My Gear Inventory

Gear Junkie? Yep!  For the past 18 years I've started picking up outdoor gear, 1 piece at a time.  I wasted a lot of money before figuring out when to invest for quality and when it's okay to get the cheaper version.

So, I've decided to do an Inventory of My Gear.  Everything I currently own, what I love about it and the story of why I got it.  Some was because of friend referrals, others pure luck!  Save money with the lessons I've learned and share your experiences as well... I'm always looking for ways to improve.

NOTE: While some of the links below are affiliate links, I only recommend gear that I have owned and like.

Your First Purchase - Okay to buy cheap but $30-45 will last you for years.

No matter what activity you're doing, it's always a good idea to have a light source. Head lamps are an easy way to keep your hands free.

I bought my first head lamp in Australia in 2000. Everyone laughed at me... What are you going to use that for? Until we were on an overnight bus ride and they wanted to read. 🙂 Always handy.

Okay to buy cheaper version

Again, no matter which activity you're going to do, carrying water is essential.  This BCG Hydration Pack is the cheaper version of Camelback.  At $40 versus $80-$150, this pack has held up for the past 3 years and has never leaked!  I also prefer the bladder in the BCG Hydration Pack.

I also buy the 100oz bladders/packs. I rather have too much water than not enough.  If you're doing an activity were weight matters, you might consider smaller.  I just see the extra weight as a little extra workout.

Inside my hydration pack, I always carry some kind of first aid kit. The amount of first aid you carry depends on the activity you're doing.  Typically, a day hike requires the basics.  However, if there is higher risk of getting lost or injured, you might consider carrying more.

I usually start by buying a standard kit and then refill it as needed.

NOTE: The things in your first aid kit will expire! Alcohol pads dry up, bandaids become less sticky over time, glove dry out and crack.  Remember to replace old items.

Spend the money on a quality bag if you have. I've had my bag for 17 years and it's still in great shape with decent usage. Magellan makes a great beginner bag.  Click here  HTXoutdoors has 5 of these bags and everyone has been comfortable so far.

If you're going to camp or backpacking, I suggest getting your sleeping bag first.  It's easier to borrow other gear from people.  Now the big question is how warm?  First, you want to think about what kind of camping you're going to do. How often will you camp in snow, in the summer?  I recommend a 30 degree bag for most people.  You can add layers and liners to warm it up for the occasion snow camping.

Remember, the degree of the bag is not the degree that keeps you warm, it's more of a survival degree.  For example, I have a 24 degree bag and I'm warm, with layers, into the upper 30's.

Other things to consider when buying a sleeping bag:

  • Get on that fits your body. If it's too big, there is more air to warm and you'll likely be colder.
  • If you can handle the mummy bag, get it. And one that cinches around your head.
  • My bag has a zipper at the feet! I love it but it's hard to find. The Magellan bag has a vent at the feet.
  • If you're going to backpack also, you want to consider size and weight as well.

We also have a Marmot 30 degree sleeping bag that has been amazingly warm!

My Kitchen

Inside Dutch Oven

I bought my first enameled dutch oven to cook my famous corned beef and cabbage.  Perfect for browning on the stove top and then putting it right into the oven.

Lodge L10CO3 Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven, 4-Quart

After my first trip where someone cooked in Dutch Ovens, I literally ordered these from Amazon on my ride home.  4 quarts is perfect for a box of brownies!

Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Deep Camp Dutch Oven - 8 Quart

Having two different size Dutch Ovens allows you more flexibility in cooking.  8 quarts is perfect for a large pot of chili.  I recommend getting an outdoor dutch oven that has legs so air can get to the coals.

Tripod Stand with Chain and Bag

The Tripod Stand is very handy for cooking over your campfire. When you set it up, remember the hottest part of the isn't always directly above the fire. It depends on the wind.

Lid Lifter

Things get hot when you put coals on them!  Get a lifter that has 3 'legs' on it keep the lid sturdy as you check your meals.  After all that hard work cooking, the last thing you want to do is dump ashes in your dinner! Trust me!

Chimney Starter

No lighter fluid needed! Don't even need the easy to light charcoal. And it's easy to start a fire. Save your paper towels/plates or use the inside of the charcoal bag as a start.  It's that simple.  You don't need a big one.. you just end up burning more charcoal.

Hammocks!

Wise Owl Hammock

I setup this hammock every time we go camping and sometimes just hanging out in the park after a hike.  And when relaxing at home, I have a portable hammock stand that's perfect for the back yard.

Hennessy Hammock

The first hammock I've ever owned, this is my tent when I go camping or backpacking!  I love it!  I usually sleep on my stomach but in this hammock, I quickly fall asleep on my back or side.

If you can, get the over sized rain fly so you don't have to be so precise in your setup.

Eno Hammock

Yes, I have 3 hammocks!  I haven't noticed a difference between the Wise Owl and the Eno so that one is up to you.  Just make sure your hammock comes with some straps and carabiners so you can hang it.