The 22 Best Things I Bought in 2022
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The 22 Best Things I Bought in 2022

Jul 16, 2023

Every product is carefully selected by our editors. If you buy from a link, we may earn a commission.

A wide-ranging list of life-enhancing product recommendations from Gear Patrol's founder that may just make your life a little better, too.

With 2022 nearly wrapped, I wanted to share a list I've been working on for the past year, knowingly or not: my 22 favorite gear acquisitions, ranging free to up there, utilitarian to indulgent.

As a working dad, the stuff I buy typically triangulates around three different areas: parenting, functional and personal. These days, that third category doesn't see all that much action, but great finds in the first two can be quite fulfilling.

On that note, it's probably worth pointing out that these items are unique to my particular stage in life – early 40-something, Korean-American, family of four, two boys (seven and four), working remotely from a single-family home in Los Angeles. So take note, your mileage may vary.

A final word before we begin: the products included in this list were purchased personally by me. None were requested for testing or submitted to me for consideration (the only exception being the Goal Zero 1500X). Any discounts on products were obtained through normal consumer means (retail sales, coupon codes, credit card points, etc,), though I did sometimes use our ever-helpful cheat-sheet, the Gear Patrol Deals newsletter.

No one can stress test a product quite like a kid. Kids find ways to break things or reimagine uses no product designer or parent could ever conceive. For $20, though, I don't really care about breaking or losing a pair of Noots.

Noots have decent sound, rather unscientifically tested by yours truly by listening to them with one ear at a time. They feature a nice long faux-fabric cord and are incredibly light. I've tested kids headphones from Puro, JLabs and Onanoff as well, but here's where I diverge from other reviewers' conclusions: unless there are specific children's needs or your kids are older, the perks of wireless and noise canceling are overshadowed by the inconvenience of another buttoned and battery-operated thing.

Pro Tip: Before you give your kids headphones, be sure set their devices' maximum decibel limiter or turn on 'reduce loud sounds' to protect your little ones' blossoming eardrums. Also, if you have one of the latest iPads you may need a USB-C to headphone jack adaptor (blergh). We twist-tie our adapters to the end of the headphone cable to prevent FLOD (Frustration from Loss of Dongle).

Price: $18


Is it cheating to include a gadget my wife bought more than a year ago? No matter. The Yoto Player is hands-down one of the most charming gadgets I've ever used, as it recreates the magic of an intimate radio experience. I still keep my Tivoli around the house for posterity.

The gadget plays back classic stories (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a household favorite) in lovely narrator voices, and my kids can choose whichever story they want through physical cards stored in a separate zipped folio. Stories, music, interactive and educational audio make it endlessly fun and totally screen free, but for the muted fat-pixel "display" that's both ultra low-fi and wonderfully quaint.

The Yoto Player sports a headphone jack, too, and it can doubles as a bluetooth speaker in a pinch. Audiophiles may want to look elsewhere. If your kids enjoy it as much as ours, you'll find them lugging it to bed, the couch and the car.

Price: $100


Yes, I'm guilty of having tagged my own children in busy places (here's looking at you, Legoland). And while this may disqualify me from dad-fluencer status, I rest well knowing that my littlest — and most wonderfully ambitious — accidental solo explorer is ultimately findable.

Thankfully, I've never had to actually use AirTags to find my kids, but at $99 for a set of four, they just might be the cheapest peace-of-mind that money can buy.

Elsewhere in my normal day-to-day life, I have one on every one piece of luggage and set of keys. The only downside is that, once a year, I wipe out an entire sleeve of replacement CR2032 batteries. The one time I lost my car key at the mall made it totally worth the hassle.

Pro Tip: When you buy the small coin-sized CR2032 batteries that AirTags require, please do every parent and pet owner a service and buy the "kid-safe" versions, which coat the battery in an acidic taste that helps prevent accidental swallowing. And don't forget dispose of them properly.

