When it comes to getting outside I have a plethora of “interests” that double as an excuse to acquire more gear. Trail running, backpacking, car camping, mountain + tour biking, hiking, summit chasing, snowboarding, splitboarding + rock climbing…just to name a few. It’s a safe bet that I’m not the only one with this problem, right?!
I’m lucky in the sense that many of the gear necessities for these activities overlap about 90% of the time. Aside from some specialized equipment such as a bike or climbing harness, most of my gear comes with multiple purposes. Here’s a quick peek at my core “must have” list for a basic adventure into the wilderness.
Whether I’m headed out on a fastpacking trip, tagging mountain summits or packing up a touring bike for a few days these items get packed along…
- Ultimate Direction Pack — with a few UD packs to choose from I can either cram everything into a smaller running pack, or take the kitchen sink with a bigger pack [+ hydration pack, obviously!].
- Bivy Bag — even if I’m not planning on an overnight in the woods, having something to keep me dry, just in case, plays into my decisions on the trails.
- Sleeping Bag — similar to the bivy bag, my sleeping bag acts as reassurance that I’m one step closer to surviving an unexpected overnight far from civilization.
- “Oh Shit” Kit — what goes into my first aid/emergency pack varies a bit by adventure, but I rarely leave the comfort of my backyard without it, because…what if?!
- Bio Bag — leaving behind scraps of TP is *never* acceptable, so I pack along a resealable plastic bag wrapped in duct tape to act as a trash bag for the less desirable trash [sometimes I also remember a standard plastic bag for other trail trash, especially if I’m headed into a popular area where I’m sure I’ll find trash to pick up!]
- Mini Tripod + Phone — call me conceited, but I love getting photos [with me IN them] of my adventures into the wilderness…even if they never get to Instagram it’s entertaining + motivating to see where I’ve gone + what I’ve done.
- Delorme inReach — admittedly, this doesn’t come with me on my backyard adventures, but if I’m wandering into the unknown having a way to communicate with someone back home about plan changes or dangers is very reassuring…for everyone!
- Chapstick/Lip Balm — seems silly, but I must have some sort of lip balm with me when I’m outside, ideally with SPF, or my lips will suffer for the next week + that’s just annoying.
- Golf Ball — this comes from knowing my body + its weaknesses…I have very cranky feet + calves, so having a golf ball to roll out my arches or soleus muscle is imperative.
- Caffeine — for whatever reason, caffeine is a legitimate mood altering drug for me…when I’m struggling + mentalling crashing a little caffeinated boost goes a long ways + can be the deciding factor between giving up + having fun.
That’s a pretty broad list of the core items I pack along for an adventure into the wilderness on foot. Obviously this does not include activity + weather specific essentials, such as rain gear or a tent, but this is how every adventure packing list starts for me.