"These are a few of our favourite things..." Seriously—of all the items we've tested this fall, these seven stand out:
We never thought we’d love a drink-container like we love this one from Japanese manufacturer Zojirushi. Vacuum-insulated, it keeps 600 millilitres of liquid warm or cold for about six hours and it weighs just 200 grams. But the flip-top lid really moved us. A safety lock prevents spills, push-button operation means easy one-handed drinking and the spout is engineered to perfection for on-the-go glugs. Plus, it disassembles into three pieces for thorough cleaning. It may sound simple—but the best stuff usually is.
Therm-a-Rest’s Basecamp AF is our One Mattress to Rule Them All. Although part of a collection meant more for car-camping than backpacking, this self-inflating mat folds up small and weighs about one kilogram, making it easy to carry on mild-to-moderate trails. It owes its dual personality to the AirFrame technology within, which alternates channels of foam and air to form a bed that’s lightweight and compressible, yet cushy and supportive. In short, whether we’re overnighting in the bush or next to our car, this is the only pad we need. (Three sizes available.)
Quality pants matter. And Mountain Hardwear’s AP Pant deserves to be on this list for style alone—it’s so nice to have a pair of hardy hiking pants that also look good. Adding function to form, the blended canvas fabric is lightweight and highly breathable, yet worthy of a serious bushwhack. We stashed our valuables in the zippered back pockets and front Velcro-slot. And we loved the snap closures that allowed us to roll-up and secure the pant-legs above our ankles and out of the mud.
In KEEN’s lineup, the Glenhaven Mid is the cool kid. Rather than canoe tripping or backpacking, this shoe is for kicking around mountain towns, cycling through the city and travelling abroad. The all-leather upper is nicely accented with a couple pops of colour and the PU midsole and anatomically molded EVA footbed stay true to the company’s “million steps of comfort” mantra. Though not designed for real hiking, they’re still supportive and grippy enough to depend on for an impromptu gravel trail. And we love the bungee laces, for slip-on ease.
At first glance, we saw just another pair of skinny jeans. Then we tried them on, and our world changed. Made from a proprietary fabric that blends four fibres to create a stretchy, wicking and anti-microbial mix, the No Sweat Pant is as tough as denim, as stretchy as yoga pants and as comfy as pajamas. Elastic cuffs keep pant-legs out of bike chains, zip- and snap-pockets secure belongings and the drawstring waist adds chillin’ out comfort. Like no other pants we own, these are at home on the trails, on the crag, around town and on the couch. (Pictured in top image.)
One trip. That’s how long it took to become enamoured with this cavernous duffel. At 120 litres, it swallowed a week’s worth of camping gear and clothing. It is lightweight (1.1 kilograms), features six lash-points and stuffs into its own end-pocket for storage. Plus, the comfy backpack straps make for easy hauling. But the durability really stood out. Eagle Creek utilizes a proprietary waterproof, abrasion-resistant, non petroleum-based coating to make this bag nearly indestructible (and we tried). How tough? It’s covered by a lifetime warranty that ensures repair or replacement, no matter what abuse you deliver. (Available in 45/60/90/120L sizes.)
How many phones must we ruin before we learn to protect them properly? Pelican’s line of Marine cases for Samsung and iPhone models aims to ensure our valuable tech outlives its contract. These cases are waterproof (tested for continuous submersion), shock-absorbing, dirt-and-dust-proof and have a scratch-resistant screen protector, so we now feel comfortable taking our iPhone into any situation we’d dare enter. Plus, the cases weigh only about 45 grams and add little bulk, so they’re easy to use every day.