For adventurous folk, outdoor gear is like skinny jeans to hipsters; it’s essential. In fact, you probably have five browser tabs open to various gear sites right now. However, getting all the gear can get out of control fast. So, below, we’ve listed the stuff you need and the crap you should skip, thus saving your money for, well, more cooler gear.
Take It With You
You need water. It’s super sweet to not have to carry it or attach it to various parts of your body via carabiner (I know you think this makes you look cool and rugged. It doesn’t. Stop it.)
Whether you’re a hiker, camper, climber, or canyoneer-er, the great outdoors demands a sturdy, waterproof, high-top boot. Buy some. Now.
A blade can repair gear, help you build a fire, and make you look way cooler and sexier than you actually are. A fixed blade is much sharper and sturdier than your nails.
Gear that Keeps You Warm and Dry:
Even if it’s the most gorgeous, clear day you’ve ever seen in your life, it’s always a good idea to have this gear or, at least, keep it in your car.
- Rain Shell
- Gloves–waterproof, obviously
- Wool Socks/Wool Hat–Smart Wool and Darn Tough are effing awesome.
- Synthetic Puffy Vest–more waterproof, and bound to keep you dryer than down (think about the baby duckies…quack, quack)
Strike Anywhere Matches:
As the name suggests, they work anywhere. Just keep ‘em dry.
Duct Tape/Athletic Tape:
Repair gear, use as a makeshift bandage to stop bleeding (Seriously, the ladies will eat that up when you cut your arm on a super sweet move while climbing something epic and then cover it with duct tape).
It’s a lamp, but it goes on your head, so you can use your hands.
Of all the gear you’ll come across, there’s bound to be a few things that are just down-right excessive. Ultralight packers would refer to these items as “overkill.”
Leave It Home
Any type of Hiking Sandal / Road Running Shoe:
Yeah, so your feet are gonna get hot in your hiking boots. Cry me a river. Picture this: you slip on a rock, you start to slide. Next thing you know, you’re in Yosemite Medical Clinic with a shattered ankle that broke your fall–you’re effed, and not in a good way.
Personal story? Maybe. Do I make a point? Absolutely. Covering and protecting your feet whilst out and about in nature is one of the most important things you can do. Do it.
In some situations, these electronics can be helpful but, by and large, they can’t be relied upon. Learn to read maps, leave a note detailing your whereabouts, and if you’re texting on the mountain then you’re probably doing it wrong. All of it.
You lose a ton of heat through the ball of your head. You might as well light your earmuffs on fire. They’re just that useless. Invest in a wool hat that covers your entire head, as well as your ears.
Lighters run out of fuel, get wet, and malfunction. Use strike anywhere matches or a firestarter.
Headlamps are way hotter and again, keep your hands free.
Yep, I said it. Tents are cool and can provide you some shelter from the elements but they aren’t 100% necessary. Instead, sleep in your sleeping bag, under the stars. Car camp if you’re at a site, or invest in a lightweight bivvy for emergency situations. Many ultralight packers are also opting for a lightweight tarp.