There was a post I read on a Facebook hiking group called “Gear Talk” last week where they asked a question, “What’s your favorite piece of gear?”
An aside – Facebook is becoming much more than pictures of kittens and grandkids. It is interesting seeing it evolve. The “groups” are starting to take the place of a lot of message boards and online forums. Instead of belonging to eight different hiking pages and having to keep up with names and passwords and all, you just log onto Facebook and browse groups like “AT section hikers”, or “hiking gear talk”, and they notify you endlessly when someone responds to something.
Anyway, that started me thinking, “hey me – what IS my favorite piece of gear?”
Of course I love my hammock, but it’s just an off the shelf Hennessy or ENO, nothing really special. My Hammock Gear quilts are VERY nice (and should be, for what I paid for the set), but they are necessary. They keep me ALIVE. Justifying the expense of a nice set of down top and under quilts seems difficult, until you start thinking, “I’m going to be 10 miles from the car, if I don’t stay warm enough tonight, I will die”. So, great stuff, but not a “favorite”
My pack is okay. Its a bit too large and heavy, but it rides well and has served me very nicely. Again, its more a necessity, because carrying armloads of crap through the woods and over streams wouldn’t work. I have looked at a smaller, lighter version, but It will set me back a bit and I owe Minnie Mouse some alimony, so I won’t be getting a new pack any time soon.
So that’s the core four out. I guess at the right time, a favorite could be my “hygiene kit” which is my trowel, toilet paper, hand sanitizer toothbrush and baking soda (separate baggies inside one storage bag!)
My ENO Twilights are a nice way to light the tent, but I don’t need them. The pillow likewise is a luxury, although with 2 layers of climashield really it serves an important job of helping insulate my head, so maybe its not all luxury.
Of course there are all the little things. Water purifying kit, rain kilt, rain coat, headlamp, GPS, pistol, knife, etc. But they fit into categories of necessities (the aforementioned ‘don’t want to die’ thing), or just plain basic gear.
I guess my favorite piece of gear would be my cook kit. The cook kit was really what started my camping journey, after all. It was the first thing I got, and although it has changed a LOT over two years, I still use the basics: My titanium mug and spork are still the same, and a little worse for wear. A cook kit is not a necessity. You could hike for days or weeks without one, eating cold foods or dry stuff like GORP and beef jerky. It won’t kill you. But there’s nothing like a steak in the woods or hot coffee to wake up to, or a nice cup of warm Chai Latte tea right before bed to help warm you up.
Someone asked for my complete cook kit explanation, so I made this video – it makes it a lot easier.