Our Favorite Gear of 2012 Award

Our Favorite Gear for 2012

It was definitely hard for us to choose this year favorite gear and I am sure we left something out. But we limited to 25 of the things that we have used the most through 2012. Most of the items are new for 2012 but a few are great products that will stand the test of time. We have written a full review on a lot of these picks and we have linked them for your reading pleasure. We would love to hear from you on some of your favorites for 2012.

saucony transitionSaucony Womens Transition Hoodie

This is one of my favorite pieces for cool weather running. It is very breathable and looks great. The best part is when you have to shed the extra layer, you can tie this hoodie around your waist and it stays put. The fabric is very lightweight so you don’t even notice it is there. I used this hoodie in my half marathon in Bryce Canyon. It rained most the race and I was glad to have a good little hood to keep my ears warm. Great piece!

http://www.saucony.com/store/SiteController/saucony/productdetails?productId=4-109150

headsweat supervisorHeadsweats Visor

Headsweats is known for their great performance head gear. Their performance visors are my favorite. If you are running, biking, or even hiking with the kids, you can be sure your head is comfortable. With the moisture wicking, super soft, breathable band sewn into the rim of the visor, you can sweat with the best of them, but never have to wipe it up. It’s also quick drying so you don’t get those gross sweat lines in your hat.

http://www.headsweats.com/products/Supervisor.html

newbalance 110bootNew Balance 110 Boot

Winter running is the worst. It’s hard to be motivated to get out there in the snow when you know your feet are going to get cold and wet. Not with these great shoes. My first run in the 110 boot running shoes, it was sleet outside (sleet is a very heavy wet snow, for those of you who don’t experience this type of weather.) I was sure I would be soaked. I ran about 2 miles and my feet were dry as a bone. Not only were they dry, but they were great running shoes. There were no hot spots and they were extra light weight. They come highly recommended for you all weather runners.

http://www.newbalance.com/New-Balance-110-Boot/WT110-B,default,pd.html

drscholls shyDr. Scholls Shy Shoes

Yes, I’ll say it again, Dr. Scholls sells shoes, and they are fabulous! They have a great selection of women’s lifestyle shoes that not only look great, but preform even better. My very favorite shoe has been the Shy flat. This has been my go to shoe for everything! I wear them almost daily and my feet never hurt. I have received so many compliments on these shoes as well. I have worn them on days where I have to be on my feet the majority of the day and I don’t get any pain in my feet. I have recommended them to so many of my friends and I am highly recommending that you try them too. These are my favorites, go to drschollsshoes.com to choose yours.

http://www.drschollsshoes.com/en-US/Product/15213-5174267/Dr.+Scholls/Glitterati/Womens+Shy.aspx

hotchillys salsaHot Chillys Salsa Hoodie

If you love comfort and are always cold, this is the hoodie for you. The Hot Chillys Salsa pullover has so many great features. The sleeves have extended cuffs with a thumbhole to keep your hands warm, the neck has a collar so your neck stays warm even when your zipper is down, and it’s even warmer when your hood is on and you’ve zipped up. With kangaroo hand warmer pockets, your hands stay even warmer. Even the coldest wind can’t penetrate this great piece. The only down side is it seems to shed, but I’m sure with a few washes, it gets better. I would rather enjoy the warmth than worry about a little lint.

http://www.hotchillys.com/p/ws-la-paz-salsa-zip-hoodie?pp=12&pp=12

snug insideSnug Science Snug²

As a mother, and a runner, I have come across a few snags in the road when it comes to winter training. Not only is it icy, but I can’t go out with my children because it’s too cold! With the new Snug² there are no more excuses. If you have a great running stroller, now you have something that keeps your little ones warmer than ever!

http://www.openairlife.com/gear-reviews/63-children/269-gear-review-snug-science-snugs-expedition-orange

betty-blackFlylow Betty Down Jacket

While not waterproof, you can wear this in the worst of winter storms under a great shell and not feel like a puff ball. I can guarantee you will be warm and comfortable. It really does feel like you are just wearing your favorite hoodie, but it’s so much better. Thank you Flylow for another great product! With the great black and pink coloring, this is the perfect winter down jacket!

http://www.openairlife.com/gear-reviews/74-winter-sports/310-gear-review-flylow-betty-down-jacket

pocampo armitagePo Campo Armitage Diaper Bag

It has been my pleasure to review the Armitage Diaper Bag for Po Campo. Po Campo is a company that started with two ladies who “couldn’t find a functional bike bag to match their stylish personalities.” They have since designed an entire line of great looking and very functional bike bags, accessories, and more. Each is designed to attach to something securely while you ride to your destination.

http://www.openairlife.com/gear-reviews/commuting/301-gear-review-po-campo-armitage-diaper-bag

hydroflask 18Hydro Flask 18 oz Wide Mouth Bottle

As for durability, the bottle withstood several falls and held up great! We have small children who helped with the unintentional durability tests we ran the bottle through and unfortunately it does get a little dented or scraped, but what do you expect when a stainless bottle hits concrete. My only small complaint (and when I say small, I mean small) is that the bottle itself is hard to hold on to when you are trying to unscrew the lids. This is the case with all the bottles. I would love to see some sort of grip added to these otherwise beautiful looking bottles. Overall, I would say, if you drink water on the go, or like your coffee hot all morning, get a Hydro Flask! You will LOVE IT!

