Episode 70 of the Fastest Known Podcast discussed “The Gear of the Decade”, with all four FKT.com principals: Peter Bakwin, Buzz Burrell, Jeff Schuler, and Craig Randall. What is the best gear to help FKTers move faster, easier, and safer in the mountains and trails? Listen and Subscribe!
This Article provides the name of each piece of gear we thought changed the game. Disclaimer - NOT: there are no hot links to these products because we have no affiliate or sponsorship with any of these companies.
Be sure to post YOUR Comments! What has worked for you? What flopped? And what gear do you want but doesn’t exist?
The Good Stuff
Garmin Mini: The best Personal Locator Beacon - only 3.5 oz, 2-way text messaging, a big spend at $350, and ... it can save your life.
CalTopo & Gaia: The 1-2 punch of two fantastic mapping and navigation apps that were unheard of 10 years ago and are key tools now.
Strava: Yes, the social network for athletes that people love to hate (but still always use).
Adventure Projects: A suite of super helpful and easy to use phone apps by REI: Trail Run, Hiking, MTB, Powder, and Mountain Project.
LED Flashlights: They used to be incandescent and just the batteries for a full night weighed a pound - now they are really light and really bright.
Smartphone: Our "phones" are so ubiquitous we forget we have them. But they are (sort of) essential gear.
Running Vests: We formerly wore “packs”, but the advent of “vests" allowed long distances to be done with much greater utility (storage up front) and comfort (no bounce).
Hybrid Running Shoes: Climbing “approach” shoes combined features (sticky rubber) with running shoes to provide dramatically superior traction and security on technical terrain.
Kahtoola Microspike: Dramatically improved running in mountains in winter and higher mountains all year.
Katahdin BeFree - The water filter more people should be aware of - it screws on to the top of bottles.
Fastestknowntime.com - That’s us! We’re really enjoying building and participating in this worldwide community.
Quote: "This product straddles both the best and the worst category!"
The NOT good stuff (with silver linings)
PEDs: Illegal Performance Enhancing Drugs easily top our “Not” list!
Silver Lining: People have been doing anything they can to improve performance since the dawn of time, so good to get this out in the open and deal with it.
Special Diets: Good quality food with plenty of plants continues its rise in importance; miracle diets not so much.
But: Everyone is amazingly different, special diets definitely work for some people, and dietary Fat (oils) has made a strong comeback.
Facebook: Peter has never signed up, he thinks it’s over-used, and FB has now been recognized for actually separating groups of people instead of bringing them together.
But: Newer users are using it in a more productive way, and it has global reach.
Minimalist Shoes: A huge thing at the start of the decade that faded fast, as soft bodies don't do well on hard concrete.
But: They were instrumental in teaching everyone good running form, and wiped out the previous marketing BS from running shoe company’s, essentially re-booting all running shoe technology.
What is coming next? (or not …)
The Nike Vaporfly is the real deal: Will there be a trail shoe that will be documented to improve trail marathon speed by 4%?
The 'Wolverine': When this shoe (we suggest Hugh Jackman as the sponsored athlete) senses losing traction on snow or ice, it will auto-deploy spikes, which instantly auto-retract into the sole when traction is regained.
Heads Up Displays: While small HUDs have been common in Hollywood (Tom Cruise rocked them in 1996), the Google Glass had an uncomfortably high dork factor. But they are coming: we will see navigation, performance data, and other info displayed in our glasses. Or special contact lenses. Or retina's. Or genetically modified brains.
Quote: “In 20 years, when Hollywood makes a movie purported to take place the 2010’s, they will do that by showing everyone walking around staring at their phones.”