3 Favorite Things

My 3 favorite peices of gear

I’m not talking the three most useful or the three most innovative.  I’m about to tell you the three items that make me chuckle to myself when I use them.  The items that bring me the most pleasure in the backcountry.  Read on to find out what they are and why they are my favorites!

1. My sit pad!

Its a roughly 2′ by 2′ square piece of foam hacked off a sleeping pad I accidently left too close to the fire and melted.  It weighs next to nothing (literally it won’t even register on my scale) and provides so many great benefits I wouldn’t imagine leaving it at home.  While first introduced to me by a good friend many years ago it took a while for me to see the light and begin carrying one.  So why carry it? Simple, I enjoy sitting on a comfortable, dry surface.  Weather I’m sitting by the campfire at night, stopping for a quick lunch break on the trail or relaxing by a lake at the end of a long hike I’m always sitting on my sit pad.  Its amazing how much more comfortable a thin piece of foam makes any random rock or log.  Not only does it keep my butt from getting sore but it also keeps me dry and dirt free.  No one likes getting poked in the rear by a twig or getting up to realize it now looks like you’ve peed your pants.  Other uses include fanning the fire, emergency bed insulation (when my sleeping pad isn’t quite keeping me warm I’ll place this under a cold spot to add a little insulation), a small flat surface to lay small things out to make sure they don’t get lost, an insulated surface to place a cooking pot on so it won’t melt my tent bottom after boiling water in my tent’s vestibule, and many more.  Nothing gives me more pleasure than someone giving me a hard time for my sit pad only to see them complaining about the cold, hard ground.

2. The Mont-bel Crushable Lantern Shade

This item is on the list for two reasons: 1) I always want to bring a lantern for when you are in the tent at night but I’m too much of a gram counter to be able to justify a dedicated lantern.  A nice warm glow in your tent is so much better than blinding your tent mates with your headlamp flashing across their eyes. 2) How well it works.  Seriously, it is just as good as a lantern and doesn’t weigh anything.  People will look at you funny the first time you bust it out but it only takes a single use to convert most people.

3. The GSI Infinity Mug

The third and final item on this list is the GSI Infinity Mug.  I love it because its lightweight and has a lid that seals.  One of my guilty trail pleasures is curling up in my sleeping bag while I drink my coffee.  I am not a morning person on the best of days and after a nasty night battling a storm and not getting any sleep I don’t know what I would do without a hot cup of coffee.  The problem is that I’m rather clumsy without my coffee and have, on more than one occasion, dumped my morning coffee into my sleeping bag or set it down real quick while I shuffled around only to discover that I somehow knocked it over and now my tent is a coffee swimming pool.  A lid that seals solves that problem.  I also love that, because the lid seals, I can use it to mix stuff up.  I always bring protein powder with me on overnight trips – oatmeal for breakfast is great but it doesn’t have much trail staying power.  A protein shake after breakfast keeps me rocking long after my oatmeal is gone and with this mug I can shake up a shake quickly.  Same goes for at  lunchtime.  I like to enjoy a refreshing glass of Kool-Aid with my lunch.  I use a water bladder which I exclusively fill with pure water.  If I want to mix up a drink I just dump in it and give it a shake.  I’ve also used it to collect berries on the trail.  Berries in the mug don’t get crushed and can be saved for later.