All the Gear You Need to Make It Through the Workweek

The ultimate office survival kit

Mar 14, 2016
Outside Magazine
Office survival

Everything you need to survive the workweek.    Photo: Jakob Schiller

For every Vail instructor whose office is a ski slope, there are nine of us schmucks who live, Monday through Friday, in front of a computer (this editor included). To make our desk jobs a little better, we came up with the ultimate office survival kit. From a potted plant for a little extra oxygen to a pair of running kicks for your lunch break, this is everything you need to get through your nine-to-five.

Desktop (Pictured Above)

Spotify Gift Cards (From $10)

Yes, you can listen to Spotify for free with commercials, but talk about killing your groove. Skip the interruptions with these $10 gift cards that get you unlimited, unmolested streaming, plus music on your mobile device.

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 Headphones ($350)

I’m a loud talker on the phone, so I’ve suggested that all my co-workers buy these headphones, which have three different noise-canceling settings, including one that drowns out people like me. They also make your favorite jams sound great.

Mophie Juice Pack Plus iPhone Case ($120)

Stuck in a meeting with a low battery but want to check Instagram? Slide the button on the back of the Juice Pack Plus to charge your phone. It also protects your phone from falls.

Hydro Flask 40-Ounce Wide Mouth ($37)

Hydrate or die, even at the office. We went big with 40-ouncers because that’s enough for a half-day, plus the double-wall insulation will keep your water cold, even if the air conditioning falters. 

Assorted Soft Succulents ($4.50)

Science says that staring at a plant, even for a few seconds, increases concentration. We like soft succulents because they’re inexpensive and don’t take much maintenance.

Desk Drawer

Office survival
Bourbon and undies. What else is there?   Photo: Jakob Schiller

MeUndies Men’s Trunk Underwear ($20)

You should always keep a spare pair of undies at your desk. Just because. We like these because they’re made from modal (think cotton, but silkier) and elastane (for stretch). They’re as comfortable as they get.

Field Trip Jerky ($6.50)

Field Trip Jerky is noteworthy for what it doesn’t have: corn syrup, preservatives, or MSG. It also contains two-thirds less sodium than other competitors, so you won’t drain your Hydro Flask after a midafternoon snack.

Ministry of Supply Apollo Dress Shirt ($95)

This breathable, wrinkle-free, polyester knit shirt stays in the plastic in case of a lunchtime accident. Mustard happens. Go with the slim cut for a more modern fit.

Booker’s Bourbon ($60)

All good journalists have a bottle of bourbon in their desk for those extra-long days. You should, too. We like Booker’s because it’s rich and punchy and creates instant stress relief.

American Stoneware Soapstone Whiskey Glass ($60)

A quality spirit requires more than a Dixie cup. Carved from a solid chunk of American-sourced soapstone, this drinking vessel stays in the back of the office freezer so we can enjoy our bourbon iced but not diluted.

Locker Room

Office survival
Locker room essentials.   Photo: Jakob Schiller

Fig + Yarrow Oral Hygiene Rinse ($26)

Skip the Listerine burn and upgrade to this much smoother rinse. A mild hydrogen peroxide takes care of the bugs in your mouth, while organic cinnamon, peppermint, and eucalyptus kill the coffee on your breath.

Byrd Texturizing Surfspray ($16)

After running your hands through your hair on a stressful or boring conference call, you’ll need to break this out to rejuvenate your coif. Saltwater keeps things styled, and the coconut scent makes your stuffy office smell a little fresher.

Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash ($28)

The cedar, spearmint, and lime in this face wash snapped us out of a midday haze but also cleaned us up after a predawn lap on our local ski hill.

Plant ØÅ Face Oil ($40)

After washing, finish with ØÅ Face Oil, which is surprisingly not oily. The seed- and nut-based liquid left us soft, while the sweet orange and ginger extracts lingered in our nostrils well after we’d returned to the swivel chair.

Swiss Army Classic Sport Cologne ($49)

The clean, lively scent of Classic Sport is a great way to say goodbye to work before heading to dinner. The on-off closure was especially nice for preventing accidental deployment at our desk.


Office survival
A coffee shop at your desk.   Photo: Jakob Schiller

Stumptown Entertainer Coffee Set ($420)

With a Bonavita thermal carafe, Baratza Virtuoso burr grinder, scale, filters, coffee, and mug, the Entertainer is a coffee shop for your desk. It’s pricey but pays for itself once you start skipping the $5 lattes.

Signet Coffee Roasters Gorilla Roast ($13.50)

Tucked away in the southeastern corner of Kansas, Signet makes great coffee at an affordable price. Its flagship Gorilla Roast, named after the local college mascot, is a smooth-drinking mix of medium and dark roast with chocolate and hazelnut overtones.

Ceramic Mug (Price Varies)

Get fancy with your coffee and simple with your mug. A ceramic cup sourced from your local thrift store is all the tech you need. Our advice? Look for one that features the logo of a defunct garage, Boy Scout troop, or faraway city.


Office survival
Go blow off some steam.   Photo: Jakob Schiller

Brooks Launch 3 Running Shoes (From $100)

Lightweight and poppy yet cushioned, the Brooks Launch 3 is a favorite all-around high-mileage trainer that will go pretty much anywhere and do pretty much anything. 

Feetures Elite Light Cushion Mini Crew Socks ($17)

Targeted compression in the arch and around the ankle creates support where you need it. A lightly cushioned heel contrasts nicely with the sheer upper, which provides friction protection against low-volume shoes.

Masterclass Apparel Camouflage Shorts ($80)

You can go bland or you can go bold. For the latter, try these camouflage shorts. The inseam falls just above our knees, and the fit is tailored and flattering. The poly material is topped with a wide, comfortable waistband to keep the shorts from riding up.

Lululemon Metal Vent Tech Long-Sleeve Henley ($88)

A variety of woven densities in the Metal Vent Tech Long-Sleeve Henley kept us warm around our core but let our underarms dump extra heat. We also liked the silver-infused tech, which cut down on stink.

M.R.K.T. Ted Weekender Bag ($135)

All of our running clothes live in the Ted Weekender, which has a rigid but lightweight felt body. An unobtrusive zippered pocket in the bottom of the bag is a great place to stash valuables.

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