It’s one of the last days of 2019 so this is my annual list of of the best clothes and equipment that got me through it as an operative nomad.

As you may know, I live out of a backpack so the gear I equip is especially important to me as my carry space is limited and acquiring specific items can be difficult when always on the move.

This past year I was in Vietnam, Laos, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Nepal.


TAD FAST Pack Scout VX Prototype Backpack /// Vinjatek

FAST Pack Scout VX Prototype

The standard version of this backpack was my single best gear of 2018. I didn’t want to have a repeat item this year but this new version has also been arguably the most important piece of gear again this year so that’s that.

It’s just 15 liters capacity, exactly what I need as mobility and minimalism is what I want. But it’s expandable to double the load – of which how I’m currently using this as my only pack for about 3 months in Europe.

It’s probably the best compact tactical / adventure pack available and my fifth straight backpack from Triple Aught Design.

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Vollebak Graphene Jacket 1 /// Vinjatek

Vollebak Graphene Jacket

These guys make the most advanced if not most innovative clothes commercially available. They like to experiment and push some crazy ideas like their ceramic embedded shirts and “”indestructible” coats.

One of their most ambitious experiments is this graphene material jacket. Yes, it uses actual graphene and a very sexy black exterior fabric to make up this waterproof shell. It’s feature packed and I’ll get into it further in a review later on.

It’s my all-time favorite shell / waterproof jacket. It works as advertised, is extremely minimal and completely nondescript – the only markings including the logo is only on the inside of the jacket.

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Apple iPad Pro 11 /// Vinjatek

iPad Pro 11

I got rid my laptop last year when I opted for the iPad Pro 10.5 and it worked great to operate this very website. Although it will take another generation or two for these tablets to replace an actual on a large scale, that time has come for me.

This latest iPad is a damn fine piece of tech. I don’t think you can adequately argue of another better tablet right now.

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511 Rapid L1 Flashlight /// Vinjatek

Rapid L1 Flashlight

If Triple Aught Design was Mercedes, then the makers of this flashlight, 511 Tactical, is Honda – as per these types of brands. And that’s not a bad thing, Honda makes dependable, well priced vehicles.

As for this flashlight, I personally can’t think of a better fit for me right now for international everyday carry. It’s decidedly compact, powerful and has a nice strike bezel for special circumstance CQC.

Most of the tail switch, it’s fast, efficient and precise.

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Thyrm PyroVault /// Vinjatek

Thyrm PyroVault

This is essentially a Zippo lighter upgrade, a very good one – but that’s not why I acquired this and how I’m using it. When I first saw it, I immediately saw a different use for it and it’s worked flawlessly for my specific need.

I use it as a pill box. I always carry meds for my migraines, emergency loperamide and even a backup contact lens.

A little overpriced but original and well built. Before this, I was using the Life Capsule Omega.

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Magpul DAKA Wallets /// Vinjatek

Pair of DAKA Wallets

Made by Magpul, I also use their pouches of the same series. I’ve been using the DAKA Essential Slim Wallet and Micro Wallet sorta simultaneously.

As a perpetual foreigner, my US driver license is effectively useless so that goes in the bigger DAKA wallet as well as my lesser used cards – almost always packed in my backpack. The small DAKA is on my person at all times with just 2 cards that I use constantly. As for cash, I just fold them and pocket them.

These are extremely basic designs but designed with minimalistic perfection and constructed impeccably.

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LALO Tactical Shadow Amphibian Boots /// Vinjatek

Shadow Amphibian Boots

I’ve worn 3 pairs of LALO footwear and these exact boots were the first I acquired 3 years ago and they’re still going strong and long.

I was offered prototype Arc’teryx boots recently and believe me, I was tempted. But that meant I had to leave these behind. Cuz, again, I live out of a backpack and carrying an additional pair of boots is not ideal.

Check out the initial review here and extended use review here.

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Vinjatek’s Best Gear of 2019



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