose attachment (which also seals when the hose is removed) and easy-to-use on-off regulator for the bite valve, which is itself removable. Two zippers ensure that the reservoir is easy to quickly remove from the pack itself (those small details again…), and a reinforced window allows the hose to thread through. Overall, this was an incredibly simple and effective design, and if you don’t require backpack straps, it’s perfect for integration with MOLLE gear or a backpack.

The Source Rider 3L (available in five colors, including three camo patterns) sits somewhere between Agilite and Camelbak designs, being meant for integration into a load-bearing vest but featuring integrated straps for use as a shoulder-borne pack that conveniently tuck away when not in use. These straps feature built-in elastic enclosures for keeping excess material out of the way after adjusting the strap — a smart design feature and much better than the alternative, which is gaffer tape — as well as a sternum strap for load distribution and carrying stability.

Attachment to load-bearing MOLLE gear is accomplished via a strap system, though these straps don’t feature elastic enclosures on the ends. Again, I didn’t have the opportunity to test the system with my load-bearing vest, but did try it on another MOLLE-equipped vest, to which it attached easily. The flap for the reservoir pocket features a hook-and-loop attachment point for a name tag and MOLLE webbing for attaching other gear, as well as a snap, hook-and-loop and dual zippers for secure closure. Interestingly, this flap is situated on the front of the system rather than the top to facilitate easy removal of the reservoir if the system is integrated into a vest. Again, smart design.

The internal reservoir doesn’t feature a water gauge, but does have an internal divider, a quick-release hose that terminates in a quick-release bit valve with a twistable on-off feature, and the entire thing opens with a clip system. (Moreover, it’s a compact design, rather than a tall one, which I appreciated) Again, while I personally prefer the screw-top closure system, these clip closures are proving more and more popular, and I have to imagine that we’ll be seeing more of them in the future. I do wish, however, that there was a way to better hold the reservoir when filling it, such as on the Camelback system, and that it fit better into the pack. Overall, this was my least favorite reservoir.

There are four different openings in the pack itself through which to feed the hose — two at the top, and one on either side. There are also hook-and-look straps for securing the hose to either shoulder strap and, brilliantly, a small magnetic clip on the hose itself. Using this, you can clip the hose to your uniform top or vest and simply remove it for drinking, snapping it back into place when you’re done using the magnet. This is the only system I’ve seen with this feature, and it’s a nice extra touch. Also included with the system is s bottle converter, allowing you to hook up the hose to a 2L bottle rather than the reservoir, should the need arise. This converter comes in a Cordura pack that’s integratabtle with MOLLE systems.

Verdict Each of these three systems is suited to a slightly different end user: the Agilite Edge is best, to my mind, as a standalone pack; the Armorbak works best via integration into a load-bearing vest or within a backpack; and the Source Rider falls somewhere in the middle, with integrated straps that allow use as a backpack but a compact design that lends itself well to vest integration.

Screw-type or clip-type closures are a matter of personal preference, but my personal ideal hydration system actually lies somewhere between these products. (It’s essentially the Source Rider with the Armorbak’s bladder.) That being said, for the hiker or trekker, the Rider or the Edge are both worthy hydration systems, though the available padded straps on the Edge add more comfort. For the soldier utilizing a load-bearing vest, the Armorbak is probably sufficient, though if he or she ever wants to use the system as a standalone product, the Rider would be more ideal.

Each of these systems is largely well designed, and worked well for short treks and hiking. Look out for another, shorter test in which we put these to real military use nest summer.

Agilite, CamelBak and Source Hydration provided these products for review.

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Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Today in Gear: A Base Layer with Built-In Ventilation, a Camper Van with a Configurable Interior System & More


Today in Gear is our daily roundup of all the latest product announcements, drops and deals. Comments or concerns? We’d love to hear from you at .


It’s great fun picking out a winter coat with the most technically advanced features possible, but the oft-neglected base layer selection is equally important. A good base layer should not only provide warmth but ample ventilation as well, which Smartwool’s new Intraknit 3D-knit Merino wool base layers were designed for. They’re built with an articulated performance fit and gender-specific ventilation placed for optimal thermoregulation, keeping you warm where it matters most. The Intraknit Merino wool layers are flexible and breathable, with durability, odor resistance and faster dry times. You won’t get these features from your old pair of long johns, and if you’re going to be performing strenuous activities in the cold, you’re going to seriously appreciate the difference.

New & Noteworthy Releases

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The Phillips “Game Changers” auction on December 10th in NYC features some pretty bonkers new and vintage watches.

