Quality. It’s a word that is overused nowadays. Companies are hocking stuff that breaks in a couple months but are somehow allowed to call their stuff quality. It’s infuriating. That’s why we put together this list of items that are truly worthy of being called quality. These are durable, well-made, built-to-last products that are consider buy it for life (BIFL). We go through each important category and give our number one pick for each, taking into account the build-quality, warranty and general reviews of the product by people that own it and can vouch for it’s general awesomeness. Disagree? Well, what can I say, you’re wrong… I mean… Let us know in the comments. Keep in mind that this post is always a work in progress and we will be updating and editing as we go. What is best today may not be the best tomorrow. Scroll down past the table of contents to get to the good stuff!
Best men’s all-purpose boots | Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger
These boots get our top recommendation for overall best men’s boots. With amazing craftsmanship and a look that is incredibly versatile, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to buy a pair of Red Wing boots.
Why we love them: A trusted company name, amazing looks and solid construction.
Best men’s dress boots | White’s Boots Americana
The Americana is borderline unfair when compared to other brands. White’s Boots doesn’t cut any corner in the quality of these boots. And they look like a million bucks.
Why we love them: Totally re-buildable design, amazing looks and durability
Best outdoor hiking boots | Danner Radical 452 GTX
Forget those other companies offering terrible glue-on soles. Danner brings in the big guns with these outdoor hiking boots.
Why we love them: Waterproof, full welted sole construction and they won’t break the bank
Best socks | Darn Tough Socks
Who knew that a company can actually offer a full lifetime warranty on socks? Well, Darn Tough believes in their product so much that they will give you a new pair if you wear them out. Amazing.
Why we love them: Comfortable, and an amazing lifetime warranty… on socks…
Best pair of jeans | Levi’s 511
You may think that Levi’s are just run of the mill, but the Levi 511 are some of the best jeans you can buy. Not only that but, they are much more comfortable than many “raw denim” brands out there.
Why we love them: Stylish modern design that doesn’t make you look like a dad. And they’re durable!
Best work pants | Carhartt carpenter pant
Carhartt is the undisputed kind of work clothing. These are the choice pant for roofers, which should tell you something about the quality of these Carhartt carpenter pants.
Why we love them: Incredibly durable and affordable.
Best active pants | Prana Stretch Zion
Best known for their kick-ass yoga gear, Prana is our top pick for active pants. The Prana Stretch Zion is perfect for camping, hiking, playing video games… Pretty much anything.
Why we love them: Super comfortable and versatile.
Best t-shirt | Ice Breaker 100% merino wool
Merino wool is absolutely the best material for t-shirts and Ice Breaker makes the best, most durable garment out of this light-weight and breathable material.
Why we love it: Comfortable, fast-drying, just plain awesome.
Best hooded sweatshirt | Carhartt Rain Defender
I love hoodies. And the best quality one you can find is this one from Carhartt. Crazy comfortable and a great warranty make this hoodie our number one pick.
Why we love it: Stylish, comfortable and a great warranty
Best work jacket | Carhartt Traditional C26
This jacket is what you’re going to want if you work outside or put your jackets through hell. This sucker is designed with construction crews in mind.
Why we love it: Your could run a steam roller over this and it would still be fine.
Best winter parka | Canada Goose parka
Sure, these are really popular. But they are actually legitimately buy it for life BIFL material. Not to mention that you could stay warm stranded on an island in the arctic is this parka.
Why we love it: Amazing attention to detail, very stylish.
Best rain jacket |Arcteryx Beta SL Jacket
If you need a great lightweight rain jacket this one from Arcteryx is consistently rated above pretty much anything else out there. It breathes and is light enough to take anywhere.
Why we love it: Breathable, super light and incredibly durable
Best all purpose backpack | Osprey Farpoint
This bag is a beast. Not only is it really well designed, but it is covered by Osprey’s amazing warranty. If you have to pick one bag from our list to buy, this is it.
Why we love it: Great craftsmanship, even better warranty.
Best budget backpack | Jansport
Who said a quality bag needs to cost and arm and a leg? Jansport bags have been know to last students for their whole school career. And they are cheap enough that they won’t break into that beer money.
Why we love it: Inexpensive and high quality
Best commuter backpack | North Face Borealis
Need a backpack that will work just as well on the bus as on the trail? The North Face Borealis is what you’re looking for.
Why we love it: Subdued looks, really well-designed pockets
Best hiking backpack | Osprey Comet
This is a great backpack for a day trip or even a weekend. Not too big, not too small, but still featuring Osprey’s legendary warranty.
Why we love it: Fantastic warranty, versatile design for small trips.
