Dream. Plan. Live.
Your Everyday Gear
Written by: Bryan Wolf
“The Ten Essentials“, outdoor enthusiasts know these as the ten items that you don’t leave home without. The ten items that give you the best chance for survival in the Great Outdoors. Although lists vary, here is the gist:
2. First Aid
3. Extra Layers
4. Rain Gear
8. Fire Starter
9. Sun Protection
10. Map and Compass
The truth is, most outdoor adventures don’t call for an emergency fire or the use of a compass. While this list gets us through the worst nature has to throw our way it is hardly the most used equipment in the gear shed. This list is fantastic, and I’m not disagreeing with it, at least not in this post. Rather, I wanted to create a list for our everyday challenges, for the other 5 days of the week that have us bouncing around the city from work to play before heading home to recharge the batteries and start all over again. So what do we use everyday, that also translates to the outdoor lifestyle?
I wanted to create your “Everyday Ten Essentials“. a list that has you covered everyday, in nature, and in the office. So what items carry into both worlds? Through every season? Here is what I came up with:
1. Klean Kanteen- A stainless steel drink bottle with a green footprint. Stay hydrated in any scenario and keep your favorite bottle handy. Better yet, the insulated versions are amazing and will keep hot or cold for most all of the day. Water to coffee or even taking a frozen margarita to the beach; I love this thing! (Best gift idea ever too)
2. ExOfficio Underwear- The World’s best travel and adventure underwear doesn’t have to be just that. Anti-microbial, quick dry, and well fitting comfort are features that we all deserve day in and day out. Try a pair and you may just convert your entire underwear drawer. Men’s and women’s come in several styles.
3. Wool Socks- Have you worn wool socks? Find your favorite brand; Smartwool, Darn Tough, or Point 6, and never go a day without! I was buying a new pack of cheap cotton socks every few months, they all would smell, and they all would tear. My feet feel 100x better with wool and I’ve not replaced a pair yet, plus I can take off my shoes without shame. With a variety of cushions and styles these have you covered from office to mountain peak. Did I mention they have a lifetime warranty?!
4. Day Pack- Don’t limit yourself to a weekend pack; new Osprey, Patagonia, or Gregory packs offer lifestyle options galore. I use my Osprey and Thule bags everyday to and from work. With a clean look, organizer pockets, and laptop sleeves I can fit the rest of my Ten Essentials everywhere I go. Your hands are busy and over loaded pockets are annoying. We all need more than we can carry, or at least we wish we had more than we carried.
5. Knife/Multi-tool– No one said that there couldn’t be overlap between the lists. Trust me, if you have a Leatherman multi-tool or a Benchmade pocket knife you’ll find a dozen uses everyday to use it. With the multi-tool you can get a bit more specific on your possible applications. I carry my Benchmade everywhere I go and it saves me a whole lot of hassle.
6. Headlamp- Another backcountry essential, and I own four of them. Flashlights are all but dead to me. Most all scenarios including changing a spare tire or navigating a dark house in a power outage require the use of your hands. I have a headlamp in my car and in a kitchen drawer at home in addition to the waterproof high lumen ones in the gear shed. My favorite, the made in the USA Princeton Tec, followed by some awesome Black Diamond models.
7. Sunglasses- If you didn’t lose them all the time you would probably already have these with you everyday. Add a pair of Croakies to your Native Eyewear and keep them around longer. These travel with me from the center console in my car to the protective case in my day pack. Another all-around essential. All Natives have Polarized lenses and a lifetime warranty.
8. Fischer Space Pen- What is the number one thing you ask to borrow? It’s pointless carrying a cheap pen in your pocket, it won’t work when you need it and it is destined to explode and ruin a pair of pants. The Fisher Space Pen has a pressurized refillable cartridge that writes on wet paper, upside down, in the cold, and doesn’t explode. Although a pen doesn’t make the top ten list for outdoor essentials, it should make your list. Use it to journal, for mapping or have it in the case of emergencies.