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Cheaper and more flexible than most camper van conversions? What’s not to love?

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Two Scottish, including a brewery and a design firm, teamed up on this handsome, Bauhaus-inspired timepiece.

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Save $125: Today on Sur La Table, the classic 5.25-quart size is $125 under its retail price — good for one of its lowest prices ever.


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Save 41%: Today on Amazon, Global’s G-2 Chef’s Knife is on sale for $93, matching the lowest price on record on the platform.

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The North Face Denali 2 Fleece
Save 25%: One of the few tweaks The North Face has given the Denali over the decades is that it’s now made with 100 percent recycled materials. Right now, you can pick one up for 25 percent off at REI for a savings of nearly $50.


Outdoor Research Ultralight Dry Sack 5l
Save 25%: Protecting your food and clothes costs less than a six pack of craft beer.


Everyday Backpacks from Eastpak
Save 29%: If you’re in the market for a great everyday backpack, head over to Need Supply Co. today. Currently, great bags from Eastpak are even more affordable. They start at just $43.


Ralph Lauren Mid-Season Sale
Save 50%: Ralph Lauren’s mid-season sale is live and you could score some deals on top of deals with its extra 30 percent off promotion.


Bose SoundLink Revolve
Save $80: The SoundLink Revolve is one of Bose’s newest portable Bluetooth speakers and right now you can get a pretty excellent deal on one. Amazon is selling the normally $199 speaker for just $119, which is the cheapest it has ever been.


Citizen Promaster Marine Watch
Save 40%: The price for the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Marine is $625, but you can take an extra 25% off at checkout by entering the code “FRIEND,” which, on top of a 20% sale that’s already running, brings the final price down to $375.


Today on Gear Patrol

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For this Indiana-based company, building great bikes requires love, care—and the help of the Amish.

The Best Everyday Gadget Gifts They’ll Love to UseThe Best Everyday Gadget Gifts They’ll Love to Use

The Best Everyday Gadget Gifts They’ll Love to Use

When we talk about the tech we use every day, the normal things come to mind: smartphone, laptop and headphones. But really, that’s just scratching the surface.

The Best Winter Denim Fit for Subzero TemperaturesThe Best Winter Denim Fit for Subzero Temperatures

The Best Winter Denim Fit for Subzero Temperatures

Jeans may be timeless, but not every pair is seasonless. If your denim-loving legs are planning on making it to spring intact, they’d better don a pair of jeans that’ll keep them thawed through winter.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Today’s Best Deals: A Self-Charging Smartwatch, Savings on Unique Kitchen Knives & More

Welcome to Deals of Note, where Gear Patrol captures all the best deals of the day. You can also follow all our deal posts in the Deals section. Comments or concerns? We’d love to hear from you at deals@gearpatrol.com.

Sequent is combining your timekeeping with your health — and a bit of incentive as well. This smartwatch is outfitted with an automatic self-charging battery system, providing world record power autonomy — one of the first smartwatches to be outfitted this way. The more you move, the more you transform your kinetic energy into electrical power to support the precision built-in sensors that track all your activities. This is linked to the Sequent BioFeedback app which generates “SQ coins,” a cryptocurrency that unlocks financial advantages for more health services and products. The Automatic Self-Charging battery system also means you save the environment from hard to dispose of batteries. It’s even furnished with bands made from recycled ocean plastics. Sequent’s SuperCharger² is available through Indiegogo and right now you can snag it for 33% off.

Home


Le Creuset Dutch Oven
Save $125: Today on Sur La Table, the classic 5.25-quart size is $125 under its retail price — good for one of its lowest prices ever.


Global G2 Chef’s Knife
Save 41%: Today on Amazon, Global’s G-2 Chef’s Knife is on sale for $93, matching the lowest price on record on the platform.

Motoring


Save Up to $450 on Some of the Best Motorcycle Helmets Out There
Save Up to 60%: If this added burst of nice riding weather has you stoked to hit the road every chance you can before the snow flies, then why not take this chance to grab a new Arai helmet for up to 60 percent off at RevZilla’s closeout sale?

Outdoors and Fitness



The North Face Denali 2 Fleece
Save 25%: One of the few tweaks The North Face has given the Denali over the decades is that it’s now made with 100 percent recycled materials. Right now, you can pick one up for 25 percent off at REI for a savings of nearly $50.


Outdoor Research Ultralight Dry Sack 5l
Save 25%: Protecting your food and clothes costs less than a six pack of craft beer.