Price: $29 for one, $99 for four


If you're a resident of anywhere you can get a library card. If you're a resident of LA, then you should absolutely get a public library card. Why? Well, free access to Hoopla, Kanopy, The New York Times, The Washington Post, LinkedIn Learning and Discover & Go museum passes are a good start.

Your own locale will vary, but there are incredible benefits to having and using a library card. It's a wonderful resource that you're already paying for through your taxes — and a great place to take kids in the afternoon and teach the process of checking out a book or researching questions they may have.

Hat tip to Gear Patrol's CFO, Brandon Frank, who is constantly reminding me how much is available for free even for my own job.

This year, I downsized from a collection of cameras and lenses that I've accumulated ever since I started shooting Fujifilm with the original X100. I sold everything to MBP for a nice chunk of change, then put the proceeds toward upgrading to an X-T4.

I also honed my glass down to three prime lenses: 23mm f/1.4, 56mm f/1.2 and 90mm f/2, and one fixed aperture long-range zoom, the 50-140mm f/2.8. These are the equivalent to 35mm, 85mm, 135mm and 70-200mm on regular 35mm cameras and cover the range and depth of field I desire alongside my iPhone.

My goal here was to have a simpler setup to live alongside my phone that actually inspired me to shoot. My Fujinon 56mm 1.2 prime is always on the camera and I find myself grabbing it far more frequently to capture richer photos with more dramatic results (thanks to prime lenses).

With a Fujifilm camera, you don't really have to think unless you want to.

To be fair, I first contemplated selling all my gear and throwing my entire budget into a few alternatives: the Leica Q2 and even more hardcore, black-and-white Leica Q2 Monochrom, but I don't I have the constitution or lifestyle to be shooting Leica right now (have kids; will break) or any aspiration to become an insufferable martyr for black-and-white photography. I also considered switching to a full-frame camera like the Sony A7 IV.

But here's the thing ...

Fujifilm cameras are fun to use. They're inspiring. They feature tons of manual control with tactile buttons (unlike some brands) but if you prefer to go full-jacket automatic then you can just do that, too. With a Fujifilm camera, you don't really have to think unless you want to and they're priced in a way that you won't have a heart attack the second it gets a scratch or dent. What they lack in snob appeal, Fujifilm's more than make up with incredible design while being compact in size with great ergonomics. Many also feature a great overall focusing system, IBIS (in-body image stabilization) and Fuji's incredible color science means you'll love your photos right off the camera.

The sum total of all those traits add up one result, at least for me: an easy companion to the iPhone for shooting family photos and anything else my hobby desires. The X-T4's 26 megapixels cover anything I'll ever need to shoot and — thanks to the leaps and bounds in advancements Fujifilm has made with their software and app — I can load photos directly to my phone to send to family and friends via iCloud.

Pro Tip: The higher tier X-T5 ($1,699) is now available (it wasn't when I bought my new setup) but the X-T4 will continue to be sold alongside the new X-T5 flagship at a reduced price. Buy it with confidence. It's an excellent all-arounder that can satisfy both family and enthusiast needs.

Price: $1,459


The Marpac Dohm is the gold standard of white noise machines and certainly qualifies to be on the list of my favorite products of the past decade, let alone an utter essential to get the best sleep of your life. In fact, we have a Dohm in every bedroom of our house. But someone was going to eventually make a smart version.

Let me introduce you to the Snooz. Like the Dohm, it comes equipped with a brushed fan, which creates a seamless acoustic white noise. The Snooz then pairs it the mechanical side with digital smart functions that allow it to operate on an app-controlled schedule or adjust volume. It's also small enough to travel with you.

I haven't done enough scientific testing (none actually because, well, I was sleeping) to tell you if it is as the brand claims, "the world's best-sounding white noise machine," but it is quite good by my ears. A hundred dollars for something that just goes whoooooosh is nothing to scoff at, but when you divide the price by the number of good hours it may help you sleep, the affordability factor can really ratchets up.

