With thousands of miles on foot between us, and a lifetime of backpacking, camping, and traveling, we’ve hauled a lot of gear through the woods and around the planet. Here’s where we share our reviews of products sent to us, products we purchase, and products we use every day we’re outdoors, from technical clothing to the electronics that help us do the job of keeping you updated.
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For Day Hiking
Day pack. Water bottles. Snacks. Map. Insect Repellent. Sun Protection (sunscreen, sunglasses, hat). Custom first aid kit. Rain jacket. Small flashlight. Camera and spare batteries. Cell phone. Whistle.
Backpack. Hydration bladder. Tent. Hiking poles. Sleeping bag. Sleeping pad. Headlamp. Food in food bag. Water filter. Water bottle. Extra socks. Dry clothes to sleep in. Toilet paper. Lightweight folding trowel. Custom first aid kit. Trash bag. Insect Repellent. Sun Protection. Map. Rain jacket. Camera and spare batteries. Cell phone. Whistle. Bandana. Hand sanitizer / soap. Camp shoes. Plastic bags to keep electronics dry. Optionally: Bear canister. Camp stove and fuel plus matches or lighter. Fleece. Extra shirt. Pack cover.
Gear For Florida
Florida is one of the toughest states in which to try out your hiking, backpacking, and camping gear. Our extreme humidity and wide swings of temperature mean you need to be ready for anything when you plan a trip during hiking season (October-April). Our sultry, rainy summers make camping tough. Think about our humidity, heat, insects, and water issues as you make your gear choices.
What does a hiker need to spend a week, or a month, or three months on the trail? Here are trail-tested suggestions for backpacking in Florida for trips of a week or more
Things to think about when choosing what to carry on our outdoor adventures: hydration is a must. Insect repellent and sunscreen are essentials year-round. You WILL get wet (either your feet or your whole body, in the rain). It will get hot. It can get very cold in the winter.
Once you have your core gear established, keep in mind it has other uses as well. Most notably, the things you carry on a backpacking trip can do double duty in times of emergency, such as when the power is knocked out by bad weather.
What’s in Our Gear Closet?
What are the things we carry when hiking and backpacking? These are trail-tested items in our gear closet that we use when headed outdoors. Some of this gear was with us on our Appalachian Trail journey, and all of it has seen time on the Florida Trail as well. Over time, we’ve replaced / upgraded our gear to lighten or strengthen what we carry.
John’s first backpack is now a museum piece. Sandy went through a parade of packs before settling on an Zpacks Arc Blast. Here’s what we carry and why.
For a couple of backpackers that want to share a sleeping bag, the Big Agnes Cabin Creek turns out to be an economical but bulky solution.
John trail-tests the Columbia Omni-Freeze Zero T-shirt after being introduced to the new fabric by a Columbia rep at the grand opening of REI Jacksonville.
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.
Hydrapak has served us well as an extremely compact day pack and hydration for both hiking and bicycle rides. Whenever one of us wants to “go light,” we pull the Hydrapak from our wall of packs and go.
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.
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
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.
Videos of gear tests while out on Florida’s trails