Five bags that are ready to take on the world. 



outside buyers guide

Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible duffel. (Fishpond)

Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Duffel ($299)

The best travel bags can’t get by on just style or durability. These days they have to nail both. Call us picky, but we want luggage that can sit on the roof of an Indian tuk tuk in a rainstorm but also look good rolling into a swanky hotel. Case in point: Fishpond’s Thunderhead Submersible duffel. The orange body and climbing-rope handles add visual pop, but the bag is built to take a punch. We dragged the nigh-indestructible, 840-denier Thunderhead behind a car for a mile (just for fun) and barely scratched it. The 39-liter interior remained bone-dry in the face of hot-tub submersion and a power-washer thrashing.

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outside buyers guide

Sitka Gear Rambler roller. (Sitka Gear)

Sitka Gear Rambler Roller ($199)

Should you prefer a travel companion with the same level of steez but with wheels, there’s the Sitka Gear Rambler roller, which perfectly hits the function-style middle ground by applying the company’s hunting heritage to a more urban piece. Built with rugged 210-denier nylon, the 31-liter bag put up with careless luggage handlers and didn’t blink when hit with snow and rain. (It’s not waterproof, but pretty close.) The solid-aluminum roller handle is a thoughtful touch that replaces the cheap plastic you’re used to. City dwellers might balk at the color scheme—hunter green with orange accents—but we prefer to think of it as outdoor chic.

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outside buyers guide

Thule Subterra Carry-On suitcase. (Thule)

Thule Subterra Carry-On Suitcase ($280)

The 22-inch, 36-liter Thule Subterra Carry-On suitcase offers a more subdued and professional look, but don’t be fooled by the sleek exterior. This bag is made from 800-denier nylon and has a rigid plastic back that didn’t buckle when shoved into cramped overheads. An inner compression panel (instead of just straps) smooshes clothes flat, while smooth wheels handle cobbles and tarmac alike.

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outside buyers guide

Duluth Round duffel. (Duluth Pack)

Duluth Round Duffel ($155)

For casual adventures, we loved the 20-liter Duluth Round duffel. Its single top zipper and tube design give it an old-school gym-bag feel. Made from thick 15-ounce canvas, this isn’t meant to be water­proof, but we found it to be plenty tough for domestic and international trips.

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outside buyers guide

United by Blue Redwood pack. (Courtesy of United by Blue)

United by Blue Redwood Pack ($118)

United by Blue also plays to the canvas crowd with its 14-liter Redwood pack. It quickly became our go-to for day trips up mountains or to the local museum. The water-resistant canvas is tough, and we admired the tanned leather pulls and classy brass zippers.

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Travel

The Best Cameras of 2017

Nail the shot, anywhere, anytime.  (Courtesy of Sony) Sony a99 II ($3,199) Gear of the Year The best image makers feature some combination of high resolution, great low-light sensitivity, and smart focusing tools that help you document the action. Sitting at the very top of the heap is the Sony a99 II, which excels in all these categories and folds them into a highly portable package. The a99 rocks a giant 42-megapixel full-frame sensor that allows you to crop in tiny or print huge (think bus advertisement). The wicked-fast autofocus tracking system has 79 points you can use

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Travel

The Best Summer Travel Shoes of 2017

Make a statement with stylish summer kicks.  Red Wing Weekender Chukka men's boot. (Courtesy of Red Wing) Red Wing Weekender Chukka ($230) The oil-tanned leather upper on this boot only looks better with time. We appreciated small but thoughtful details like tricolored stitching and two-tone laces. And the subdued color meant the Weekender was primed for pairing with colorfully patterned socks. But take our advice and order a half-size down to ensure a proper fit. Buy Now SeaVees Baja Slip-On Portal shoe. (Courtesy of SeaVees) SeaVees Baja Slip-On Portal ($98) Think of the Baja as

