Nature is a peaceful refuge for many urban and suburban dwellers seeking an escape to the great outdoors. Campers, hikers, explorers, and surveyors can’t conquer the wild all on their own, though. They need practical and useful devices and instruments to help them level the playing field with Mother Earth. Here are 10 incredibly useful gifts you may need when you answer the call of the wild.
Life Between the Poles | Komperdell Rockmaster Trekking Poles
Trekking poles are the walking canes of the wild. Whether you’re slushing around a snow-draped forest or conquering a nature trail in summer, the Rockmaster poles will keep you in an upright position as you move confidently forward. They’ve got long foam grip handles, height adjustability, and carbide tips that pierce the ground like Velcro spikes. Because 90% of success in exploring the outdoors is standing up.
Your Pocket’s Most Powerful Weapon | Leatherman FREE T4 Knife
This multi-purpose utility knife makes ordinary Swiss Army knives look like bumbling fools. The Leatherman Free T4 knife boasts a stainless steel blade, an easy-grip nylon handle, and magnetic properties that help all who wield this knife to flash it dramatically using only one hand. Included are a piercing blade, scissors, an awl, a file, a bottle opener, a pry tool, tweezers, and no less than four screwdrivers. It’s also got a package opener in case UPS somehow finds you in the forest.
Carry Your Water | YETI Rambler Half Gallon Jug
YETI is the Mercedes-Benz of portable drink containers. The Rambler Half Gallon Jug may be their most audacious liquid dispenser yet. As you may have already figured out, it’s got a half-gallon capacity. It also has double-wall vacuum insulation around the sides and another inch of insulation in the lid, so the mere thought of liquid becoming tepid or lukewarm is flat-out ridiculous. Bring this thermal behemoth along on your next camping trip, day expedition, cattle round-up, or drum circle to keep ice water, hot tea, or other liquid refreshments at maddeningly consistent temperatures.
Shed Some Light | MPOWERD Luci String Lights
These string lights will immediately lift the clouds of darkness from your next overnight camping trip or another outdoor excursion. Charge up the lights using either solar power or a USB connection. Then unspool the 18-foot light string from its storage case, and hang or drape it around the area you want lit. The Luci String is moisture-resistant, with different light settings you can rotate through. You’ll get up to 20 hours of non-stop luminescence from a single charge, with no bulky batteries or howls of complaint.
Moveable Feast | Jetboil Flash Camping Stove Cooking System
Boiling water in the outdoors used to be a matter of rubbing sticks together and hope. But that was then. The Jetboil Flash Cooking System is so efficient and dependable, it almost makes boiling water boring. It can bring 16 ounces of water to a boil in under two minutes. Operable at the push of a button, the Jetboil Flash also has an external, color-changing heat indicator that both saves energy and keeps your campground safe. It’s compatible with a whole host of Jetboil outside-cooking accessories, in case you want to open up a small bistro in the woods.
Sending Out an SOS | Garmin inReach Mini 2-Way Satellite Communicator
If you’ve somehow wandered off the beaten path in the forest and found yourself face-to-face with a pack of unimpressed, snarling wolves, Garmin can get you out. This 2-way emergency communication device sends your message of distress to a hopefully sympathetic partner, even if you’re outside cellular range. In case they don’t answer, it can also trigger local rescue authorities to start a search. Its GPS capability can pinpoint your position within 5 meters. In less threatening situations, the Garmin can simply track your movements so you can share your progress online.
Drink to Your Health | LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
A mountain stream or a winding creek may be lovely to look at, but bad to drink from. They contain lots of bacterial microbes that are just itching for a fight with your insides. But the LifeStraw can turn any random, infested water source into an innocent pool of refreshment. Just put one end straight in the water and place the straw in your mouth. The water passes through a series of powerful filters as you suck it up. A single LifeStraw can treat up to 1,000 gallons of water of questionable virtue.
Bright Ideas | Petzl ACTIK CORE Headlamp
Mountaineers, hikers, cyclists, and the occasional spelunker rely on headlamps to light their twisty paths, and the Petzl ACTIK CORE is the most potent consumer-grade headlamp on the scene. This lightweight accessory generates light for up to 160 hours, using two separate sources for both wide and narrow coverage areas. It’s also got a red light if white light isn’t appropriate for whatever reason. You can charge the ACTIK CORE with a USB connection, or go the old-school route and power it up with AAA batteries.
Win the Storage Wars | Thule Stir 20L Hiking Backpack
The great outdoors is no place for purses or flimsy commuter carrying bags. Any backpack that braves the wild needs to be heavy-duty, resilient, and enormous. The Thule Stir 20L is that backpack. It has a staggering 20-liter capacity. It’s got a back panel, a reservoir sleeve for water, and holes for drinking tubes. It’s got more pockets than a billiards tournament. It’s got handy attachment points for axes or walking poles. One can also detach some of the more extraneous features and use it as an everyday backpack in town.
Repel, Repel | Thermacell MR150 Portable Mosquito Repeller
Mosquitos are single-mindedly obsessed with ruining your camping trip. There’s no negotiating with them. They sit back and laugh when they see you slather yourself with lotion or try to scare them off with a tiki torch. But the second they see you whip out the Thermacell Portable Repeller, they panic and start questioning their life choices. The Thermacell uses fuel, thermal conduction, and blue filters to create a 15-foot no-fly zone for skeeters, with no pesticide, flames, noxious odors, or empty threats.