Style



Everyday Backpacks from Eastpak
Save 29%: If you’re in the market for a great everyday backpack, head over to Need Supply Co. today. Currently, great bags from Eastpak are even more affordable. They start at just $43.


Ralph Lauren Mid-Season Sale
Save 50%: Ralph Lauren’s mid-season sale is live and you could score some deals on top of deals with its extra 30 percent off promotion.

Tech



Bose SoundLink Revolve
Save $80: The SoundLink Revolve is one of Bose’s newest portable Bluetooth speakers and right now you can get a pretty excellent deal on one. Amazon is selling the normally $199 speaker for just $119, which is the cheapest it has ever been.

Watches



Citizen Promaster Marine Watch
Save 40%: The price for the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Marine is $625, but you can take an extra 25% off at checkout by entering the code “FRIEND,” which, on top of a 20% sale that’s already running, brings the final price down to $375.


Seiko 5 Sports Watches
Save 40%: The King of Beater Watches, the Seiko 5 Sports, recently got some great updates, and they’re now on sale with great gifting or wearing options starting at $117.

See More Deals

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

This Exclusive Platinum Royal Oak Watch Is Next to Impossible to Get

Gear Patrol Studios

Gear Patrol Studios is the creative partnership arm of Gear Patrol. Select advertising has been crafted on behalf of brands to help tailor their message for readers. These sections are demarcated with sponsored flags. Learn More

Affiliate Disclosure

Gear Patrol participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites including the Gear Patrol Store. Learn More

Bose’s Portable Speaker Is the Cheapest It Has Ever Been

Gear Patrol Studios

Gear Patrol Studios is the creative partnership arm of Gear Patrol. Select advertising has been crafted on behalf of brands to help tailor their message for readers. These sections are demarcated with sponsored flags. Learn More

Affiliate Disclosure

Gear Patrol participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites including the Gear Patrol Store. Learn More

The Best Winter Denim Fit for Subzero Temperatures

There are hardly any garments more ubiquitous than a pair of jeans. Built to handle the most rigorous of rigors, a solid pair of denim five-pocket dungarees can withstand everything from construction sites to fashion scrutiny. Maybe that’s why people still wear them almost 150 years after its invention. As pervasive as the pants are, however, you’d find it difficult to spot a pair in the dead of winter.

If you can’t stand to part with blue jeans even through the gelid gauntlet of snow and ice, don’t worry. We’ve scoured the store shelves in search of winter-appropriate jeans so you can continue gathering #sickfadez even through subzero temps so you don’t end up like this.

Uniqlo HeatTech Slim-Fit Jean

For those of us who somehow haven’t heard of Uniqlo’s miracle fabric, HeatTech, I will presume you are frozen and dead. The rest of us who’s bodies are still flowing with warm, liquid blood, you should know that Uniqlo also makes jeans with HeatTech built right into them.

Levi’s Warm Jeans

The brand synonymous with the blue jean does make a pair of winter-friendly jeans. The denim giant uses a cotton-polyester blend to warm up its jeans, which it makes in the popular 511 slim fit as well as the tapered 502 fit. It’s the classic five-pocket with a toasty twist.

L.L. Bean Mountain Town Jeans

Any one of L.L. Bean’s flannel-lined jeans would’ve made complete sense in this list. But, if we’re gonna give just them one spot, we’re going with their Mountain Town jeans. It starts with a tough-as-nails Cordura blend denim constructed with durable triple-needle stitching throughout the jean. But it ends with supreme comfort thanks to the touch of Lycra and the teddy-soft fleece lining. And while flipping the cuff will certainly let people know how comfy you are, the reflective detailing will leave them with no doubt, even in pitch darkness.

Naked & Famous Cashmere Stretch Blend Denim

How do you make raw denim warm and sumptuous? Add cashmere and brush the inside of the fabric.

RRL Straight Fit Lined Jean

If the previous options all sound a little too tech-forward, RRL’s winter-appropriate jeans have some old school heat to satisfy your denim desires. Based on a 1930s jean from Ralph Lauren’s personal collection, these feature vintage details like a cinch back, offset center belt loop and handset chainstitch construction all in a rigid indigo denim that’s warmed up with a check chamois lining.

