Gear Guide & Equipment List
Welcome to our Gear Guide. This page is broken down into the Gear List followed by Planning and Essentials. When choosing gear, the selection process can be difficult, and many considerations need to be made.
Selecting gear and equipment for your adventures is a very subjective decision. Gear is not a one size fits all for everyone.
The important part of selecting equipment is to keep it simple, think about the long term, and don’t stress about not having everything
To get started, keep it small, be deliberate, and think about the essentials
Don’t let gear get in your way of actually getting on the trail and having fun
Gear, Equipment, & Information Sub-Sections
Trips Over ~3 Miles.
Backpacks & Storage.
The range and purpose of your adventure will vary, but don’t be caught without the right equipment. For the longer treks that may include lunch, consider carrying a backpack, even if it’s with the basic essentials. These packs are staples in our weekend adventures.
Mindshift 22L Rotation 180
For over 5 miles with plans to bring infant necessities, the DJI Mini 3 Pro drone, and snacks, this bag has enough room for a camera lens or two, lunch, and gear to go along with a longer trek. Inside the main compartment, we store the first aid pack, Airlift Pro for the dog, and various odds and ends.
Trips Under ~5 Miles.
Backpacks & Storage.
For shorter trips, equip yourself with the basics. And depending on your need, the molle system on the OneTigris Tactical Belt allows you to customize it to your needs.
Preparedness & Gear.
So, what’s in the bag? The answer to this question will vary grossly depending on where you’re going and what you’ll be doing (obviously). But here are some ideas for what I include as the essentials.
As ridiculous as this will sound, I have two of all of these items and do not transfer them between bags. They are essentials and in my opinion must-haves on the trail. I would hate to forget to move them back and forth, so it’s a guarantee to have them if they are in both the backpack and tactical belt pouches.
Clothing & Outer Wear.
Warm & Cold.
Outerwear is tricky. With all the brands that are available, it makes it difficult to choose which version of the jacket, pant, mid-layer, and clothing piece is right for you. But my opinion is ‘Always Arc’teryx.'. Alternatively, you can get great outer wear at places like REI that fit your need and don’t break the budget too (and are really great quality). In fact, the REI brand itself makes some pretty great apparel for hiking and photography. In the good, better, best spectrum — Arc’Teryx is considered in the category of best.
Merino Sport Fleece Wind Mitten
Windproof overlay on the back of the hand. The nylon wind mitten tucks into a pouch at the top of the hand and features silicone grippers on the palm and fingers, touchscreen-compatible thumb, and index fingers.
Put the Fox River Mills Medium Weight Ragg Fingerless gloves under these and you are golden for super cold days — for me all the way into the 20s.
Dog Gear. Equip’ing Fido.
Some basics that we bring along for the dog. Again, this is about your preference, but hopefully, it provides some ideas. I tend to overprepare for the dog on the trail since she is a German Shorthaired Pointer, and they are always jumping, sliding, and doing things on the trail that they shouldn’t be. If your dog is similar, consider amping up your arsenal.
This is another critical aspect of hiking. Cuts and bruises are easy to manage without proper equipment, but when it goes beyond that, it can get tricky and uncomfortable. And don’t forget to get the items for the dog that are needed. There are certain products that are designed for animals and not humans. Take note of those.
6 | Planning & Essentials.
These are the things that are important to start. The items that you’ll probably need on each trip and should carefully consider.
Boots or Trail Runners (Hiking Boots vs. Trail Runners: Why and When should I use either…)
The items that will elevate the experience and as you get outside more frequently, you find yourself saying, “wouldn’t it be nice if I had XYZ.” You’ll might acquire these over time and will evolve with each trip.
And so on…
Think about how far you will be going and what you’ll be carrying along with you.
Will you be bringing lunch?
Do you have extra gear like a digital camera or binoculars?
Our opinion is to find the smallest pack you can to fit what you want.
I tend to think that anything over 20L will just result in allowing you more space to pack stuff that’s not necessary and will just weigh you down. Both my wife and my preferred size is about 15-18L. I carry the Mindshift 22L only when I have extra photography equipment, but will carry my OneTigris belt any chance I get.
My equipment is grouped into long and short trips - or ‘under’ and ‘over’ 5 miles. Since we don’t do overnights on the trail, we can keep the packs a little smaller.
Additionally, we have a dog that joins us, so there is another layer of complexity that needs to be managed with her. Consider that with your packing if you have fido joining you.
Researching what is right for you is difficult. The wormhole of YouTube can lead you down a path of watching reviews for hours. I tend to think that retailers like REI have curated equipment that has been tested and validated - when all else fails, lean on the trusted source.
But try to know a little about the basics - like what’s the difference between Paclite Gortex, Gortex, and Gortex Pro. As you stand in REI, you have a wealth of options, but knowing that Paclite will get soggy after 1 hour of rain, Gortex Pro feels rigid and crunchy, and it’s good to know what are these other materials. REI has staff trained to know this.
And you might be saying to yourself, I don’t know what I don’t know. That’s ok, you will probably not be in a tactical situation while meandering the trails, so learn as you go. But check out the blog section for some recommendations on questions to ask yourself and some resources.
You'll learn as you go and all the better for that.
When to Add Stuff to Your Arsenal
And deciding when it’s right to add something to your arsenal is important. Gear junkie or not, equipment can accumulate, and you may think at the time it’s much needed, but it just ends up sitting around.
The Leatherman Raptor scissors in my equipment list are a great example of this. I want them to be useful on the daily but mostly are only relevant for emergency first aid situations. But at last, I feel more comfortable when I have them. After all, the dog hit some barb wire on the trail, and it was definitely used with first aid.
Carefully think about it and know that there are plenty of used marketplaces to offload stuff. Sometimes it will be about trial and error — and that’s ok.
And one suggested #trailhack, if you can outfit your partner or spouse with similar gear, when you get ready in the morning, they have a baseline for what to wear and bring.
We hope this helps and happy hiking!