By Johna Till Johnson
You can’t make a trip like the Everglades Challenge without relying heavily on your gear. And the quality of that gear varies. Some poorly-designed products break reliably. We haven’t yet found a “waterproof” headlamp that actually lives up to its name, for instance. And we’ve been through almost half a dozen in the past year. (So we make sure to carry plenty of backups.)
There are also those products that perform as they’re supposed to, day in day out. (Everything Kokatat makes comes to mind.) You rely on these products to do their jobs, and never think further about them.
But there are also are a handful of products that either perform infinitely better than you expect, or fill a need you didn’t realize you had.
For these products, you whisper a silent “thank you” to the manufacturers every time you use them. I’m an engineer, so I never lose sight of the fact that when there’s a product I love, it was conceived, designed, and tested by other engineers. And for the products below, I am devoutly grateful to the humans who created them.