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 love or have a good friend who owns and loves.
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 Teton Sports Oasis is the cheaper version of Camelback. At $40 versus $80-$150. I also prefer the bladder.
I 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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
A friend of mine bought this show 14 years ago. When the sole finally blew out, he found the same exact shoe and bought it again. Keeps you cool enough in Texas weather, but good for one off trips to cold places.
What Amy wears hiking & camping
I've spent a lot of time and money trying to find the perfect clothes for hiking and camping. I have finally found durable, flexible clothes that keep me warm & cool! Below are the actual items that I wear during hikes & camping trips.
Plus, they are my FAVORITES!
prAna Halle Pant
My favorite hiking pants! They are the green pair I usually wear on camping trips and I just got a new blue pair.
People compliment my pants every time I wear them.
The first time I wore the green pair, an amber spit out of the fire on to my pants. 7 years later, the hole never frayed!
prAna Foundations Short vneck
I just got this shirt and it has quickly become my favorite! So soft to the touch, flowy not clingy. I don't need to wear another shirt under it which is what I normally do.
I'm about to get this shirt in multiple colors! 🙂
Smartwool 250 baselayer
Last year I finally added a Smartwool baselayer to my collection. It's worth the money. It'll keep you warm without going through the night sweat & night chill cycle. (i.e. hot then cold and repeat.)
Smartwool Socks For Hiking
I bought my first pair of Smartwool socks 18 years ago during my first year as a raft guide and I never looked back.
Smartwool socks are the only socks I own now. (And I'm about to get a whole new collection because Tucker ate them. 🙁 )
Most people wear thicker hiking socks but I like this pair.
Smartwool Socks For Camping
Then when we get back to camp and it's cooler outside, I love my thick, tall Smartwool socks! They come in fun designs that you can show off over your baselayer or yoga pants.
Salomon GTX Hiking Shoe
The only hiking boot I own. I guess that's kind of surprising since my day job is leading hikes, but I like this shoe for every occasion. Waterproof, I've tested it! And overall comfortable. Decent grip (for super sandy, steep rock, I might want something else but otherwise, these boots are all I need!
Hiking Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks, 4th: A Guide to the Parks' Greatest Hiking Adventures (Regional Hiking Series)
Hiking Canyonlands and Arches National Parks: A Guide To More Than 60 Great Hikes (Falcon Guides)
Hiking Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks: A Guide To Southwestern Utah's Greatest Hikes (Regional Hiking Series)
Hiking Big Bend National Park: A Guide to the Big Bend Area’s Greatest Hiking Adventures, including Big Bend Ranch State Park (Regional Hiking Series)
And maybe the best book ever... Great overview of all National Parks.
Your Guide to the National Parks: The Complete Guide to all 59 National Parks (Second edition)