Here’s the (Unexpected) Gear You Never Leave Behind

Big ticket gear like tents usually get all the attention. But we want to give some love to the little guys, the gear hero's that you take on every adventure. Theres my long-handled Sea to Summit Alpha Light spoon has seen thousands of trail miles (and even more calories, partly because it’s so good at getting into the corners of freeze-dried meal bags). We have borrowed some answers from *REI Co-op's people as to what their “gearos” are and heres the list.

1. The Gift From Dad

“The Swiss Army Knife that … was my dad’s. I carry it in my small cargo pocket of my hiking pants/shorts. It’s always right there to slice cheese … in half to share, turn an ordinary stick into a s’more stick, or help out in other ways on the trail or the campsite. Most of all, it’s a reminder that my dad instilled the love of the outdoors in me and is always with me.” —Instagram’s @hiking_with_heike

2. The Place to Rest Your Head

“Hands down the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow! Provides the luxury of a hotel bed in a setting that far exceeds that of a five-star resort!” —Instagram’s @allisonzell

3. The Lit Light

Luci solar-powered lamp! It’s been around the world with us and we’ve purchased it for friends multiple times.” —Instagram’s @lamaisuwanna

4. The Trail Masseuse

“A golf ball. Give yourself an A+ foot massage after a long hike by just putting it under your foot and rolling it around while you sit and watch the sunset. As a thru-hiker I will NEVER go anywhere without a golf ball in my pack.” —Instagram’s @she_howls

5. The Daylight Extender

“I’d have to say my Petzl NAO+ Headlamp. I hike a ton before sunrise and it enables me to hike all year long!” —Facebook’s Brandon Copeland

6. The Memory Maker

“This cup has seen thousands of miles, and tons of smiles!” —Facebook’s Amber Redfield

7. The Unexpected Overperformer

“My Primus Yellowstone stove. Started as a cheap last-minute buy in college before my first ever overnight trip. Ten years later it has seen many, many miles/mountains and has never failed to boil a pot of water. For $20 it is light, pretty compact and perfectly fits inside my 5¢ super lightweight … pot!” —Instagram’s @aleginter

8. The Packable Ambiance

“I love my battery pack twinkle lights. They are lightweight and add a sense of whimsy to my camping trips!” —Instagram’s @abenadebra

9. The One for All

“My Buff. I use it every night as an eye mask. It’s a scarf, a face mask, a hat, a hood. It’s everything. It’s lightweight wool. It’s cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold. It’s great on planes when you need to sleep.” —Instagram’s @alicesunmichael

10. The Magic Bag

REI sleeping bag compression sack! It turned my 6-foot bag into ball around the size of a soccer ball, and made all my friends envious! Also caused one friend to claim I was using ‘witchcraft’.” —Instagram’s @gold_shklar

11. The Cold Comfort

“[The] Z-Lite sit pad is everything. Perfect for breaks on snow, gnarly rocks. Maybe even lifesaving: once strapped it inside my running vest to warm my core while fastpacking in a cold rainstorm.” —Instagram’s @syrupgravy

12. The Mini Backcountry Bidet

“I carry a tiny squirt bottle (~2 oz.) that is perfect for tidying up after nature calls or when your ‘plus one’ is your period. It’s also nice for wetting a bandana for a quick face wash on the trail or in your tent. So tiny that it fits right in my hipbelt. So useful that I take it every time. It’s a crucial piece of gear because its functions add immeasurable small comforts that help me have great backcountry outings.” —Instagram’s @phloxy.q

13. The Fire Breather

“By far my pocket bellows [for starting a fire in the backcountry]. Once you get an ember this baby will make sure you get enough [oxygen to get a fire going]. This works great in the rain, when you only have that one chance to get and keep a fire going. I highly recommend this item to anyone who doesn’t yet have one. It basically takes up no space. One you go bellows you’ll never go back.” —Facebook’s Andy Loehrer

14. The Travel Buddy

“Didn’t expect to love my Hydro Flask this much. It’s accompanied me to the top of Mt. Whitney, New Zealand, and Australia. Love it with all of its dents, dings, and scratches.” —Facebook’s Noah Yaylian

15. The Reason We’re All Reading This

“Anyone else reading through [these] to find out some great gear we don’t yet have?” —Facebook’s Sharon Curry Bayolo

What’s the one piece of gear you never leave home without?

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