As we consider the best gear of 2014, several items bubbled to the top. In some categories, the best items felt like splitting hairs, but elsewhere, clearcut winners stood out. Among the sea of gear choices, these items are our 2014 Editor’s Picks.

 

Bontrager TLR Flash Charger Floor Pump

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Jason says: “No question, the Bontrager TLR Flash Charger should have a home in just about every cyclist’s garage. The ability to pressurize the system and unleash the full force of the compressed air is pure genius. Seating tubeless tires properly is now possible at home without the use of a compressor — and the crowd goes wild!” Read the review…

 

SRAM Guide RSC Brakes

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Jason says: “SRAM has absolutely nailed it with the all-new Guide brakes. The Guide RSC’s offer ninja-quiet performance with modulation and power in spades. It’s time to give these stoppers a try.” Read the review…

 

Big Agnes Double Z Sleeping Pad

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Kevin says: “Big Agnes’ industry leadership in bringing a great night’s sleep to adventurers everywhere took a huge step ahead of the competition with their Double Z.  At 4″ thick and a construction that evenly distributes weight, this remarkably comfy pad is still light enough to go anywhere.” Read the review…

 

The North Face Better than Naked Jacket

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Jason says: “I feel like The North Face has absolutely nailed the 2014 version of the Better Than Naked Jacket. It strikes the perfect balance between weather protection and breathability in a way no other jacket has before. And, it’s versatile enough for trail running, road running and cycling.” Read the review…

 

Kelty TrailLogic TN 2 Tent

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Kevin says: “When a tent is sold out just a few months after is release date, you know it’s something special.  The TN 2 is a winner on multiple fronts: innovative, light, and absolutely palatial inside.” Read the review…

 

Scott T2 Kinabalu HS Shoes

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Jason says: “The Scott Kinabalu HS trail runners were immediately comfortable with a smooth stride and a foot-cradling fit. Traction is superb and the Hydro Shield-treated softshell uppers take the edge off on chilly and damp trail runs. The rockered sole almost feels like auto pilot and these shoes are some of the best I’ve tested and certainly tops for 2014.”  Read the review…

 

CamelBak Fourteener 24 Hydration Pack

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Donald says: “From Mt Shasta to the Grand Tetons, and up and down the Sierra Nevadas, this was our workhorse pack throughout the summer and fall.  The pack is light enough for solo day tripping, but remains comfortable against the waist and back when fully loaded.” Read the review…

 

SRAM Rival 22 Groupset

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Jason says: “Stepping “down” to Rival 22 never felt so good. The impressive performance of SRAM’s new entry-level performance drivetrain has me wondering where I should spend all that extra coin. Don’t get me wrong, shaving an extra 500 or so grams with Red is nice, but I’d daresay most of us would rather have an extra $1500+ in-hand. If you’re upgrading, don’t hesitate to hop aboard this drivetrain or if you’re looking at a new Rival-equipped bike, you’ll be completely satisfied for years to come.” Read the review…

 

Westcomb Crest Hoody

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Kevin says: “Minimalism only works when it yields raw, uncompromising function.  Westcomb nailed it with their Crest hoody, pairing excellent tailoring with a remarkable fabric in Pertex Equilibrium.” Read the review…

 

Bontrager RXL 5″ Socks

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Jason says: “As a sock snob, I’m really impressed with the Bontrager RXL 5″ socks. The design offers perfect compression, excellent durability with superb breathability during long, hot rides.” Read the review…

 

Race Bike: Scott Addict SL

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Jason says: “Without question, the new Scott Addict is a fantastic race bike with a penchant for climbing. In the tested Addict SL trim, this is a no-holds-barred race rocket that has demolished all my previous Strava PR’s. Well-heeled riders will appreciate just how special this bike is and hopefully ride the hell out of it. I’m sure the more wallet-friendly trim levels will yield similar performance at a more palatable price.” Read the review…

 

Endurance Bike: Cannondale Synapse Hi-MOD

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Jason says: “No question… Cannondale nailed it with the Synapse Wonderbike. I love the extra dose of “I can ride all day” comfort paired with the instant power of the chassis for what just might be the best execution of any bike in its class.” Read the review…

 

Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody

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Donald says: “True story: at least three different times when we’ve been out and about, someone has stopped us to say “I really like that jacket.”  Nano-Air jackets are not only stylish, but they’re super comfortable, highly versatile, and equally suited for high-effort mountain activity or relaxing beach bonfires.” Read the review…

 

MTB: Yeti ASR Carbon

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Jason says: “The all-new Yeti ASRc is a boss on the trails. I’ll echo the sentiments of other riders in that this bike blurs lines between XC and trail. I like to call this kind of bike a pure mountain bike’s mountain bike. I’d have no problems riding this bike day-in and day-out on every type of terrain — all while grinning from ear-to-ear. Yup, it’s that good.” Read the review…

 

Petzl Tikka RXP Headlamp

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Donald says: “Reactive lighting is the biggest innovation in trail running headlamps in a very long time, and the RXP is Petzl’s version of the ultimate all-purpose tool.  It’s bright enough to light the entire trail, has enough burn time to run through the night, and is compact enough to stash in a pocket when the sun comes up.  Oh, and it’s fully rechargeable.  The future is here.” Read the review…

 

Ritchey WCS Carbon EvoCurve Bars

Jason says: “The EvoCurve design on Ritchey’s WCS Carbon EvoCurve bar adds noticeable comfort on long rides. I quite like the backsweep, which provides more comfortable hand positions when climbing up miles and miles of vert.” Read the review…

 

Sierra Designs Pack Polo

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Kevin says: “While much of Sierra Design’s 2014 line was noteworthy, we picked the Pack Polo as our representative for the stylish yet uncompromisingly functional new slate of backpacking gear from the company.  The fabric is bomber, very technical and stylish enough to wear anywhere.” Read the review…

 

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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