Tender Wide Jeans in Ryeland Wool

While RRL’s jeans step back into the 1930s, Tender’s jeans take another step further. Inspired by antique workwear of the British Steam Age, Tender’s jeans feature details you won’t see on other traditional five-pocket jeans, namely the overtly square rear pockets and ‘snob’s thumb’ pocket at the waist. They make their jeans in a variety of esoteric fabrics and their Ryeland wool version brings the warmth of one of England’s oldest sheep breeds to this superfluous jean, if you can even really call it that.

Iron Heart 25oz. Selvedge Denim

One way to keep your denim-loving legs warm is to surround them with heavyweight denim. Infamous for their over-the-top heavyweight jeans, Iron Heart 25-ounce selvedge denim weighs twice as much as your average pair of 501’s.

RRL Slim Fit Indigo Suede Pant

If we’re gonna break our own rule about one product per brand, it’d better be for a good reason. RRL’s pass? These jeans made of indigo-dyed suede. They’re hot in every sense of the word.

What Makes a Quality Pair of Jeans?

To explain the nuances that led to jeans’ worldwide adoption, we asked two of the world’s foremost denim experts to weigh in on what kinds of construction, fabric and longevity characterize a great pair of jeans. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

The Best Everyday Gadget Gifts They’ll Love to Use

Tech is ubiquitous. We use it to wake us up and make our coffee, to turn on our lights and deliver us the news, to entertain us and, of course, to help us do our job — and that’s just scratching the surface. Smartphones, laptops and headphones are some of the most common things to come to mind, but there’s also so much more than that we use every day. We’ve rounded up a number of additional gadgets and accessories, that will become a crucial part of your giftee’s daily life.

1. Vanja Type C Card Reader

Price: $8
From: amazon.com

This handy little accessory is especially great for photographers. It’s and SD card and microSD card reader that has male USB-C and USB ports, meaning you can easily load your photos to a computer, tablet or smartphone. (For iPhone users, you can grab a $29 Lightning to SD Card dongle instead.)

2. Anker Powerline II 3-in-1 Cable

Price: $18
From: amazon.com

This charging cable has three interchangeable connectors, so it can basically charge anything. Top off your camera via micro-USB, your wireless headphones or laptop via USB-C, and your iPhone via Lightning. Three birds, one stone.

3. Anker PowerPort Speed 1 USB-C

Price: $26
From: amazon.com

Anker makes some of our favorite charging accessories. This little guy is a 30-watt wall charger that’s easily capable of charging your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, and it’s way more travel-friendly than the brick that comes with Apple’s computers.

4. Qisan Mechanical Keyboard

Price: $40
From: amazon.com

This cheap mechanical keyboard punches well above its weight. It’s great for gaming, bbut generally offers an escape for MacBook owners who just can’t stand their computer’s current keyboard situation.

Gear Patrol Magazine Subscription

Price: $39
From: store.gearpatrol.com

Gear Patrol Magazine is a deep dive into product culture. Inside each issue, you’ll find seasonal buying guides, rich maker profiles and long-form dispatches from the front lines of product design. Get four print magazines — delivered quarterly — with an annual subscription.

5. Lutron Aurora Smart Dimmer

Price: $40
From: meethue.com

The two great things about this smart bulb dimmer are that it’s completely wireless and that it doesn’t require any hard installation. It goes on top of your current light switch, locking it in an “on” position, and from there you can control your smart light by hand just like you would with any traditional dimmer.

6. Twelve South AirFly

Price: $45
From: amazon.com

In-flight entertainment systems don’t have Bluetooth, making it impossible to listen to a movie or show on an airplane with your AirPods (or AirPods Pro). This little Bluetooth dongle solves this problem. It is also great for Nintendo Switch owners who want to game and use their Bluetooth buds, giving it extra day-to-day value.

7. Echo Dot with Clock

Price: $60
From: amazon.com

The Echo Dot has been a great entry-level smart speaker for years. Now Amazon has released a new model that costs $10 extra but also has an LED display to display the time, making the Echo Dot with Clock an excellent bedside alarm clock. And yes, you can turn the display off if you like — just ask Alexa.

8. Peak Design Tech Pouch

Price: $60
From: rei.com

While not strictly tech, this pouch plays the crucial role of helping you carry all the gadgets you already have. It has orgami pockets and dedicated sleeves for everything from charging cables to AirPods, portable batteries and your smartphone.

9. RAVPower RP-PB058 Portable Battery

Price: $60
From: amazon.com

This is one of our favority backup batteries because not only is it affordable, but because it is also super versatile. It can charge all your devices, including your MacBook, and its 26800mAh capacity means that it can go a long time between charges if you’re charging smaller devices.

