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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

01 |

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.

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Mindshift Travel Away 180

This is the preferred pack for hiking with the baby/infant at the moment. Great for the changing pad in the laptop sleeve with plenty of space for essentials.


Mindshift Rotation 180 Rain Fly

Regardless of the adventure or forecast — this small addition can make the difference between a soggy and dry trek.


LensCoat RainCoat RS

LensCoat RainCoat RS (Rain Sleeve) provides protection for your camera and lens from the elements like rain, snow, salt spray, dirt, sand and dust.


Peak Design Capture Camera Clip

Attach the base to your camera body, securely mount the Capture clip to your backpack strap. Clip it right to your backpack strap with no fuss.

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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.


Arc'Teryx Aeros 15 Backpack

The preferred 15L pack of my wife. Straps are spaced apart for comfort and doesn't pinch her shoulders. The front of the straps have pockets for snacks and phone.


Dsptch Fidlock Camera Wrist Strap

Easy to attach to your wrist with a magnetic latch. Great for those that choose to carry their camera in hand. Probably 90% of the time, this is the strap I am using.

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Mindshift 18L Trail Rotation 180

For over 3 miles with space for infant necessities, and snacks, but no plans to bring extra camera gear.


The back panel has stretch fabric to stuff a jacket in the pack.

[Discontinued, search eBay for pack]


BABYBJORN Baby Carrier Mini

This one is created especially for newborns in a flexible design that’s easy to adjust. As the baby grows, we'll shift to other options.


BlackRapid Backpack Camera Sling

Camera strap designed for connecting to backpack. Give your back a break and let this sling do all the work from your backpack straps

02 |

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.


One Tigris Waist Belt with Tactical Belt Suspenders

After removing the belt insert (it slides out), this setup allows for easy on and off combined with One Tigris molle system and pouches for gear and tactical accessories.


OneTigris X-Sheath Multiuse Tool Pouch Holster

For the Knipex Cobalt Cutters - readily accessible.


One Tigris Dragon Snail Admin Pouch

For the small treks, I carry two pouches - (a) first aid and (b) equipment. The unique molle allows for positioning on the belt.


Elite Spanker Tactical Military Portable Belt Bottle Holder

For the belt pack, I have two holders placed on the back - one for a water bottle and the second for the Airlift Dog Sling (fits perfectly).

Pack Essentials.

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.

03 |

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Leatherman Free P4 Mutli-Tool

This is one of the lightest multi-tools with quite a bit of functionality. I am also a fan of the Super Tool 300. Both have the essentials for functional tools.


Portable Baby Changing Pad by Lil Fox

If you're carrying an infant, this pad has wipes integrated on the side and elastic for diapers.

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Knipex Tools - CoBolt Compact Bolt Cutter

With the dog on the trail and venturing into hunting areas and locations that border private land - barb wire and hevan forbid snare traps. Expensive, but heavy-duty and lightweight. Especially if you need them to work quickly and effectively.


Cotapaxi Packing Travel Cube

Cotapaxi, REI, and most gear stores offer a variety of packing cubes in various sizes. Pick the size that's right for you. For us, change of clothes for the baby, towel, and hat.


Mindshift Rotation 180 Rain Fly

By far the best scissors I have ever used. These are probably nice to have, but if you can justify it - worth the purchase.


California Baby Bug Repellent

This Natural Bug Blend is made with pure essential oils of citronella and lemongrass, which smell refreshing to humans but repel annoying mosquitoes.

04 |

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.


Arc'teryx Beta AR Shell

The All-Around jacket for everything except during the heat of summer. This jacket can take a beating, it can be rained on for hours, it has breathability so your sweat escapes and you aren’t damp under the shell. It’s the jacket of all jackets.


Arc'teryx Cerium LT with Hoody

For cold-cold days … a versatile down hoody provides exceptional warmth for its weight. This jacket is warm. Add some SmartWool layers under it and you are golden.


SmartWool Thermal Merino Base Layer Bottom

Classic Thermal Merino Base Layer Bottoms .. they fit great and are made of 100% merino, so they are super warm. Make sure that you get the 250s.


Prana Zion Pant

For mid to cool weather, these are super lightweight and breathable. Material is easy to snag, so be careful which trails they get used on. This would be the one pant that I would buy for almost all days (except summer).


Fox River Mid-Weight Ragg Fingerless Glove

Medium-weight premium ragg wool gloves add warmth without the weight. These make photography easy, especially since I need my fingertips. If it’s super cold, I will put the SmartWool Mittens over these gloves.


Arc'teryx Zeta SL Shell

The replacement for the Alpha FL, the smallest, lightest weight Gortex emergency shell for summer hiking in the rain. This jacket has amazing breathability and will allow moisture to escape without compromising protection against the elements.


SmartWool Thermal Merino Base Layer 1/4 Zip

Classic Thermal Merino Base Layer 1/4 Zip is one of their heaviest base layer tops and best base layers for cold weather, this garment uses 100% Merino wool, is constructed well and is warm. 

Note: Merino does pill over time with regular use.


Arc'Teryx Gamma LT Pant

Lightweight, softshell pants with weather resistance and a couple of pockets. These pants are great as a wet weather option but are not fully waterproof. They will eventually get wet if it’s pouring rain.


Sweat Vac Athletic Beanie

Clothing is highly preference-based. The Sweat Vac skull cap is one of my favorite skull caps, it’s light and durable. I also love the SmartWool beanie too.


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.


Arc'teryx Proton LT with Hoody

Versatile and a great mid-layer for most all days ranging from cool to cold. Designed for activity. If I had to own one jacket, this would be it. You can layer under it, the jacket is super comfortable, and it’s durable.


SmartWool Thermal Merino Base Layer Crew

Similar to the 1/4 Zip, the crew is a great option to put under the 1/4 zip when it’s really really cold outside.


Mountain Khaki Original Mountain Pant

Rugged, stretch, comfortable. Ideal for hikes where more durability is needed (e.g., brush, limbs, bushes, rock scrambling). This pant is a little loose around the legs, which I would assume means they run a little bigger.


Vallerret Markhof Pro V3 Photography Glove

Considered the everyday winter glove, fingers for shooting flip back. They classify these as mid-winter.

05 |

Dog Gear. Equip’ing Fido.

First Aid.


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.


Garmin Alpha 200i with the TT15 Mini

Track and train your dogs with the Alpha 200i system, featuring inReach technology. Don’t get stuck without communications in the backcountry and always have tabs on fido.


Mendota Visi-Vest

Making your best friend visible is the most important step you can take to ensure he avoids injury. Especially in Hunting areas.


Pyke Wingman Garmin GPS Holster

Custom molded holster will securely hold your Garmin GPS so that the screen is protected, and the holster is close to your body. The perfect holder to easily access the handheld.


LensCoat RainCoat RS

Nothing can ruin a day afield (and sometimes an entire trip) faster than a dog injury. This is the first field guide covering the injuries a dog can encounter in the field, presenting the symptoms and treatment.


The Airlift by Fido Pro

⁣⁣The Airlift is a lightweight, packable rescue sling designed so you can efficiently carry your dog if they become injured or sick while you’re hiking, skiing or simply out for a stroll.

First Aid.


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.


Equipment Essentials.

These are the things that are important to start. The items that you’ll probably need on each trip and should carefully consider.

Experience Enhancements.

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.

  • Clothing

  • Mid-Layers

  • Technology

And so on…

Trip Designations

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.

Equipment Knowledge

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!

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