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Zach's 10 Best Buys of 2018

From streamlined essentials to my favorite photo editing app to style must-haves and more, these are my 10 favorite purchases of the year:

Vuori Ripstop Climber Pant, $89

Whenever I wish I could travel in the comfort of sweatpants, but still need to look like I didn’t just roll outta bed, the Vuori Ripstop Climber Pant has been a go-to for nearly every trip this year. Lightly stretchy, super breathable, and easy to wear with everything from a hoodie to a button-down, these adventure-ready pants have been as indispensable as my passport and AirPods. 

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical, $595

No two ways about it: Hamilton's Khaki Field Mechanical is the best Swiss-made mechanical watch around $500 bucks. Introduced early this year, this vintage-inspired ’no-date’ field watch is a particularly cool twist on an existing variant, which pays homage to the legendary "Hamilton hack" watch used by American military grunts in the seventies and eighties. But best of all is how this classic EDC staple remains simple, unobtrusive, and affordable – just like the original.

Outerknown Blanket Shirt, $145

Doesn’t matter where I am – checking out at Whole Foods, getting dinner with my wife, even grabbing some landscape shots above the Golden Gate Bridge, this ultra-cozy Blanket Shirt from Kelly Slater's brilliant Outerknown brand has gotten me compliments wherever I go. Rich in color and heavier than a traditional flannel (but still not quite a jacket), it’s become a fast-favorite for whenever being comfortable is a top priority. 

VSCOx Subscription, $19/Year

About halfway through the year, I canceled a few streaming services and put some of that monthly cash (roughly two cortados at my favorite coffee haunt) towards something a little more productive: VSCO’s excellent premium photo editing app, simply called ‘X’. VSCO’s free app has always been great, but the premium version grants access to more film packs and editing tools that’ll help you step up your mobile photography game – because after all, the best camera’s always gonna be the one you have with you. 

Sony 24mm F1.4 GM Lens, $1,398

A fast, wide prime with lightning-quick autofocus was on many a Christmas list for mirrorless shooters this year, and Sony finally delivered the heat with the new 24mm f/1.4 G Master lens. It’s quickly become my go-to glass for everything from nighttime landscapes and travel to impromptu street photography – and with a very short minimum focus distance, and tack-sharp resolution even at f/1.4, it’s perfect for the occasional watch wrist shot as well. 

Arc'teyrx Veilance Blazer LT, $550

From tradeshows to on-camera interviews and date nights, I reached for this Veilance Blazer LT – easily one of the most versatile pieces of clothing I’ve ever owned. Built from an ultralight nylon fabric that’s both wind and water resistant, the blazer stashes into an overnight shoulder bag with shocking ease, but quickly de-wrinkles at a moment’s notice, and pairs perfectly with cotton and technical trousers alike. I rarely leave home without it. 

RubberB Swimskin Strap, $280

I own a few watches, but I own a staggering number of straps to help keep the everyday look as fresh as possible. And having tried nearly every type of strap under the sun, few rubber straps can touch the quality of a RubberB. The brand’s latest Swimskin collection for Panerai watches (though they'll fit just about any watch with 22 or 24mm lugs) perfectly mimics the look of genuine alligator skin, but rendered in a fully waterproof rubber (a complex process that spent five years in development to get the pattern and formula just right), yielding a luxurious strap that’s as handsome and friendly on the 'gators as it is ultra-sporty and durable. 

Helm Pablo Boot, $399

The SF Bay Area is awash with Chelsea boots, but for a good reason – they’re versatile, rugged, and great for travel. Therein also lies the problem – their ubiquity. This year, I reached for the Pablo Boot, made by the guys at Helm down in Austin, Texas. It mixes in the slip-on ease and sleek, one-piece construction of a Chelsea with the silhouette of a classic moto boot, which is simultaneously rugged, and about as dressy as I’ll dare to go most days. 

From Seamaster to Seamaster: The First 70 Years Book, $80

You don’t have to be an Omega owner or a Seamaster super-fan to appreciate From Seamaster to Seamaster – a beautifully compiled coffee table book featuring seventy years of Omega dive watches, from inception to the latest evolution, all masterfully composed and photographed by still-life maestro Philippe Lacombe. Like A Man and His Watch or Speedmaster Only, this is a must for the bookshelves of any true watch nerd – just remember it’s not a reference manual, it’s an art book, and a great one at that. 

Qalo Silicone Ring, $24

I swore I’d never resort to wearing one of those cheap rubber rings as a substitute for the one accruing sentimental value since my wedding day, but I soon regretted that stance after losing my wedding band on a backpacking trip this summer. Thankfully, my ring turned up after a frantic hourlong search of our campsite (hidden in the folds of the tent rolled deep in my backpack). Lesson learned though. So if you wear a ring that’s not worth losing, it’s absolutely worth the peace of mind that comes from a Qalo ring. Plus, they’re surprisingly comfortable, don’t attract dust and lint like many silicone blends – and from a distance, look just as convincing as the real thing.