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Pick 6: Our Favorite Things for December

Gear Guide

Gear Guide

In each issue of Athlon Sports & Life, we pick six of our favorite things. They may be books, automobiles, games, gear, booze, apparel or whatever happens to be awesome. Here's what made our shortlist this month: 

Red Paddle Co. 9’6” Flow MSL (Stand-Up Paddleboard)

Most people associate stand-up paddleboarding with serene paddling over glassy lakes or down gentle creeks; not blasting down churning whitewater. But Red Paddle’s Flow board is built for the rapids. Details like a pronounced rocker shape to ride out bumpy water and five grab handles to help you control (and hang on) the board give you a better shot at staying on when the water gets rough. Bonus: the inflatable board packs down into a roller bag, so you don’t need a roof rack to get it to the river. redpaddleco.com, $1,349

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Suunto Spartan Ultra GPS Watch

Designed to be the ultimate sports watch, the Spartan Ultra has the standard GPS navigation, altimeter/barometer, heart-rate measurement and a host of other features to go with the 26-hour battery life in training mode and a super-durable sapphire crystal touchscreen. Our favorite feature? The Spartan Ultra’s 80 (yeah, 80) preset sport settings, which include some unexpected ones like badminton and kitesurfing. Seriously. Kitesurfing. suunto.com, $799

Yeti Hopper Flip 12 Portable Cooler

At just under 300 bones, Yeti’s personal cooler seems pricey. Until you try it in person, that is. The Flip 12 is a pint-size version of their famously indestructible hardshell coolers. It’s tough, leakproof, and will keep its contents cold for days on end. The only difference is that you won’t need a buddy to help you carry it to your campsite. yeti.com, $279.99

Abom Ski/Snowboard Goggles

Abom has solved one of skiers’ most common complaints: foggy goggles. Abom’s goggles uses a clear film between their two lenses, which heats up and clears up fog, much like a car’s rear-window defroster. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery lasts up to six hours of continuous use, or you can just give the power button a tap to clear your vision during foggier moments. abom.com, $250-$270

Brooks Glycerin 14

It only takes a few steps in these colorful running shoes to realize that your knees and feet are going to thank you. But the real test is where the rubber meets the road. Take these lightweight (a mere 10.6 oz) shoes out for a long pavement-pounding run and you'll appreciate the extra cushioning, stability and comfort (lots of flex while hugging your feet) that make them a dream for a high-mileage runner with sore knees. brooksrunning.com, $150

Mishmi Takin Virunga Hard Shell

Named after the Virunga National Park in Congo, Central Africa, this lightweight jacket is built to be a workhorse, whether you're hitting the wintery slopes or going on a warm-weather hike. The 3-layer fabric is durable and 100% waterproof to keep you dry. Plus, it's well vented to keep fresh air moving in and moisture (aka sweat) moving out. We also love the jacket's smaller details, like the velcro cuff adjusters and adjustable hood that allows for a helmet to accomodate more extreme adventures. mishmitakin.com, $225