If you haven’t seen the 2000 cult classic “High Fidelity,” with John Cusack and Jack Black, I highly recommend it. For those of you who have enjoyed the outrageous antics of the Championship Vinyl crew and contemplated your own all-time top five, this may ring a bell.
Trekking poles, climbOn bar, lightweight hoody, sunglasses, water bottle, multi-tool and honey. There is rarely an outdoor endeavor that I venture on without all of these things. They come in handy year round and each serves multiple purposes.
Have you ever wondered why your pet is significantly more efficient on the trail than you? A physiologist would list myriad reasons, but being quadrupedal gives them a dramatic leg up. Plus, wielding the poles comes in handy to fend off beasts or splint a broken bone. While some outdoorsies disagree with me, I encourage you to try them before you overlook them.
Replace your chap stick, lotion, aloe vera and first aid salve with climbOn, it does everything. This food- grade, pocket-sized bar is equivalent to the rancher’s Bag Balm. It protects and heals scrapes, cracks, rashes, burns and chafing. Not only is it an ideal adventure companion, climbOn is great to keep in your purse, car and medicine cabinet.
No matter the season, no matter the trip, I always bring along a loose-fitting, lightweight hoody. It can be worn on its own or as a base, middle, outer, or extra layer. The hood is ideal to protect your head, ears and neck from the sun. You can dip it in a stream or lake and put it on when you really need cooling down. Make sure you buy one with a high UPF rating so it will protect you from the rays.
I have sensitive eyes and am susceptible to migraines if I don’t protect my eyes from bright light, so sunglasses are essential for my outdoor recreation enjoyment. Many folks wear a hat for this same reason. While I love my baseball caps, I find they are better at protecting my face from the sun than my eyes from squinting. If the mercury is low and the wind is high, I opt for goggles instead.
Having water on the trail is imperative for all outdoor recreationalists, and the means by which we carry our water varies as widely as the activities we pursue. While a bladder and hose are convenient due to their hands free nature, they don’t come in handy when you want to boil water for the foot of your sleeping bag on a cold night. A bladder isn’t nearly as fun to plaster in decals either.
Why a multi-tool? Well, I think the name says it all. Choose wisely though, don’t carry one that has more tools than you can foresee using as they can become heavy.
Honey actually falls into my first aid category as well as my food bag. Not only can it sweeten your coffee, the natural nectar is a great pick-me-up for yourself or a companion in need of energy or sugar. Buy it at the grocery store in prepackaged straws.
You may scrutinize my list and tell me I am full of nonsense. In fact, my husband’s top six picks overlap my selections by only two. If that is the case, good for you! That means you’ve spent enough time recreating outdoors to have strong opinions on this matter. If not, I encourage you to be thoughtful in your adventures and make your own list. The more consideration you give to your outdoor essentials the more likely you are to have fun and return home safely.
Julie Greer is a member of the Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources Commission.