Saturday, January 2, 2016

Gear of the Year Voting Results

Thanks to everyone that participated in the Gear of the Year Voting.

Here are the results with 232 voters:

Product of the Year:

Kizer Gemini: 29.48%
American Knife Company Forest: 7.47%
Surefire Titan Plus: 19.52%
Tactile Turn Gist: 15.94%
TAD Fast Pack: 7.57% 

Other mentions: 19.52%

S1 Baton
HEST/f Urban
TAD/Hawk and Hawk
Lionsteel TRE

I wish I would have included the S1 in the choices as I think it might have won, but other than that one item I think this fairly represents the best gear from 2015.  To me the Gemini was clearly one of the two best folders (the other being the TRE G10).  Its rank here is something I can't disagree with at all.  It is also emblematic of the new Chinese made knives. There is no way around this trend, whether you like it or not, Chinese knives, at least the higher end ones, are as good as American made production knives.  Congratulations to both Ray Laconico and Kizer for putting out one hell of a good knife.

Company of the Year:

Kizer: 36.71%
Surefire: 12.66%
ZT: 32.91%

Other mentions: 17.72%


This was a closer vote and again I think oLight would have made an interesting addition.  Still, I agree with the masses here as Kizer has just been killing it.  I am not sure if a vote for Kizer is actually a vote for that company in particular or a vote for the trend of high end Chinese made knives from companies like Kizer and Reate.

A note on some of the mentions.  I like GEC a lot.  They are clearly making some of the best knives in the world, regardless of the fact they only make traditionals.  Their fit and finish is insanely good.  I also think it is interesting that Squale is on the list.  Their dive watches are really engaging and this is from a person that hates dive watches.   

Best Value:

Kizer Gemini: 29.28%
Kershaw Link: 18.02%
D25AAA: 35.14%

Other mentions: 17.57%

Urban Trapper
PM2 S110V

No question here that the D25AAA is the right choice.  It is a light that is hard to beat, even if you have three times the money.  Its only when you get into very high end production or custom stuff do you have a light that rivals the features and performance of the D25AAA.

Production Knife:

Kizer Gemini: 25.96%
Lionsteel TRE: 46.15%
American Knife Company Forest: 15.87%

Other mentions: 12.02%

LT Wright Jessmuck
Spyderco Positron
Northwoods Michigan Jack

I think that any of these three are a worthy choice.  I also like the other mentions as two are off the beaten path a bit.

Production Light:

47 Paladin: 2.70%
oLight S1 Baton: 67.13%
Surefire Titan Plus: 29.15%

Other mentions: 6.02%

Zebralight SC5w
Eagletac DX30LC2

This is the only landslide and it is deserved.  The S1 is better than any other light released this year.  The Titan Plus is a good light too, but not really in the same league. 

Pen of the Year:

Tactile Turn Gist: 49.74%
Karas Kustoms EDK: 33.86%
Baron Fig Spire: 6.35%

Other mentions: 10.05%

Darriel Caston Rocket Bolt
Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop

I got some shit for selecting the Gist, but it is my favorite new pen this year, regardless of its similarities to other pens on the market.  Its darn hardy and writes well.  I think it is safe to say that as of right now Wil Hodges is making the best Kickstarter/machined pens available.  I think it would be interesting to see what he could do if he decided to go the Edison Pens route and make full customs.   The Darriel Caston Rocket Bolt is a pen I somehow missed, but it looks quite interesting. 

Custom or Midtech Knife of the Year:

Gough Resolute Mk. III: 23.57%
Gavko Spinner: 17.20%
Tom Krein Shard: 41.40%

Other mentions: 17.83%

Southard Tolk
McGinnis Proline
Smock Knives SK23

I totally missed this one.  The SK23, mentioned by many, is easily the most interesting release for me this year.  As a rookie effort it is quite impressive--the rear tang flipper, the button compression lock, and the overall look are very promising.  Kevin Smock has come a long way from his days as a modder and the SK23 is my favorite knife I saw this year.  Tom Krein is also at the top of his game, a veteran maker with real skill and a distinctive look and feel.

Custom Light of the Year:

OKLuma: 5.00%
Aeon Mk. III: 55.00%
Sinner Tri EDC: 33.75%

Other mentions: 6.25%

Oveready E2E
Oveready Wasp

The Mk. III is incredible.  The Sinner Tri EDC is great.  I want to test out an OKLuma in 2016.  None are bad choices and it seems that the drought in custom lights is finally over.  But let's be serious for second--the Mk. III is an instant EDC classic.

Accessory of the Year:

Scout Leatherworks Pocket Protector: 44.97%
Gamblemade Gatekeeper: 25.50%
Vox Zoo: 14.77%

Other mentions: 14.77%

Terzuola Dragonhead
Nock Co. Hightower
Handgrey Knox

Gawd is this category filled to the brim this year and the vast, vast majority of these items are of questionable utility.  Some are just a step above the mystifying Lucky Fatman.  The prices on the majority of these items are also insane.  The $800 ebay auctions for Burnley Cypops make about as much sense to me as vampire young adult novels.  But there is a lot of good stuff here too.  The Scout Leatherworks PP is amazing if you happen to carry the kind of stuff it is designed for.

Community Leader:

Apostle P
Brad Dowdy
555 Gear

This is 555 Gear's year.  His serious, thoughtful reviews and commentary is raising the bar for what we in the gear community talk about.  In many ways I had hoped to start a thoughtful dialogue when I started this site, something informed by bigger ideas from other areas of knowledge instead of formulaic evaluations of everything (does this have jimping?).  555 Gear does just that.  His base of knowledge started with watches and now he brings that same level of intelligence and thoroughness to other gear.  The storytelling is quite good and he just might be the Paul Harvey of the Internet Gear Community.  I particularly enjoyed his discussion of the Red Wing Iron Ranger Boots.

Up next, my ballot.  


  1. It was great to see 555 Gear have other you tubers along for his end of year rap up. Ive never seen it done on that scale. It was great. Hopefully more get on board next year!

  2. Get for 555 Gear for getting some props. He did an awesome job this year. I know that all of you guys put a lot of work into your sites/videos, so thanks for the awesome work.