Might as well have the best.
November 8, 2012 1:24 PM   Subscribe

You've done the research; what's the best?

I was inspired by this post in which Dustin Curtis describes his exhaustive search for the best things (flatware in particular here) and the peace of mind gained from being able to trust that thing to do its job as excellently as possible.

I want to hear more examples of well-researched, field-tested, first-rate, absolutely best-of-class things.

I'll start: Darn Tough merino boot socks. Made in Vermont. Costs about same as comparable SmartWool or whatever else. I've tried a lot of different socks over the years, and found some really nice ones, but their lifespan is very limited. Comfortable at first, but then they stretch out and wear thin and get holes and you have to get new ones within a year or two. Not so with these. I've got three pairs of varying ages, and they're still as comfortable and snug as they day I got them, with no holes and no thin areas in the toes or heels. I don't know what the magic is, but I can't seem to wear them out. And if I do, the company offers a lifetime satisfaction guarantee, which I will totally take them up on, because I am a cheap bastard.

So let me have it: what is the best, at any price?

(Please no drive-by brand shout-outs. I want to hear personal experience with a particular make-and-model of a given thing. Why is it so much better than everything else out there?)
posted by sportbucket to Shopping (46 answers total) 235 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh, and maybe stay away from consumer electronics, since the market for that kind of stuff is ever-evolving and what's best today will be less-than-best in a month. I'm thinking of things with staying power: buy once and never (or rarely) buy again.
posted by sportbucket at 1:32 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

You'll find a lot in this thread (though perhaps without the justification):


And in these two linked in the first comment:

posted by supercres at 1:42 PM on November 8, 2012

Here is a subreddit focused on what you're talking about.

Also several of the most popular AskMe's of all time are about this.
posted by Aizkolari at 1:45 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

If you cook or bake, the Kitchenaid stand mixer is absolutely worth every penny. Had ours for years, use it all the time, and I'm sure my kids will inherit it still working.
posted by jbickers at 1:47 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have had very good luck with the following things:

-Levi's jeans. I have some *ahem* thighs on me, so I'm prone to crotch holes, but I tend to get a solid 9 months to a year (wearing them at least 4x/week) out of a pair of jeans. (And after patching said crotch holes, even longer.)

-Jansport messenger bags. For a low-end bag, these are pretty indestructible. It took me more than ten years to go through two of them, and that was really only because I got tired of them and wanted to upgrade, not because they fell apart.

-Saucony sneakers (casual, not running). I walk a lot in the course of an average day (on the order of 2 miles) and probably wear sneakers 4 days a week. The pair I'm wearing today I've had since 2009 and they still refuse to give up. They look kind of dingy, but they still have padding and are hole-free. I still get a comment about once a week from someone saying they think they're cool.

-Nalgene water bottles. I have a 16oz bottle that I've had for years, carry with me every day, and have dragged through just about everything. The bottle barely has a ding on it. The cap strap broke in half last year, but I got a replacement for 2 bucks.

-Craftsman tools. My dad has ones from the 70s that are still in top shape. I have my own set that has seen a decent-but-not-huge amount of use over the last 8 years, and they look brand new.

Note that none of these are luxury brands. They are affordable-for-pretty-much-everyone brands that I have yet to have a bad experience with.

As far as consumables go, Charmin Ultra Strong is the best toilet paper.
posted by phunniemee at 1:52 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007QCOUQ/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00 Absolutely the best utility knife available. I had an earlier version as a Scout that I lost (it was nowhere near worn out) so I picked up this version. Why it's great:
-Curved to your hand, exterior is flocked for grip
-Very sturdy, easy to manipulate locking mechanism
-Long serrated (but not sawtoothed) blade
-Toothpick/tweezers, phillips/flathead, can opener, beer opener, fishing all-in-one tool
-Overall build quality
There are several small variations on this model that adjust the exact toolset, but they all share the same core set of greatness needed in an outdoorsman utility package
posted by MangyCarface at 1:57 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I agree with Phunniemee - Charmin Ultra Strong toilet paper is the best, but I'd rather not go into detail about my experiences with it, if you don't mind.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 1:57 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

You may also want to peruse the Cool Tools blog by Kevin Kelly.
posted by maxim0512 at 1:59 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

Founding executive editor of Wired magazine Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools has been posting these sort of reviews for years.
posted by anon4now at 1:59 PM on November 8, 2012

The Wirecutter also posts reviews of only the things they think are the best.
posted by grouse at 2:03 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Although the Wirecutter basically looks at spec sheets and says "this has the best specs"—they don't report on direct experience.
posted by adamrice at 2:10 PM on November 8, 2012 [4 favorites]

After blowing through any number of briefcases, I ponied up for the last briefcase I'll ever own.
posted by slkinsey at 2:13 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

The tilley hat will absolutely last forever and is an excellent hat. It also floats, which comes in extremely handy.

