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Gear Picks From 2010

Our VP of Product Testing in his Ambler prototype

It really is a dream come true to be able to work in the outdoor industry. From the time I was 15 and negotiated my way into a job at a local gear shop in Dallas, TX I’ve been a part of the outdoor industry in some way, shape or form. It’s a great industry filled with some pretty incredible people. We all tend to have a similar fetish, though, and it revolves around the gear we use when we go outside to play.

I do my best to use and abuse gear until there’s nothing left of it. Case in point: my 16 year old Patagonia Super Alpine jacket and 20 year old expedition weight Patagonia Capilene. If it’s good gear, it will last. This year I was fortunate to pick up a few new pieces to add to the collection and I thought I’d pass them on to you. These are listed in no particular order.

Outdoor Research Extravert Gloves These are the best every day gloves for the cold Canmore winter and perfect for backcountry skiing.

Backcountry Access Float 30 Avalanche Airbag Pack I am very happy to have this pack strapped to my back in the backcountry, as is my mother.

Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody This is a super versatile jacket that will get year-round use in the Rockies.

Fits Socks A new brand on the sock-scene, Fits is owned by one of the oldest knitting mills in the US. I’m pretty particular about my socks and these guys are on to something good. Order yourself a pair and see.

Human Gear So it’s a water bottle cap and some travel tubes, what’s the big deal? The simple details of Human Gear’s designs are fantastic. I’m stoked to see such good industrial design in every day items. The capCAP is probably my most used piece of gear this year as I’m drinking through it every day.

Icebreaker Superfine 200 L/S print shirt I’ve got a thing for merino and Icebreaker makes some really nice pieces of clothing. I’ve worn this shirt for a week straight without washing with no complaints from anyone in my family. Good, right?

Osprey Raptor 10 hydration pack I’m a brand loyalist to Osprey. I’m still rocking a 12 year old Osprey pack that has hundreds of miles on it. When they came out with their Hydraulics line of packs they knew what they were doing. It’s the little details that make this pack perfect.

I/O Bio Track Jacket No word of a lie, I wore this jacket every day for 2 months after I purchased it. I’ve lowered the number to probably 5 days a week now, but still haven’t had to wash it but once in 9 months.

Petzl CORE Battery I’ll be honest, I don’t actually have the CORE from Petzl yet. But this thing is awesome and I’m so glad to see it on the market. In my opinion, the head lamp is the most innovative and useful piece of outdoor gear on the market. There are so many applications for the use of a head lamp and it’s certainly one of the products that make me wonder what I did before I had one.

Ambler Vincent This is my favorite toque that we make. It’s 100% merino, warm, looks good and will fit a variety of head sizes. Do you want one? I’ve got a few to give away to the the first people who let me know what their favorite piece of gear from 2010 is and why in the comments. [Updated] Thanks for the great top gear picks of ’10. The Vincent’s have been depleted!

I’m not an advocate for over-consumption or materialism, regardless of what you think after reading this list. I live by the rule that if I’m adding a piece of gear to my life I have to remove a piece from the collection. It keeps me honest and keeps top-notch gear like those above in the great outdoors where they belong.

If you decide to pick up one of the pieces of gear from the list I recommend you check with your local, independent retailer to see if they have it or can bring it in for you. All the best to you in 2011!

Comments { 8 }

The Human Energy Company

Fortum from Rasmus Keger on Vimeo.

This concept is great for so many reasons. First and foremost, it is encouraging people to live a healthy lifestyle through fitness. I also like the connection it makes between our physical output at the gym and our energy consumption at home.

From a branding perspective, this is a brilliant idea. They’re creating consumer involvement and building a tribe while breaking down the perceptions we all have of energy companies. Another +1 for Scandinavia.

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Respect for Ground Effect

A friend recently showed me a Ground Effect catalog and I was instantly impressed. This New Zealand-based company makes clothing for mountain bikers that is well designed and focused on the part of the market that still likes to pedal up hill.

But what I like best about this company is that they come out and admit where they’ve fallen short in their products. It was refreshing to see the Products that Bombed section of their company history (scroll down a half page). Nice touch.

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