Kim and I have given only 10 of our 65 presentations for the Get Out More Tour, and already I know there is one question that I am going to get at every event: what is your favorite piece of gear? I probably should have known that this question would be coming, I mean really, it’s not surprising that I get that question. But, being the thick-headed man that I am, the first couple of times someone asked me this question, I just stared at them blankly and did the “ummm…..hmmm…..that’s a good question…” stalling until any piece of camping gear (normally whatever I had in my hand) came to mind.
So I’ve decided to be proactive and actually think about what my favorite hiking and camping gear is. (see, I can learns!) I’ve divided up my favorite gear into 4 categories: favorite car camping gear, favorite backpacking gear, favorite hiking gear, and favorite unnecessary-but-I-still-carry-it gear.
So, without further ado:
Favorite Car Camping Gear
I realized the other day that, while Kim and I are living out of a tent, we’re still getting a good night sleep every night, which I attribute to our camping cot. I had never actually slept on a cot before, so I was a little wary of the idea of sleeping on one (I have always slept on the ground – and didn’t use a ground pad until a couple of years ago). These cots are great – they sit 6” above the ground, so they keep you nice and warm – and when you put an air pad on them, it’s almost like sleeping on a bed (almost). After just one month of use, this cot has made its way onto my must-take car camping gear list.
Favorite Backpacking Gear
This might have been the most difficult to decide because so much backpacking gear is fun, well-engineered gear. There are cook systems that break down to the size of a water bottle, tents that weigh next to nothing, tools that do everything – the list goes on and on. I like it all, but if I have to choose a favorite, it’s my old Osprey Exos 46 backpack. I’ve had this pack for 6 years now, and I haven’t found any pack I like better. It’s super lightweight, durable, and most importantly, comfortable. And I love the fact that it’s been with me on so many adventures – it’s like an old friend at this point.
Favorite Hiking Gear
The answer here is simple: trekking poles. Kim and I became trekking pole converts in Nepal while hiking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. They saved our collective butts more than a few times, and our knees thanked us for using them as we descended the backside of Thorung La Pass. If you hike and haven’t tried trekking poles, you don’t know what you are missing. Try them out on your next difficult hike, and you’ll see why they’re so great. Trust me, I poo-poo’d trekking poles for years until I tried them, and they really do make a huge difference.
Favorite Unnecessary-But-I-Still-Carry-It Gear
This one was harder to decide upon than you might think. After all, it’s not a necessity, but something that I want to carry with me. After careful deliberation, I realized there was only one choice here: coffee. I love my coffee, and with my camping coffee press, I can have my morning cup o’joe anywhere I want. This is literally the first thing I grab every morning while camping.
That’s it – these are my favorite pieces of hiking and camping gear. What are some of your favorite things that you carry?