Whether you’re planning a weekend trip or a five month thru-hike, there are certain pieces of gear you might want to think about adding to your pack before setting off. Often overlooked, by adding even a few of these I guarantee you will have a more enjoyable experience out with one of your best friends, Mother Nature.
Anker Portable Charger PowerCore 20100mAh
One of the most common questions I get about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail was “How did you charge your phone? Did you use a solar panel?” Although this seems like the obvious choice for someone who has never done multiple days out in the woods, this is not an ideal way to ensure that your phone, camera, etc. will be charged and ready to go. What you really need is an external battery, and Anker is hands down the best brand in the industry. With one of these bad boys you know your phone will be good and ready and won’t have to rely on energy from sun. If you’re going out for more than three days, all you need is the PowerCore 20100mAh battery – have it fully charged before setting off and you’re good to go. If you’re thru-hiking you would simply just recharge the battery every time you got to a new town. Solar panels need direct sunlight to provide a solid charge, so if you’re in the trees or if it’s cloudy you’ll quickly find how unreliable they can be. Don’t get stuck out on trail with a dead phone, get the battery.
GoPro Hero 6
Let’s face it. There are some of us who love to document our hikes and post pictures and videos all over Instagram to share the adventure with our family and friends. There is nothing wrong with that, and if you’re able to get quality footage that people want to see everybody wins! What you don’t want is some bulky camera weighing upwards of a pound . . pound and a half that will just slow you down. When you’re trying desperately to keep the weight down in your pack but still want supreme footage, a great option is the GoPro Hero 6. Extremely light-weight, durable, and captures great high-quality 4K video, this camera is a go-to for experienced hikers.
Garmin Inreach Explorer+
Have you ever seen the movie 127 Hours? The movie about the hiker in the Utah desert who had to amputate his own arm after getting stuck in between two rocks? Yeah, that would suck. Nobody ever thinks they can get into a situation like that, but year after year hikers go missing and aren’t found until it’s far too late. What they needed was some sort of device to reach help in those dire times, because relying on a cell phone signal is nothing short of foolish. I recommend the Garmin Inreach Explorer+ because of its overall functionality and ease of use, this is hands down the best tracking device on the market. Using 100% global iridium satellite coverage you can 2-way text message anyone, anywhere in the world. You also can pair this device with your cell phone to easier draft and send text messages. More than anything this device gives your loved ones at home some peace of mind, which is priceless. There is nothing more nerve-racking than having your husband, girlfriend, or whomever out in the woods for days at a time while you’re at home not having received a single text because they haven’t had service. It’s worth the purchase, for both the hiker and the worry-wart at home.
Black Diamond ReVolt Headlamp
You’d be shocked about how many people go for multiple day hikes without a headlamp; it’s crazy! This is a NECESSITY, something you just have to have. With that said, I highly recommend you don’t buy the first cheap option you come across. A lot of these headlamps drain AAA batteries like it’s going out of style, all the while only providing only 40 or so lumens. Do yourself a favor and get the ReVolt headlamp. This little guy packs a big punch, and its best feature: IT’S RECHARGEABLE! This is such a big deal, not having to constantly buy fresh batteries when you get to a town along the trail, or every time you set out for a weekend hike. AAA batteries aren’t cheap, so anything to save you a bit of money is a good thing. After a year or so you’ll have paid it off with the amount you saved NOT buying batteries.