Pro Tip: Prefer to not spend $100 or stick with your current Dohm? Consider pairing a timer plug or smart plug from a brand like Leviton ($25) or Wyze ($10) with your existing white-noise machine for a similar experience. I only sprung for one Snooz in our kids room, since our other Dohms are using smart plugs.

Price: $100


After living in New York City and Brooklyn for nearly two decades, having central air feels like winning the lifestyle lottery. I won't get into HVAC systems here — as much as I'd love to — but whether you rent or own, do yourself and your household's health a favor and get good air filters.

I suggest the Nordic Pure air filter in MERV 12. "MERV" stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, essentially rating how well the filter removes nasty airborne particulates like pollen, dust and mold, leaving cleaner air to be circulated through your system. The lower the rating, the less it filters; the higher the rating, the more it filters but the harder it is on your system because of reduced airflow, which risks burning out your central air and significantly increasing your utility bill (don't forget the smart thermostat either). This made in the USA product strikes a good balance, and the price shouldn't even be a consideration. Go check your filter now, and while you're at it jot down the filter size so you can immediately order a few replacements.

Pro Tip: Replace your air filter every six months. I do mine quarterly because it hardly costs anything and our system is old and an obstructed filter drives up the utility bill. To help you remember, just put a recurring appointment it in your online calendar. Simple.

Price: $50 for 6


In Reddit parlance, my desk is my "battlestation," and it's where I spend half of my day when working from home. I always calculate the value of a product as a time-to-return basis and my desk is no different. My pick here, Herman Miller's Renew Sit-to-Stand Desk, happens to be omitted from our list of best standing desks, but you should review that list or other great ways to make your current workspace a standing desk.

Over the past three years, our team has fully evolved into a distributed workforce working remotely from all over the country. My needs have also evolved in that time, and I value lateral space (width) as an important part of my workflow and thinking. Early this year, I found myself outgrowing my Knoll x Hay Hipso standing desk, which had suffered some structural damage during a cross-country move.

When I decided to migrate to a bigger room in our house, I also took the opportunity to seek out a wider desktop plane that would comfortably accommodate dual monitors, a lamp and my beloved Aeron office chair. At six feet long, the Herman Miller Renew Sit-to-Stand Desk boasts tons of planar workspace width, yet it remains extremely stable — even without the use of unsightly lower lateral braces. Some standing desks suffer from wobble at standing height, which as a slightly obsessive individual, I find even worse than single-ply toilet paper.

Still, I have two watch-outs with this desk: the lack of a memory-setting functionality and the price when configured up with options. The rise/lower level is a lovely soft-touch toggle that lights up in satisfying blue upon activation but I would have traded that for a two customizable setting heights. And while the generous cable tray and integrated cord and power management are well executed, they come at a steep price. If you're handy with zip ties and cord management, you can probably skip them.

Pro Tip: For a deal on Herman Miller, keep an eye out for the Design Within Reach outlets. After the tidal wave WFH movement, there are usually a lot of open box or scratch-and-dent options at almost half the price of new. Most won't include warranty coverage and sales are usually final, so be sure to test the dickens out of it at the store. This is especially important since standing desks have motorized/moving components.

Price: $1,595 ($2,845 as tested)


While geo-fencing capabilities still leave something to be desired in terms of seamless functionality, the ability to lock and unlock doors remotely and automatically without the use of a key as you come and go from home is a total game changer.

On the smart-home front, I've settled in on Lutron Caseta and for smart locks, the August Lock. The latter replaces the interior-side of your deadbolt lock (keys still work from the outside) and uses a battery-powered actuator to automatically lock/unlock your deadbolt. It also includes a frame-side detector to detect door closure and has excellent "knob feel".

The only downside is that it chews through CR123A batteries, so definitely buy a grip of rechargeables for it.

Pro Tip: Be careful if you're looking to buy an August Lock on eBay or re-commerce sites like OfferUp. If the lock has been previously used, you have to manually ask August to reset it by contacting the previous owner. It's a cumbersome process, so I'd recommend looking for a discount on a new one versus finding one secondhand.