(Problem is, if you're a man under 50 it invariably makes you look like a huge dork when you wear it. Caveat emptor.)
posted by goingonit at 2:13 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

My 2004 Honda Accord EX V6 is the best car I've ever owned. I've owned two Mercedes, if you want to compare.

It's roomy, reliable, fun to drive, cheap to maintain, good on gas.

I can go on and on.

I've put 84k on it in 8 years and it still looks great!

I'm also going to say that my Simmons Beauty Rest is the best bed I've ever owned.

You can't really go by what I say about it though, beds are so personal. But I love mine because it's as hard as poured concrete. It's time I start thinking about replacing it, as it's about 10 years old now, but it's as comfortable now as it was when I bought it and until the dust mites have an uprising and make off with it, I'll just keep sleeping really, really well.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:39 PM on November 8, 2012

2nding Nalgene water bottles. I have one I've used every day for about 4 years and it looks kind of beat up but hasn't leaked on me once.

I also think vintage Pyrex dishes are the best things ever. My mom got a ton of them as shower/wedding gifts in the 60s and still uses them on a weekly basis. I've picked up a few at thrift stores and they are awesome. And I've bought new Pyrex storage sets for storing leftovers and taking them for lunch. No worries about plastic leaching into food, and Pyrex is still all made in the USA.
posted by jabes at 2:47 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

I love all of the following, which I use regularly to constantly:

New Trent's Ipad & everything else battery chargers, and Ipad retractable styluses.

Nissan thermos mug

Sigg water bottles

Sanyo fuzzy logic rice cooker

For lunches, Lunchbots and Salad Blaster containers

Tom Bihn Cafe bag

Canon Rebel T3i camera (and for snorkeling, Canon D10)

My Ipad2

Logitech bluetooth speakers
posted by bearwife at 3:01 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

I don't know if you sew, but my 1924 Singer treadle sewing machine still works fabulously; I made a comfortor with it. Singer has a great reputation for a reason; their stuff is incredibly good quality. Plus, you can still purchase replacement parts (though there are very few removable parts to replace), belts, and copies of the owner's manual from them, even for items no longer in production. Just a fantastic company. I'm a die-hard Singer girl. That machine will probably still be working after I'm long dead.
posted by windykites at 3:20 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

Estwing rock hammers are the most common among my classmates and professors in the geology/geological engineering department. The hammer is forged from a single piece of steel (so you won't lose a handle or anything), and the grip is shock-absorbing if you get the kind with the blue grip.

Also Levi's jeans, as someone mentioned upthread. Mine fit really well (it's uncommon for me to find skinny jeans that aren't low-rise or uncomfortably tight on my legs) and seem to be pretty durable - I've worn them both for everyday casual wear and for field trips.

Bausch & Lomb make really good hand lenses/magnifiers. I have the 10X Coddington lens; other people I know have the Hastings Triplet. Both varieties are of good quality.
posted by cp311 at 3:22 PM on November 8, 2012

Agree on the Tom Bihn bags. We have three now and they have all proven indestructible, convenient and comfortable to use.

Agree with caveats, on the Sears/Craftsman tools. Unpowered Sears tools are fine and have a great warrantee, but stay far away from Craftsman power tools. Makita, Bosch, DeWalt are the brands you want to look at for power handtools.

Patagonia silkweight boxers are by far the best underwear I've ever owned. I've had six pairs now for more than 15 years and they are all still in better shape than cotton or merino wool or cool max alternatives I've tried. I've never had to throw out a pair yet.
posted by bonehead at 3:22 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do you travel at all? These packing cubes from ebags changed my life. That's not hyperbole. They're that terrific.
posted by rtha at 3:49 PM on November 8, 2012 [6 favorites]

Also, my Bear and I have never found computer speakers as wonderful as AudioEngine 5.0. They are great as kitchen speakers for our Ipods, too.
posted by bearwife at 4:04 PM on November 8, 2012

Seconding the Pyrex. It's fantastic stuff for just about any kitchen mixing, storage or cooking needs.
posted by starscream at 5:00 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

As a general rule anything that is easy to maintain is usually a good buy. But the best stuff may require more maintenance than the cheap stuff.