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Travel

The Best Women's Travel Gear of 2017

Essentials for wandering—and playing—in style and comfort.  (Courtesy Patagonia) Patagonia Glorya Dress ($69) We hiked four miles in this poly-spandex dress, then turned right around and went to Sunday brunch on the beach. The cut, which bunches slightly at the hips, is flowy and 100 percent unrestrictive. Buy Now (Courtesy Goorin) Goorin Marlon Fernandez Hat ($160) Hopefully you’re traveling to some beautiful, remote Ecuadorean beach this summer. If not, this water-resistant straw fedora will at least make you feel like you’re about to embark on a tropical adventure, even when you’re stuck in city traffic.  Buy Now

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Travel

The Best Watches of 2017

Watches that mix modern technology with old-school appeal.  (Courtesy Tsovet) Tsovet SVT-RM40 ($325) It was the Tsovet’s minimalist design that won us over. The solid stainless-steel case is water-resistant to 100 meters and houses a simple face meant to mimic the readout on an old fighter jet. Even more subtle: the date shows through a slot resembling a ship’s porthole. Only the metallic-blue hands convey a bit of flash. Buy Now (Courtesy Szanto) Szanto Officer’s Classic Round Automatic 6304 ($375) Szanto nailed the fieldwatch look with a round-edged case, subtle wave pattern on the face,

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Travel

The Best Camera Accessories of 2017

Taking photos shouldn’t be a chore. Make it fun. (Courtesy Danner) Danner Mountain 600 Low Hiking Boots ($160) The best hikers protect your feet without feeling like cement blocks. The 600 Low fulfills both needs: it’s relatively light (two pounds per pair) yet burly, with a thick, water-proof suede outer and tough Vibram soles.  Buy Now (Courtesy Flint and Tinder) Flint and Tinder All-American Jeans ($98) Good photographers kneel, crawl, jump, and climb to get the shot. These thick, 12-ounce denim jeans will stand up to all that abuse. Buy Now

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Travel

The Best Summer Car-Camping Gear of 2017

Make weekend getaways that much easier.  (Courtesy Nemo) Nemo Puffin Luxury Blanket ($150) This cushy cover has become a camping ­essen­tial, with nylon face fabric to add ground protection for picnics and syn­thetic fill for cool nights. Buy Now (Courtesy The North Face) The North Face Thermoball Booties II ($80) Say hello to the most versatile piece of footwear you will ever own. Insulated with Primaloft, it’s warm and rugged for rocky hikes and cozy enough to replace your fireside slippers. Buy Now (Courtesy Goal Zero) Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Battery

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Travel

The Best Grills of 2017

Let’s be honest—most of us could use a little help when cooking out. Start with your most important instrument: the grill. The latest are practically idiotproof, taking human error (mostly) out of the equation and turning weekend ribs into the envy of anyone within sniffing distance. Portable Kitchen 360. (Portable Kitchen) Portable Kitchen 360 ($870) Our favorite of this year’s bunch is the Portable Kitchen 360, PK’s first new grill in nearly four decades. (The smaller original is a cult favorite.) Made from cast aluminum, this charcoal model has a four-vent system, allowing for precise temperature control,

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Travel

The Best Summer Tailgating Gear of 2017

A full kit for trailhead and parking-lot shindigs.  EcoXGear Eco­Boulder speaker. (EcoXGear) EcoXGear Eco­Boulder Speaker ($249) Many of the portable boom boxes we test are totally anemic. But the EcoXGear EcoBoulder’s 100 watts of power translates into a thunderous 115 decibels. Buy Now Kelty Loveseat chair. (Kelty) Kelty Loveseat Chair ($90) With room for two and as many drink holders, the comfy Loveseat will make you sit and stay awhile. The fact that the carry bag doubles as a firewood hauler is a bonus. Buy Now Urban Accents Grill Master set.

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Travel

The Best Sunglasses of 2017

Style marries function in this new crop of eye protectors.  Roka Phantom sunglasses. (Courtesy of Roka) Roka Phantom ($275) Gear of the Year To glimpse what’s ahead in sunglasses, look back to the fashion-forward styles Grandma and Grandpa loved in their youth. The current updates, however, are much better than the originals: they have superior optics, lens tints, and coatings, and they’re more comfortable and safer, with lightweight, high-impact materials that can take a punch. The Roka Phantom is a clear example of the new paradigm. The classic wire-frame, teardrop-lens aviator takes an epic retro-futuristic leap that redefines performance-sports

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