Price: $230


The Thule Vector M Cargo Box has changed the game for my wife's station wagon. What was once a bit cramped during soccer weekends and car pools, when the two rear rows are full of kids, has become an absolute utility machine. We can keep foldable chairs, bags, muddy clothes and other family gear up there, lashed down with some easy bungees. Adventurous and ambitious readers, replace all those words with whatever products your sport or lifestyle requires (duffles, skis, climbing gear, tents, etc).

The Vector M weighs 59 pounds, can hold 165 pounds and is incredibly simple to remove. Three of my favorite details are the white interior (to amplify the illumination of the interior light), the reinforced lid to minimize floppiness when opening and closing (which you can do from either side) and the quick-mount system, which uses integrated torque feedback to achieve the proper tightness — a bit like your car's gas cap.

We're hitting the road for a long road trip up the West Coast this holiday and I can't wait to see how it handles tons of duffles, Christmas gifts, some light camping gear and the mountain of other random shit a family of four somehow manages to accumulate. Granted, there are many more affordable, well-reviewed cargo boxes out there. The Vector's price owes to its full-painted body, better aerodynamics, felt-lined base and lit interior — and the fact that it's made in the USA.

Pro Tip: A sleeker "Alpine" version, aimed at skiers and boarders, is available for the same price, but it lacks the vertical space of the standard unit, which can better hold things like camping chairs and duffle bags. Also, Thule and Rack Attack have excellent discounts November of each year. I purchased mine through Rack Attack and sprung for the $150 for them to install it, which includes handy fit adjustments post purchase.

Price: $2,000


Okay, Outer's Firepit Table is an indulgence — expensive as hell but such a great way to be outdoors with the kids, friends and guests on brisk SoCal evenings or mornings. Its justification, beyond cozy vibes, is the ability to also function as a cooking surface, which is a godsend for entertaining. The optional risers and cast iron griddles make grilled sandwiches, steaks or even Korean BBQ a group affair.

An underrated feature is its soft-light ignition, which makes firing up the table a calm and collected affair unlike the "am I going to have eyebrows or not" moments you may have experienced with other propane-powered devices. I can't seriously say that you need this table, but it has become a key component of our backyard lifestyle – along with the Ooni pizza oven. If you're considering creating a space, you'd be hard pressed to find something better.

Pro Tip: If you go through a lot of propane from grilling and outdoor entertaining, I highly recommend Cynch, a deliver-to-your-door propane tank service. It makes the Blue Rhino run to Home Depot a thing of the past.

Price: $4,050


Earlier this year, one of our editors, Steve Mazzucchi, suggested some gear to try out on my upcoming camping trip. One of his recs: Goal Zero's Yeti 1500X. It seemed like overkill, but since I was camping with five families, it felt like a perfect opportunity to try a more rigorous test. While perhaps not adventurous enough for a Jimmy Chin documentary, this scenario would necessitate a hefty share of watt-hours at a powerless campsite: charging personal devices, cooking gear, Dometic refrigerated coolers, kettles for morning coffee and camp lights.

Plugging in any kind of device was a breeze thanks to a buffet of ports including 60W USB-C direct power and two 120V AC ports. There's something wholly wonderful about having the equivalent of a wall outlet available to run a tea kettle at full blast before sunrise in the woods. It even came in handy when we screened an outdoor movie for the kids.

Not only did the 1500X run nonstop and flawlessly for four days with every imaginable device plugged into it, but the optional Boulder 200 solar panels ($549) provided lots of daytime charge to keep the 1500X up and running. If you have hefty needs or boondock for longer periods of time, I recommend two Boulder 200s to cut charging time in half. One Boulder briefcase recharges roughly 60 percent of the Yeti 1500X's capacity in one full day of sun.

The handy grips on both sides are critical for moving the Yeti across our sprawling campsite. A nice touch is the top storage bin that holds all the cables you'll need to turn the unit into a veritable center of energy for off-grid use. While not quite a Generac, the Yeti 1500X serves as a blackout power device for most people's needs.

