Editor’s Note: As a collective, the Gear Patrol staff is a wealth of knowledge about products. This series is our way of showcasing and sharing our insights and endorsements. Our hope is that you enjoy it all — and perhaps discover something new you’ll love too.

I dig products, but I hate buying things for myself. My “wants” sit in different bookmarked folders, or in one of the 62 Chrome tabs currently occupying the top of my screen. There, my wants go to die — very few slowly shift into “needs.” The products below have seen this transition through.

Best Made The “Brass Cat” Mercator

It’s thin; it’s sharp; it locks. And in the brass colorway, this German beauty is perfect.

Car2go Membership

Picture yourself walking out of your beautiful NYC brownstone apartment, hopping into your Defender 90 and leaving the city in your rearview. Now, add crippling traffic, alternate side parking and uncomplete prewar construction. Delightful, right? While not quite a vintage overlander, car2go’s fleet of smart cars make navigating and parking in NYC a breeze.

Utopia Kitchen 12.5 Cast Iron Skillet

Take care of it and it may very well outlive you. I’ve had mine for about six years now, and it has taken care of everything from buttermilk pancakes to Chili con Carne.

Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness

I don’t know how I came to acquire my copy of Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness. It just wound up at my apartment one day. The pages well-worn, it seemingly came from someone who had accomplished being happy and continued their path to enlightenment. I gave it a couple reads and graffitied the margin with notes. Now, I find myself constantly going back to remind myself how dumb the brain is.

Red Wing Heritage Rover in Black Harness Leather

Want something American made that ages better than Clooney? Smash the BUY NOW button and thank me later (preferably via a handwritten note).

Scrabble Tile Lock

I grew up playing Scrabble with my Nona. I was equipped with an infant vocabulary, and she took little mercy on me so games consistently ended with a lopsided score. At 16, and with numerous SAT prep classes under my belt, I organized a blitz of triple word scores. That was the last time Scrabble was brought out at the holidays. Competitive games now take place between my girlfriend and me, with a bottle of wine to soften losses.

Twin Tip Black Sharpie

Having grown up in a household of artists, you’d think I would have been graced via osmosis with some artistic ability. Nope, but I do take pride in my doodling. This sharpie is the go-to for creative stream-of-consciousness.

Elite SRS Jump Rope

As a collegiate swimmer and water polo player, staying in shape was a priority (if I intended to not drown). After hanging up my speedo, fitness took a backseat to, well, everything. I needed something cheap, quick and convenient. This is exactly that… with PVC cord durability, if you find yourself on a rough Brooklyn sidewalk.

Rothco Tacticanvas Go Pack

It may guarantee a full body pat-down, but this sure is a convenient pack for a 72-hour getaway. The heavyweight canvas can withstand any mysterious snags under the seat in front of you.

The Grail

Taquería Los Cocuyos, Mexico City: (2) Tacos de Suadero & (1) bottle of Coke

In the old city center of Mexico City, Centro, squeezed between an audio speaker store and a dive bar, you’ll find a taco stand. Follow your nose to the large, simmering vat full of different animal parts — from eye to tongue. Don’t be intimidated by the well-moustached taquero and his tensely-gripped machete. While holding up two fingers, point confidently to SUADERO, on the green menu conveniently off to your right. Thankfully, “one Coke” in English has become pretty universal. Pull up a plastic stool, and with Calle Bolivar at your back, sit patiently. While you wait, practice saying “otra por favor,” you’re going to need it.

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