Out of all the gear I try throughout the year, there are always a few standouts. I love to look back through the year and share the pieces I’m (still) excited about. Here are my top 6 pieces of gear from 2022, plus some bonus favs from other categories.
Best Activewear of 2022
Arc’teryx Lana merino short sleeve
As soon as I got this, I started wearing it all. the. time. It’s just a basic merino performance t-shirt, but it does it so well. The Lana tee is similar to my beloved Tracksmith harrier tees, but fits looser and longer. I’m loving the fit and the feel!
The North Face ThermoBall booties
Ok, technically I bought these at the very end of 2021, but I didn’t get a chance to fully use and appreciate them in that short amount of time. Since then, these puffy booties have become serious workhorses. I wear them everywhere!
Arc’teryx Taema sun hoody
A good sun shirt is a key part of any mountain/desert wardrobe. I sized up in the Taema for a breezy fit for hot days. I haven’t published a review yet since it’s winter, but I’ve been really happy with the fit, feel, and durability. Even after 4 days of hiking with my fully loaded pack (I wore it every single day!), this top still looks brand new. In the photo, I’m on day 3 of my trip, at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
Athleta elation flare pant
ICYMI, flares are back with a vengeance. My favorite take on flares so far is Athleta’s elations. The lightweight fabric feels great to wear, and their petite fit gives us shorties a true flare silhouette. I wear these primarily for casual use, but they’ve made a few appearances at yoga class, too.
Tracksmith downeaster crew
There’s a bit of a theme here: I’m growing awfully fond of loose-fitting shirts. Comfortable for casual wear and running alike, the downeaster is a cozy thermal-weight top that has been serving me so well in cold weather.
Chacos Z/1 sandals
I finally did it. After years of swearing I’d never succumb to the obligatory footwear of outdoor granola gals, I bought some Chacos. I have to swallow my pride and admit that my Chacos really are the bee’s knees. I had a pair of Bedrock sandals, but I didn’t like them as much and ended up selling them in favor of my Chacos. Yes, the heavier weight is a trade-off, but the support for my high arches and the ability to wear them with socks (useful for camp!) were the ultimate selling points. With apologies to my younger self.
Bonus: Other Favorites from 2022
Besides my activewear buys, here are a couple of other standouts I loved this year.
My Favorite Books This Year
I’ve always been a big reader, and currently I read about 15-30 books every year. Below are my top 3 from this year, in no particular order. If you’re interested in these books, I highly encourage patronizing your local library or independent bookseller! I’ve linked each book to bookshop.org, which is a great way to shop online while supporting independent businesses.
The Sun is a Compass is an adventure memoir and meditation on the vagaries and wonders of wild spaces. It’s free of the ego or naivete that plagues many books in this genre. Caroline Van Emert and her husband, Pat, are bold but grounded, and the scale of their adventure absolutely astounded me. Her reflections are poetic, honest, and thought-provoking. A must-read for any outdoor adventurer!
A survivor of extensive child abuse that left deep scars, What My Bones Know chronicles Stephanie Foo’s journey to finding peace after an extremely tumultuous young adulthood. (If child abuse is a sensitive topic for you, proceed with caution.) She’s wicked funny and approaches her journey with the perfect balance of honesty and self-deprecating, dark humor. Here’s an excerpt I love that gives you a flavor for her style:
“Usually when these people send me compliments affirming my existence and worth, I send back some version of “Oh, pshaw, you’re soooo nice, but I’m actually a fetid sewer marsupial, lolol,” and then I rush to catch my train or chop garlic or respond to my next email.”
And lastly, Ash Davidson’s novel, Damnation Spring, was my favorite fiction book this year. Davidson is a local writer based out of Flagstaff, but her book received national attention. I mostly picked up this book to support a local writer–at first blush, the blurb didn’t sound that exciting to me. But much to my surprise, this book gripped my attention from the first chapter, and I ripped through all 450ish pages in less than a week. Centering around the northern California logging industry in the 1970s, she does an expert job of exploring the nuance of resource extraction and environmental pollution in an intimate, compelling portrait of a working class family.
Girl Meets Dirt treats
I spent about a week on Orcas Island with my mom this summer. One of the best finds was this small business that makes small batch gourmet goods. I’d never had a shrub before, but it’s such a fun alternative to soda or alcohol. And maybe it’s dorky, but jams make excellent gifts! They don’t burden the recipient with clutter and a good jam is such a treat. Try their lemon lavender shrub, rhubarb lavender jam, or the salted apple caramel jam.