My All Time Favorite Outdoor Shit

I like to do things. Things like hiking and camping. When I do these things, I need things to do those things. Some things live up to your expectations and some do not. Here are my 5 favorite outdoor related things. In no particular order.

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  • The Audubon Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians – I read this book constantly as a young person. I read it during the day. I read it at night with a flashlight under my covers when I was suppose to be asleep. I can’t think of an item that was more integral to my appreciation for the outdoors. As informative as it was formative. To this day, I can identify most reptiles and amphibians in a matter of seconds. Buy it here or better yet, buy the entire set here
  •  The Patagonia Torrentshell Rain Jacket – I have worn this jacket all over the world. It packs down to basically nothing so you can bring it even when you do not think you’ll need it. I use it as a rain jacket for in town wet weather, trailer running jacket, and as a winter hiking jacket over a mid layer. It will keep you dry in driving rain and keep you looking fresh at nearly any posh event. I have had several versions and only purchased it one time. Patagonia’s wonderful lifetime guarantee program has certainly held up their end of the deal. Buy it here
  • The North Face Blue Kazoo Sleeping Bag – I bought this bag in college to start doing some overnights in the Berkshire Mountains near my school in Amherst, Massachusetts. I was a student at the time and cost was an issue, but I also wanted to buy a nice bag that kept me warm on cold nights, packed small so it was easy to bring on any trip, and looked cool when I was trying to impress the other people I camped with. I still use this bag on every camping trip I take… 15 years later. It still keeps me warm, packs down small enough (not as small as modern bags), and I still think it looks cool. Buy it here


  • Therm-a-rest Neo Air Xlite Sleep Pad – I first spotted this as Outside Magazine’s Gear of the Year award winner some years back. Finally a sleeping pad that kept you insulated from the ground, allowed you to sleep on your side without touching the ground, and packed down to the size of a beer can. This pad changed the way we camped. No longer hauling ridiculous foam accordion style pads around outside our packs. It comes in several sizes and variations. This product was a true game changer and only continues to be the leader in the game. Buy it here


  • A Good Pair of Running Shoes – This one might seem unconventional as an outdoor product, but I assure you that in my experience there is no better way to hit the trails.  I also use running shoes as a motivation product. I think they are cool. I get to buy new ones when I wear down the current ones. Getting out and putting down miles is the only way to retire them into lawn mowing shoes. Walking with your dog on a Sunday morning or on a multi week backpacking trip through Asia, a pair of good ol’ running shoes is just the best. The iconoclast of the traditional hiking boots still looms large in our minds when we think of the quintessential walk in the woods, but going light and comfy wins in my book. Running shoes are easy to pack and easy to tighten up or loosen up to change your application needs. I have had a few great pair over the years but I specifically loved a few pair of Nike Air Max’s. They aren’t super sturdy for hiking over rocks and they aren’t waterproof, but they have great traction and your legs will feel fresh after a long walk in the well padded soles and super light weight uppers. If they do get wet, they perform about the same way and they will dry quickly. These are my current interest. Buy them here


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