15 Essential Pieces of Gear for Wilderness Travel
There are few things better than taking a nice, extended trek into the great outdoors. But what can make that trek even greater? The right gear. While everyone has their individual comforts they like to bring, these are 15 essential items that you shouldn’t leave the trailhead without.
Photo By: Thomas Milam, Kelty
Photo By: Big Agnes
Photo By: Fjallraven
Photo By: Live Out There
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Photo By: The Camp Chef
Photo By: Black Diamond Equipment
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Photo By: Mountainsmith
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Photo By: Matt Trappe / Vasque Footwear
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It all starts with the right shelter. You’re going to want something that’s lightweight with minimal setup. The Kelty Horizon 2 weighs in at 3 pounds and 10 ounces with a hybrid one-piece design and even includes an option to set up an awning extending from the frame. That extra bit of cover will come in handy during sun-piercing days and rainy nights.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. You’ll want to be warm and comfortable wherever you (or Mother Nature) decides to set up camp. Big Agnes bags are built to last and some can be paired with their sleeping pads for an integrated sleeping experience.
They don’t call it "backpacking" for nothing. The key here is to visit your local outdoor store and be properly fit with a bag that’s sized for your body. Fjallraven’s Kajka 65 is a great choice with a support system for even weight distribution and a number of other adventure-friendly features.
Once you get moving on the trail, your body temperature will rise as you move up mountains and start crushing miles. A solid mid-layer jacket is important for breathable coverage while keeping you protected from the elements. Live Out There’s Joffre Synthetic Insulator checks off all of the boxes with a DWR coating, durable construction and a price point that won’t break the bank.
Second only to clean water is having a quick way of boiling it in a no-fuss setup. The Camp Chef Stryker 100 puts a 1.3-liter volume in a package that can heat half a liter of water in two minutes. The sturdy handle is crucial too for stirring in whatever you have on hand. The best part of stoves like these is everything folds into itself and right back into your bag.
Outer Shell Jacket
There’s nothing worse than being unprepared when the weather turns. Be sure to have a waterproof shell like the Black Diamond StormLine Stretch that has a high-quality DWR coating and can be put on — and taken off — in a flash.
A good pocket knife is worth its weight in gold and its uses are endless. Look for one that has a sturdy hinge and a good grip.
The adventurer’s best friend.
Beyond adjusting your posture, poles are great for extra grip, especially in wintery conditions. The Halite 7075s from Mountainsmith are an excellent combo of grip and portability with a cork/EVA handle and a 16" collapsible length for travel.
You’ll be looking to shed weight anywhere you can in your pack, and surprisingly, you can do just that with your eyewear. Roka’s line of ultralight specs were built for elite athletes, and you can benefit from all of that research. Their styles are slick, sharp and some weigh less than an ounce.
A decent set of portable utensils is a creature comfort you’ll be glad you brought. This 24-piece set from GSI Outdoors includes everything you need to get started, and it all folds neatly back into a carrying case when you’re done.
Since you’ll be crushing miles all day long, your choice of footwear is incredibly important. Vasque has an excellent range of options from the stylish Sundowner to the utility of the Saga. This is another one where it’s imperative to try on and walk around in a variety of boots to see what’s best for you.
First Aid Kit
This is the item you hope to never use, but it’s vital to have. Adventure Medical Kits offers several different options based on the intensity and remoteness of your adventure.