For instance-stainless knives are great-don't rust, don't stain and hold a decent edge. however carbon knives can be sharpened much, much sharper but require more skill and more care to get that edge on. BTW I use old, cheap Ontario 'old hickory' carbon knives mostly and they rust in a hour to two in the sink, but they sharpen quick, easy and really, really sharp.

Cars-if you don't maintain any of them, they will break down. Some will break down no matter how well you maintain them. Do not trust any manufacturer that claims lifetime fluid or maintenance free on normal items like oil. Japanese cars have a higher build quality but are not designed to be easy to work on. Usually whole assemblies have to be replaced when one item is worn out. American cars usually can be maintained and repair component by component but you HAVE to keep up the american car maintenance or it just goes to shit. You can do the bare minimum on the Japanese until something big breaks and the car isn't affordable to fix. These differences are slowly going away though as world cars are replacing market specific and globalization continues its march. Old school Schwinn bicycles are somewhat like this I am told.

You will also find that last 20% of quality costs you 80% more. Craftsmen hand tools are usually pretty good, but they are not MAC, Snap-on or Matco quality. However you will pay 2-3 times what craftsmen costs for the same tool. How good do you need? For one time, or very rare jobs that require obscure specialty tools I just go to harbor freight. The tools are crap but how often am I (an amateur hobby mechanic) going to change an inner tie rod end? i can literally buy 5 harbor freight inner tie rod wrenches for what One used MAC one costs (assuming I can find it).

So take that into consideration before you spend the money on the 'best' when good enough will do.
posted by bartonlong at 5:12 PM on November 8, 2012 [7 favorites]

The Pulltap's wine tool is what my husband the catering bartender swears by. We buy them half a dozen at a time at Trader Joe's and he takes multiples to work with him. There's often a newbie (and sometimes an old hand) who's forgotten to bring their wine tool to work, so my husband carries extra. (Which he usually sells to them with a markup of a buck or two. "Yeah, you could get it cheaper at TJ's. But you didn't, so now you're paying Pirate's don't-be-an-irresponsible-knucklehead fee. Plan ahead next time.")

Dragon Door kettlebells are excellent quality. The handles are smooth (no seams) and well-sized and the weight is nicely balanced.

The Inova T1 flashlight is great. (The other models may be too; I've only used a T1.) It's extremely durable (a friend drove over his in an F250 — the T1 was unharmed), has no dark spot, and with fresh batteries is bright enough to prompt a "whoa!" from onlookers. Plus it takes 123A lithium batteries, not AA or AAA — since usually only flashlight geeks buy lights that take these batteries, and there are many fewer flashlight geeks than average flashlight users, 123As are more likely to still be available even if there's been a run on batteries before/after a natural disaster or crisis. (Or so my flashlight-geek friends assure me.)
posted by Lexica at 6:31 PM on November 8, 2012

My Levi's jeans lately have been shit; I've had the button rip out of pairs less than a month old, and had the crotch split on me on two month old jeans. This is ridiculous; I'm a dude, wearing not-tight jeans, and wearing them doing normal things, like walking to the store and sitting on an office chair. Would not recommend.

That said, tools.

Incra: They sell some woodworking stuff. They make it in the USA. The router table fence I bought from them is the best made item I've ever owned. It works perfectly. It's the most accurate tool I've ever owned, and it's nearly bulletproof in construction.

Festool: German powertool company. They charge a premium for their stuff. I own two tools of theirs, one of which is a track saw. It is perfect in every way; exceeds expectations, cuts perfect lines in plywood or anything else, with limited tearout, and in a surprisingly safe and easy way.

Lie-Nielsen is an American tool manufacturer that opened about thirty years ago. They make reproductions of classic Stanley hand tools from the WWI-WWII era. However, they've tightened up the tolerances and made an all-around noticeably better tool; out of the box, they just work. Especially known for their hand planes, they're the priciest and highest quality a working woodworker would go with. (There are boutique toolmakers that charge many times more; I cannot imagine a woodworker making a living from their craft and affording those tools.)

