Outdoor Gear Essentials

5 Essential Pieces of Outdoor Gear Everyone Needs

Any time you go outdoors, it’s a good idea to be prepared. No matter where you’re going, you should have these 5 essential pieces of outdoor gear.

Even in Southern California it gets cold outdoors all year round. When going camping, backpacking, or on a day hike there are essential pieces of outdoor gear that everyone should be carrying. This list of gear provides five items that everyone should always have available.

#1: Blade

Whether you’re a hunter or a backpacker a blade is an essential tool for all outdoorsmen. A good blade should be able to solve many problems you come across while out in the wilderness. Blades can come in all shapes: multi-tools, fixed, collapsible, and other variations like plain, serrated, clipped point, mini blade, etc.

A good blade should allow you to repair gear in the field or assist you with the worst possible situations, such as an injury or having to spend an unanticipated night deep in the wilderness.

#2: Map & Compass

Outdoor Gear Essentials: Compass

Surprisingly, when in desert locales staying on-trail can be as tricky as navigating through dense forest. A GPS unit will only get you so far with a finite amount of batteries and limited resolution on maps.

All outdoorsmen should be proficient in map and compass navigation, and carry each when spending a significant time in unfamiliar wilderness. If you understand the basics of a topographical map and know how to use a compass, you shouldn’t fear getting lost in any environment.

#3: Insulation

Yes, as alluded to earlier, even in Southern California it gets cold. It’s important that you are prepared for the worst weather any time you’re in the wilderness. Even a simple rain shell in a lightweight backpack will do the trick. Being prepared for any situation is a key attribute of any good outdoorsmen.

#4: First Aid Kit

Many people ask me what they should include in their first aid kit, and should they buy a pre-packaged kit. I have a couple answers: a first aid kit should always include a space blanket, and yes, buy a pre-packaged kit but make sure you inspect it before taking it into the field. Pre-packaged first aid kits, found in drug store or online, often have expired medications or are missing items.

Building your own first aid kit is a reliable way to make sure you are always prepared. All wilderness first aid kits should include the following:

  • Heavy Duty Bandages
  • Liquid Stitches
  • Ibuprofen and/or Pain Relieving Medications
  • Space Blanket/Emergency Blanket
  • Different Sized Ziplock Bags
  • 10 Meters of Cord

#5: Food

Outdoor Gear Essentials: Food

Bring enough food for you and a friend, even if you are going alone. If you encounter unforeseen circumstances you’ll be happy to have extra nutrition or you can share snacks with an unprepared friend. Food is lightweight and will decrease in weight the more you eat.

Additionally, if you are consuming calories while outdoors you’re likely to gain increased enjoyment from the activity. Nobody want’s to have their stomach growling on the last 6 miles of an all day hike.

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