When it comes time to select new outdoor gear to take with us on our adventures, we can read all kinds of reviews, go to the gear shops to chat with staff, and scour the latest releases from top brands. That doesn’t always make it easier to decide what is worth spending our hard-earned money on however, and sometimes just ends up making things worse. If there is one thing I’ve discovered over my years in the outdoors and travel, its that if I want to know which gear works the best I should just observe what my guide is using. Guides need uncompromising reliability, versatility, and functionality, which is why the products they choose are often the ones to have.
With that in mind, Backpacker magazine asked seven outdoor guides to share their favorite pieces of gear, and some of the answers just might surprise you. The men and women surveyed offered up their top picks for backpacks, boots, stoves, and a number of other items. In fact, there are several nontraditional pieces of gear that make the cut, including some that I never would have imagined would have been amongst the “favorites.”
As usual, I won’t spoil everything as part of the fun is discovering what made the list for yourself. But as an example of some of the gear that received the guide seal of approval, Garrett Madison of Madison Mountaineering named Mountain Hardwear’s South Col 70 OutDry backpack as his top choice, in part because it can carry a “reasonable expedition-sized load” and has the ability to compress down nicely. At the other end of the spectrum however, is the pick from Josh Metten of Jackson Hole Eco Tours. Josh’s favorite piece of gear is the Peak Designs Capture Clip, which is purpose-built to securely hold a camera and keep it at the ready at all times. Peak Designs makes some fantastic products and it isn’t surprising that someone loves their gear. I just didn’t expect a professional guide to choose a camera clip to be his favorite item that he carries with him on his adventures.
The other pieces of gear that make the cut are just as unique and interesting. You can find out what the other guides have to say about their favorite products by reading the entire story here.