Five Essential Pieces of Gear for the Outdoors Enthusiast

Any devotee of the outdoors knows that gear can make or break a day hike, a weekend camping trip, or a morning spent climbing. Gear is constantly evolving, allowing adventurers to pack more lightly, relax in style, and stay dry, comfortable, and safe. Our picks represent some of the most unique technology available to the outdoors adventurer today, making every excursion smoother and more enjoyable.

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Stay hydrated without taking up too much space

Every outdoors enthusiast has their preferred way of toting water on their adventures, to avoid dehydration on a long hike or climb. The Platypus is a revolutionary design which allows you to fill your water bottle, drink it down, and then roll up and pack the soft, collapsible bottle and pack it easily. It’s light as a feather and takes up minimal space until you fill it again. I even like to keep one in my everyday bag just in case my daily adventures necessitate hydration on the go!

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String up a hammock for the ultimate in relaxation

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, you’ll want to unwind and enjoy nature in the best way possible: from the comfort of a hammock, slung amidst the trees and allowing you to take a nap after a long hike, read a book, or enjoy a cold beverage. Instead of toting bulky camping chairs, pack the Legit Camping Double Hammock so that you and a friend can unwind together.  It’s incredibly lightweight, unsurpassed in its packability, and comes with all of the nylon straps and carabiners you’ll need to set it up in the location of your choice. This hammock is on my husband’s short list, as a camper who likes to unwind and look up at the trees once he reaches his destination.

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Survive common incidents and injuries with this comprehensive kit

Avid campers, hikers, and climbers know that every incident from minor cuts and scrapes to a shortage of potable water strikes on an excursion. This first aid kit combines several packable multi-tools and knives, a compass, sterilization supplies, bandages, and even fishing supplies make this the ultimate survival kit for camping, climbing, rafting, and long hikes. Plus, it’s under $30, weighs in at 1.54 pounds, and is rigorously organized.

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Sleep in comfort anywhere in the world

Several years ago, I camped at a beautiful site in northern California, but forgot the air mattress I planned to use underneath my sleeping bag. I gathered a pathetic mix of grass and hay to act as a cushion, but woke up in the morning with aching joints and tension all over my body. If you need a bit of cushion underneath your sleeping bag, check out this superbly engineered air mattress. With a specially designed hexagon pattern, it provides balance and support. Plus, it weighs less than a pound and is packs down to 10” x 3” when deflated.

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Keep your feet dry and your ankles stable in any conditions

Merrell makes some of the best walking and hiking shoes available in both men’s and women’s, and this pair is perfect for long hikes, in any climate or conditions. They are waterproof, keeping your feet dry in mud, puddles, and shallow streams. And their stability allows hikers to cross most types of terrain, reducing risk of ankle injuries. The soles incorporate a cutting edge gripping technology which keeps you upright even on the slipperiest of surfaces. Their 5-star rating at Moosejaw, their 4.5 rating at Merrell and their 4.3 rating at Amazon make them a top choice among outdoors enthusiasts.

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WBUR Guide Picks

Best for hydrating while saving space: The Platypus
Best for relaxing: The Legit Camping Double Hammock
Best for being prepared for emergencies: The Monoki Survival Kit
Best for a great night’s sleep: Ecotek Air Mattress
Best for hikers: Merrell Waterproof Hiking Boots