9. Goal Zero Recharger- We know you have your phone everywhere you go amongst other gadgets. Just because you are in civilization doesn’t mean that you have a charger and outlet around every corner. Head to the park, walk to lunch, go to the game, or sit at the center bar table far from a wall, You can take a few charges with you at about the size of a pack of Life Savers and $40 (Switch 8). I’m in favor of escaping to nature without the use of modern devices, but it would seem silly now of days to backpack without being able to make an emergency phone call. I guess you could hike with a carrier pigeon.
10. Sunscreen- I rely on the lyrics of Baz Luhrmann for my last essential:
If I can give you one piece of advice: wear sunscreen.
Again, a carry over from one list to another, but how can you deny the importance of sunscreen. We could generalize this to more of a toiletries bag including some standard hygiene items like the versatile Dr. Bronners. If Dr. Bronners could be used as sunscreen I think that would be the one and only final item, but it can’t do everything.
Now that you have your list, pack your day bag or commuter bag with your Everyday Ten Essentials and head out into the world knowing that you are prepared for any day! Be sure to Tweet us @RRTrails your Ten Essentials, #10EverydayEssentials. we want to know what makes your list!
You can buy any of your “Ten Essentials” or your “Everyday Ten Essentials” at RRT.
Disclosure: The Ten Essentials of any variety will not help you in the event you fall into a Shark tank, are being chased by a Mountain Lion, or are experiencing parachute failure mid drop.
October 16th 2006
Written by: Bryan Wolf and Joe White
It is amazing to think that it has been almost exactly two weeks since we crossed over into New Hampshire . Tonight, we sit in the Dartmouth College Library just a mile from the Vermont border. We will cross over late tonight after updating the journal and dinner in town. The NH – VT border marks a big milestone for us. Its marks our 2nd state completed (hardest 2), 20% finished, 440 miles, and 40 days of continuous backpacking. This is my longest consecutive backpacking trip ever, but lets not forget that it is Ice Man’s first backpacking trip. Both of us are still excited and feeling great.
After our night camping under the I-93 bridge outside of North Woodstock , we had a beautiful short hike back into the mountains. That night Ice Man built his first fire on his own with no fire starters or fuel from the stove. It was a nice size fire that kept us warm before dinner. That night, we had the heaviest rainfall of the whole trip. In the morning the stream beside the shelter had risen almost a foot higher than the day before. Ice Man was excited to summit Mt. Wolf , but disappointed that no one actually put a sign at the top. The sadness didn’t last long. We stopped later at a stream to filter some water and the water filter has been making strange noises. Well, as Ice Man was pumping water, a moose walked up behind him making a similar grunting noise as the water filter. It was the funniest thing. The moose stopped just 10 or 15 feet away and looked at us, and we just starred back. It didn’t take but a few seconds before it realized that we were not another moose, and took off running. There wasn’t enough time to even get the camera out.
We had hoped to climb up and over Mt. Moosilake , the last of the White Mountains, before the following day was over. The rain slowed us down, but not nearly as much as the beautiful mile climb up Moosilake. Almost the entire climb paralleled a brook with endless cascading waterfalls. We stopped at the shelter just below the peak instead of risking night hiking. As the night went on, the weather cleared, the mountains hidden in the clouds came out, and the night sky was perfectly clear. It was a great sign of what was to come, or so we thought.
In the morning, there was a 1/2 inch of snow on the ground, our boots were frozen, and the water filter was iced over. We boiled 4 quarts of water for the day and used the stove to de-ice our boots. We were not expecting this to happen anytime soon. It was a miserable start to a great day. The views from the top of Moosilake were clear. To the east, was the taller rugged White Mountains that we already conquered, and to the west, hahaha. We were a little bummed out to be standing on a mountain that was taller than anything to come in a long while. On the maps, we started to see not just mountains labeled, but also hills.