10. Mophie Powerstation Plus w/ Lightning Connector

Price: $80
From: zagg.com

This is the perfect portable battery for anybody with an iPhone. Not only is it great-looking, but it also has an attached Lightning cable — no need to remember your own.

11. Logitech MX Vertical Wireless Mouse

Price: $84
From: amazon.com

One in ten people who work at a computer experience some level of uncomfortable pronation, or stressful twisting, in their wrist when they use a traditional mouse. It’s uncomfortable and distracting, but this ergonomic mouse can make long hours at the office much less painful.

12. Osmo Mobile 3

Price: $119
From: dji.com

DJI’s latest smartphone gimbal is also its greatest. Thanks to a foldable design, a new trigger button and a host of other new features, it’s never been easier for photographers to take better photos better and videographers to take stabilized videos with their smartphone.

13. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Price: $130
From: amazon.com

The Paperwhite is a standard of Amazon’s Kindle line and it’s perfect for most people. It’s waterproof, so it’s a perfectly acceptable beach or poolside companion, and it’s just as bright as Amazon’s high-end Kindle Oasis ($250), meaning it’s an e-reader that you can easily use inside or outside.

14. Ultimate Ears Blast

Price: $180
From: ultimateears.com

This is UE’s first Bluetooth speaker that has Wi-Fi connectivity and Alexa built-in. When connected to Wi-Fi, the Blast can be used as a smart speaker (i.e: voice commands). When not connected to Wi-Fi, it’s still one of the best-sounding portable rugged Bluetooth speakers out there.

15. Nintendo Switch Lite

Price: $200
From: amazon.com

Unlike Nintendo’s original Switch, the Switch Lite is a handheld-only console — it can’t be hooked up to your TV. That said, it can still be used to play all of Nintendo’s best offereings, including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Smash Bros. On top of that, it is cheaper and more durable than its older brother, making it terrific for kids.

16. AirPods Pro

Price: $249
From: apple.com

Apple’s newest AirPods Pro are its best yet. Not only do they have an all-new fit and active noise cancelation, but they’re also completely sweat- and water-resistant, meaning you can actually wear them while running or working out.

17. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Price: $349
From: amazon.com

These aren’t the Headphones 700, Bose’s latest and great noise-canceling headphones, but Bose’s now two-year old headphones are still a great gift: they’re lighter and more comfortable than every other noise-canceling headphone we’ve tested.

Audioengine 512 Portable Speaker

Price: $169
From: store.gearpatrol.com

The Audioengine 512 is a powerful portable Bluetooth speaker that delivers high quality sound at a range of 100 feet. Offering impressive depth and voice for a small speaker, the 512 is a great way to fill an apartment or workspace with your favorite tunes, streamed directly from your device, or via the convenient aux input port.

17 Gadget Gifts They Will Use Every Day

Tech is ubiquitous. We use it to wake us up and make our coffee, to turn on our lights and deliver us the news, to entertain us and, of course, to help us do our job — and that’s just scratching the surface. Smartphones, laptops and headphones are some of the most common things to come to mind, but there’s also so much more than that we use every day. We’ve rounded up a number of additional gadgets and accessories, that will become a crucial part of your giftee’s daily life.

1. Vanja Type C Card Reader

Price: $8
From: amazon.com

This handy little accessory is especially great for photographers. It’s and SD card and microSD card reader that has male USB-C and USB ports, meaning you can easily load your photos to a computer, tablet or smartphone. (For iPhone users, you can grab a $29 Lightning to SD Card dongle instead.)

2. Anker Powerline II 3-in-1 Cable

Price: $18
From: amazon.com

This charging cable has three interchangeable connectors, so it can basically charge anything. Top off your camera via micro-USB, your wireless headphones or laptop via USB-C, and your iPhone via Lightning. Three birds, one stone.

3. Anker PowerPort Speed 1 USB-C

Price: $26
From: amazon.com

Anker makes some of our favorite charging accessories. This little guy is a 30-watt wall charger that’s easily capable of charging your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, and it’s way more travel-friendly than the brick that comes with Apple’s computers.

4. Qisan Mechanical Keyboard

Price: $40
From: amazon.com

This cheap mechanical keyboard punches well above its weight. It’s great for gaming, bbut generally offers an escape for MacBook owners who just can’t stand their computer’s current keyboard situation.

