12/21/2012 08:02 am ET Updated Feb 20, 2013

Top Travel Gear Picks for 2012

I love this time of year. Time to reflect, be merry, and appreciate how much can happen in 12 months.

I've done a lot of travel in the past year, for a whole lot of different trips with varying degrees of style. Backpacking, luxury hotels, camping... I like to think I'm a flexible traveller.

Here is a list of gear I wouldn't have survived without in 2012.

1. Osprey Farpoint 70 backpack

While planning my trip to Brazil, it was clear to me that my raggedy 'ol suitcase wouldn't cut it on such an ambitious trip. But I've never really liked backpacks... I find their design maddening, and I hate not being able to see all my belongings spread out right there in front of me. I'm a bit messy, if you couldn't tell, and I hate digging for things. (Perhaps this is why I prefer online shopping over in-store shopping.)

The Osprey Farpoint 70 was the perfect compromise. It opens like a suitcase, and can hold up to 70 liters of belongings. Plus, you can roll up the straps to carry it like a duffel bag.

So far, I've had no problems with it at all. I'm told that the Osprey customer service is fab too, and the lifetime guarantee is pretty unbeatable.

2. TEVA Jordanelle winter boots

My friends make fun of me for being such a cheapskate, but I hate dishing out hundreds of dollars on winter gear -- especially if I just keep losing it. I have a problem where I tend to lose my belongings on a regular basis... especially coats and shoes and boots. It doesn't matter if it's minus 25 degrees Celsius outside, I'll still end up at home without my jacket.

But winter in St. John's is risky business. I decided to suck it up and buy something actually worthwhile.

My TEVA Jordanelles are "packable" and can be condensed down to the size of a regular shoe. Plus they're waterproof and good for those minus 25 temperatures, and they're pretty to boot. (Get it, to boot?)

I ordered mine in "beet red." Because dreary winter needs some color.

3. Grace Carter's Stylish Shoe Covers

I live in one of the most hazardous winter cities in the world. Ok, that might be bit of an exaggeration, but St. John's has a serious snow removal problem and the sidewalks are often unfit for walking. Hence the need for durable winter boots.

But when it's a Friday night and I want to join my friends for a night out, I need something a little more... practical. And these Grace Carter tall shoe covers zip right up over my heels so that my shoes are protected and I can walk around without the threat of hypothermia.

You can get them in rounded-toe and pointed-toe styles, and they look pretty awesome. Plus the grips on the bottom will keep your face far away from the icy road.

4. The Bobble

The Bobble is all about portable filtration, and the people behind it have a mission: to change people's drinking habits by slowing the mass consumption of single-serve water bottles.

This lightweight, pretty water bottle is probably the main reason why I didn't end up with a bout of gastro in the Dominican Republic. I only wish I had known about this before I hit up Mexico and then Ireland before that, where I spent most of my trip yakking into the hostel toilet. You know where you don't want to be when you're sick and on the road? In a dirty Dublin hostel toilet.

5. Lucy active-wear walkabout yoga pant

Like I said before, I'm a cheapskate. But when it comes to good athletic wear, being cheap doesn't pay. Athletic wear is probably the single most expensive thing I spend money on. Yes, even over plane tickets.

I wanted these pants for long-haul flights. There is simply nothing more uncomfortable than sitting through 13 hours of flying while wearing jeans. Actually, I just hate wearing pants in general. If I could, I'd ban pants for life.

Wearing these, it's a breeze... even with the zipper and drawstring. I think it's made from unicorn hair and magic.

What were your favorite gear picks from 2012?