June 29, 2016

Written by

Chris Gonzales


Jon Flobrant

We’ll keep it simple: Here’s a list of neat items to bring along on your next adventure in the great outdoors.

For more great outdoors stuff, refer to our camping gear guide.

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Saddleback Leather's Simple Canvas Pack. ($327 for small, $367 for medium)

Saddleback Leather’s Simple Canvas Pack. ($327 for small, $367 for medium)

Saddleback Leather’s Simple Canvas Pack »

It seems strange to recommend something from Saddleback Leather that isn’t made entirely of…y’know, leather…but their Simple Canvas Pack is particularly well-suited to the outdoors.

It’s made from thick 24 oz. waxed canvas from Scotland, making it extremely rugged and water-resistant. There are leather accents throughout, of course, in the form of a grab handle, a pair of contoured/adjustable 34″ shoulder straps, a large pad that lines the back and bottom (and doubles as an exterior pocket), plus a couple of small side tabs for attaching extra gear to.

The bag sports a wide-open design with three interior pockets, a drawstring enclosure, and an adjustable top flap that keeps rain out. It’s plenty roomy enough to fit a 15″ MacBook or an iPad (and then some) while you’re in town, or all of your gear while you’re out on the trail.

Light My Fire's Swedish FireSteel 2.0. ($13)

Light My Fire’s Swedish FireSteel 2.0. ($13)

Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel 2.0 »

Anyone who spend lots of time in the great outdoors knows the value of a good fire starter — one that will work in any situation, weather, or altitude. Light My Fire’s Swedish FireSteel 2.0 is a dependable army-style fire starter that can last up to 12,000 strikes.

The 2.0 model improves on the original army FireSteel with more ergonomic handles, a flat-edge stainless steel striker (the flat edge is nice because it produces better sparks and without grooving the FireSteel), and an emergency whistle built into the striker handle. This bad boy isn’t affected at all by extreme heat or cold, and it’ll spark even if it’s dripping with water. It’s a tool you can count on.

Stanley's 64 oz. vacuum-insulated growler. ($42–45, depending on color)

Stanley’s 64 oz. vacuum-insulated growler. ($42–45, depending on color)

Stanley Classic 64 oz. Vacuum-Insulated Growler »

As much as we love the temperature retention of our Zojirushi stainless steel mug and our Contigo autoseal tumbler, there are times when you need a real beast of a container. Something that’ll hold enough liquid for you and a few friends.

That’s where Stanley’s classic 64oz. vacuum-insulated growler comes in. Whether you’re sharing coffee with fellow hikers, bringing hot soup to the family picnic, taking cold lemonade to the lake, or even stocking up on local craft brew for a backyard party, this thermos heartily gets the job done. It keeps cold liquids cold for 16 hours (up to 24 hours in some cases), or hot liquids hot for 12 hours. And, the flip-top lid that opens perpendicular to its oversized handle makes pouring super easy.

The growler comes in hammertone green and hammertone navy.

Ivation's portable shower. ($40)

Ivation’s portable shower. ($40)

Ivation Battery-Powered Handheld Portable Shower »

The Ivation portable shower is a true go-anywhere shower, perfect for camping or hiking or what-have-you. Using the pump at the bottom of the 6.5-foot hose, it pulls water from virtually any sink, bucket, or basin to provide a 2.5 liter/minute (0.66 gallon/minute) shower flow.

The kit doesn’t heat the water but it does filter it for you, which is great if you need to shower with something questionable like lake water. If you really hate cold showers though, you could heat up some water in a kettle over a fire before adding it to your bucket, or if you can, leave the bucket to warm in the sun all day while you’re away from the campsite.

This short video gives a good overview of what the shower looks like in action:

And this one shows you everything that comes in the kit, piece by piece:

Power Practical's Luminoodle rope light + lantern. ($20)

Power Practical’s Luminoodle rope light + lantern. ($20)

Luminoodle Rope Light + Lantern »

Power Practical’s Luminoodle is a flexible, waterproof, USB-powered LED rope light that can be hung, strung, hooked, stuck to, or wrapped around basically anything, thanks to its custom noodle ties, built-in magnets (one at each end), and the utility loop at one end.

The included rip-stop nylon carry bag is designed to diffuse the rope’s bright light output, thus doubling as a nifty lantern. Works great for camping of course, but also comes in handy for auto repairs, biking (loop the rope around your torso), or wherever else you might need a light.

Luminoodle is available in two lengths — 5-foot and 10-foot — each of which can optionally include a battery pack or “fast-charge” battery pack:

  • 5-foot: $20
    • with battery pack: $32
    • with fast-charge battery pack: $60
  • 10-foot: $30
    • with battery pack $50
    • with fast-charge battery pack: $70

W.R. Case and Sons' amber bone "Hobo Knife". ($79)

W.R. Case and Sons’ amber bone “Hobo Knife”. ($79)

W.R. Case & Sons’ Amber Bone “Hobo Knife” »

The “Hobo” Knife by W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co. — arguably best known for their classic Trapper knife — is a cutlery set disguised as a pocket knife. It’s got a stainless steel knife, fork, and spoon that can be tucked away while carrying or unfolded for eating. Useful on the trail or while traveling.

Once open, the fork and spoon can both slide and separate apart so you can use multiple utensils at once, as this video demonstrates (at the 1:31 mark):

As you can also see there, the fork and spoon each have a can opener built into their respective handles.

Hudson's Bay Company's "point" blanket. ($352–$550, depending on size)

Hudson’s Bay Company’s “point” blanket. ($352–$550, depending on size)

Hudson’s Bay “Point” Blanket »

Hudson’s Bay Company has been world-renowned for their 100% wool “point” blankets since they began making them in 1779. There are two good reasons for that:

  1. If properly cared for, these blankets can last several generations. We’ve heard stories of blankets still being used 70 years after their purchase date, and we’re sure others out there possess even older ones.
  2. They keep you warm and dry in most any temperature/weather. It’s kinda crazy how well they work.

Like those sold in the 18th century, today’s blankets are made in england with wool blended from sources in england, wales, new zealand, and india. Each type of wool is selected for qualities that help create a water-resistant, soft, warm, and strong final product. The wool is dyed before it is spun and then air- and sun-dried to brighten the colors.

The blankets come in a number of sizes, which is where the “point” system comes in — contrary to what some believe, the points are not an indicator of quality or weight, only of size:

Yes, these are very expensive blankets. But when you consider the fact that you may never need to buy another blanket — not to mention the cost savings that will come from not having to run the heater in your house as high every winter — the price becomes much more fair.