http://www.openairlife.com/gear-reviews/accessories/254-gear-review-hydro-flask-18-oz-wide-mouth-bottle

timex rungpsTimex Ironman Run Trainer GPS HRM

Timex Ironman Run Trainer was designed for runners who want to say goodbye to repetitive loops, complicated mapping and over-planning. With a large, easy-to-read, customizable display, you can see exactly what you want during a workout. Plus the 8-hour battery life and 50m water resistance give you the reliability you need from a training tool. Don't let training get in the way, enjoy the freedom of running and let the Run Trainer system do the rest.

http://www.timex.com/watches/timex-ironman-run-trainer-gps-hrm-t5k575f5

brooks ghost5Brooks Men's Ghost 5

The Ghost 5 was deemed "Editor’s Choice" in Runner’s World’s Fall 2012 Shoe Guide in the September issue. I truly feel that it deserves that award. This shoe is a joy to run in. This shoe hits the sweet spot for a wide range of Neutral runners with a finely crafted Caterpillar Crash Pad and anatomical Brooks DNA.

http://www.brooksrunning.com/Brooks-Ghost-5-Mens-Running-Shoe/110119,default,pd.html

adidas terrexfastxAdidas Terrex Fast X GTX

These shoes have been a great hiker. The GORE-TEX is sweet to have, helping keep your feet from getting wet. The FORMOTION technology is there to help with the cushioning and uneven ground. The TRAXION outsole will hold up well going over rock fields and climbing over boulders. They are a great shoe if you are doing more than just your average day to day hikes. With these shoes you can expect to get many miles in. They have been built to last.

http://www.adidas.com/us/product/mens-outdoor-terrex-fast-x-shoes/QP674?cid=G63195&breadcrumb=svZu2Z1z13y9p

skora formSKORA FORM

Featuring a full-leather upper made of Pittards Goatskin leather with WR100X leather lining, FORM is designed with asymmetric lacing and no-tongue construction to provide a glove-like fit in combination with stitch-down construction and an Ortholite sockliner. A perfect balance of comfort, cushioning and control, FORM will take you further on any road, trail or running surface you throw at it with a Zero-drop, 9mm stack height platform engineered for excellent groundfeel. 

http://skorarunning.com/

brooks lsdBrooks Men's LSD Lite Jacket II

If you want a jacket that is small, lightweight and keeps you dry this is the jacket for you. I went out for a run in a downpour and this jacket kept me dry and made running in the rain more enjoyable. The jacket is treated with a durable water repellent (DWR). The jacket also comes with its own stow pocket (allowing the jacket to be packed inside), which can be used to carry gels or Mp3 player, cell phone. When wearing this jacket you can’t even tell it’s on. If you don’t know much about NIGHTLIFE Clothing line by brooks this jacket is Bright. An indispensable companion for running, walking, and travel. Sporting a handy roll-and-stow hood, and now with a clip on the stash pocket, this crazy-light, stashable jacket is always at the ready. Weighs less than a blueberry scone and packs down as small.

http://www.brooksrunning.com/LSD-Lite-Jacket-II/210265,default,pd.html

honey WaffleHoney Stinger Waffle

Not all energy bars are the same. Or at least they do not taste the same. If you have a hard time downing energy bars you will have to try these waffles. You don’t usually see me snacking on energy products, but these I do. A definite must have, with 5 flavors to choose from, I am confident you will find one you will love as well.

http://shop.honeystinger.com/categories/Organic-Stinger-Waffles/

clarus lantern1Industrial Revolution Clarus LED Lantern

I really only have good things to say about this light. It is easy to use, durable and light. It is great flashlight when looking ahead in the dark but easily turns into a lantern for around camp light. Probably the best part of this light is the price. Being under 20 bucks it is a must have for most outdoor enthusiasts. I suggest looking into the Clarus LED Lantern.

http://www.openairlife.com/gear-reviews/camping/309-gear-review-industrial-revolution-clarus-led-lantern

FA mountainopsFirst Ascent Mountain OPs Jacket

This isn't your lightweight packable down jacket that you will stuff in your pack just in case you need it. This jacket might not be for everyone; but it is for those who want to stay warm and dry while working in the cold. I would suggest taking a look at this jacket if you need a new work coat or just a great coat for around town.

http://www.openairlife.com/gear-reviews/74-winter-sports/302-gear-review-first-ascent-mountain-ops-jacket

yepp maxi1Yepp Maxi Standard Bicycle Child Carrier

When I think of child carriers for bikes, I think of bulky, uncomfortable, not too good looking seats. Ones that attach to your seat and throw your balance in every which way. Needless to say, I have not found one that seems easy to use. The Yepp child seat is different in that it is made with lightweight materials and has several features to make it easy to take your child on a great ride, that you love too! The Yepp really does absorb enough shock to make a very smooth ride. I have also ridden several times without a child on the seat and you can’t tell it’s there. It is very lightweight, doesn’t rattle, and a great seat overall. For a great ride with a great little companion, I would recommend this seat to all of my friends and we hope you do to yours.

