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Top 5 "can't live without" on the trails.

    How's it going guys/gals! Idk if you are like Some with BIG dreams and medium experience, or if you have already quit your job and live out on the trail year round, but I am just curious on other people's view on their top 5 CAN'T live without items when they are out on the trail or out in the woods. It would be awesome to see if anyone has any unconventional items they use in ways we haven't thought of before! Stay safe and I'll see you on the trails! -BC 

Stay safe and I'll see you on the trails!
4 Replies

In my 53 years of backpacking experience, here are 5 items I can't live without:  Big Agnes insulated air mattress,  Snowpeak stove with titanium pot, Osprey Aether  60 pack, Big Agnes Rattlesnake 1 tent, iPhone loaded with Avenza Maps with GPS tracking.    At my age, I value comfort and light weight.  The insulated air mat is compact and provides me with the highest degree of comfort of any sleeping pad I have used,  including foam, and Thermarest.    I can pack all my cooking equipment including plastic dish, utensils  stove and fuel into the titanium pot.  The Aether 60 pack is the most comfortable I have experienced.   The tent is heavier than I'd like but provides me with generous room and a vestibule for my equipment when it rains.   The map app provides GPS coverage on downloadable topos.    

I hiked 130 miles on the John Muir Trail in California with equipment 3 years ago and it worked well for me.  Can't hike without these things!





Day hiking or longer, these are my necessaries...

1. My wife

2. A knife: I like the Opinel no. 9. 

3. A water container: Nalgene Silo

4. A poncho

5. Paracord or some kind of cordage



In addition to the normal essentials....I would definitely second the knife and paracord.  I also always have a few ziplock and plastic bags. It may seem simple but  I love the gear that always seems to have a million uses.


Something to read.  Can't sleep without reading something first.  Back of a toothpaste tube, if nothing else, although I've already read it.  Smiley LOL  Used to be a paperback, but I've since switched to my Kindle.  Even in it's waterproof armour case, it's about the size and weight of a paperback, and I can carry a couple of thousand books with me.  Downside is it hurts more when it hits my nose when I fall asleep.


Retired medical technologist and engineer
REI member since 1978