Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

Personal Gear

  • Book
    – The best are paperbacks with many pages of small, dense type – more words per ounce.
  • Notepad/diary/pencil
    – I have kept a diary of every trip I’ve taken for nearly 30 years. Cool! It is also useful for leaving notes in emergencies or when trying to meet up with others in the backcountry.
  • Toilet paper and small foldable trowel
    – partial rolls stored in Ziploc bags. Better too much than too little…
  • Toothpaste/toothbrush
  • Comb
  • Watch
    – though it can be nice to leave it home and use the sun to track your progress
  • Knife
    – cheap pocket knife
  • Sunscreen
    – at least SPF 30, repacked in smaller containers. Reapply during the day.
  • First aid kit
    – I carry a fairly substantial kit from REI. I don’t trust the “mini-kits” for real emergencies. (And, yes, I have had to put it to use – for example, when a hiking partner put an ice-axe though the palm of his hand.)
  • Medications
  • Gaitors
    – generally only in the early season when snow is still plentiful
  • Chapstick
    – with sunscreen
  • Bug juice
    – though I used one of those over-the-hat screens on an Alaska trip and now think they make a good alternative in bug-infested hells if it isn’t too warm. Be careful with DEET insect repellants. Although DEET seems to be the only reliable repellant, it is also a poison that is absorbed through the skin. Don’t ingest it by accident, as I once did. I can report that it will make you ill.
  • Belt pocket
    – to carry items that need to be near at hand while hiking.
  • Day pack
    – to carry smaller amounts of gear on short excursions away from camp, such as peak-bagging. I would use (and I own) other packs for use strictly on day trips.

    • My Mountainsmith Crestone II has a detachable top flap pocket that turns into a nice fanny pack. This is one thing I miss when I take one of my smaller, lighter packs.
    • The top pocket of my small Gregory and Mountainsmith (Auspex) packs are removable, but not designed to convert to fanny packs. However, with a length of webbing you can improvise a shoulder bag that works fairly well with light loads.
    • My Mountainsmith Boogeyman day pack only weighs one pound and is designed to strap onto the back of the Auspex pack.
    • Some people carry along a small fanny pack.
    • Others empty their backpack and use it to carry light loads on basecamp excursions.
  • Moleskin
  • Sewing/repair kit
    – includes glue, thread and needles, assorted small buckles, rip-stop tape, duct tape, etc.
  • Trekking poles
    – I resisted for a long time, even though many of my friends use them. They liked them so much that I finally got a pair of extra-light poles – and carried them on quite a few trips without using them much at all. More recently I have used them more often, especially on uphill sections. I also use them to support my Siltarp. To be honest, I have been converted from a big-time skeptic to a big-time advocate. Maybe it is my aging knees… ;-)
  • CD player, mp3 player
    – NOT! Even though I teach music for living I never bring this stuff with me. (However, the drive to and from the mountains is an entirely different story!)

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