Gear is one of the most important pieces of putting together a trek in the wilderness, and I’m often asked about what gear I carry. Obviously different circumstances call for different types of gear, whether it be a day hike, a backpacking trip, or even Jeep camping. I’ve ripped my bags apart, and present to you what I consider essential gear for desert travel!
I’ve included links to all the products on Amazon, if you decide to purchase any of these items I’d appreciate if you’d make your purchase via these links. Amazon provides me with a percentage of each sale in store credit, which I can use to replace and add new gear to my arsenal.
Deuter ACT Lite 40+10 Backpack– This Deuter is probably the best day pack that I have ever owned. It is comfortable to wear, and has a plethora of compartments and pockets. After two years of beating it to hell and back it remains in tact. Highly recommended!
Deuter Aircontact 75 + 10 Pack – I replaced my Teton backpacking bag with this impressive Deuter pack. This bag has plenty of room for all of your backpacking gear, clothing, and large amounts of water. I’ve lugged this pack with 70 pounds for three days, and found it to be the most comfortable backpacking bag that I’ve ever used.
Case Logic SLR Camera Bag – My camera is the most expensive gear that I carry, so it is very important that I keep it safe during my travels. This Case Logic camera bag has done just that. It has plenty of room to carry two extra lenses, a place to keep my Gopro, and an assortment of other photog equipment.
Coleman Green Valley Sleeping Bag – Not the exact bag that I have, but a more recent model with virtually the same specs. This bag is designed for temperatures dipping down into the 30s. I tend to use this bag in the spring, fall and winter months on backpacking trips. Being tall and bigger built this bag does at times feel cramped, but anything larger is unacceptable for backpacking. Overall a good bag, I’ve had it in my arsenal for 4 years and it’s still holding up well.
Browning Camping McKinley 0-Degree Nylon Diamond Ripstop Oversized Hooded Rectangle Sleeping Bag (36 x 90-Inch) – The best sleeping bag that I have ever owned! I picked this bag up for use when Jeep camping, as it is far too large for use when backpacking. It is oversized, soft, and extremely comfortable. Pure luxury for the wilderness!
Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Mat – Sleep in comfort with this blow-up insulated mat from Sea to Summit.
Grand Trunk Travel Pillow – This pillow is very compact and comfortable. Comes with a stuff sack.
Garmin GPSMAP 64 Worldwide with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver – I don’t go anywhere without my handheld GPS. It allows me to trek anywhere without having to worry about getting lost. I also utilize the GPS by loading premade routes and waypoints, which I make in Google Earth. In this day in age, if you are wandering off into wilderness without one of these, you are not helping yourself. One word of money-saving advice, skip the model with preloaded topographical maps. You can download free maps at GPS File Depot.
ArmorSuit MilitaryShield – Garmin GPSMAP Screen Protector Shield – Protect your GPS screen from scratches, scuffs, and drops.
SPOT 3 Satellite GPS Messenger – A Spot should be in everyone’s bag of tricks. It is a satellite beacon which allows you to send short messages to selecte contacts allowing them peace of mind that your ok. It also allows you to send non-emergency messages stating that you need help, as well as 9-1-1 emergency for Search & Rescue. All messages are sent with your coordinates. There is small monthly fee of roughly $10 for basic service.
Motorola MH230R 23-Mile Range 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio (Pair) – A handy tool if you are trekking with a partner, allowing you to stay in constant contact with each other if you separate.
Energizer Advanced Lithium Batteries, AA Size, 8-Count – If your electronics take batteries, there is no better battery than Energizer Advanced Lithium batteries. Lasting 6x longer than standard batteries, they really give your electronics an extended life. I always carry an extra pack with me.
NOCO Genius Boost GB30 12V UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter – You no longer have to wait for another vehicle to jump start your vehicle! The Noco Genius Boost provides up to 20 jumps on a single charge! Plus you can charge any device that charges with a USB cable!
Garmin vívoactive – I added the Garmin vívoactive to my arsenal at the beginning of 2016. It serves as a watch, fitness app, and is GPS enabled. It has proved to be very helpful in tracking my hikes, and everyday fitness.
J5 Hyper V Tactical Flashlight – 400 Lumen LED 3 Mode – Great little flashlight for mines, caves, and night time. Small, fits in your pocket.
MSR PocketRocket Stove – The PocketRocket stove is one of the most important and must used items in my bag. Boil water in just minutes for food, beverages, or sterilizing needles, knives, etc…
Primos Primus P-220793 230gm Power Gas Canister, 8-Ounce – Fuel for your Pocketrocket Stove.
TOAKS Titanium 1600ml Pot with Pan – Toaks makes excellent quality titanium cookware. It is lightweight and heats quickly. With this particular item you receive a pot and pan. You can store your Pocketrocket stove fuel canister inside to save space.
TOAKS Titanium Long Handle Spoon – I’m a self-proclaimed Mountain House junkie. This long handle spoon is essential for eating out of those long pouches.
Deuter Streamer Bladder – After using a Platypus for the past two years, I decided that it was time to try something different. I found the Platypus difficult to clean because of the small opening. This caused the bladder to start tasting moldy after awhile. This Deuter Streamer Bladder is great with its wide opening. The film inside of the bladder keeps water tasting fresh for days.
Deuter Streamer Thermo Bag – For use with the Deuter Streamer Bladder. The thermo bag works great for keeping your water cool when hiking during the summer.
MSR Dromedary Bag with Fill Handle – As I already stated, you can never have too much water in the desert. I utilize this 10L dromedary bag on backpacking trips, strapping it to the top of my backpack. This is also convenient to fill and throw in the back of the Jeep to refill water bottles.
Katadyn Hiker Pro Microfilter – This is an item that I’ve rarely had the opportunity to use, but it is ALWAYS in my bag. If you ever find yourself in a situation that you run out of water, and just so happen to find a pocket of dirty, disgusting water, you will want to drink it! This takes the worry out of having to drink it without filtration. This is also a great item if you know you will be hiking in an area with water sources, allowing you to carry less water.
Dexshell Coolvent Waterproof Socks – I despise getting wet feet when hiking. I find that I am blister prone when my socks get wet and I’m hiking long distances. I carry these waterproof socks for stream crossing or hiking in wet weather. They work great, and have minimized the amount of blisters that I get.
Bodyglide Original Anti-Chafe Balm, 1.5oz– Chafing sucks! Bodyglide is my saviour, and I don’t leave home without it! Enough said!
Schrade SCHABS M.A.G.I.C. Assisted Opening Partially Serrated Tanto Blade Folding Knife – Just a great all around little pocket knife.
Custom Leathercraft 2055M Split Cowhide Work Gloves – Never know when or where a set of work gloves will come in handy.
Professional Multifunction Military Army Metal Sighting Compass – Learn how to use it, and always carry a map of the region.
HDE® 15x – 55x Zoom 21mm Compact Monocular – This monocular allows for viewing far distances, at a fraction of the weight of carrying full size binoculars.
That rounds out my list of mandatory gear with the exception of a medical kit, which I have covered here. I will update this list as I add or remove items from my personal stash. If you have any questions about these items please don’t hesitate to contact me, or leave a comment below.