We knew we were leaving the hardest part of the trail behind as we came down the mountain. The trail almost instantly became smoother and more gradual than before. We ended up doing 16 miles that day even after taking a two hour snack break at the bottom of Moosilake. We wanted to make sure we could make it into Hanover by this morning, so the following day we pushed out a 20 miler over smaller mountains and fields. Yesterday, we made 18 miles to the edge of town. We were hoping to stay in town, but there was nothing cheaper than $80 a night. Luckily a wonderful man, named Dwight offered us a place to stay for the night.
We were so excited. He had a wonderful family and he and his wife treated us very well. They treated us to hot showers, laundry, and a fabulous dinner. He mapped out the town and dropped us off to wonder around. We stopped by Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Murphy’s Pub. It was nice to sit and relax for a while. We slept on a nice comfy bed with a down comforter and our own bathroom right next door. It was excellent. We came into town this morning to resupply and tie up loose ends.
We are going to experiment with our diet this week by doubling our calorie intake. According to backpacker magazine, winter hikers that hike for 8 hours need 5 to 6 thousand calories a day. I think we were somewhere in the ballpark of 2500 on a good day. Food is heavy, but we are loading up this time. The only thing harder to hike with other than an aching body is a hungry stomach. It is amazing the diet we can handle out here. It really is. The plan is to be in North Adams , Mass. in 9 days which is where we hope to update you once again, but it may come sooner. We have to resupply in a town again in a few days.
This exert was originally published on atwishhikers.com. It’s content has not been edited from the original post.Epilogue: by: Bryan Wolf
My first memory of Hanover is that of randomly hiking up on Dwight and his son. It was a great display of faith and trust on his part to extend his hand and his home. There couldn’t of been five minutes in conversation before he offered showers and home cooking. This was an amazing surprise after what was one of the very hardest nights and mornings on the trail. What we came to find out at dinner, is that Dwight was one of the original founders of Jetboil. We will always have a wonderful story and proudly sell Jetboil because of the good nature we received that day, besides they are great stoves too!
Depite the top of Mt. Mooilake being one of the more difficult mornings, it was also one of the more thrilling. I remember and often revisit that adrenaline rush that comes with harsh weather and long exposure to the elements of our raw world. My boots had frozen and took the first two miles to thaw, even after which my feet remained frozen for several more. The first time you face these challenges, and the first time you realize the severity of your choice to do a winter thru-hike is scary. At the same time it is exhilarating and makes you feel very alive. It is these experiences that build your confidence and knowledge in these trips.
Long Term Test
Gear Review: Osprey Atmos 65
Written by: Bryan Wolf
Its Early Spring 2012, we had just hiked up the Hurricane Trail to the Hurricane Campground. It is late and the rain is coming down fast so we found ourselves with little left to do but set up and consequently stay in our tents. I think we fell asleep still laughing; we were just happy to be out. The next morning we woke at what ended up being the junction of the Hurricane Trail and the AT. What a beautiful way to wake up, the start of a 40 mile trip into Trail Days at Damascus Virginia.
This was my first trip wearing the then newly released Atmos 65. We’ll get to the pack and its features shortly, but before you can recognize what is good and really appreciate it, I feel it is important to look at the category as a whole. Looking back on the trip I quickly remember some perfectly convenient examples of backpacks gone awry and hopefully this mess of stories will somehow defend my love for Osprey packs, but also the importance of a professional pack fitting… by people that wear packs.
The first story happened that same morning. Early risers were jetting down the trail, obvious thru hikers from both the grime and conditioning. Stopping for a break and to simply say hi to the group was a lean and shaggy NOBO (North Bound hiker). Taking off his pack for a while he explained his dilemma. The pack he was wearing had fallen off his waist and consequently dropped to his shoulders. If any of you have dealt with this before you would know that the turn of events next leads you to weakened and soon useless Gumby like arms. What could have gone wrong?
