Gear Upgrade

    Photo: Chris Philpot

Workbench

Garage Saver
When tackling your gear mess this winter, remember these numbers: 23.9, 15.9, 16.5. Those are the dimensions, in inches, of an 18-gallon Rubbermaid bin. Little else can match the plastic cubes for back-of-the-pickup weather resistance or Lego-like use of space. Put some sustainably harvested lumber to good use by building a shelving unit that'll accommodate ten of them. Some pointers:

1. Two one-by-twelve slats make for a perfect fit—and a rustic appearance that'll mask even the shoddiest carpentry skills. Never used a hammer for anything but busting thumbs? Get basic instruction at doityourself.com.

2. Build shelves up, not across (five bins high, two wide), and keep lightweight items up top, heavy ones on the floor.
3. Since there's no stacking involved, you'll never have to move one bin to open another.

4. Add pegs on the side to holster skis; they'll be out of the way but accessible.

5. For kayaks and bikes, check out Yakima's Ground Control System (yakima.com), which corrals big items vertically. — GRAYSON SCHAFFER

Shoe Shine
After Blake Mycoskie appeared on CBS's The Amazing Race (third place, second season), he could have been forgiven for chasing Hollywood dreams. Instead, he chased adventure, ending up in Argentina, where the local footwear—and poverty—inspired him to create Toms Shoes, a hot new brand with an elegantly simple take on charity: For every pair of shoes sold, the company will give a pair to a child in need. Mycoskie traveled to Argentina last October to make good on the promise, hand-delivering 10,000 shoes to local children. The canvas slip-ons come in a variety of colors and limited-edition designs, should you want to get—and give—a pair. From $38; tomsshoes.com  — ANDREA FELDBERG

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