Join 65,000 readers enjoying Here & There, a weekly outdoor/travel newsletter with nuance, questions, and complexity.


The best things I used this year

Great gear I actually used and wasn't paid to write about

‘Tis the season of endless gear guides. Some good, some bad, but most of them just vehicles to push sponsored content, affiliate links, and partnerships. Soon, we’ll be hearing all about the retailers that want a pat on the back for being "anti-Black-Friday but please visit our website and check out our Cyber Monday deals" and the 25 insulated cups that we absolutely need to buy.

I’ve pared down my gear and wardrobe significantly over the last few years, so I’ve become increasingly enamored with a small amount of high-quality things. Here are a few things I used this year that I wasn’t paid to write about.

Roark Bless Up Trail Shirt

Easily my top purchase of the year. Comfortable, breathable, versatile, and just plain looks great. I’ll throw it on for a 20 mile trail run or with a pair of jeans to get dinner. I don’t own anything else that gets as many compliments or questions. I will probably buy another one.

Bliz Fusion Sunglasses

I picked up this pair on sale in Innsbruck and they’ve rarely left my face since. While I previously owned a pair of Bliz, this is my first pair of transition sunglasses, and boy is it worth it. In recent months I’ve worn them on mountain bike rides and trail runs in a range of light conditions. It’s a small thing, but it’s nice to not have to think about taking sunglasses on and off when you’re speeding through the trees or the weather changes slightly.

Proof 72 Hour Tee

Slightly conflicted about this one. $88 feels like an obscene amount to pay for a t-shirt. Even if it’s a very nice, versatile, merino shirt. I think I’ve wrung enough value out of it (at least that’s what I’m telling myself) — I wanted to travel minimally in Europe this summer and it fit the bill. It’s comfortable, holds up without washing for a long time, and looks quite good on it’s own. Be aware that there is some potential for shrinkage; keep that in mind with sizing decisions.

Rab Vapour Rise Summit Jacket

I wore the Vapour Rise on every backcountry mission this winter and it was the only jacket I brought for a few weeks of romping around Europe this summer. It’s one of the best active-pursuit jackets I’ve owned (it has replaced my Atom LT, which I left on a plane). In the winter, it’s breathable enough to wear while skinning, and I’ll pair it with a light shell. It’s definitely not a lift-riding, lower effort, super cold jacket, but that’s not what it’s designed for.

Hoka Tecton X

Hoka’s first trail running shoe with a carbon plate knocked it out of the park for me. I put a ton of miles on these and raced a 20-miler in them as well. They’ve since launched the Tecton X2, which seems to have addressed a few of the small fit issues I had, but I haven’t had the chance to try it yet.

Sony A7c

The a7c + 24mm is compact enough to fit in the front vest pocket of my running vest and versatile enough for basically everything I throw at it. My recent photography is centered around active pursuits (trail running, backcountry skiing, etc). It’s a style of shooting that rewards portability, and the a7c delivers. Sony recently released new versions, which keep the portability but fix a few ergonomic issues and bumps up the quality.

Suunto 9 Peak - $359

I upgraded to the Suunto after languishing with an older Garmin. Great watch. Awesome battery life. Big fan.

Things that are still GoodEnough®.

I think it’s important to share the things that I’m using that aren’t new. The majority of my gear (shoes aside) doesn’t wear out every six months, adn I don’t need a brand new seasonal gear guide to convince me to replace perfectly functional things.

Injinji Toe Socks - I am still a toe sock guy. I swear, they have basically saved my feet.

Ciele Running Hat - You’ll probably see me wearing this during 90% of activities.

Patagonia Terrebone Joggers - Light and comfortable. The ultimate travel pant. Still going strong.

Black Diamond Stormline Stretch - $144 - 6 years later it’s still my go-to for rainy days and backcountry missions.

Rab Aeon Ultra 28L - $180 - Still going strong after another year of adventures, travel, and hut trips in Alps.

Glerups Boot -I’m not sure when I bought these but they live on my feed for a solid part of the year, especially now that I’m back in Colorado. The rubber sole means I’m just as likely to be wearing them in the house as at the coffee shop.

Salomon Adv Skin 12 - This remains the most versatile and comfortable running vest I’ve tried. It goes everywhere with me. I’ve put it through the absolute wringer for years and it’s still going strong.

Marmot Aerobora - I swear, I think this shirt is magic. I’ve had it for forever and it still looks as good as the day I bought it. It doesn’t wrinkle, and it nicely straddles casual/nice making it invaluable for traveling. A must-have any time I’m traveling.

What things are on your GoodEnough® list? Send an email to Would be fun to share with suggestions from readers in a future newsletter.

Here & There is brought to you by Mountain Gazette

Subscribe today and get two 130+ page journals packed with large format photography, stories, cartoons, and more.

Learn more

I'm Kyle Frost. Join 65,000 readers enjoying Here & There, my weekly outdoor/travel newsletter with nuance, questions, and complexity.