My favorite piece of outdoor gear? A map.
As I’ve written previously, gear and talk about gear is what seems to be the favorite topic for outdoor websites, blogs, magazines and so on.
And the invariable question raised or discussed is “What is your favorite piece of gear?“
It is very simple for me. It is not my backcountry skis, my favorite hat, a pack or shelter.
Rather it is something far more simple, useful and straight forward: A map.
I am not being facetious when I make that statement.
I truly love maps.
Be it buying a new map before I go on a trip, looking over an atlas to see how to get to a trail head, looking at maps online to help plan for a trip or poring over one at the kitchen table as I excitedly show a past partner my route for the upcoming weekend.
Maps fuel my outdoor dreams. Places to see, experience and savor.
Maps show possibilities, planned adventures and dreams all in topo line form. I look at a map and I see the climbs up the mountains, passes leading to alpine lakes and ridges with views that seem to go on forever…
To quote a favorite book of mine:
“I am an agnostic on most matters of faith, but on the subjects of maps I have always been a true believer. It is on the map, therefore it is, and I am.”
Maps make me smile because they lead to possibilities and those possibilities become reality.
Maps truly are my favorite piece of gear.