Gray’s Best Awards 2015

APPAREL: Eddie Bauer Riverbank Pants

When you consider the extremes of fisheries these days—from Alaska salmon to Bahamas bonefish—no one pair of pants suits all needs. But for all-around fishing and multipurpose outdoor use, it would be hard to do better than Eddie Bauer’s Riverbank Pants ($80). At first glance, the medium-weight Cordura nylon and Supplex blend might seem biased toward temperate climates, but I wore them for a week in the Bahamas last May and found them sheer enough for a tropical flat as well as great for river roaming or general camp use back home. I did wear them on an offshore boat in July off the coast of South Florida and found them a bit heavy for such humid, windless conditions, but since most tropical flats are blessed with cooling trade winds, you can consider the geographic range of this garment to be from the Marquesas to Montana. The articulated, double-layer knees offer extra mobility and durability, and the no-nonsense tailoring has a classic athletic cut typical of Bauer apparel. A zippered back pocket keeps essentials secure, and the lone side pocket with tool loop is just the right size for a pair of pliers, hemostats, or a cold bottle of Kalik. Bauer’s exclusive FreeDry fabric is moisture wicking and quick drying, as well as water repellent with UPF 50-plus sun protection. I’ve machinewashed my pair at least a dozen cycles, and they come out looking like new every time.