Pro Tip: I've used Goal Zero Yeti devices for a while, including an older model Sherpa 100AC ($299) that I bought to have power when I work at the park with my laptop and iPhone, which chews through battery life when in tether mode. It's easy to throw in my backpack and like the Yeti, the Sherpa features a multitude of power interfaces including an AC port and a Qi-compatible wireless charger that's good for nearly a full laptop and phone charge. You can even run a refrigerator off of it.

Price: $1,799


There may be coolers with more functions out there but I still love my Yeti.

This year, we picked up a Tundra Haul and used the hell out of it. The wheels are indispensable because Yetis are heavy and the cooler doubles as a perfect bench during soccer games when you're on snack duty. With a bag of ice — and the cooler under some shade — we've managed to keep beverages cold for days, which has turned the Tundra Haul into a second outdoor beverage refrigerator for our patio. Somehow, frosty drinks just taste better out of a cooler.

Pro Tips: If you want a "Made in the USA" Yeti Tundra Haul from its Minnesota or Wisconsin facilities, you need to contact Yeti directly to have the company place your order. You never know where yours will be from if you order on Amazon.

Price: $450


Don't call it a "leaf blower" because it won't live up to your expectations. The Black & Decker Cordless Sweeper is light-duty, not a 60-volt DeWalt (hence the word "sweeper" in the name). But for quick patio detritus, like leaves, cones and dust, this sweeper is handy, compact, lightweight (under four pounds) and makes quick work of what might take 15 minutes with a broom. A quiet design (52.8 decibels, equivalent to a conversation or moderate rainfall) keeps noise low enough to not bother the neighbors.

Pro Tip: It helps stick with the same power eco-system rather than collecting one-off tools, even if they're great. The Cordless Sweeper is powered off the 20v Black & Decker battery system, which matches up with many of their other chore-grade cordless tools. If you've invested in, say, Ryobi, look for the equivalent version from the brand.

Price: $80


The single-meter cable included with the MacBook is a crime against gadgetry. Regardless, we live in 2022, so let's face it, everyone owns something that's constantly charging. It's time to get your power situation on lock and stop rummaging around the house for adaptors and cables like you're working from home for a day.

There are plenty of battery solutions out there, but I'm a sucker for ergonomics, convenience and hard wiring, so I’m happy to fork over 20 bucks for a longer, heavier gauge, high-speed USB-C charging cable for the convenience of not having to be less than an arm's length from an outlet.

Pro Tip: I sprung for another USB-C charger to keep tethered to a low-profile flat extension cable I run under my living room rug so I have both laptop and phone power available at the couch. Instant breakaway space from the desk or kitchen table. Just try it, you'll love it.

Price: $19


This long-awaited Apple monitor was not glowingly reviewed when it launched, and for good reason: quality issues with the camera, software bugs and price overshadowed its other merits. Our tech expert, Tucker Bowe, had a more well-rounded take, which encouraged me to venture into buying one for myself and after six months, I've learned a few things that have changed my perspective:

This monitor is not nearly as cheap as the $500 jobs you'll find on Amazon or deal sites, nor does it live up to the needs of a discerning gamer, but for people who work with text and graphics all-day, this monitor's performance overall is difficult to beat. If you like your text small or have older eyes (both for me) that's an even more important consideration. The thick-ish bezels may not be as sleek as some other monitors out there, but that's to accommodate proper backlighting — uniform from edge to edge — and to house the camera. Apple's commitment to audio is also apparent here as the six speakers are the best built-in ones I've ever heard — though nothing will replace dedicated speakers.

