Packing List: 4 Backcountry Essentials
Published on 07/09/2012
By Peter Reese
When you head into the backcountry you need to pack efficiently, keep warm, stay hydrated, and always maintain a sense of direction. Here are four great tools to keep you happy and safe on your next trip into the woods.
TIMEX TRAIL MATE WATCH
Keep in touch with hiking, running or walking progress – no matter whether GPS or cell phone coverage is active. The ability to watch key variables while travelling means better decisions, more fun and less unanticipated risk.
The TIMEX TRAIL MATE WATCH is a simple way to get important on-course data. Testers found the instrument’s stride length adjustments made the TRAIL MATE more accurate than expected, even over mixed terrain. Alarms, goals and save features all complemented the pace functions Active Junky found valuable. The piece’s classic look and large display kept TRAIL MATE from being a techies-only model. Timex’s INDIGLO night light continues to set the standard for after-dark utility on this affordable – and reliable – trail companion.
CHAOS CTR EVO BEANIE
Anticipating cool nights and mornings even in summer. Rather than bringing serious insulating layers, a trekker’s warm hat and gloves can extend the functional range of even light base layers, wind or softshells.
Active Junky testers willingly raise their hands when CHAOS is in the house. Disappointments have been few and the company is constantly in motion to improve the active life (including injecting some humor and style at points). EVO BEANIE is an easy-carrying, all-season complement to international travel. From Omaha to Osaka, the wool-blend interior imparts comfort while the acrylic exterior equals water and wear resistance. While not a substitute for a balaclava, EVO is a better travel companion with more versatility. Active Junky testers valued the hidden elastic band that added some control without inducing terminal hat hair. Other CHAOS models are more radical, yet EVO’s intelligence is worth putting on your noggin as the next journey begins.
VAPUR WATER BOTTLE
Turn empty hydration containers into nearly invisible vessels that reappear when its time to refill. Hard-sided cylinders take up space full or empty, and hydration bladders don’t solve every drinking, cleaning and cooking situation.
VAPUR likes to call their product the ANTI-BOTTLE. Flexible, foldable and complete with a neck clip, this unusual line of nearly clear sleeves forced testers to rethink how they use liquids with a focus on the .7 L model. BPA-free and constructed with a screw-off sip lid, VAPUR ended up being a TSA-compliant ally in the drive to pass security screenings yet be ready to activate before hitting the gate. Here, the clip is almost a necessity as the bag’s structure can’t support a self-standing position once half-emptied. This is one product that takes some adaptation, and Active Junky views VAPUR as worth a try, particularly for the thirsty nomad.
OTTER BOX 2500
Defend your investment in rockin’ sunglasses, advanced digital camera technology and even your passport. Zip-seal plastic bags can’t take it when rain, much less immersion, happen. Dry bags won’t stop impact from turning bumps into breaks. Not even big doses of paranoia can prevent life from happening down the river or in transit to Goa.
Grabbing an OtterBox is, quite simply, one of the wisest moves you’ll ever make. With a range of waterproof sizes good down to 100ft, these burly boxes are almost comically protective. Testers recommend the 2500 with interior dimensions that fit digital cameras (like the four-thirds format Olympus involved), smart phones and other prized possessions. Lockable with a cable or zip tie, the 2500 carries a Lifetime Guarantee. Smaller sizes like the 1000 and Papa Bear-scaled boxes such as the 3500 provide options. Active Junky puts the polycarbonate 2500 in the “Perfect Gift,” “No-Brainer” and “Buy One Now Before You Forget” categories at about $20.