Gear to GTFO
Gaia GPS is one of the most intuitive mapping and routing resources I've found. Their free version is fantastic--I used it for quite a while before upgrading to premium--but the premium version is even more powerful, which is great for planning backpacking trips, hunts, or just having more details available to plan your day hike. I spent $40 on Garmin Earthmate's Arizona Hunt maps--which turned out to be mobile only and not that great...for the same price I could have purchased a year of Gaia GPS premium. (disclosure--my upgrade from a free account to premium was done without charge as Gaia GPS is sponsoring my bull elk hunt in Fall 2018).
Nikon Cameras - the debate between Nikon and Canon is as old as their mutual existence. My second camera was a Nikon N65 SLR. Since then, I've purchased at least 4 other Nikon cameras, a variety of lenses, and a handful of accessories. Aside from my phone-camera images, almost every photo I've ever taken was with a Nikon camera and lens...and if Nikon got into the phone-camera game, I'd buy that phone in a heartbeat. Or try Canon and Sony cameras.
Garmin wearables, GPS, fitness accessories, and action-cameras have featured heavily in my adventuring for the past few years. Starting with a vivofit 2--then moving quickly to the Fenix 3 sapphire edition complemented by the vivosmart 3, chest-strap heart rate monitor, and the Index smart scale, Garmin activity tracking has been a constant feature of my fitness strategies. When I hit the trails, I always take my Fenix for robust tracking, my Inreach Explorer + for safety and mapping, and typically my VIRB XE comes along for documentation. Garmin's devices are rivaled only by their customer service--handled out of Kansas by individuals who typically use the device you're calling about and will go above and beyond to help fix your problems (I once had a guy spend over an hour trying to get my VIRB edit program to properly post directly to Facebook!). See also Suunto for a popular choice that I haven't tried.
Gregory Backpacks have been my go-to for the past couple years for hiking and backpacking. Once I stopped carrying a school-style backpack for my hiking trips I grabbed a Gregory Zulu and have loved every bit of it's spacious and comfortable top-loading style. I then picked up their lightweight backpacking Paragon from a MassDrop deal and have enjoyed it's clever weight-saving strategies. There are currently at least 4 Gregory Backpacks in our house, and there would be more if I could justify it. Another ubiquitous backpack brand is Osprey.
MSR Hubba Hubba 2-person tent and MSR water filtration and storage. The Hubba Hubba is one of the two backpacking tents we use; the other being my REI Quarter Dome T2+. The Hubba Hubba is incredibly lightweight and packable and has enough space for two people, 1 person and a dog, or 1 person to spread out a bit (the Quarter Dome comes out when it's 2 people and a dog). Also available as a 1-person; and don't forget the footprint. The other side of MSR's outdoor products that are a constant feature of my hiking and backpacking are the Dromedary hydration bladder and the AutoFlow gravity water filter. The Dromedary is rugged and available in multiple volumes; and I love the gravity filter for it's ability to scoop up a large amount of water and filter it without my further involvement. Big Agnes is another popular tent (and sleeping bag) brand.
JetBoil, BackPacker's Pantry, and Starbucks Instant are great quick-and-easy solutions to your back country meal and coffee needs. A few years ago, I would have scoffed at the notion that freeze-dried meals cooked with boiling water accompanied by instant coffee would be a meal that I would be able to choke down, much less enjoy...but as it turns out BackPacker's Pantry makes some meals so great I crave them from the comfort of my own couch--I'm looking at you, Pad Thai. The Starbucks VIA Instant pouches are ultra-convenient and, though not up to the level of a French Press at home, are still darn tasty. Though there are a variety of lighter cook systems available, I still love the JetBoil's ease of use enough to carry it with me on every trip. There are multiple cook systems available, from the minimalist MightyMo to the lightweight MicroMo to the "normal" size Flash to the base-camp size Genesis. I personally prefer the MiniMo for it's ability to boil water and cook as a stove top.
Anything from Sea to Summit. This brand is like catnip for me; anything they put out I want. From their ultra-comfortable and lightweight sleeping pads, to the fantastic inflatable pillow, to their waterproof stuff-sacks and compression sacks, to the sleeping bag liners...it's all good and they've managed to elevate basic items to become some of the most indispensible item's I'll bring traveling or backpacking.
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