Gear Patrol Magazine Subscription

Price: $39
From: store.gearpatrol.com

Gear Patrol Magazine is a deep dive into product culture. Inside each issue, you’ll find seasonal buying guides, rich maker profiles and long-form dispatches from the front lines of product design. Get four print magazines — delivered quarterly — with an annual subscription.

5. Lutron Aurora Smart Dimmer

Price: $40
From: meethue.com

The two great things about this smart bulb dimmer are that it’s completely wireless and that it doesn’t require any hard installation. It goes on top of your current light switch, locking it in an “on” position, and from there you can control your smart light by hand just like you would with any traditional dimmer.

6. Twelve South AirFly

Price: $45
From: amazon.com

In-flight entertainment systems don’t have Bluetooth, making it impossible to listen to a movie or show on an airplane with your AirPods (or AirPods Pro). This little Bluetooth dongle solves this problem. It is also great for Nintendo Switch owners who want to game and use their Bluetooth buds, giving it extra day-to-day value.

7. Echo Dot with Clock

Price: $60
From: amazon.com

The Echo Dot has been a great entry-level smart speaker for years. Now Amazon has released a new model that costs $10 extra but also has an LED display to display the time, making the Echo Dot with Clock an excellent bedside alarm clock. And yes, you can turn the display off if you like — just ask Alexa.

8. Peak Design Tech Pouch

Price: $60
From: rei.com

While not strictly tech, this pouch plays the crucial role of helping you carry all the gadgets you already have. It has orgami pockets and dedicated sleeves for everything from charging cables to AirPods, portable batteries and your smartphone.

9. RAVPower RP-PB058 Portable Battery

Price: $60
From: amazon.com

This is one of our favority backup batteries because not only is it affordable, but because it is also super versatile. It can charge all your devices, including your MacBook, and its 26800mAh capacity means that it can go a long time between charges if you’re charging smaller devices.

10. Mophie Powerstation Plus w/ Lightning Connector

Price: $80
From: zagg.com

This is the perfect portable battery for anybody with an iPhone. Not only is it great-looking, but it also has an attached Lightning cable — no need to remember your own.

11. Logitech MX Vertical Wireless Mouse

Price: $84
From: amazon.com

One in ten people who work at a computer experience some level of uncomfortable pronation, or stressful twisting, in their wrist when they use a traditional mouse. It’s uncomfortable and distracting, but this ergonomic mouse can make long hours at the office much less painful.

12. Osmo Mobile 3

Price: $119
From: dji.com

DJI’s latest smartphone gimbal is also its greatest. Thanks to a foldable design, a new trigger button and a host of other new features, it’s never been easier for photographers to take better photos better and videographers to take stabilized videos with their smartphone.

13. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Price: $130
From: amazon.com

The Paperwhite is a standard of Amazon’s Kindle line and it’s perfect for most people. It’s waterproof, so it’s a perfectly acceptable beach or poolside companion, and it’s just as bright as Amazon’s high-end Kindle Oasis ($250), meaning it’s an e-reader that you can easily use inside or outside.

14. Ultimate Ears Blast

Price: $180
From: ultimateears.com

This is UE’s first Bluetooth speaker that has Wi-Fi connectivity and Alexa built-in. When connected to Wi-Fi, the Blast can be used as a smart speaker (i.e: voice commands). When not connected to Wi-Fi, it’s still one of the best-sounding portable rugged Bluetooth speakers out there.

15. Nintendo Switch Lite

Price: $200
From: amazon.com

Unlike Nintendo’s original Switch, the Switch Lite is a handheld-only console — it can’t be hooked up to your TV. That said, it can still be used to play all of Nintendo’s best offereings, including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Smash Bros. On top of that, it is cheaper and more durable than its older brother, making it terrific for kids.

16. AirPods Pro

Price: $249
From: apple.com

Apple’s newest AirPods Pro are its best yet. Not only do they have an all-new fit and active noise cancelation, but they’re also completely sweat- and water-resistant, meaning you can actually wear them while running or working out.

17. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Price: $349
From: amazon.com

These aren’t the Headphones 700, Bose’s latest and great noise-canceling headphones, but Bose’s now two-year old headphones are still a great gift: they’re lighter and more comfortable than every other noise-canceling headphone we’ve tested.

Audioengine 512 Portable Speaker

Price: $169
From: store.gearpatrol.com

The Audioengine 512 is a powerful portable Bluetooth speaker that delivers high quality sound at a range of 100 feet. Offering impressive depth and voice for a small speaker, the 512 is a great way to fill an apartment or workspace with your favorite tunes, streamed directly from your device, or via the convenient aux input port.

