Gear I Love
Updated: Dec 11, 2021
Happy Holidays! Since ‘tis the season I thought it was the perfect time to come up with a gear I love post. I have no affiliations with any of these companies and get no kickbacks for mentioning them. I love the outdoors and want to share things I have found along the way just like people have done for me.
Some of my favorite outdoor gear from hiking boots to ice chests. For the seasoned vets out there this list will probably be a bit redundant but if you are looking to get into the outdoors this should help you get started.
(pictures left to right 1:Gregory Deva Pack, Solomon Hiking Boots; 2: Brutrek and warmski hats; 3:Patagonia Micropuff; 4: Garmin watch, osprey hydration pack, REI baselayer, Marmot Down Jacket, Hoka Trail Shoes; 5: Osprey hydration pack; 6: Brutrek; 7: Warmski Hats; 8: Yeti cooler, Garmin collars, amazon camp chairs)
Where to shop? There are a ton of different options when it comes to shopping for outdoor gear. Amazon is great for things like camp chairs, lanterns, and camp utensils/plates etc etc. Don’t forget to check walmart as well, they have a surprisingly great selection at an affordable price. For clothes and gear I personally love REI because of their return policy. Steep and Cheap, EVO and Backcountry are some of my other favorites. They have great quality name brands at a bargin price. Outdoor gear is expensive. Shop the sales and the discount sites, it is worth it. Also, I like to look at this gear as an investment. Once you buy a lot of these things, you will not need to replace them for years and years.
1. Camping Gear
Yes they are expensive. Yes, they are marketed well. But when it comes down to it I do think they are the best at keeping what you need cold. I have used Yeti for years before it was “popular” and have seen it keep ice at Lake Powell in the middle of June for days on end. Bottom line. If you live in the desert like we do or you are needed food to be cold for multiple days out in the backcountry I do think that this is the best option. Again, this is just my personal opinion from gear I have tried. Bonus, we have these for rent in our vans so you can try before you buy! Check our Yeti Coolers and other add ons we offer here.
Whether backpacking, car camping or just to have at home in case of emergencies. This is one of my favorite things. It is imperative for warm meals while backpacking but it is great to use when camping to make coffee or tea in the mornings, oatmeal, mac and cheese, etc, etc. It is portable and doesn’t take up a ton of space. They can be found on amazon, at rei or on their website.
This is another thing I don’t leave home without when going on an outdoor adventure. While this is expensive, I think it is totally worth the investment. There is a monthly fee that you can start or stop at any time. You are able to text or email a few people via satellite in case there is an inconvenience but not a full on emergency, ie broken down vehicle, ended up on a different trail not close to your car, car keys got lost etc etc. You can text someone your location and they can help you out by making the necessary calls to get you what you need. There is also a SOS in case of an emergency that can get you to first responders and extrication scenarios.
These are the two functions that are most important to me but they also have GPS mapping and you can track your hikes in case you need to breadcrumb back. To explore inReach click here.
Garmin Dog Collars:
No adventure is truly complete without my furry little friends along. That being said there are multiple occasions where my fur babies have decided to try and run away. I use an e collar on Kinley and Fitz. It distributes either a sound or a vibration (and can do a shock if you really need it to). My dogs no longer run away on the trail and if they do they get a little reminder to stick closer. They now also have tracking devices if you are really worried about your pup getting lost. Linked here.
Nemo Sleeping Bags:
These sleeping bags have kept Mickey and me warm in frigid temperatures. It is a great bag for backpacking and camping alike. I cannot say enough good things about this bag. A bonus, it is designed for side sleepers. I am not a fan of the mummy sleeping bags. This is a great alternative. Also their pillows are the best. Find them both at REI.
Costco BodyGlove inflatable SUP Paddleboards:
I unfortunately do not actually have one of these boards. Don’t get me wrong I very much enjoy my Atoll board and Mickey’s Isle board. However, I just do not think you can beat the price of these body glove paddleboard packages when they go on sale at Costco. They are a fraction of the price and are every bit as durable and user friendly as the more expensive brands.
My newest obsession. I am admittedly a little bit of a coffee snob. Usually when camping I suck it up and drink the instant coffee because it is the easiest to pack and the lightest. This all changed when I went to the Overland Expo in Flagstaff and found Brutrek
A portable french press. The best. Now I drink my favorite coffees out on the road. Nothing is better than watching the sunrise with a delicious cup of joe.