In all cases, I can imagine handing these tools down to children.
posted by talldean at 6:54 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I love my All-Clad pans, but grandma's hand-me-down cast iron skillet and griddle are my go-to kitchen tools.
posted by Marky at 7:01 PM on November 8, 2012

I have one of those little Krups electric coffee grinders that I bought in 1982. It has now been grinding coffee--or occasionally almonds or hazelnuts--for more than thirty years, and it works as well as the day I bought it.
posted by gimonca at 7:42 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Unfortunately, as taildean has reported regarding Levi's, a number of things are no longer made with the same care or materials as they used to be. Jeans and Kitchenaid mixers are right at the top of the list here. In the case of jeans a lot of them are no longer denim but simply blue cloth, and there are a number of threads here on MeFi regarding how to find true denim anymore (short version: Japan). Kitchenaid switched a number of metal gears for plastic, with the result that you're much more likely to wear them out or strip them.

That being said, stuff I like 'cause it's well-made now:
a) Le Creuset cookware
b) Japanese knives
c) Thule 32L backpack. I can carry 2 laptops, a tablet, a change of clothes, and still have room left over.
d) An Apple macbook. After 20 years of buying a new laptop every 3 years I bought a unibody Macbook and I am still amazed at how well put together it is (and this one is over 3 years old). Yes, I know this is a religious argument.
posted by Runes at 8:38 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

-Jansport messenger bags. For a low-end bag, these are pretty indestructible. It took me more than ten years to go through two of them, and that was really only because I got tired of them and wanted to upgrade, not because they fell apart.

I've also had great experiences with Jansport backpacks. They hold a lot of stuff, are really inexpensive and for me at least have held up amazingly well to a lot of hard use. The one I'm currently using I bought about 5-6 years ago, and it's still going strong. I fully expect to use it for at least the next 5 years.
posted by marsha56 at 10:10 PM on November 8, 2012

Things I love & believe to be the best - after trying and being disappointed by, lower-quality similar items):

Chrome messenger bag (specifically the "Citizen" size)
Hunter wellies (rain boots)
Nalgene water bottle
posted by ainsley at 11:01 PM on November 8, 2012

- Church's shoes
- Circulon cookware
- Miele appliances
- top-of-the-range Samonsite suitcases
- seconding the packing cubes (I use Eagle Creek)
posted by stenoboy at 12:17 AM on November 9, 2012

SUV: Toyota - I sold my first one in its prime when I moved to NYC, and I'm currently driving a 2002 into the ground and it doesn't show any signs of wearing out any time soon.

Bike: Canyon - pretty much same story as the car, except I still expect to be able to ride the bike after nuclear war.

Cast-iron skillet / griddle: Lodge - we only got these things ~2 years ago but from what I can tell they are going to last well past our lifetime if we treat them right.

Kitchen knives: Zwilling J.A. Henckels - same story as the skillet

Pocket knife: Kershaw - same story as the kitchen knives, plus super versatile

Machete: Gerber - get the blade with the saw teeth on the back side - rarely needs sharpening and can cut a tree down with enough time.

Waterbottle: Sigg - gets dented sure but its BPA free and easier to drink from than a big mouthed Nalgene, plus the cap doesn't eventually wear out.

Suitcase: Samsonite (agreeing top of line, but adding with the wheels built in and not external) - my first 3 years in consulting, travelling by airline 2x/week+, I used one Samsonite case that held up to everything. Since then I've bought luggage 3x as expensive that is shit - I'm looking at you Victorinox - that hasn't lasted 1/3 as long.

Backpack: North Face - although mine is still lasting from 1995, so I'm pretty out of date on current stuff, but hell if this pack hasn't lasted longer than I ever expect another too.

Sporting gear retailer: REI - put it this way, I can still return my North Face backpack to them today even though I bought it almost 20 years ago. I never would, but I *could.*

Jacket: Kitanica Mark I - 1000 denier Cordura. My parents' Doberman went to town on my arm while wearing this thing and she couldn't break through the material.

Suits: Hugo Boss - the best suit you'll ever get that's non-bespoke

Pants: Carhart - most durable work pants you will ever find. I still own pairs I could fit into pre-college, the only signs of wear they show is paint stains.

Underwear: Underarmor microfiber - although the elastic waistbands got significantly crappier after they switched production facilities circa 2007. Your're still better off with a $20 pair of shorts that will last you 7-10 years than a cotton pair that will last you 2-4. Plus no sweaty balls.

Leather belt: Old Navy - same one since 1996, probably will give it to my kid when I die. I don't own anything else from Old Navy.

Beanie: North Face - same story as the belt, except I own other NF stuff.