I have two watch-outs for the Studio Display. The first is the much-covered mediocre FaceTime camera, which has made some decent improvements with software updates. The second is the absence of mini-LED backlighting, or a higher refresh rate (important for gamers). Frankly, I've never missed either once, but I don't game or do any extensive video work. To be fair, both features are pretty market-standard at this price point and even available on some Apple laptops. Otherwise, the monitor is a total joy to use and as one of my primary work tools. And going back to return-on-investment, I have a hunch I'll be using these monitors for the next five+ years or much longer: why wouldn't I want something I love living with that I stare at literally every day?

Pro Tip: My only mistake when purchasing was doing so without the height-adjustable stand. As a torso-biased human, I sit high in my chair, which makes height-adjustment a must have. Take that into consideration when deciding whether you want to spring for the $400 more expensive stand. The stand is a real piece of engineering, buttery smooth and works with one-handed operation. I promptly exchanged the one I purchased for a height-adjustable version. You can also skip the nano-display texture unless you have 12 hours of sun at your back or have certain critical needs. Outside of useless bragging rights, it only makes text and images look a bit softer and the standard glass is incredibly good at blocking glare.

Price: $1,599


Full disclosure: this was a gift from friends. But I would have bought it, anyway. Really!

As a 40-something, I'm trying to get all aspects of my health under control, which a good set of metrics can facilitate. I still wear mechanical watches when I'm out, but for my long morning walks and general activity, the Ultra fits the bill. My lifestyle doesn't necessitate the hard-core features like deep diving or distance running that my colleagues have tested, but I love the one-touch workout measurement feature for my morning exercise, which entails the equivalent of 15 flights of stairs according to the watch.

The Apple Watch Ultra is geared towards the hard-core user. And even though I don't measure my dives in bars or set daily PRs, the Ultra has proven to be a really great tool for my health. It also comes in at a price I consider reasonable, in light of all its features — long battery life, built-in GPS/cell, always-on screen and titanium construction. All in all, the Ultra is a lot of watch.

Pro Tip: So that it did not become something else to distract me, I took the time to heavily prune notifications. I don't want it to engage me unless it's a call, text or backyard camera alert. Also, if you do add a cell plan to your watch ($10 bucks a month on AT&T), try leaving your phone behind when it's reasonable to do so. It's a wonderfully freeing, if slightly unnerving, exercise.

Price: $799


Another year, another entry in the "what is the best t-shirt for me?" saga. At last, I may have finally stumbled into the right one for me. Over the past three years, I've purchased dozens across a variety of brands including Outerknown, Todd Snyder x Champion and True Classic T-Shirts. They were all great in their own rights, including True Classic, which Gear Patrol's own style maestro, Evan Malachosky, tested much more deeply to a unique conclusion.

Moving to SoCal has pushed the T-shirt from weekend wear into uniform status, so I've been seeking out a higher degree of polish. Enter: Vuori. I'm late to the game with the brand — I "re-discovered" them at a retail location in Studio City — but nearly a year and six shirts later, the Strato Tech Tee has held up to countless washes, with just the right amount of tailoring to feel great for work or at home playing with the kids.

At $54, it's truly a cost commitment, which is why I've inched in one shirt at a time. True Classic T-Shirts are still a great deal, especially for bigger-bodied dudes like me, and the pedigree of Todd Snyder and Outerknown are hard to beat. But I've finally found an answer to the question of "best T-shirt"... for now.

Pro Tip: A T-shirt brand doesn't really matter. Just find the one that you feel best in and is machine washable. If you want to go ultra premium (yet not tech-bro scion-y), check out Standard & Strange Wakayama loopwheel tees. They craft an investment grade T-shirt.

Price: $54


If you heed one piece of my advice on this list, make it this: take care of your damn teeth and gums. The periodontal gods will reward you with a life of fewer aches and pains. With gum disease in my family lineage, I've taken the past couple of years to make a plan and improve the health of my teeth and gums because of one reason: I'd like to hold onto my chompers as long as possible.

My periodontist recommended that I take my flossing game to the next level, so I bought a Waterpik. It's turned out to be resounding recommendation. I'm still trying to get used to the technique, but most importantly it supports the rather cumbersome and occasionally painful work my periodontist has been doing to keep gums in great shape.

