I moved to Colorado a little over four years ago and that is when my gear obsession commenced. I became fascinated with all of the different brands and how they represented themselves, how environmentally friendly they were, and with what I needed the most. This led to the realization that there are a few key pieces I just can’t live without. I have gathered and collected many different pieces of gear, ranging from bandanas to avalanche beacons, and sleeping pads to water filtration systems, but hey, everyone has their favorites.
Here is a list of some of my favorite pieces of gear that I hope last me a lifetime.
1. THE NORTH FACE - VE 25 TENT
This tent is by far the most badass tent I have ever come across. If you’re looking for a tent that not only keeps you dry during a southern Utah monsoonal rain storm, as well as warm when camping in the high alpine, this is it! You don’t have to go any further. When I say this tent is badass, I mean there is really no comparison, and you have seriously got to try it out.
It’s a three person tent, but I assure you, four people fit fine if you are okay with snuggling, which when it's 10 degrees out with a -15 degree wind chill, I hope you’re okay with getting snuggly. Heather and I, along with two other women, went backpacking with this apocalyptic bunker a few weeks ago in the Tetons, and even though it was below freezing out and a river was starting to flow underneath us, I was sweating. I literally had to unzip my sleeping bag and put a leg out. This thing is legendary.
- Dual doors with pole front vestibule
- Reflective guylines and glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls
- Fully taped, nylon bucket floor
- 48 sq ft / 4.5 sq m
- My only con: It is a bit heavy, so when backpacking, we all shared the load
You can find this bad boy, here, or what I did was wait for it to come up used on Craigslist and I got it for much cheaper!
2. MARMOT- NEVER SUMMER 0 DEGREE DOWN SLEEPING BAG
I have gone through many different sleeping bags over the years and this one is by far the warmest and the toughest one that I have ever had. It has adventured with me from warm, spring days in the Grand Canyon, to freezing temperatures in the Icefields of Banff, Canada.
If you are looking for a versatile sleeping bag that can endure all of the elements, this should be one that you look up. It is sure to make your outdoor experience like nothing else. I am only 5’3”, but I got the long version because not only do I like to have some room for my feet, but sometimes if it’s really cold, I stick my warmed-up Nalgene by my feet as a space heater!
- 0 degree temperature rating
- 650-fill down insulation with ‘Down Defender’ treatment
- Internal stash pockets
- Full-length zippers (As I mentioned, in the summer, you can just put your blanket on top of you instead/ super easy with this feature!)
I found it on sale, here. Don’t miss out!
3. OSPREY - ARIEL 65 WOMEN’S BACKPACKING PACK
When I started looking for a pack a few years ago, I had no idea where to begin. Luckily REI has some awesome employees that know their gear and they steered me in the direction of the Osprey packs. It is not only extremely durable, but it is really quite comfy. I have filled this bad boy to the brim, whilst hooking carabiners with extra camp shoes on it, and it has survived numerous challenging backpacking trips in all weather conditions. It has excellent breathability and even when hauling heavy gear, it has never been absurdly uncomfortable. Although it does have quick adjusting straps, I recommend that before purchasing you definitely get someone to help fit the pack to your size because every body is different!
- Removable dual compartment “brain” for side trips
- Side and front compression straps to help stabilize, which makes it even more comfortable to wear
- Hip belt pockets for easy access to your camera or phone
- External hydration sleeve that allows your water bladder to be separated from your necessities inside
4. MEXICAN BLANKET FROM BAJA CALIFORNIA, MX
If you’re on a road trip and you didn’t bring a super cozy blanket, you need to stop and get one. You aren’t going on a long backpacking trek, so make a little room and accept that you are allowed to be comfy this time! I got mine while camping in Baja for a month, and when my sleeping bag mysteriously disappeared (luckily near the end of the trip), it became my bed on top of a tarp in the sand; absolutely perfect. I will never leave home without it!
Some specs: Well, there aren’t really any “specs” for this, except that they come in all sorts of cool designs and colors! Try to buy them locally!
5. GSI OUTDOORS - INFINITY BACKPACKER MUG
I know this is a “backpacking” mug, but I use this thing every single day. My 5:30 alarm goes off, coffee maker starts brewing from the timer, and then before I leave to go anywhere, coffee pours into this mug. It has just a push on top, but I have dropped it, tipped it over, and yes, even left it on top of my car and let it fly off into the street, and it has yet to fail me. Coffee is important, and this is what I choose to drink it in, whether I’m just at the climbing gym or I’m on a backpacking trip.
- It’s made of 100% recyclable material. Hallelujah.
- Insulated sleeve to keep beverages hot or cold longer
- Extremely lightweight; only weighs 3.5 oz.
- Holds 17 oz. of liquid & is 4.00'' x 3.60'' x 4.60''
You can find them here for super cheap!
WHY I LOVE MY PATAGONIA - 60L BLACK HOLE DUFFEL & MORE in MY GEAR CLOSET: PART II
Let me know what you guys think, or if you have any specific questions on these items! What awesome stuff do I not know about yet? Comment below!
DISCLAIMER: I did not receive any of the gear mentioned above for free. I get asked from friends, family, and acquaintances all the time what I have in my closet, and here ya go, easy to access at a later date. All of these statements are purely in my opinion only, because I only promote brands that I truly like! All photos were taken by me, other than the ones of me. Those were taken by Andre Gonsalves.