You won't find gear reviews on Outdoor Blueprint -- I would much rather discuss the methods for evaluating gear so that you can make your own quality choices.
That being said, I DO want to share with you 9 specific pieces of gear that I truly love (and think you'll love too). These items put a smile on my face whenever I use them, and I would purchase them again without a second thought.
I use this simple, lightweight backpack daily. On backpacking trips, I use it as a sleeping bag stuff sack while I'm hiking, and then as a daypack on layover days. It is my summit pack for when I am multipitch climbing, my storage bag for longer bike rides, and it is even a grocery bag for when I'm in town. This pack is cheap, durable, versatile, and lightweight.
I've been through a number of headlamps before I arrived at the ReVolt. I love it because it is rechargeable, has a red light mode (to preserve night vision), and it is bright enough for night hikes and climbs. Headlamp technology is evolving fairly rapidly. The ReVolt does a good job of staying up-to-date while keeping the price point low.
My co-workers often tease me for how silly I look wearing sun sleeves during my time in the desert, but I just laugh along with them, because there is no better way to protect your skin. Some people prefer to bring a dedicated long-sleeved shirt to keep the sun off their arms. While that works just fine, my approach is to only bring a lightweight t-shirt and add the sleeves for when the sun is out in full force. This save me from bringing another piece of gear, provides more protection than a normal long-sleeved shirt, and adds versatility to my clothing laying systems. It feels SO good to peel off the sleeves after a hot day and feel like your arms are clean and sunburn free. Over the last year, a number of my co-workers have gone out and purchased their own set of sleeves, so I'm counting that one as a win!
These have been my go-to climbing shoes for over 6 years. In fact, I have never owned more than 1 pair of climbing shoes at a time because the Mythos is so versatile. They are aggressive enough for steep sport climbs, sleek enough for cozy cracks, and comfortable enough for long multi-pitch routes.
I estimate that my R1 Hoody has currently experienced over 1250 field days, and it is still going strong. This is hands down my favorite lightweight insulation layer. It's built to last, warm, lightweight, and fits perfectly. I can safely say that my hoody will last another 1000 days without needing to be replaced. It's the perfect example of purchasing something expensive that will last a long time, instead of purchasing something cheap that would quickly need to be replaced.
Loving this? Sign up and get the latest goods delivered right to your inbox.
I love the #3 Camalot. Maybe it's because I always seem to be climbing routes with larger cracks. Or maybe it's because I hate climbing routes with larger cracks, so this is my savior piece of rock climbing protection -- I would bring 5 up with me if I could. I'm honestly not sure what it is. But the whole Camalot line is still the gold-standard for rock climbing SLCDs (cams).
A dromedary is one of the most versatile items I bring into the woods with me. I use it for showering, for setting up a hand washing station, for carrying my personal water during the day (hydration pack style), and for carrying large amounts of water while dry camping. My system is to use a 4-liter dromedary along with the MSR Hydration Kit adapter, and I don't need anything else.
A gravity filter is my main luxury item that I bring along on backpacking trips. I've tried out a bunch of different types of filters, and this is easily my favorite. The filter fits with my dromedary bag, and the inline cartridge makes for easier cleaning in the field. I'm so sick of halogen-based water treatment, and this is a great alternate way to drink clean and good tasting water.
A Fry-Bake is the perfect addition to a set of backpacking cookware. It's lightweight, nests well around other pots, and allows you to cook a much larger variety of meals (pizza, fry mac, pancakes...). You'll find a ton of recipes requiring a Fry-Bake in my cookbook. It really allows you to diversify meals.
What are the go-to items that you absolutely love? Let me know in a comment below.