The Best Gifts for the Outdoors Lover

If there’s a hiker, camper, climber, self-proclaimed survivalist or infrequent explorer on your gift-giving list this year, count yourself lucky. Outdoorsy types are the easiest people to shop for. Their adventure kit likely has some gaps in it, and even if it doesn’t, count on these folks to break and wear out clothing and equipment with haste.

What’s more, if outdoors lovers aren’t seeking an upgrade to the newer, lighter thing, they’ve probably picked up a new hobby since last year, opening up an entire category of gift opportunities. Thankfully, outdoor companies are making their best gear to date. This list could easily number into the hundreds, but to make your holiday shopping more efficient, we’ve whittled it down (campfire pun intended) to the very best.

Ikon Pass

Price: $799
From: Ikonpass.com

Alterra Mountain Company’s Ikon Pass is one of the best ways to put all of your new outdoor gear to the test. With 41 ski and snowboard destinations worldwide, the Ikon Pass unlocks adventures from the west coast to east coast, north of the border and south of the equator, up and down the Rockies. This is a simple and easy way to take on as many adventures as you can.

1. Stasher Bags

Price: $10+
From: amazon.com

Plastic has become a pariah amongst the outdoors-loving crowd. Stasher provides a guilt-free alternative in the form of non-toxic, reusable silicone bags. Use them for snacks on the trail, or sous vide in the kitchen back at home.

2. Kuju Coffee

Price: $22
From: amazon.com

You may not have a scale, grinder and pour-over setup at camp, but that doesn’t mean you have to go without the perfect cup of high-grade joe.

3. Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Hiker Med Kit

Price: $25
From: backcountry.com

Who is the most accident-prone adventurer on your gifting list? That’s the person who needs this curated medkit.

4. ClimbOn Ridiculous! Muscle Paste

Price: $25
From: blackdiamond.com

Long day on the trail? Massage some of this food-grade paste into your muscles for some relief. It was made specifically for rock climbers but works for those of us who prefer to keep our feet on the ground, too.

5. Primus Essential Trail Stove

Price: $25
From: rei.com

This is perhaps the most basic camp stove available, which makes it perfect for backpacking beginners.

6. Gerber Compleat

Price: $28
From: amazon.com

The Compleat is the last piece of campsite cutlery you’ll ever need. In one compact package, it boasts a separate spoon and fork, a dual-edge spatula (one edge serrated, the other rubberized) and a peeler-equipped tool that opens bottles, packages and cans. Combine the spoon or fork with the spatula, and you have one final tool: a set of tongs.

7. Coal Headwear The Bridger Hat

Price: $34
From: backcountry.com

It’s a fleece for your noggin.

8. Nite Ize RunOff Waterproof Packing Cube

Price: $38
From: amazon.com

No matter what kind of trip you go on, or how long you’re going for, having your stuff get wet stinks. This little container prevents that from happening.

9. Parks by Brian Kelley

Price: $41
From: amazon.com

Any lover of those iconic, retro National Parks posters will be enamored by Parks. Its pages contain more than 300 photographs of NPS maps and pamphlets going back more than a century.

10. Outdoor Voices Merino T-Shirt

Price: $55
From: outdoorvoices.com

This merino wool active T-shirt is lightweight, wicks sweat, feels good against the skin and, most importantly, doesn’t get stinky.

11. Sea to Summit Sigma Cookset 2.1

Price: $70
From: backcountry.com

Hefting a cast-iron cauldron into the woods might seem like a good idea if you’re only in it for the Instagram photo. In every other case, Sea to Summit’s lightweight Sigma Cookset should do the trick. Our favorite feature: a lid with built-in straining capability.

12. National Parks Pass

Price: $80
From: usgs.gov

Sometimes, the gift of access is all the inspiration one needs to set off on a life-changing trip. It’s also a subtle nudge that says, “Take me with you.”

13. Vermont Glove The Farmer

Price: $100
From: vermontglove.com

Chopping wood? Shoveling snow? Do your hands a favor and protect them. With hand-stitched goatskin leather, perhaps.

14. Smartwool Intraknit 200 Base Layer Bottoms

Price: $120
From: rei.com

Smartwool made its newest base layer collection with a 3D knit process similar to what Nike uses in its high-end running shoes. That means fewer seams and more comfort.

15. Backcountry Timpanogos Tech Fleece

Price: $130
From: backcountry.com

Backcountry has been working wonders with its house brand the past few years, and this versatile piece is an excellent example. Featuring stretch fabric for natural movement and a water-repellent finish, it’s ready for action as a cool-weather hoodie or a cold-weather mid-layer.

