Written by

Chris Gonzales


Dustin Lee

It’s been a busy year since we relaunched and redefined our site. On that day, our editor-in-chief Shawn Blanc said:

With this new design, we are aiming to become more than just a cool stuff site. Our new, longer-form articles will center around the values of mindfulness, intentionality, knowing your tools (and your toys), and appreciation for quality.

As fun as it is to geek out over the latest and greatest stuff, at the end of the day, there is much, much more to life. Our self-worth is not tied to how fancy our gear is nor how often we upgrade it.

If I may say so, we have done a good job keeping this philosphy in mind. Over the past year we have published numerous reviews, gear guides, editorials — including the weekly Quality Linkage column by yours truly — and more, all with a focus on high quality work and a certain celebration of craftsmanship.

But, since we publish such things week in and week out, a lot of great stuff quickly gets buried in the archive where readers may not often venture. To that end, here are some of the best guides we’ve written in the past year.

[If readers enjoy this guide round-up, we can do the same for our reviews and other categories. Let us know on Twitter what you think! —Ed.]

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The 2014 Christmas Catalog »

Every year, we publish a holiday gift guide for the discerning shopper. We have one for 2015 in the works, but while you wait, last year’s edition is still quite relevant and useful.

Photo: Ben Brooks

Photo: Ben Brooks

The Best Everyday Carry Pocket Knives »

We invited our friend and knife enthusiast Ben Brooks to round up a few awesome pocket knives for various purposes, whether you mainly open Amazon boxes at home or need a survival knife out on the trail.

Setting Up and Maintaining a Paperless Home or Office »

Going paperless — i.e. not eliminating analog writing tools but converting all your paper document clutter into a neat, searchable database of digital files — seems a little overwhelming at first but is quite intuitive once you’ve got a system in place. Our guide lights the way.

Photo: JP Thimot

Photo: JP Thimot

Coffee Grinders we Recommend »

Not our longest guide ever, but still informative. At the very least you’ll come away with a better understanding of how different coffee grinders work and what to look for while shopping around.

Photo: Cineastas (Vimeo)

Photo: Cineastas (Vimeo)

Cast Iron Skillet Care and Recipes »

A well-seasoned cast iron skillet, like a good chef’s knife, is one of the most valuable tools you can add to your cooking arsenal. Our guide shows you what to buy (or inherit, if you can), how to maintain it, and what to cook in it.

AeroPress Recipes »

Got an AeroPress coffee brewer but don’t know what to do with it? Total coffee noob altogether? Whatever the case, these recipes will get you started.

For more coffee guides, see also: Awesome Coffee Gear Part 1 and Part 2, and A Few Good and Interesting Kettles.

Podcasts We Love »

One way I tried to set this one apart from other podcast recommendation guides around the web was making it easy to get into any given show. Multiple subscription options, episodes to start with, that sort of thing.

Photo: Ginny Beck

Photo: Ginny Beck

Books to Make You a Better Writer »

If you want to learn more things about writing than you knew existed, this collection of books won’t steer you wrong. Or, if you’re simply looking for a good story, check out some of our favorite reads.

Photo: Shawn Blanc

Photo: <a href=”http://shawnblanc.net>Shawn Blanc

The Tools & Toys Guide to Backyard Cooking »

Technically this one was first published in 2013, long before our relaunch. But, we did update it in 2015 and we’re still fond of it. This is the guide that inspired us to write more guides.