Tests, Reviews and Reports

Best of 2015: Gear Writing


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365 days is a lot of time to seek out stories on adventure, gear, and everything in between. Here’s a look back at the best our gear reviewers wrote over the course of 2015 — from a collage of patinaed classics to a trio of backcountry favorites to headphones that span a generation.

Sentence(s) of the Year

Cursed Traveler

“But it didn’t take long for the Viking’s curse to strike again. At baggage check, the lady at the counter slipped my bag on the conveyor belt sans tag, and it slid behind the wall unmarked. She turned to me and delivered the prognosis: ‘It’s gone.’ It was.”

– Matthew Ankeny

The Stories

More Than Just Gear

The Way Things Age

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Matthew Ankeny & GP: Documenting how the things we use take on our patina over the years.

An In-Depth Review of the Revived NYC Citi Bike

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By AJ Powell: Is NYC’s new Citi Bike the commuter bike we’ve all been pining for?

Learning Travel Zen from a Lost Bag, a Canceled Flight, and Karl Knausgaard

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By Matthew Ankeny: Everything went wrong. Flight. Newark. Luggage. There’s only a Norwegian muse to blame, and a lonely Tumi bag to praise.

Diamond Engagement Rings Haven’t Always Been ‘Forever’

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By Caitlyn Girardi: It’s gold, not diamonds, that best signify love. An historical ring exhibit from the Met explains.

3 Backcountry Camping Kits, Tested in the Tetons

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By Henry Phillips, Matthew Ankeny and Chris Wright: The backcountry is calling. If you must go (and you happen to be headed to western Wyoming in the summer), be sure to bring this gear.

Once Overshadowed, the Steel Bike Resurges

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By Chris Wright: “Riding a good steel bike, I tell you, is the closest thing to flying without leaving the planet. Go out there and ride that thing, and see what I mean.” So ended my call with bike builder Bradley Woehl, and so began my interest in steel-frame bikes. Because who doesn’t want to fly?

Highlights from the World’s Biggest Bike Show

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By Matthew Ankeny: Eurobike is every bike brand ever, crammed into zeppelin-hangars-turned-convention-halls. Here are the highlights.

4 Mechanical Alternatives to the Apple Watch

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By Eric Yang: Apple Watch is here. Fantastic. Here are four mechanical watches to actually go spend your hard-earned money on instead.

3 Online Custom Shirt Makers, Tested

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By Matthew Ankeny: The internet claims it can make a shirt better than your tailor. We tried three online custom shirts to see if the claim and the fit rang true.

Headphones that Span a Generation

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By Jack Seemer: Some nights after dinner, my dad would take me to his office, sit me on the floor, and put a record on. Finally, he’d place a pair of Sony MDR-V6 headphones on my head.