Football cleats: Underarmor - Nike sucks

Sunglasses: Spy - keep the lenses from getting scratched and you'll never need new ones again.

Shoulder / laptop bag: Tumi - I've been using my current one since 2002, with only 2 minor sewing repairs needed.

Cheap, network-unlocked phone: Nokia - better battery life than any phone on the market, you can drop it in puddles, on concrete, etc., it just keeps going.

Expensive smartphone: Iphone, but don't drop it, period. Casemate for the phone cover.

Apps: Camera+, Skype, Google Maps (just don't upgrade the IOS), Flashlight, Find Iphone, Evernote, Shazam, Star Chart, Kindle, Scanny, Zombies Run!

Wallet: Bosca full-grain leather - have been using mine every day since 1994 and its only just now starting to come apart.

Home Theater Projector: Mitsubishi - I am 5 years into my first one and the original bulb still is working fine. Will never buy a TV again. Suggest 720p rather than 1080p unless the latter has significantly dropped in price.

HT Speakers, also Iphone doc: Bose - don't believe the "overpriced!" hype - I used the latter for our outdoor wedding and it was worth every damn penny.

DSLR Camera: Cannon 4D - I've put this thing and various lenses through the gauntlet on 40+ countries on 4 continents and the camera body shows no signs of slowing although the lenses don't keep up (I've got a Sigma still hanging on).

E-reader: Kindle 3G - I like it better than the newer versions I've tried, less functionality but better response times and still has the best basic functions.

Headphones: Shure E4C's or the latest model thereof. In-ear, if you can handle that, passive noise cancelling, only caveat is that you need to find a bigger case than they ship with because the super-durable wires wear out over the years if you bend them too much as the case requires.

Double burger: In-n-Out

Favorites aggregator: Delicious - there is no competition here

Email: Gmail - still no competition I've found yet

Website: Metafilter - nuff said

Most of the things on my list I swear by, many are items I've grown an emotional attachment to over the decades because I expect them to last nigh on forever. This is my general measure of best-in-category / best-value.
posted by allkindsoftime at 1:08 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Holy cow, I have to agree on the cast-iron skillet. I bought one on sale a few years ago, thinking I'd use it only for burgers or steaks. I use it all the time. So long as you keep it seasoned (and don't wash it with soap) it will serve you well for years and years and years.

I seriously considered how I could fit an old cast-iron skillet into my bike jersey a few years ago when I stumbled across a yard sale at an old farm house while on a ride, *that's* how impressed I am by them.

Shoes: Dansko clogs. Yea yea, they aren't the most fashion forward, but when you're on your feet all day, comfort trumps fashion. I've had a pair of oiled brown leather clogs since 2007, and I beat on them nearly every day, and they've held up beautifully.

Winter gear: Nau, for cold-city type wear. I hate to say it, but in this case the price is generally deserved (but they have sales at the end of season!) I have this winter jacket and I am actually excited for cold weather because I get to wear it. Knit merino will cuffs, beautiful and functional details, excellent insulation without a ton of bulk, and articulated sleeves!
posted by absquatulate at 6:59 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's not a brand, but a 2nd hand cashmere cardigan I bought from a charity shop has outlasted almost every other piece of knitwear I've bought in the six years since I parted with my £4. That may say more about the quality of clothes in the past, though.

I've also had good experiences with Eastpak bags. I really abuse luggage and stuff as much as I can into it, and both my backpack and shoulder bag (which holds my camera stuff when I'm away) have held up really nicely.

My Pure DAB radio has held up well over 10+ house moves and still sounds perfect - I think the only repair I had to do was to glue down the handle when it wore loose.

If you crochet, Clover hooks will make it a lot more comfortable. If you wear make-up, the flat-top kabuki-style brushes blend foundation much more easily than the flat kind that is generally sold as a 'foundation brush'.
posted by mippy at 8:10 AM on November 9, 2012

A word to those promoting Pyrex -- read about it at that wiki-link, seems things changed in 1998 and now we have World Kitchen Pyrex which is sturdier, has a cyan tint, but is not as heat-resistant; as opposed to real Corning Pyrex which was (and if it's laboratory glassware, still is) clear.
posted by Rash at 9:06 AM on November 9, 2012

And yeah, cast-iron cookware.
posted by Rash at 9:08 AM on November 9, 2012

Chainsaw: Stihl. Built in Virginia (with German-manufactured parts), this is the best brand of chainsaw. Admittedly, this is a bit of a religious argument, but everybody would agree it's in the top 2. :) As safe as a chainsaw can be, kickback protection, a dependable engine, no shortcuts taken in manufacturing. Famously, they refuse to sell through Walmart or any big-box store, but only through small, local, independent retailers. Stihl argues that the big retailers could exert pressure to get Stihl to reduce quality to cut costs, and they won't take that risk.
posted by waldo at 12:41 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Filson. Filson. Filson.

