When I was a young Boy Scout, ~13 years old, I went with my dad to some sort of adult scouting event where they handed-out grab bag items to thank people for attending. My dad won an REI carabiner, which he gave to me. I’ve been carrying the silly thing around since and it has served me for many different needs.
The old carabiner got me thinking about things which I like so much, I would take it on a section or an overnight hike without a second thought. What is the sort of gear that’s working out so well, it’s made my essentials list? It’s actually a really short list as it turns out. Things which didn’t make the list maybe I like, but I consider probably swappable at a later date.
When I read Boy’s Life as a kid (pre-Internet), there was a guy who advertised for his ID tag business, the old military style that stamps your essential information on a metal plate with a ball chain and an optional silicone silencer. I leave my wallet and keys in the car - my ID is the ID tag. I got one for my son with a red silencer to serve as his allergy tag in an emergency.
I mean the sock brand. I like them. The only bad experience I had was my fault, when the sock did exactly what it was supposed to do - keep my foot warm. I wore the Mountaineering socks in the winter and found my foot soaked in sweat at the end of the day - and I hadn’t stepped in any puddles. They really mean it - it’s a beefy sock.
Injinji sock liner
They’re no Darn Tough for sure, but I don’t get blisters, so I think adding these is working.
People get special hiking shoes to protect their feet for thousands of miles, and then wear junky Payless shoes around town. Why not be nice to your feet every day! The Lone Peaks don’t protect my feet from rocks and roots enough, so I wear them for my town shoes and the Olympus on the trail.
I have 6 of them now - and the Peaceful Path Buff is the first one I grab. They keep me warm, block sun, or kill ticks (Insect Shield). All three functions are nice.
Guthook’s AT Guide
The Android app is what I refer to about every half mile (too often). My kids would like me to look even more frequently. Hasn’t failed me yet.
The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork has worked well. I’m glad I didn’t try the ergo version. These things have saved either my butt or my face or wrists from a tumble at least a half dozen times, and I’m not even done with Georgia, yet.
I splurged to get a granite kilt from Purple Rain right before Mandy ran out of the granite material and I’m so glad I did. She has the fortunate business problem of running out of material too quickly, but that means you get to try the next thing she finds.
Vaseline Lip Therapy Advanced Healing tube. Name brand. It has so many uses, most importantly - preventing chapped lips.
After picking up trash in a campground, it’s nice to at least pretend you washed your hands.