When Field & Stream first ran the Best of the Best Awards back in December 1998, no one could anticipate just how popular and prestigious they would become. The idea was to choose 25 items that “F&S; editors found that can make all the difference.” The award program was well received by you, the readers, and has really taken off, so much so that it has grown into a nationally recognized event. Readers and manufacturers take serious interest every year in what’s been chosen and why.
We take this charge seriously, too. This year, seven field editors were involved in the tests, selecting gear they thought might be special. They tested it, compared it with competitive products, showed it to colleagues. Lists of Best of the Best candidates were finally assembled and sent to Field & Stream’s offices, where the New York editors took their time and pored over the reams of information. Decisions were made, reconsidered, rejected, accepted again…or not.
In the pages that follow, you’ll read what we, the editors of F&S;, consider to be truly the best of the best. These items all performed up to expectations and, in many cases, beyond. Their prices are reasonable and fair. Their designs are well thought-out. And their usefulness to you, the sportsman, is unparalleled. These 21 are the best.