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!


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8 Responses to Gear Picks From 2010

  1. GNT January 1, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    OR Exit Hoody
    Simply the most comfortable hoody I’ve ever owned. Heavy, but built to last.

  2. Nathan January 1, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    One of my favorite pieces of gear over the last few years has been the Granite Gear White Lightnin’ tarp. I fell in love with tarps years ago, and this one’s been a gem for a number of reasons.
    1. Packs small and weighs next to nothing
    2. Allows for but doesn’t require trekking poles for set up.
    3. The catenary cut and fastex buckles allow for super taut set up and fine tuning.
    An all around great piece of gear that provides a lot of options for both personal and professional use.

    …oh yeah, a slate Vincent will be fine.

  3. David Sweeney January 2, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    Here’s a few outerwear pieces that I wear pretty much nonstop from November til February.

    1. Patagonia R1 jacket or pullover.
    Ever since they relaxed the fit a couple years ago this is my go to fleece for daily wear. I can’t really think of a lightweight fleece that’s better. Back when the fit was real slim and athletic I had a special military pullover version that had more of a squared off fit and a deeper zipper than the current version. Still use it as my outdoor-work fleece.

    2. Ibex Arlberg Vest
    When the winter sets in I wear this over my R1 or long sleeve something or other all day long. In Dec, Jan, Feb – if I’m not sleeping I’m wearing it.

    3. Patagonia Down Sweater
    When I venture out this is what I wear the most. Everybody needs a high fill power down jacket or equivalent. It’s amazing how warm they are and they travel really well.

  4. a. January 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    My favorite piece of gear from 2010 is probably my 40L Mammut Spindrift Guide pack – room for all of my assorted winter gear; dedicated and easily accessible space for my probe, shovel, and snow saw; and it actually fits my short (roughly 15″) torso.

  5. David H. Johnston January 4, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    Im a sea kayaker so my best piece of gear is the Kokatat expedition drysuit. Super durable and has been working great for several years. I kayak all winter unless it’s frozen so it’s an essential piece of gear.

    My other piece of gear is the MSR Hubba tent. It’s light and packs down super small to fit in my boat for multi-day trips.

    David J.

  6. Eric K January 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    1) The Mont-Bell Climapro200 Nomad Parka is everything a soft-shell should be and then some. This is an incredibly well thought out jacket with a hood that covers your entire head, a neckline that allows generous movement when completely zipped, and a breast pocket that comes in extremely handy. Aside from design, the performance is outstanding in all conditions. And here’s the kicker; they made a small repair (the hood drawstring disconnected) at no charge, and had it back to me in under 2 weeks. Excellent.

    2) No pandering here: the Ambler Jackson hat. Bought one for my partner about a month ago. She has trouble finding hats that fit right, don’t itch after 5 minutes, AND aren’t made under questionable labor practices. Voila – enter the Ambler Jackson. She also looked fantastic in it. Unfortunately, our car was broken into and that was the best item they got away with (we still owe for the library books). I’m ordering a replacement right now! :)

  7. LC January 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    My favourite piece of gear would have to be my G3 Luscious skis – giving me much enjoyment in 2010 and so far so good in 2011. I’d love a Vincent in ‘moss’for my favourite ski partner. Happy New Year!


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