http://www.openairlife.com/gear-reviews/commuting/289-gear-review-yepp-yepp-maxi-standard-bicycle-child-carrier

detours thehillDetours The Hill Pannier

The Hill is a great pannier for someone who commutes but also would like a bag to carry around campus or the office. It looks much cooler than a briefcase. In my opinion, Detours has thought this bag through by adding padding throughout the bag and small reflective material on the outside. If you are in the market for a new pannier, check out our review of this great Pannier.

http://www.openairlife.com/gear-reviews/commuting/287-gear-review-detours-the-hill-pannier

yeti 45LYETI Tundra 45 cooler

So what is my final say with the YETI Tundra 45? I love the cooler. The design is great, it keeps ice and it will last. I would recommend it to anyone that is looking for a cooler for a lifetime or one that can take some serious abuse. I don’t know if I would buy one if you are only going to be using the cooler once a year on a family picnic. But for guides, rafters, weekend warriors and anyone else who wants a tough and great cooler, I say buy. Read our full review of this great cooler.

http://www.openairlife.com/gear-reviews/accessories/286-gear-review-yeti-tundra-45l

geigerrig rig500Geigerrig Rig 500 Hydration Pack

The Rig 500 has plenty of room to shove in a all the extras while out on any adventure. With 500 Cubic inches of extra space you can throw in some extra food, a rain shell and small first aid kit. There and four small pockets, two that are mesh pockets on the inside and two that are accessed from the outside of the pack. This is an easy way to keep your wallet, phone or other small items organized and accessible. The one outside pocket also has a hole so you can slide headphones in to listen to your favorite tunes while doing your favorite activities. The Rig 500 also has a daisy chain sewn in on the outside of the pack so you can clip on a few extras. And the two compression straps on the outside of the pack help keep the pack tight and close to the back. Check out our review.

http://www.openairlife.com/gear-reviews/75-hiking/279-gear-review-is-the-geigerrig-hydration-pack-a-solution-to-a-problem-that-doesnt-exist

swiftlite-tent1High Peak USA Swiftlite Tent

Following the ultralite trend, the Swiftlite is a roomy, two person shelter that weighs just 2 lbs. 14 oz. This single wall tent can be fully enclosed to keep out the elements and features a durable seam-sealed Ripstop nylon construction. Two 7.9 mm 7000 series aluminum poles support the structure. Ventilization is acheived through two, built-in side vents, a zippered door and open foot area with No-see-um, seam-taped bug netting.

http://www.openairlife.com/gear-reviews/76-backpacking/281-gear-review-high-peak-usa-swiftlite-tent

powermonkey extremePowertraveler PowerMonkey Extreme

The powermonkey-eXtreme houses a massive 9000mAh capacity Lithium Polymer battery and offers users real power in a compact, durable shell. The unit is capable of recharging most 5V devices, including an iPhone up to 6 times, a Garmin Edge 800 up to 6 times and standard mobiles up to 12 times. The powermonkey-eXtreme has two output channels; one channel outputs 700mAh max (standard USB) whilst the DC port outputs 2.1Amps max to support the Apple iPad and other tablet computers. IP67 rated – meaning it is waterproof for 30 minutes up to 1 meter – and shock resistant, the powermonkey-eXtreme is perfect for the outdoor. The powermonkey-eXtreme can be recharged in three ways: via the universal mains charger, via the solar panel or via USB. The rugged, clam-shell design solar panel offers 3 watt max output, allowing full recharge of the powermonkey-eXtreme within 15 hours in optimum light conditions. This quickly became our go-to back-up battery on our outdoor adventures.

https://powertraveller.com/iwantsome/primatepower/powermonkeyextreme/

gerber SteadyGerber Steady Multi-tool

The Steady is really for anyone who loves taking picture while out having a good time. It is tough and looks great, as well as functional. You will never need to find someone to take your picture again and you won’t have to miss being the only one not included in the summit or group photo. To learn more check out Gerber’s Site or head into one of their dealers to see it first hand. I don’t think it will disappoint most people looking for a small tripod for small cameras.

http://www.openairlife.com/gear-reviews/accessories/257-gear-review-gerber-steady-multi-tool

kelty lumaspotKelty LumaSpot Rhythm

A lantern, spotlight, and speaker for your MP3 player all in one, the LumaSpot Rhythm is sure to become a campsite favorite. A spotlight mounted to the top of this light swivels, giving campers the ability to light the campsite with a lantern or a 160-lumen spotlight. For entertainment, plug your MP3 player in and listen to tunes while sitting around the campfire. Mood-enhancing colored LEDs can be set to disco mode, complimenting your tunes.

http://www.kelty.com/p-618-lumaspot-rhythm.aspx

It was definitely hard for us to choose this year favorite gear and I am sure we left something out. But we limited to 25 of the things that we have used the most through 2012. Most of the items are new for 2012 but a few are great products that will stand the test of time. We have written a full review on a lot of these picks and we have linked them for your reading pleasure. We would love to hear from you on some of your favorites for 2012.