16. The North Face Dolomite One Sleeping Bag

Price: $140
From: rei.com

Casual campers may not need — or have space for — multiple sleeping bags for different temperatures. The North Face makes the choice easy with a 3-in-1 layering system that’s cozy from 50 degrees down to 15.

17. Jaybird Vista

Price: $180
From: amazon.com

Headphones in the outdoors? *Gasp!* Yes, thanks to a compact design, high waterproof rating and ultra-long battery life, these buds are perfect for trail running, hiking and YouTube tent screenings that won’t bother your base camp neighbors.

18. Orvis Clearwater 3-Weight 10′ Fly Rod

Price: $198
From: orvis.com

Orvis completely rethought its Clearwater collection while still providing anglers an incredible value proposition. Nowhere is this more evident than in the 3-weight 10-foot model, which is designed specifically for the growing mass of tight-line nymphing — also known as Czech or Euro-nymphing — enthusiasts. The unique taper creates a sturdy backbone at the butt section while maintaining an ultra-sensitive tip, resulting in an affordable rod even hardcore anglers will enjoy.

19. Patagonia Woolie Chore Coat

Price: $199
From: patagonia.com

Patagonia’s most beloved piece of clothing might be its fleece pullover. Recently, the company let its clothing designers get creative with the plush, warm-when-wet material, and they turned out this cozy masterpiece.

20. Nemo Equipment Roamer

Price: $210+
From: amazon.com

Unless you’re hiking miles on miles to get to a campsite, you probably don’t need to worry about how lightweight and packable your gear is. For those who camp next to (or inside of) their car, there’s the ultra-comfy Roamer, an XL sleeping pad that’s still lighter and comfier than the plastic blow-up air mattress you might otherwise stuff into a tent.

21. Electric JJF12 Sunglasses

Price: $240
From: electriccalifornia.com

Professional surfer John John Florence knows what a decent pair of outdoor sunnies should do. Electric knows how to put together lenses and frames. It’s a match made in active lifestyle heaven.

22. Yeti LoadOut GoBox 30

Price: $250
From: amazon.com

Those who have lots of gear frequently ignore the bit about storing it. The LoadOut GoBox makes that part easy and, thanks to bomb-proof construction and strategic slots for tying down to the bed of a truck, secure too.

23. The James Brand Hell Gap

Price: $299
From: gearpatrol.com

Sure, you could spend $30 on a hardware store blade to use around camp, but it won’t last. The Hell Gap, with a Crucible S35VN blade and micarta handles, will endure long enough to re-gift as a sacred heirloom during a holiday far in the future.

24. Houdini Add-In Jacket

Price: $350
From: moosejaw.com

All of us venture outside, even if it’s just to get from A to B. The Add-In provides the same lightweight warmth you’d find in a jacket for backcountry skiing, but in a longer cut that’s suitable for life around town.

25. Black Diamond Vision Down Parka

Price: $399
From: backcountry.com

Thanks to a liquid crystal polymer coating, the Vision isn’t only Black Diamond’s warmest down jacket yet, it’s also the brand’s most durable. That helps with the potential scuffs and abrasions rock climbers and skiers might face, but it also makes for a tough, tear-resistant layer for wearing around town.

26. Red Paddle Co. Compact Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboard

Price: $1,899
From: backcountry.com

Paddleboarding is a relaxing way to get out on the water but a headache when it comes to transportation and storage. Red Paddle Co.’s Compact solves that issue with an inflatable construction that’ll fit in the trunk of a sedan and back of a closet.

Gear Patrol Magazine Subscription

Price: $39
From: store.gearpatrol.com

Gear Patrol Magazine is a deep dive into product culture. Inside each issue, you’ll find seasonal buying guides, rich maker profiles and long-form dispatches from the front lines of product design. Get four print magazines — delivered quarterly — with an annual subscription.

Mystery Ranch Coulee 40 Pack

Price: $229
From: store.gearpatrol.com

Since 2000, Mystery Ranch has been manufacturing packs and load carriage systems for military, hunting, wildland fire and mountaineering customers, with a focus on use-specific designs and hand-built quality. Featuring a suite of exterior, stretch woven pockets – two on the front and two (water-bottle-ready) on the sides – the Coulee 40 is all about grab and go convenience. Designed with dual composite frame stays for stability, the fully adjustable yoke affords a customized fit.

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