11 pieces of gear I loved this year that I wasn't paid to write about.

'Tis the season of gear guides with fawning reviews of gear from brands with big PR budgets.


It's now November, which means that it's officially "sponsored gear suggestions" and retailers that are "totally anti-Black-Friday but please check out our Cyber Monday deals" season. I hope you're ready for an inundation of curated lists that are sliced and diced in every conceivable combination. I mean, I'll probably do a bit of that as well, although hopefully more entertaining than everyone else. Anyways here are 11 things that I wore a bunch this year, didn't get paid to write about, and held up great in a year of living pretty minimally (but still finding adventure).

Patagonia Terrebone Joggers - $99

An amazing pair of pants. 100% one of the best buys I've made in the last year. They're good for wearing at all times of day, or packing as a lightweight pant while hiking. They’re light enough to be comfortable in the summer while wandering around town, as well. Easily a top purchase for me recently. Huge fan.

Hoka Speedgoat 5 - $155

I love this update to the Speedgoat. The 5 is lighter and more responsive than the Speedgoat 4, and just an overall great improvement. I put nearly 400 miles on my first pair and ~200 trail miles  in August alone.

Rab Aeon Ultra 28L Pack - $165.00

I spent much of spring and summer trail running, fast packing and hut-to-hut hiking through the alps and put this pack through the wringer. I'm happy to say that I'm a big fan, and it's *nearly* a perfect pack for me, although it's not without its flaws. The light weight and combo running vest + rucksack makes it extremely versatile for high-movement days in the mountains. I think the side pockets could be a more durable or offer a bit more security, but overall, this was an excellent purchase.

Meander Adventure Trousers

I stumbled across Meader while on a meader around London. They have a shop in 7 Dials right now and although I didn't buy anything on my first visit, I caved the next time I was in the area. This Scottish brand is making high quality, versatile, clothing. They remind me a bit of my friends at Western Rise, with pieces that fit in well with active lifestyles but also look great around town. The Adventure Trousers have 4-way stretch and are incredible comfortable -- almost like a sweatpant. They're also made with a water-repellent fabric and look great whether you're out to dinner or cruising around on the bike.

Marmot Aerobora Long-Sleeve Shirt -$70

A comfortable shirt that easily straddles the line between a casual and "dress" shirt. It's easy to throw on over a t-shirt to class it up a bit. The shirt doesn't wrinkle, making it invaluable for traveling. I've had mine for like 4 years now, and it was still a staple of my wardrobe this summer while traveling through the alps.

Injinji Trail Midweight Mini-Crew Socks - $16

Yeah, I'm a toe sock guy now. Sure, they take 5x as long to put on, but my issues with blisters and destroyed toenails has decreased dramatically since I switched to these.

Dynafit DNA Tee - $99

I picked this up at an outdoors shop in Slovenia and it became my go-to running shirt. Lightweight and comfortable. Can't ask for much more in a running shirt. It was one of three 'active' shirts I brought while in the alps, the other being a Saxx Hotshot, and then an Adidas one I ended up really not liking.

Relwen Superfleece Hoodie - $198

Yes, this is an expensive sweatshirt. However, it is one of the comfiest things I've ever worn. The interior lining is a thick fleece, and I basically lived in this all winter. Throw on a bomber jacket over it and you'll look good and be ready for just about any temperature while wandering around town. Unfortunately, I think Relwen is disontinuing these, so snag one now (if you can find one).

Salomon Cross 2-1 Shorts - $55

I picked up these shorts a few years ago when I started doing more running. They've held up great and I've worn them religiously since. I personally like shorts with built-in compression, so if that's not your style these might not be for you.

Salomon XA filter - $35

In my first week of traveling, I lost one of my 500ml soft flasks while running in the Julian alps. I managed to spend the four weeks trail running in the alps with only a 500ml soft flask and this filter. A no-brainer.

Rab Force Hoody - $65

A good longsleeve sun layer is a must-have for summer alpine adventures. Whether I was wearing it or not (I wore it quite a bit), the Force Hoody was in my running vest for nearly every mountain adventure this summer across the alps. It's comfortable to wear for long periods of activity, and has a tiny bit more heft than other sun hoodys that' I've worn. If you're looking for a *super* lightweight, basically ephemeral layer, this might not be it, but I liked the added comfort/durability.

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