We all love the idea of being a true outdoorsman – the kind of person who could go out and survive on the land. But it doesn’t matter how strong your drive is to get out and explore. We’ve got to face the reality that, for most of us, we’ve become accustomed to certain creature comforts. And having the ability to bring some of these comforts with us while out hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and just exploring in general, is an incredible feeling. With this in mind, here are five pieces of outdoor gear that we’ve come to consider as being essential for any avid outdoorsman.
Yep, we’re starting with the basics. But don’t underestimate the power of a good hiking sock. The right material will help keep your feet dry – preventing all kinds of discomfort that can ruin your excursion. We primarily recommend wool socks. Wool has a superior ability to suppress odor, remove moisture, and withstand the kind of abuse your feet tend to take once you stray from the beaten path. Darn Touch Micro Crew socks are some of our favs, but there are plenty more options on the market that can perform just as well.
#2, Rotomolded Coolers
Also known as the “10-day cooler,” rotomolding is a technology that puts an extremely durable plastic coating over a thick insulation foundation. These types of coolers tend to cost a bit more than your standard Coleman, but some models can keep your ice frozen for up to 10 days. For longer camping trips, this extra insulation allows you to improve your camp cooking beyond reheating yet another can of ravioli. You can check out more rotomolded cooler reviews here to learn more about the different types.
#3, First Aid Kit
Any serious outdoorsman has a first aid kit handy, but recently these somewhat common possessions have gone through a bit of a renaissance. Take the VSSL First aid kit for example. It’s a waterproof cylinder with a diameter of only 2 inches, giving it both the durability and the portability for backpackers. It also includes an LED flashlight with 40 hours of battery, as well as all of the first aid material you could need including antiseptic wipes, bandages, antibiotic ointment, tweezers, and more. Gearhungry gave it top ratings, so we can’t disagree with them on that front.
#4, An Appropriate Camping Chair
Yeah, I’m sure we’ve all got a budget camping chair kicking around we grabbed for $10 bucks down at the local hardware store. But depending on the types of activities you plan on doing, there are tons of specialized chairs that can suit any activity. Backpacking? Grab an REI Flexlite chair that offers impressive comfort and only weighs just over a pound. Planning more of an overland excursion? Grab a King Kong chair by Alps Mountaineering and experience durability and comfort far beyond anything you’ll find in your standard chair. There are lots of options, and picking one that suits your specific needs is a vast improvement over anything that tries to be a ‘jack of all trades’
#5, Klymit Drift Camp Pillow
If you’ve ever had the displeasure of using one of those Ultralite backpacking pillows, you know how frustrating it can be to sacrifice comfort for portability. This is where the Klymit Drift comes in. It’s got the durability you need for the outdoors, packs up into a more compact shape, and still offers the same comfort you’ve come to expect from your home pillow. Might not be the best choice for long-range backpacking, but for the occasional excursion, this is a product you’ll be glad you picked up.
What are your camping must-haves? If your experience is anything like ours, you know that you’ve picked up a few products that just didn’t live up while others drastically exceeded your expectations. The right gear can change your outdoor experience, so if you’ve got a recommendation we’d love to hear about it in the comments!