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.
- Fleece, 100 wt pullover: I’ve extolled the virtues many times before of the simple 100 wt fleece. My $10 Sports Authority special is more and more sun faded, has small holes here and there, and it won’t win any fashion awards at this point. But it is the piece clothing I use for *all* my outdoor activities. Hiking, backpacking, skiing, stowed in the pack…it does it all. Get a 100 wt fleece. The brand really does not matter.
- Wool liner gloves: Another all four season mainstay for me. Simple and functional. Work well by themselves and are magical when paired with a shell mitt. I buy a few pairs when I enter a local store. I used to go through 3-4 pairs a year. Now I keep a pair in all my packs, so the burn rate is not quite as quick. You can purchase them online as well from various surplus stores.
- 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!
- Boonie hat: I’ve rocked the simple Boonie hat of one sort another since I’ve been in Colorado. My current one is going on six seasons. And is well worn, loved, and the original OD green is fading into a sorta-kinda-khaki like color. I do not want to lose the hat; I love it too much at this point. 🙂 The nylon-cotton blend dries quick enough and will still shade me from the sun, protect me from light rain, and even some snow. Another useful and functional piece of gear that is not expensive to buy. And is proven.
- Nalgene Cantene: Essentially a wide-mouthed Platy, the 96 oz version of this old warhorse is perfect for dry camping, water hauling, and group trips. Another item I’ve used for close to twenty years at this point. They do have to replaced on occasion but seem to
Mmmm! River Water!
last well enough. At a little over two ounces, a good weight to storage ratio. Easily found for purchase online.
- 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.
- 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…