So… this wouldn’t be much of an outdoor blog if there wasn’t a portion devoted to all the snazzy gear we all schlep out into the woods on our backs. I’ll keep it simple and avoid gratuitous endorsements… as always, these are my opinions and mileage may vary.
Monkey on my back:
I’ve been hiking with my Osprey Manta 25 pack for well over a year now. Its super stable and roomy enough to carry all the essentials as well as some nice to haves. I’ve put about 145 miles on the bag since I bought it in late May 2011 and its turned out to be a great piece of gear (see my review here).
Keeping me grounded:
I pick my foot wear depending on the trail.
For long hikes with heavier loads and outings where there is uneven trail or off trail hiking involved, I wear heavier leather hiking boots such as the Asolo TPS 520′s. Asolo makes great boots that fit my foot well, they are the heaviest boots I own but with a weak ankel… its nice to have the support when the going gets tough.
For long hikes with lighter loads but where the trail is still pretty rough, I wear Lowa Alpine light hikers (comparable to the Tempest LO). These light hikers are not water proof, they have low tops, but have strong and aggressive tread good for wet uneven terrain. Also, they have lasted for about 6 years and I’ve hiked in them all over the world.
I managed to out-tough my Olympus Tough TG-610 camera while on the road in Dominican Republic (see post). The 30 foot water-proof rating Olympus gives to their Tough series is really far too generous.
So, where to go from there… Well, I went for a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5. This little camera packs a TON of functionality. The Lumix boasts 10.1 megapixels, Leica glass, and lots of manual functions. It weighs a little more than the Tough, but the increased functionality is a worthwhile trade. The Lumix is not as “robust” as the Olympas on its own… but Ikelite makes an underwater housing for diving and I throw it in a zip-lock bag on the trail to keep sweat and rain off…easy peasy.
Just the FAKs:
I presently carry an Adventure Medical Kits half pound first aid kit (FAK) on my adventures. I added extra Advil, lots of surgical sponges, 3M’s Tegaderm, and sewing thread (for gear not people) to make this kit more robust. While this is technically a personal first aid kit, I added additional goodies to make sure I could treat more than one boo-boo in an outing… just in case I need to share (see my FAK article here).
I always carry a knife in the outdoors. I usually carry a Victorinox “Swiss Army Knife” and a Spyderco Endura (see my review here). I like these knives because they are versatile and light weight… The Endura gives me a strong blade for utility work. I also carry the Swiss Army Tourist knife with large & small blades, large & small flat head screwdriver, can & bottle opener, reamer, tooth pick, and tweezers.
I use the Garmin Map 60 CSX when I am looking for geo caches or trekking off trail. Its a great unit with a robust design, and amazing functionality. It was however recently discontinued (as I learned when I looked for a link to put in this blog … yes that’s an emoticon, gimme a break… that really made me sad).