Staff Picks

Forget the Bug-Out Bag, Here’s Our Ultimate Bug-In Bag

March 15, 2020 Sports and Outdoors By
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When we get a sense of “all hell breaking loose,” the natural reaction is to prep a bugout bag. You know, a pack stuffed with rugged essentials: MREs, survival knives and first-aid equipment. But in the face of coronavirus, with increasing calls for people to self-quarantine, the best bet may not be to lash out but to stay in. So we asked the Gear Patrol staff what they reach for when it’s time to hole up for a weekend (or longer). Their expert picks break down into a few categories, and all are as critical these days as a hundred feet of paracord and a fire starter.

Food and Drink

The Gaijin Cookbook

“I had plans to spend two weeks in Japan before the coronavirus hit, with much of that time dedicated to eating. Instead, I’ve been working my way through the latest cookbook by Ivan Orkin of Chef’s Table fame and the man behind my favorite ramen spot. There’s no better way to cure boredom at home than by cooking, and Orkin makes a play for approachability in The Gaijin Cookbook. If you don’t have an Asian supermarket nearby, you can order Japanese cooking staples like dashi packets and bonito flakes on Amazon.” Tanner Bowden, Staff Writer, Outdoors & Fitness


Donvier Manual Ice Cream Maker

“TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) doesn’t scare me nearly as much ever since I learned that ice cream can still exist even in a world without electricity. This model, admittedly, does need a cold environment to chill its bowl, but that means you’re not dependent on ice or salt to churn up that sweet, sweet treat. And hey, cranking the handle is a great way to pass the time when you’re all bugged in.” — Will Sabel Courtney, Motoring Editor

Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted Ale

“One of the oldest activities to pass time is drinking. But don’t just drink any beer, drink one of the best IPAs out there that can be found just about anywhere: Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. With a subtle hop character of piney and grapefruit notes, it’s the definition of an American IPA.” — Ryan Brower, Commerce Editor

Dosist Bliss 200 Dose Pen

“Sometimes you just need to chill out. You don’t need to go off the deep end, though, and these highly precise vaporizers deliver measured 2.25mg doses, so you can ease into your vibe.” — John Zientek, Associate Editor, Style


Xbox Game Pass

“Looking for an Xbox game to play but reluctant to pick just one to plunk down $60 on? Xbox Game Pass gives you access to over 100 options, for a modest monthly fee of fifteen bucks, and first-time gamers can even snag a month for just a buck. It is a great way to kill a whole ton of time.” — Eric Limer, Tech Editor


“If you’re looking for something to pass the time with the whole squad, nothing beats an easy-to-learn board game.” — Scott Ulrich, Editorial Associate


Catan Expansion – Seafarers

“In my early twenties after college, my friends and I discovered Settlers of Catan [a.k.a. Catan, see above], which is without a doubt the greatest board game ever created. There were five or six of us and we’d play on Saturdays and Sundays, for months on end. It was an addiction. If you’ve ever played Catan, I’d implore you to buy the Seafarers expansion pack. It requires you to have the original Catan board game, but it elevates your fun tenfold. Remember: trade your wheat and sheep wisely.” — Tucker Bowe, Senior Staff Writer, Tech

Atomic Purple Gameboy Color

“I’ve only had to hunker down once, for about a week, during hurricane season in South Carolina. While cooped up, I learned that what seems luxurious when you’re never home — watching movies, reading books, sleeping in — gets old very quickly when it’s all you can do, so you have to switch things up. My Atomic Purple Gameboy Color never fails to entertain when I’m bored with whatever book or Netflix show I’m in the middle of; it’s my secret weapon when home sick or stuck home in general.” Caitlyn Shaw, Consumer Marketing Manager

Frank Lloyd Wright Saguaro Forms and Cactus Flowers Puzzle

“Might as well use quarantine time to go off the grid for a bit, set aside your phone and complete a challenge. It’s really hard to find jigsaw puzzles of images that aren’t ugly, but this one is fun and you get to feel accomplished and cool when you finish it.” — Sherry Wang, Senior Designer



Wahoo Kickr Smart Trainer

“Staying in shape can seem low priority in times like these. But when you’re training for a race, having a stationary bike in your living room is golden.” — AJ Powell, Project Manager, Gear Patrol Studios

Sunny Health & Fitness Chromed Flywheel

“Regular exercise would play a big role in not getting cabin fever, and my go-to is indoor cycling. If you are new to it and don’t want to splurge on Peloton, I highly recommend this Sunny Bike. It’s no-frills (read: no electronics) so it won’t measure your heart rate/distance/zodiac sign, but it will make you sweat. Pair with the Peloton app on a cheap cycling iPad holder and an iPad and you are basically fancy. Also, it will train you for when things go full 28 Days Later and you need to out-bike some fast zombies.”Andrew Siceloff, Director of Video

Titan Fitness Adjustable Kettlebell

“No product delivers more resistance-training options at a lower price and in a smaller package than adjustable kettlebells. This one gradates from 10 to 40 pounds and you can even use individual plates for bonus moves such as triceps extensions and weighted arm circles. A little strength work will come in handy when your bike chain breaks and you have to turn and fight those zombies.” — Steve Mazzucchi, Outdoors & Fitness Editor

12 Things We’d Blow Our 2020 Tax Refunds On

From bikes to boats to beat-up Cadillacs, this is what the Gear Patrol staff wants to spend irresponsibly on. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

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