These are trail-tested items in our gear closet that we use when headed outdoors. Most of this gear was with us on our Appalachian Trail journey, and all of it has seen time on the Florida Trail as well. Here’s what we use and why we chose it.
What’s in our gear closet?
- Backpacks - John's first backpack is now a museum piece. Sandy went through a variety of packs before settling on the comfortable Osprey Ariel. Here's what we now carry, and why.
- Dirty Girl Gaiters - If it's tick season, or if it's going to be wet and muddy, we break out our Dirty Girl Gaiters. Here's why we don't leave home with this piece of gear.
- Jetboil - After trying an array of camp stoves over the years, from Whisperlite to Zip and Esbit, I found the Jetboil. Now I feel comfortable cooking in the woods again.
- Lightheart Gear Tents - A fan of lightweight backpacking tents (not tarps) since they first became available, my favorites are those produced by Lightheart Gear. We have two. Here's why
- Tilley Hats - When we met, both of us owned Tilley hats and wore them for most of our outdoor activities. Sandy's had the same one for years; I've gone through several. Here's why.
Reviews of gear we use
- Big Agnes Cabin Creek double sleeping bag - Just before we left for our last Appalachian Trail adventure, we decided to carry only a single bag for the two of us. We’d spent hours trying to see if any of our existing sleeping bags would zip together. Five or six bags later, we had no matches. With only a few weeks before we’d […]
- Blender Bottle GoStak - Having received a Blender Bottle GoStak to test some months ago, we’ve been trying to figure out uses for it while backpacking. As hard as we tried, we just couldn’t find a use for them in our very weight-conscious backpacks. It’s just hard to beat a lightweight inexpensive zip closure plastic bag. However, not all […]
- Columbia Omni-Freeze Zero T-shirt - Is my T-shirt smarter than me? While attending the grand opening of the REI store in Jacksonville earlier this year, we met the Columbia rep, who was showing off a demo of the company’s newest Omni-freeze Zero fabric. Sliding a tube of this new fabric onto my arm, he sprayed a mist of water onto […]
- Dorcy 41-2093 Headlamp - After months of using my Dorcy headlamp as just an everyday flashlight, the opportunity finally came to give it a real test. I headed off on the Florida Trail with the Dorcy 41-2093 as my do-everything light. Winter is the best time to hike in Florida. Cooler, and often with less bugs. But with winter […]
- Hydrapak - Several weeks ago, I was sent a Hydrapak for gear testing. Since I was headed out for a week’s worth of travel, I decided to pull out the hydration portion – bladder and tubes – and use the pack as my camera bag for my SLR and general day pack for hiking and tours. A […]
- Outdoor Products Canyon Weather Defense™ Backpack - Testing an Outdoor Products Canyon Weather Defense™ Backpack in foul weather conditions while hiking, we find it stands up to the test of keeping your gear dry.
- Sawyer Mini Water Filter - A made-in-Florida product that we first saw on the Appalachian Trail two years ago, the Sawyer Mini is a lightweight filtration option we highly recommend after our trials.