They have a ton of cool accessories aside from the french press all perfect for your next outdoor adventure.
Garmin Fenix Watches:
I am a HUGE Garmin fan. Their watches are all great but I love the Fenix for many reasons. Example, there is an actual alert that can call someone if you are injured. It detects significant changes in your heart rate which is a super cool feature especially if you hike solo.
This watch also has a long battery life and is really durable.
I track all of my hikes with this watch. If I ever get off trail I am able to breadcrumb my way back which is great because that saves the battery on my Garmin inReach for real emergencies. Yes, this watch is expensive but compared to other smart watches out there I think it is affordable and way more versatile.
Osprey Salida 12 Hydration:
This is a small pack which is perfect for daily hiking especially in Southern AZ where space for jackets isn’t really necessary. I like this pack because it is lightweight but holds all the essentials. It isn’t ideal for really long day hikes in rapidly changing weather. I do recommend any of the osprey packs for hiking. I like their magnetic clasp and do think their products are worth the money. Check them out here.
Hoka Trail Runners:
I will admit, these are not the most attractive shoes. I have tried a multitude of different trail runners. I prefer to hike in these when doing short hikes in the AZ heat. I (used to) hike 4-5 days a week and would mix in some running as well. These are light weight and durable. I found that the Solomon Speedcrosses wore down too quickly and the speed lacing system was prone to breaking (for the record those were my go to shoes prior). I have also had LaSportiva and Merrells but the Hokas take the cake on comfort and durability.
Solomon X Ultra 3 Mid Hiking Boots:
I have an older version of these boots so I cannot speak to the newer models but I absolutely love the pair I have. I prefer a high top primarily for longer hikes, backpacking or if it is raining / snowing. These boots do it all and are middle of the road price wise. If you are looking at getting more into hiking and backpacking, looking into a high top boot is definitely a must.
Gregory Deva 70 Pack:
This pack fit me the best when I went to try them on at REI 5 years ago. I had messed around with cheaper versions that I bought online and always ended up with a sore back and shoulders. If you are looking for a backpacking pack I highly recommend going to REI or a local store and having someone measure you and help you find the perfect fit. It literally makes all the difference. This pack is a dream. I was set on an Osprey going into the store but quite frankly Gregory blew Osprey out of the water. I have done multiple trips with the Deva and it is so comfortable!
A super important part of being outside is having the right clothing.
I have quite a few tried and true pieces that have been in my closet for years. The best part is once you get the basics, packing for a trip is super easy.
When camping in colder weather there are a few things I pack:
Leggings as well as a few pairs of “hiking” pants
As stated before, a lot of the right gear can be REALLY expensive. I recommend looking on backcountry and steep and cheap for sales. Also, REI brand is a fantastic alternative to some of the more known brands like patagonia and arcteryx.
Smartwool is great but expensive. Personally, I have had both smartwool and REI brand and I have to say hands down REI wins. It is affordable and durable. Their baselayers have kept me warm tent camping in the Canadian Rockies, snowboarding, backpacking and everything in between.
I like the merino wool blend but if you are allergic to wool or find it itchy their synthetic version is also super soft and warm.
I have two insulated jackets that I use when camping.
For insulated jackets I am looking something that will be warm and packs down into something small.
These are a big investment at first but once you have these jackets you will not need to replace them for years.
I have used these jackets for camping, snowboarding, and travel
I am from AZ and tend to get cold easily. So baselayers and a good insulated jacket are super important to me
I have owned a few different variations of rain jackets over the years but for a lightweight shell that performs well REI is my go to. It is affordable and it is tried and true on my road trip through the PNW.
Prana wins here. I love their pants for hiking, traveling and just hanging out at a campsite. They are functional and stylish and I cannot say enough good things about all of their pants. I personally like the Briann and the Halle straight leg. Athleta is starting to work its way into the hiking game as well. There are quite a few brands out there and everyones personal style is different so trying a few pairs is totally worth it.
This is a company near and dear to my heart. My friend Jes’s Mom hand makes these adorable beanies. Support a small business and look into buying from them. You can find them on IG at warmskihats. DM for personalized orders
Insider tip: if you are traveling through mountain ski towns check out their secondhand and goodwill stores. They are often full of “last seasons” styles and you can get phenomenal deals on really great gear.
That should be enough to get started. Keep an eye out for future posts and how to’s on how we pack to camp.