Best wool clothing made today. Just make sure to buy their clothing that's still made in the USA.

"Might as well have the best" is their tagline.
posted by ghostpony at 4:38 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Ditto. My Filson bag will inherited by my kids. They do charge a premium, though.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:30 AM on November 11, 2012

Singer has a great reputation for a reason; their stuff is incredibly good quality.

I think this only applies to their older models and the very expensive newer ones. I got one a few years ago (maybe $250?) and it has already needed a $100 repair. Googling suggests that may not be the last time, either.
posted by soelo at 2:54 PM on November 11, 2012

mippy: "If you crochet, Clover hooks will make it a lot more comfortable."

Similarly, depending on what fibers you prefer to knit with/other aspects of personal preference, Addi Turbo circular knitting needles are the bomb-diggety most-awesome BEST-EVAR knitting needle out there. (You knit English style? You knit Continental? It's all good. You dis my Addi Turbos? I will cut you. Ahem.)
posted by Lexica at 12:53 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

These Loki jackets are amazing. They have so many features and they are super warm. Great for hiking.
posted by bq at 7:22 PM on November 12, 2012

Parker Jotter (Staples) The best click mechanism on a pen at it's price. The bonus is that it's a really great pen to write with as well.

Zwilling JA Henkel Twin Master Knives Don't spend money on silly wooden handles and decorative accents. Buy what the pros use! Yellow handle with a nice grippy texture. The same great steel Henkel is known for and you don't have to pay the premium.

Red Wing Heritage Boots/shoes I was in the market for boots that would "last me 10 years". I bought the Beckman 9011. Full grain leather construction with leather laces. Replaceable soles. Beautiful to look at. Can't go wrong.

Panasonic Viera Plasmas Nothing against any other manufacturer but if you are looking for a plasma television in 2012 the Panasonic Viera is the best looking panel you can buy. Even their more economical models, while lacking in some areas (fewer HDMI inputs than others), they are visually superior than their competition.

Mechanical keyboards. Remember that old IBM keyboard you or your dad had that made all that racket back in the day? That was a mechanical. There are a ton to choose from nowadays but some names to keep and eye out for are Filco, Metadot Das Keyboards, Ducky, IBM Model M, etc. Check out the forums at GeekHack.org to learn more.
posted by FiveNines at 7:24 PM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

allkindsoftime: "Underwear: Underarmor microfiber"

I can't speak for the underwear, but if you need non-cotton baselayer, Patagonia's capilene stuff is totally the way to go. I bought a bunch of it on sale back when I was in high school, and it all still looks new today.

If you want something a bit more snug, though, Under Armor might be the better way to go. Unfortunately, UA's sizing seems to omit anybody between the size of a child and a football player.
posted by schmod at 10:41 AM on November 14, 2012

Nthing everyone else about cast-iron cookware. We just re-seasoned my husband's grandmother's cast-iron frying pan the other week, FYI.

Also Nthing Tom Bihn bags. I am insanely hard on my bags, often stuffing them to overfull and banging/dragging them and just generally making their lives miserable. My backpack (the Smart Alec) looks as new as the day I bought it, and it's been through the wringer.

For women's clothing, my go-to for durable, classic tailoring and quality is Tribal. I own some pieces that are ten years old that look as good as the day I bought them. God, the stuff fits like a dream and makes even curvy me look good. And it's just that little bit unique and different so you don't look like virtually everyone else at the party.

I've been very happy with Blondo winter boots as well - stylish, but warm with good grippy soles for snow and ice.
posted by LN at 1:13 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Following up on the Singer line - I have a 98 year old Singer 99 model - hand powered, and non natural delicate fibres like lycra aside, it will sew anything to anything. If I wanted to I could restore all the key machinery for about £20. Beautiful story about restoring a family heirloom here. Sewing machines require a metal chassis to have real longevity, this modern heavy duty Singer is the only hope of a modern equivalent which might last, but I would put odds on my machine living longer than any electric version. Even if it won't be any use to anyone needing to sew outfits for superheroes.
posted by Augenblick at 1:01 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

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