We reviewed a lot of great gear in this past year. Of all the things we tried and used hiking, camping, running, skiing and fishing, there were some definite standouts. All of the products on our Best Gear of 2011 list met GearGuide’s criteria for delivering value, performance and elegance in design.

Without further ado, here’s GearGuide’s Best Gear of 2011:


Hardshell – Patagonia Powder Bowl

With the Powder Bowl, Patagonia sets the standard for hardshell jackets. It isn’t cheap at $399 MSRP, but man do you get what you pay for. See review.

Softshell – Sierra Designs Savage We love the Sierra Designs Savage Jacket for its go-anywhere style and innovative approach to insulation. It’s sleek, not bulky, and delivers waterproofing that competes with the big boys. See review.

Insulated Jacket – Eddie Bauer First Ascent Downlight Hoodie Pullover We like performance gear that performs. We love performance gear that performs and looks great doing it. That’s the Eddie Bauer First Ascent Downlight Hoodie Pullover. See review.


Shorts – Triple Aught Force 10 Rugged and bristling with pockets. Uniquely styled with a blend of outdoor-technical and urban cues. Built to last. That’s the Triple Aught Design Force 10 Short. See review.

Pant – REI EndeavorThe REI Endeavor is one great softshell pant. It’s good looking, rugged and has plenty of storage. It breaths nicely and dries quickly. At less than $100, the Endeavor is a bargain when compared to other brands. See review.

Top – Icebreaker Rush Crewe Wow! These are merino wool? The fabric is beautiful, soft and lightweight. You can even trace the fabric back to the sheep! See review.


Glove – Mountain Hardwear Dragons Claw Rugged good looks. Best waterproof performance of the gloves we tested in 2011. If you’re looking for a great undercuff glove, the Mountain Hardwear Dragons Claw is a fantastic choice. See review.

Fly Rod – Redington Pursuit The Redington Pursuit is one of the best rods you can buy at the $100 price point. The quality of construction, cosmetics and fishing performance rival rods many times the price. See review.

Hydration pack – Geigerrig Rig 1600 It’s never easy to take on the guy that literally invented the category. You need to innovate and deliver a superior product. Geigerrig has done just that. The company created a dynamite hydration system that dramatically improves on the original concept. See review.

Tent – Kelty Hula House The Kelty Hula House is one helluva tent. With a six foot ceiling height and hoop pole system, it bests just about everything else out there for interior space and feels enormous inside. And the construction and factory seam sealing provides top-notch protection from the elements. See review.


Approach Shoe – La Sportiva Boulder X Sticky, tough wearing, comfortable – and boasting an unconventional La Sportiva lacing system – the Boulder X is an outstanding approach shoe. See review.

Multisport Shoe – Scarpa Epic We don’t usually use the word sleek when commenting about outdoor footwear, but that is what the Scapa Epic is. Frankly, it looks too sleek and fashionable to deliver the the required performance. But the Scarpa Epic does. See review.

Minimal Running Shoe – Saucony Mirage With the Mirage, Saucony delivered a great lightweight trainer. It provides just enough cushion and control to make those used to a more traditional shoe feel right at home while still easing into the minimalist movement. See review.

Thanks for reading GearGuide. And thanks for commenting, following, liking and otherwise supporting us during the past year.