Adventure‘s Gear of the Year!

National Geographic Adventure is back with even more in their end of the year wrap-up articles. This time it’s their Gear of the Year, which is conveniently broken down by environment. (Desert, Forest, Mountain, etc.) Do you think it’s purely a coincidence that this came just a few weeks before Christmas?

Looking over the list, I’m going to ask Santa for the Gregory Z55 Pack (Because I can never have enough packs!), the Marmot Gravity Softshell jacket, a Santa Cruz Nomad Mountain Bike, and maybe a Harman Kardon Drive and Play for the iPod. I don’t want to get too greedy. So what’s on your Adventure Gear Christmas list?

9 thoughts on “<i>Adventure</i>‘s Gear of the Year!”

  1. I’d like to check ou that little LED flashlight–the U2 Ultra. I think I have a sort of flashlight fetish! Did a lot of caving in the 90’s and just am a big fan of battery-powered lighting devices.

    I prefer headlamps hands down (pardon the pun) to flashlights so I’ll probably hint to my wife about the Black Diamond Polar Star. I really dig LED lamps since they don’t seem to break and are amazingly power efficient.

    My only issue is that I can’t read well at night (in a tent or at home) with any of the lamps that have a battery pack placed behind the head. Too uncomfortable. But that’s what my Petzl Tikka is for!


  2. Sounds like the prefect stocking stuffer for the holidays! 🙂 I love my Petzl Tikka as well. Great little headlamp. Damn near perfect.

    I can relate to your flashlight fetish. I think I have a similar fetish with packs. When ever I go to a gear store I have to go look at the packs, even though I already own five pack of various sizes. Can’t resist! 🙂

  3. Nope! No Z55 for me yet. At least not from Santa. I forgot to check if they had any in stock while at REI earlier today.

    Everything I’ve heard from people who own them and from reviews has been highly positive though. Great pack!

  4. I just ordered mine 5 mins ago from REI. I called the nearest store and they indicated they are not expected stock until February or March. I think right now, you can only buy them from

    I usually wouldn’t buy a pack without being fitted, but it just so happens i’m going to the rei garage sale in Pittsburg in 2 weeks (3 hours away is the nearest store to me), so I’ll have it fitted there. If me no likey, I’ll exchange for something else. The store said they won’t have a z55, so this was the only way I could test it out and compare to others when in store.

    Must get rid of the 7lb kelty!!!


  5. Awesome! Thanks for the heads up! I’m going to the garage sale in a few weeks as well. Hopefully they have some great stuff at a great price!

    Let us know what you think of the z55!

  6. So far the z55 is good. Haven’t fully tried it out yet (going out end of March). It’s very light and comfortable. I’ve been spending time with it on my stairstepper and it ventilates well.

    It definitely does not have any side access pockets, only hipbelt mesh pockets, which makes it tough to have nalgene, snacks, etc readily available.

    The floating front pocket is cool and I think I may move my hydration bladder to that location so I can easier see how much water is in it, as well as be able to pull it out fast to refill.

    I’m probably going to look at ways to trim some weight from it by trimming the straps and looking to see if the stay is removable….or by making it removable 🙂

    Also, it seems the loops around the zippers are pretty flimsy. I had one break within about 10 mins. Just out of principle, I had REI replace it, but I also called Gregory and complained. They kindly shipped me several replacements at no charge so I have a few extra just in case. It’s nothing major that a trail rig couldn’t resolve if necessary, but again, it was the principle of it all.

    Also, I found it humorous that Outside magazine rated it THE backpack for 2006 only maybe a few weeks after it was released. And same same for Backpacker Mag for their 2007 gear guide. Seems a little fast to make those statements!!!

    After I get back in March I’ll post again. This isn’t much, but at least will give some folks a few ideas.

  7. Thanks for the update! I appreciate the mini-review, and look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on it after you’ve had a chance to properly use it.

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