Pro Tip: If you need to be better about cleaning under your gums, I recommend purchasing the "pocket tips," which reach hard-to-reach gum pockets by using a soft tip paired with a higher precision stream. They're not included with the unit.

Price: $70


We're all probably a bit too obsessed with hydration. There's no need to hydrate like you're preparing for a Baja marathon when you're just walking a half mile to brunch. Sure, I love a nice glass of water first thing in the morning and all its positive benefits, but we can stand to turn it down a notch.

The Quencher solves a different problem for me: impatience. I have such a disdain for filling up my water bottle at the refrigerator. It feels like a lost minute of life five times a day. The Quencher wasn't something I set out to research and buy — I just wanted a voluminous water bottle without getting into the rather awkward growler size water vessels that seem to be everywhere. If your drinking apparatus is designed for beer requires two hands, you probably need to size down.

I discovered the Quencher Flowstate in REI's hilariously enormous water-bottle section and it seemed just right: a reusable Big Gulp for home. It holds 40 fluid ounces imperial (1.2 liters), which is enough to cut down refrigerator visits when I'm powering through a long run of back-to-back Zooms. If Stanley isn't your thing, there are plenty of other great options Gear Patrol has tested at all budget levels. I just happen to like this one.

Pro Tip: According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, the 30-ounce "adventure" version of the Stanley Quencher may qualify you as something else: a status-seeking millennial woman. I had no idea, because I don't use social media, but I don't care. Mine comes in black and fits in my Jeep's cup holder.

Price: $40


I may forever be discharged of pitching privileges at Gear Patrol with this inclusion, but whatever ... I'd like to share my story with you. I have dry skin and live in a region with a persistently dry climate. Moisturizing and rigorous skincare aside, my back gets itchy and as mentioned earlier in this list, I have a long torso, which means there are some hard-to-reach spots. There are plenty of other options when it comes to back scratchers — I've tried no less than a dozen — but they are all unworthy of your time. Some answers are definitive: just get the damn Cactus Scratcher.

Pro Tip: The Cactus Scratcher often sells out on their website so check around on Amazon. And unless you want to look like Hellraiser, please don't use this for EFT tapping.

Price: $16


To be brutally honest, I bought the Analogue Pocket for the sheer promise of being able to play the original version of Tetris. I don't have a Game Boy, and I'm not really into vintage gaming outside of Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch, but the appeal of reliving a '90s favorite was too irresistible.

The Analogue Pocket is a love letter to the Game Boy and a perfect example of why we live in a golden era of devices (including keyboards). It's a modern handheld that can play 2,780 different Game Boy cartridge games without the use of finicky software emulation. The result is a verbatim experience to the original Game Boy, right down to recreating the greenish dot matrix screen.

The Analogue Pocket is equipped with modern niceties like USB-C charging, a dock to play on the big screen with bluetooth controllers, and a ridiculously sharp 615ppi backlit screen. If your childhood was Camp Sega or you were that kid with a handheld Neo-Geo, get excited because Analogue has adaptors for those old cartridges too. You'll need to make a trip down nostalgia road and pick up games at a local used video game store. I grabbed Tetris, NBA Jam and Mario Tennis. The device is sleek and the memories oh so sweet. I absolutely love this thing.

Note: the photo shows my AirPods Pro 2 by the Analogue, but the Pocket only works with wired headphones. I just happen to have been listening to music when I took the photo.

Pro Tip: When you buy direct from Analogue, be prepared to wait a while. If you lack patience but not cash, you can score a unit on StockX, eBay and other sites — for significantly more than the retail price.

Price: $220


Whether you're a regular reader, newsletter or magazine subscriber or just a passerby, thanks for reading Gear Patrol and your ongoing support. We love helping you figure out what's next, as best we can. Here's wishing you and your family happy holidays and a prosperous New Year. We'll see you 2023.

Eric Yang is the founder and CEO of Gear Patrol.

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