Travel back further, the year is 2006 in deep Appalachian Maine. After 200 miles of grueling trail my buddy Joe and I grab a hitch into Rangley. We pick up a total of 2 knee braces, some fried chicken, Mountain Dews, and Doritos. If you are problem solving here the later 3 items are not related to the issue. Joe had a gap between the pack and his back leaving the entirety of the weight to fall on his hips and impact on his knees with every stride. Then again the guy that sized him up was never really a backpacker…
Why the Atmos?
FROM FIT TO FEATURES
The backpack is one of the most important and customized pieces of gear you’ll need, as important as or maybe even more so than your boots. Sizing doesn’t run like your t-shirts and even if you do get sized, are you sure the pack can accommodate your needs? That brings us to strength number one of the Atmos; the fit.
The pack comes in 3 sizes to match your torso height. From there each pack has an extended range of torso adjustment to meet your EXACT size. The pack should flow with your back, follow your shoulders with the strap yoke ending right under your arms. From there you can make the adjustments to assure the weight is distributed, centered and close to your body. The “Fit On The Go” hip extensions assure that you can both extend or shorten the hip belt to fit your waist in fluctuating circumstances. Does any of this sound helpful to the scenarios above?
If you find multiple packs that fit you perfect then it’s time to break down the features. This is a left or right hose hydration compatible pack with a separate internal sleeve. The top hood, or the “brain” of the pack has one main zipper on the top and one mesh organizer on the bottom. If I had one beef with the product it would be the small zipper opening on the brain limiting access with-in. Through the main duffle you have a removable sleeping bag compartment and bottom zipper for the sleeping bag compartment access.
On the outside of the pack you have well thought out features that will be on competitors’ packs in a few years when they catch up to Osprey’s standards. The Atmos has two fully usable drink pockets and the compression straps on either side can be redone to weave on the outside or inside of the exterior pockets. There is one larger light buckled pouch on the front of the pack and two separate side pockets. The pack rides nice with an exaggerated air scape mesh backing that makes the old school external frame guys drop their jaws. The air scape allows air flow behind your back for four season temperature regulation. Top it off with trekking pole holders and a safety whistle on the sternum strap and you’ve got it.
The packs suspension and framing can hold weight in the 40 pound range comfortably and it will withstand the weight without issue. Another thing to recognize is “The All Mighty Guarantee”. Osprey has an unbeatable warranty and matching customer service.
On The Job
You can see pictures of the pack and read about features on the Osprey website. How about why I like the pack? One of my favorite things is the gear organization and separation. I find it important to be efficient, organized and fully manage moisture in relation to all of my gear. The two hip pockets allow quick access to my headlamp, pocket knife, and a snack. No need to take off the pack for that, I’ve got it. The two vertical zips on the front carry my filter, pack towel, and toilet paper consistently. I have full access to what I need without routing through everything and I’ve separated items like the filter and pack towel that may be wet.
In the large outside pouch I find it is perfect to gorge safely with a rain shell and rain pants. The pocket seems to dry and drain easy with the lighter outer fabric and keeps the items I may need in a hurry there while being the furthest from the rest of my gear. Other reviews label the Air Scape back panel as a summer feature while I find it to be far from that simple. On my recent Mt. LeConte trip in the snow I found it convenient to manage my temperature as a whole. If I was cold in the front and hot on my back I’d otherwise need a Snuggie to figure things out, and I’m sorry but I’m not packing a Snuggie. The Air Scape gives me consistency in my layering.
I feel like 65 liters is perfect for trips other than those needing a bear canister and the weight of the Atmos pack from small to large are all under 4 pounds. I wear a small torso and it weighs in at less than 3 1/2 pounds. There is a size difference in the pack capacity due to the torso size, but it is hardly worth noting.
Please note that the female specific version of the Atmos is the Aura. Please see an experienced staff for a full customized fitting. Otherwise risk being the gimpy Gumby, and nobody likes a gimpy Gumby. To get sized for your pack and get a full run down on other pack features stop by Roads Rivers and Trails in Milford, OH.