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Adventures for All

Category Archives: Gear

Find the latest Wandering Justin-approved gear!

What Gear Do I Need in My Daypack?

Outside magazine claims that a reader wrote in to ask “What Gear Do I Need in My Daypack?” It’s answer shocked me, and reaffirmed why I don’t read Outside magazine.

Go look. OK, you don’t feel like giving Outside magazine the click? Fair enough. To adapt a phrase from Joan Jett, I hate myself for clicking them, too. I’ll just list some of the more egregiously ludicrous items:

  • $50 underwear – Because adventures are born from overpriced undies.
  • $140 sunglasses – They’ll save your life. OK, maybe not. Scratch that: Definitely not.
  • Ultra-light quarter socks – Anything less than Darn Tough socks are foolish. These flimsy things will have holes in them inside of three months.
  • $40 sandals – Oh, just cross the stream barefoot. You’ll be fine. (What’s that, Outside? “The Therm-a-Rest footbeds feel like they’re massaging your feet?”)

Here are the fairly legit items:

  • A handful of Kind bars – Everybody needs food. But you’re better off cranking out homemade batches of pemmican. Or just getting some nuts and dried fruit.
  • A Bic lighter with duct tape wrapped around it – Better yet, wrap your duct tape around a Nalgene bottle. And skip the lighter … get yourself some flint and learn how to use it.

Here are the only items I agree with, no strings attached:

  • A decent day pack – Fairly obvious, right?
  • A Petzl headland – Always a must.
  • Sunscreen – Well, yeah.

Outside magazine, in its rush to load expensive items from its advertisers into its “What Gear Do I Need in My Daypack?” list, left out some potential life-savers.

  • A high-quality fixed-blade knife – Too many uses to list.
  • Tincture of iodine 2% – Good for disinfecting water and treating wounds.
  • Something to cover your head – Hat, bandana, shemagh, whatever. All have multiple uses.
  • At least a small first-aid kit.
  • I already mentioned flint and a Nalgene bottle.
  • Some knowledge – You can’t really put it in your pack. Learn before you go.

Look, this stuff is important. How many stories have you heard about people being unprepared when a “simple day hike” turns pear-shaped? You need warmth. You need shelter. You need calories. The items in your pack should give you a fighting chance to create some of these on the fly. Fifty-dollar underwear can’t do that; get caught unprepared, and your ass will be just as dead in it as someone wearing used Fruit of the Looms from a Goodwill store.

In a future post, I’ll break down everything in my pack for my own solution to the “What Gear Do I Need in My Daypack?” question.

The Internet Isn’t the Problem

Some article with the clickbait headline of Why Steve Jobs Didn’t Let His Kids Use iPads (And Why You Shouldn’t Either) is making the rounds on Facebook. As you can guess, people are sharing it and crowing about their Internet-free childhood and all the fun they used to have sans computer. Or with slow Internet.Continue Reading

Two Cool Products to Beat Mosquitoes

If you’ve had enough of mosquitoes and you’re not gonna take ‘em anymore, you’re not alone: The United States is square in the middle of Mosquito Control Week. For my part, I rarely worry about mosquitoes since I live in the Phoenix area. But even a dry climate isn’t complete protection – our numerous artificialContinue Reading

Great Camping Gear – 3 Items to Check Out ASAP

Great camping gear can make all the difference in whether I’m motivated to go camping or not. And I admit I’m even more motivated to actual go camping when I, A) have a good place to camp that isn’t on a campground with numbered slots and, B) can find everything I need without turning myContinue Reading

Review: Fotodiox Aftermarket GoPro Mounts

I’ve been on the hunt for aftermarket GoPro mounts. Every few months, I break one of the stock plastic mounts that come with the Helmet Hero cameras. I have a grab bag of spares, so it’s not the biggest deal. But I really want to some tougher aftermarket GoPro mounts, preferably made from aluminum. I’veContinue Reading

A Look at the Outdoor Products Tech Backpack

I have a new piece of travel gear I’m pretty excited about: the Outdoor Products Power Pack Glide 2.0. It’s a technology-oriented backpack designed to get your portable electronics – and possibly liquids and gels – through a TSA checkpoint without a fuss. It seems the “tech backpack” has become a new category of itsContinue Reading

Insect Shield Gear – Great Holiday Gift Idea

I count myself pretty lucky to be an outdoor-loving character in a place like Arizona. It’s not 100-percent bug-free … but it’s close. Mosquitos and other hungry critters don’t pop up very much in my dry, desert slice of the world. But right now, I’m in Vietnam. I had visions of slathering myself in insectContinue Reading

Your Opinion: The Best Hydration Packs

Pitch in with your opinion on the best hydration packs … and help me decide what will replace my crusty, gross old Camelbak MULE.Continue Reading

Your Bike Frame – What it Says About You

A humorous look at some of the many materials bike frames are made from these days, from carbon fiber to bamboo. Continue Reading

Win Cobrabraid Paracord Gear with Your Survival Story

Your best survival story can win you a combo pack of Cobrabraid paracord products that could help you escape your next scrape with nature.Continue Reading