Five years ago this month, in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, I penned the first Gear Junkie column. Since that time, The Gear Junkie has expanded to nine additional syndicate newspapers, and every week for the past five years I’ve tested at least one new piece of gear.
Here, then, as an anniversary exercise of sorts, are ten top products that stood above the fray. These best of the best gear items have over the years earned my stamp of approval—and then some.
Counting down from 10, here are Nos. 10 and 9 . . .
#10 Watchful Eye Designs ALOKSAK bags
Zip-lock bags for the outdoors set. These indispensable waterproof baggies have housed maps, electronics, food and clothing for me over the years. The company touts a U.S. Navy test that proved these bags—which come in many sizes—to be leak-proof for long-term submersion to depths exceeding 60 meters. In my tests, they’ve never failed. Watchful Eye Designs sells packs of three 5×4-inch ALOKSAK bags for $6.25; bags as large as 32×16 inches are available for $7 apiece. (ALOKSAK bags; www.watchfuleyedesigns.com)
#9 Icebug DMG BUGrip EXTREME
Breed a winter boot with a running shoe, add carbide spikes on the sole for traction, and you’ll have the DMG BUGrip EXTREME, an all-weather trail-running shoe that grips ice and slippery stones better than anything similar on the market. An exaggerated gaiter keeps debris and snow out. The shoe is lightweight, too, which has kept me fast on my feet in all conditions. Retail price is $149, though the shoes are now available at www.ems.com for a close-out price of $55.98. (DMG BUGrip EXTREME, $149; www.icebug.se)
Next in line : Greatest Gear Of 5 Years – Part II