Editor’s Picks: New favorites to start the year strong

January 10, 2017

  • by
  • Peter Reese

Hundreds of brands fill the potential gear locker with all manner of technology, performance and style sensibilities. Following are a few that reached out and grabbed us by the editorial collar.

Flowfold Conductor Duffel 40L: Long-haul companion

Flowfold conductor duffle main Flowfold Conductor Duffle 40L $86.20 - $94.08

Take your best shot and grab this ballistic nylon strap, X-Pac fabric duffel from the crew at Flowfold. Their wallets and passport holders have endured plenty of abuse in our hands (and pockets and packs) during international travel over the past 24 months. Conductor punches your ticket for style without attracting undue attention on buses, boats and shuttles. A side pocket zips into the action with enough room for accessories even as the entire package repels abrasion, stains and moisture. Solid color choices keep each team member’s essentials separate with a 360g satchel that rolls and folds when not needed. Which is nearly never. And the water repellent YKK zipper is no accident, either.

Best For: Domestic and international travel with enough capacity for quick overnights

Topo Athletic Terraventure: The journey accelerates

Topo athletic terraventure main Topo Athletic Terraventure $100.06 - $103.36

Testers at Active Junky were among the first to cover this brand when it premiered using a split-toe design. While the line has changed significantly since then, the lightweight, low stack height attributes of every Topo Athletic shoe have prevailed. Coming off the stellar performance of the ST-2 training shoe and mile-destroying Magnifly road shoe, testers were elated (accurate term) at the award-rich Terraventure. This is precisely the model we’d hoped to run as it’s more adventure racing style with a flexible forefoot rock plate (mandatory in lightweight models) as well as the reliable ghillie lacing system. A 6mm rubber outsole is a smart balance between weight and durability while the lugs on the 3mm-drop Terraventure are ready for speed over broken terrain. 

Best For: Aggressive running in drier conditions, international multi-sport travel for trail running, cycling and day hikes

TRX GO Suspension Trainer: On target – yours

What are your goals? How many minutes and moves can each day accommodate? TRX GO is patiently waiting to change your life, starting at the core. Anchor points abound at home and on the road, and this capable basic training kit points you to high-performance sessions – at only 1.0lb. Incredible, but not if you know the backstory on an approach born of necessity and refined by fire. Testers started exploring the over-300 exercises, realizing they need to refine their objectives based upon activities and shortcomings. Door and suspension anchors carry the load, putting the athlete in position to isolate and improve. Increase intensity to add a cardio element if outside conditions (weather or crime) preclude hitting the streets. Importantly, the system accommodates all body types, weights and athletic abilities while improving balance and poise with every repetition.

Best For: Supplementing or replacing gym workouts, particularly during travel (mesh bag included), apartment dwellers with limited square footage 

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Bertucci A-1T Titanium Field Watch: Time traveler’s choice

If this one looks familiar (because you’re a student of WWII or classic field watches), it’s no surprise. Family-owned Bertucci reached back into the early ‘40s and updated this model with apocalypse-worthy titanium. Testers loved the asymmetrical winding stem in concert with the hardened, scratch-resistant mineral glass crystal. Bonus points for interchangeable bands from the brand to go urban or jungle with a quick, affordable change. Luminosity of face and hands is well above par as is the accuracy of the all-metal, Swiss quartz movement. The battery goes long at three years or more while water resistance clocks in at 100 meters. For under $200, few choices come anywhere close.

Best For: Adventure, work and casual – with the wise buy of optional bands

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Search and State Long-Sleeve Merino Jersey: Born to ride

Hard-core cyclists are well acquainted with suffering. Pain is the measure of gain, and calories burned are charted against watts of power produced. Search and State adds a measure of cush to the pedaling push with this luxurious jersey. On your back and into your cycling life (and beyond) for under $200, the Search and State Jersey adds elegance to the most dire of climbs and perilous descents. Try on this Manhattan Garment District-made top and the performance of wool finds new form for trimmer riders. Details such as three pockets and an exterior hanging loop morph an essential into a heaven-sent experience that earns years of respect on the road. More good things are ahead with this label, but they’re ready for your business right now.

Best For: Multi-season training, recreational rides and multi-sport international exploits

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