by: Zach Shenal
Sure it’s just stuff. But stuff can make life easier, more enjoyable, etc… Every so often we ask one of our favorite, style-appreciating people to rattle off their five favorite things. Sometimes those things will fit into the realm of “affordable,” and sometimes they won’t. We’re going for the favorites here.
Dappered contributor Zach Shenal is an expedition and product/lifestyle photographer from Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Now attending Marine Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia, Zach has a lot on his plate, but somehow found time to get us a list of his 5 favorite things.
As a product photographer and connoisseur of well-crafted American made items, Zach brings us picks that fit right in with the Dappered crowd. Unless you don’t like barbecue, or are partial to sauce other than Sweet Baby Ray’s.
As is always the case with our 5 Favorites series, nobody is paying us to be featured (which is our standard policy,) and we determine who gets a spot. To ratchet up the difficulty level for those participating who happen to represent a men’s style company on some level (CEOs, designers, owners, etc.,) those types are allowed to pick just one item from their place of work.
This is far and away the most expensive thing on my list, but it’ll also probably last the longest, so I don’t mind that. I think every man should have a good watch (good doesn’t necessarily mean Rolex-expensive), and this thing fits the bill. It’s heavy (some would say too heavy, at almost half a pound on the bracelet), it’s built like a tank, and it’s ISO certified as a dive watch. The Marathon SAR watches are all built on government contracts and designed for search and rescue/salvage diving, so I’m never afraid of it getting broken or damaged, and it still looks classy enough to wear to dinner.
I know most things are digital these days, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wowed a professor or client with a handwritten note instead of an email. I love fountain pens because they don’t require any pressure to write, so you can do pages without fatigue, and with the right one (like this model), you can give your writing crazy line variation thanks to the flexible nib. There’s nothing like signing something and having it look like the declaration of independence. As for ink, there are literally thousands of options, but I love Noodler’s because all of their inks are handmade in the USA by one guy, and can do some crazy things (ever seen laser-proof and freeze-proof ink?).
I’ve got two Saddleback bags, a backpack and a satchel, but for general use, nothing beats the Saddleback satchel. I got my satchel in 2012 as a coming-of-age/graduation gift from my parents, and I’ve carried it like crazy ever since. It’s a good size for a man bag, and easily holds my little camera and some snacks, and I can even jam my 13” MacBook in there if I’m off on a trip or just have a short day at school. For those of you who don’t know, SBL makes their bags out of full-grain leather and pigskin and guarantees them for 100 years, so your children will have something to fight over. They’ve gotten a lot more expensive recently, so if you find it out of your reach, I suggest buying used online (that’s how I got my backpack).
I’m not a great cook, but I love barbecue, and to me, no readily available to all sauce on this earth comes close to Sweet Baby Ray’s. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and tangy, and I love it so much! It’s excellent on pork, beef, chicken, and even just with fries. Whenever I do BBQ, this is the only sauce I’ll use. (photo credit)
I got this knife when I was up at West Point after talking to a few of my fellow Prepsters (as the USMAPS students are called) who had been deployed. I noticed they all had specific brands they preferred, and after a little shopping around, I chose CRKT over a few other brands. The company seemed to offer the best ratio of performance to price, and this model was both functional and badass. It’s been four years since I bought it, and it’s been my EDC ever since. The serrations are perfect for cutting through paracord, and the plain edge at the front has done everything from slicing apples to open the mail. Easily one of the most used things on this list. (photo credit)
Editor’s Note: Items in someone’s 5 favorites does not necessarily mean we here at Dappered have tested it/would have picked it. But, we really like these Guys (and Gals) and wouldn’t ask someone for their favorites unless we thought they had good judgement. Got a guest suggestion for 5 favorites? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.