Best messenger bag | Timbuk2 Command
You can’t really walk into a big business meeting with a backpack. For those instances we recommend this messenger bag from Timbuk2.
Why we love it: Super durable, subdued looks that work well in an office environment.
Best duffle bag | Osprey Transporter
The Osprey Transporter has been a favorite in the buy it for life BIFL community for many years. This transformable duffle features Osprey’s lifetime warranty and a design that is perfect for a weekend getaway.
Why we love it: Lifetime warranty, really well laid out design, several sizes to pick from.
Best luggage | Briggs and Riley Torque
Forget Samsonite. Forget many so called durable luggage is… not. Briggs and Riley has gotten a great reputation from years of supplying ridiculously durable and well-designed luggage. And the Torque line is the best of the best.
Why we love it: If your luggage fell out of the plane, it might survive in these super-durable bags.
Best women’s handbag | Coach Peyton Signature tote
Coach handbags are still the best quality women’s purses and handbags available. And you can’t go wrong with this beautiful Coach Peyton Signature tote. Just make sure it’s the real deal by checking the individual serial number on the inside!
Why we love it: Still the king of bags, unrivaled quality.
Best briefcase | Saddleback Thin Briefcase
If you’re into leather, you can’t ignore Saddleback. Proudly offering a 100 year warranty (that’s right 100 years) this briefcase will truly be fought over by your grandchildren when you’re six feet under.
Why we love it: Premium leather construction, 100 year warranty.
Best sunglasses | Randolph Engineering Aviators
Remember Don Draper from Mad Men? Remember the badass suglasses he was sporting? Well, these are those. These Randolph Engineering Aviators are also the sunglasses given to every NASA pilot. Premium quality at it’s finest.
Why we love it: Amazing quality and unsurpassed style.
Best men’s watch | Citizen Nighthawk Eco-Drive
Citizen is the master of creating watches that just can’t be killed. And their eco-drive motion driven mechanism will ensure that you’re not out of juice anytime soon.
Why we love it: Best in class durability and slick looks.
Best umbrella | Senz umbrella
Just try to make this umbrella turn inside out. This is about as durable as umbrellas get.
Why we love it: Durable construction, won’t turn inside out in the wind.
Best multi-tool | Leatherman Wave
If you talk to anyone that knows what they are talking about in terms of tools, they will know that the best all-around multi-tool out there is the Leatherman Wave. Great warranty and unsurpassed craftsmanship make this our number one pick.
Why we love it: Leatherman quality, best mix of tools.
Best pen | Parker Jotter
Parker is one of the big pen manufacturers and also a favorite among pen collectors. But even their new stuff is incredible quality. The Parker Jotter series continues their supreme quality.
Why we love it: Awesome release mechanism, great writing experience.
Best flashlight | Fenix PD35
Fenix makes some of the best flashlights available. Military grade aluminum and enough lumens to temporarily blind someone, what else do you want? Seriously though, millions of flashlight addicts can’t be wrong. The Fenix PD35 has the best features for the best price.
Why we love it: Really bright, very durable.
Best hammer | Estwing E3-16C
Estwing is the top name in hammers. Most roofers and a lot of other construction workers swear by them. And this is their overall best performer for the price.
Why we love it: Great overall quality and best reviewed hammer around.
Best lighter | Zippo
Sometimes simple is better. And that is certainly the case with a good old Zippo lighter. Wind resistant and super reliable, these are still some of the best lighters you will find.
Why we love it: Great overall quality and best reviewed hammer around.
Best pocket knife | Spyderco Delica 4
Spyderco’s distinctive design has captivated knife experts for decades. And their best overall knife is the Spyderco Delica 4, a mix of stellar design and manageable size.
Why we love it: Amazing steel, great design and not too intimidating.
Best cordless drill | Dewalt 20V Max XR
There are a lot of choices when it comes to drills, but this cordless drill from Dewalt hits all of the sweet spots. A great compact brushless design has set it above everything else out there.
Why we love it: Great power, brushless motor design that puts more power to the drill head.
Best nail clippers | Tweezerman Deluxe
It’s hard to excited about a pair of tweezers but if you’re going to, it’s these ones. Tweezerman have made a pair that stays sharp way longer than any others.
Why we love it: Stays sharp for a long time.
Best axe | Estwing E24ASE
Estwing kills it with the full tang design of this sportsman axe. Amazing reviews and a great reputation make this our top axe pick.
Why we love it: Full tang design, great company reputation.
Coming soon… In the meantime check out our section on kitchen stuff here.
31 & 32 are the same thing. I think that’s cheating!