The Great Eight – Pieces of timeless gear

We all have our “go to” items.

Items that we have in our kit that are so much part of our outdoor experience, we do not think about them.

Humble items. Items that work, function well and do what needs to be done.

They may not be sexy or get the press in a glossy magazine (or their website equivalent).

But we do not function as well without these items.

Here are my items that I’ve used over the years. And plan on using in the years ahead.  All these items and more can be purchased in my Amazon store.

  • Safety Glasses:  Light, flexible, durable, UV protection, and inexpensive. I’ve been using Nemesis brand safety glasses a for a few seasons now. The darker ones for three season use. The gray ones for winter. And at $15 for three pairs (S&H included) on eBay, they are an excellent deal. Friends and colleagues of mine have also purchased these sunglasses and have been super pleased.

Quick! Spot the guy with the sun faded fleece!

From Rothco

  • Polypro Balaclava:  I’ve had the same balaclava now since 2001.   The balaclava completes the trifecta of gear I use in all four seasons (the liner gloves and the fleece being the other two pieces). Another versatile piece of equipment: A light hat, a neck warmer, fuller weather protection, and so on. A piece of gear in my kit that I always use.  At $10 o so, quite the bargain on Amazon. Considering mine is sixteen years old, the ROI is fantastic!
Worn as a scarf

Red Desert of Wyoming





  • Swiss Army Knife Classic:  $15. It is on me every day. Slices an avocado or a piece of cord. And cuts open a package when needed. When three-season backpacking, I honestly can’t recall the last time I needed a larger knife. And for sale in colors beyond red at this point.

With the p51 can opener and Photon II light. My EDC toolkit that works well for the outdoors, too.

  • MEC fleece hat:  Yeah. It’s just a fleece hat. But it is something everyone should have stuck in a jacket pocket or squirreled away in a pack.  The problem with the MEC fleece hat? It is the hat most aesthetically pleasing to me, a hat that is the right weight, warmth, and bulk, and fits me just right. The problem?  I have yet to find another “magic hat” for me.  Each season, this MEC fleece hat gets a bit more faded, and the green color looks more towards the beige side of the spectrum.  And it only cost me $4 CDN! Shoulda bought more when I had the chance…



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7 years ago

Great list! I’m looking at those wool glove liners now.

6 years ago

a carabiner as my keychain in my pocket…

not huge. so comfy even in shorts [i can’t stand key clusterfucks especially that jingle jangle when walking], but big enough to hang a pack of ANY size on a bus,train,bar,rope-tow et al. …

and my CCW leather waist holster…

at least one large cotton bandana ON ME.
folded flat in a back pocket or worn…

large BIC lighter/ferro rod/and magnesium fire starter…

Dan Lee
Dan Lee
6 years ago

Good list…
+1 boonie hat… not very appealing but totally functional
+1 bandana… probably the only cotton article I carry
Patagonia mid-weight capilene,
Cheap (Dollar Store) fleece gloves and my shell have never let me down although the gloves are finally giving out after 10 years!

6 years ago
Reply to  Paul Mags

I’m a bandana fanatic

6 years ago

did it really happen???
i don’t see how i could have…
maybe because it’s such a part of me and my mind…???
i didn’t include…and am feeling VERY numb by it…