With Christmas approaching, I wanted to share some of the stand out gear that I’ve experienced this year. I’ve included links in case you’re looking to pick up some last minute gifts or stocking fillers for the outdoorsy person in your life, your hiking buddies, or hey, even yourself!
Some of the links in this post are Affiliate links that earn Pack Config a small commission on any purchase you make, which help generate income to support the continuation of my work with the blog. Click here if you’d like to find out more about this.
This pair of lights boast a large number of attachment methods, making them super versatile. They have a neodymium magnetic side for attaching them to ferrous metals, a hook and a loop side to attach them together or to other hook/loop surfaces, and a top spring clip for quick attachment to a line of paracord under your hammock or some thinner webbing, like on the Prometheus Design Werx SHADO Pack. Finally it comes with a strip of hook and loop tape that can be threaded through the clip and then through your belt or webbing anywhere for a final attachment method.
Each unit cube feels solid (I’ve already dropped them a couple of times with no effect – err… not recommended use!) and using the robust switch, housed underneath the clip, pumps out 60 lumens which is ample for a quick diy job in the dark or a camp light. The two replaceable CR2032 batteries suggest a 8-10 hour battery life which is not bad either.
Overall these are an impressive package for a very affordable price.
2. Mechanix Wear Winter Gloves
Over the last number of years I’ve developed what’s know as Raynaud’s phenomenon, which basically reduces blood circulation around my extremities frequently resulting in turning my fingers and toes completely white, with sharp pain as the blood flow returns. There is no known cure, but thankfully my symptoms don’t need medication and can be somewhat effectively managed myself.
Gloves play a massive roll in keeping my symptoms at bay. Needing to wear gloves literally anytime I’m outside, from early-autumn through to mid-spring, means I need durability, dexterity and warmth.
I already had some Mechanix Wear gloves, the Original Coverts, that I’d purchased a while ago (and liked them so much they made my list of Pack Essentials!), so I reached out to Mechanix Wear who offered to send me some to try out, in return for them being visible as I used them. On receiving their Cold Weather Insulated gloves (see below) I was immediately impressed.
Over three years later, with over 6 months of pretty much constant wear per year, they’ve only just now worn through. The dexterity and toughness they have beats any wool gloves, especially as they don’t snag, fluff up over time or draw on water in the same way.
But they do draw some water with heavy rain or when I’m working outside with wet objects. Also, while I could effectively increase their warmth by layering them with some cheaper merino liners, they lost their effectiveness for a number of months in the depths of winter.
Thankfully, Mechanix Wear do Wind Resistant version that is a much warmer and durable glove. Being thicker and having a longer cuff makes them much more effective. They have a grip that seems to demand good contact with things I’m carrying, plus they’re also much more resistant to water. I look forward to testing them over this winter, but already can confidently recommend the Mechanix Wear line.
3. Snowpeak Titanium Mug
The handles are easy to operate and have shown no sign of failing. They’re great for clipping it onto the outside of a pack. Doing this did lead to a tiny dent in the bottom, which is fairly impressed to have achieved as it barely has any flex.
I opted for their smaller size as I like a small coffee while camping, but as it’s not a lined wall cup it can start to lose its heat. I actually prefer it this way as it allows me to make a hot drink and be able to drink it sooner, rather than needing to add a drop of cold or waiting for it to cool.
The only slight downside to this mug being made of titanium is that it heats up super quick so you have to take care not to burn your lips. You can buy a silicon lip protector but I prefer to risk it! I believe I paid under £20 for this, but there are other brands of titanium mug that you can pick up for cheaper.
4. Timmy Hat
My Timmy Hat was sent to me (by TRC Outdoors) to review in time for the Summer and it got some serious use. I keep my head shaved and have skin that likes to burn in around 30 minutes of direct sun exposure, which is a killer combination in hotter weather. This usually means having a hot, sweaty head all Summer as I’m wearing a hat any time I go out.
Enter the Timmy Hat. They cleverly designed it with a soft mesh backing which seems to draw in even the smallest breeze, keeping my head cool, even when exercising. The lack of structure built into the cap works well when you need to stuff it in your pack, yet doesn’t look scrappy on your head – it hugs it, taking on your heads natural form.
I’ve worn caps for basically have a year, every year, since I was a child and like to think I know what makes a good peak. This one has good flex, allowing me to create the perfect curve (you curvers know what I mean!), with little to no bouncing back to being flat like some peaks can.
The night camp pattern feels unique in a sea of same coloured caps, and the simple Timmy the Spider embroidery on the front has been a cool conversation start too.
4. GORUCK 10L Bullet
Finally, I’ve got to recommend the GORUCK Bullet. Mine, which I got by asking for it as payment for some logo design work I did for another blog owner, is now over 5 years old.
You can read my review of this older generation here, but if you scroll through any of my loadout or social posts you’ll see that, despite what pack I’m currently reviewing, I always come back to it. It excels at EDC and day trips, especially once you (or your gear) have grown accustom to a 10L carry mindset.
They’ve since made some improvements to the design and even done some of the things I thought would be beneficial (though I’m sure I wasn’t the only one), but I can see it’s still the same amazing pack and would highly recommend picking one up. Especially as, for the simple genius they offer, the price doesn’t break the bank.
SHADO Pack 24L
If you haven’t already had a chance to read my in-depth review on the SHADO Pack 24L by Prometheus Design Werx, I highly recommend that you do – check it out here! They’ve recently dropped the pack in “Syth Black” on their store, just in time for Christmas. If you’re looking to pick up a pack, this one is well worth checking out.