Outdoor Essentials: the 2018 Gear Guide
This year’s gift guide comes from OutdoorFest founder Sarah Knapp, who along with living in various tiny apartments is also a collector of essential gear!
One of the toughest parts of being an outdoor enthusiast in New York City is dealing with all of the gear that comes along with your favorite hobbies. (Pro tip: I personally use clear storage bins that slide under my bed and separate them by activity to try to keep organized. Katie Machia also wrote a great article on storing gear in your apartment creatively. )
Here, I’ve compiled a list of essential gear that’s worth the space it’ll take up in your already filled-to-the-brim closets. I also have personally used versions of most of these products so I added in a few notes on when and where to give you a sense of how they can become part of your outdoor adventures too. In the spirit of disclosure, most of the brands here currently have (or have had) a relationship with OutdoorFest be it as a sponsor or gear partner. That’s how I’ve gotten to know the products. Rest assured, I am not recommending anything here that I wouldn’t personally use in the outdoors.
About: An ultralight and versatile water filter that makes it easy to treat water for 2-4 people on backpacking, hiking, and backcountry trips, the pump-free GravityWorks 2.0L Complete Kit filters up to 1.5 liters a minute. Plus, it comes with a complete range of adapters, and a high-capacity collapsible bottle, for easy tailoring of the system to meet different needs on different trips.
Use case: This past summer, a group of Mappy Hour Chapter Leaders spent a weekend backpacking. There were 9 of us so being able to skip the pumping and just hang up the GravityWorks made life (and staying hydrated) so much easier.
About: The QUEST 4D 3 GTX® is all about walking comfort, with an Advanced Chasis to reduce fatigue over the duration of your treks. Light and cushioned with running shoe adapted technology, yet supportive enough for backpacking, this boot helps you get to the next campsite with happier feet. A headliner in the Salomon boot line for years, the Quest got an update this year to add a little more flexibility and cushion.
Use case: I gifted myself a pair of the Salomon QUESTs 4D’s this past fall and holy moly was that a good decision. I had been having issues with my other boots (from another brand that will not be named in this article) and getting blisters on almost any hike I went on that was longer than 4 miles. The Salomon boots came just in time for a trip to Nepal, where I wore them out of the box for 6 days in a row sans blisters. Seriously though, if you hate blisters and sprained ankles, these boots are for you.
About: After a successful 2018 beta test, the Adventure Kit is officially part of the OutdoorFest summer offerings. The kit provides $25 discounts on 25 adventures in (or very close by) to New York City. OutdoorFest vets and curates every single partner and adventure, ensuring you have a guide (and accompanying discounts) to the best the city has to offer. Try surfing, sailing, climbing and so much more.
Use case: So this is obviously an extremely non objective recommendation since this is, after all, an OutdoorFest product. That being said, I’ve been adventuring in NYC since 2008 and have searched far and wide for the most professional and fun organizations bringing people outdoors. After I figured out my favorites, I then spent a good amount of time setting up discounts and putting it into a beautiful little package for all of you to use (thank you Canva for all of your design help!) so I hope you’ll take advantage of it.
$32.05 (21 fl oz.bottle)
About: Meet the Skyline Series—a modern design evolution for a line of our customer favorites. Skyline-inspired colors are paired with a subdued tonal logo for minimal contrast. From bottles and slings to coolers, this curated line delivers all the performance you expect with a fresh style that is available only in select cities. Bottles and wine set available exclusively at REI.com. Full collection launches April 2019.
Use case: Do you like tepid water? Then move along because the Hydro Flask water bottle is not for you. If you haven’t used a Hydro Flask bottle before, you’re missing out on refreshingly cool water in the summer and piping hot tea in the winter. The technology on this bottle will keep your drinks at the temperature they’re meant to be all day (and probably longer). I also have their large tumbler and coffee mug so you can say… I’m a fan.
About*: With it’s 3D SlimFit Construction the new BioLite HeadLamp sits flush on the forehead without worry of bounce or slippage. Moisture-wicking fabric keeps you cool and dry for any activity and the rechargeable battery means you can leave the alkalines behind.
Use case: I actually got to beta test the new headlamp during OutdoorFest Upstate this year. Along with getting a ton of compliments, it felt notably different from any other headlamp I’ve worn before. Honestly, at the beginning it was almost weird because it’s so much lighter on my forehead. After wearing it for ten minutes or so, I was converted. It’s also bright and charges via micro USB!
*And yes, that is October Mappy Hour speaker Michelle wearing the headlamp!
About: Cinna-scented sun protection for your extremely dry lips, specially formulated zinc-heavy balm for your mountainy endeavors.
Use case: I actually have used EIR as my go to lip balm since I met their founder Jun in 2014. Especially in the winter, it’s great not to feel like my lips are going to flake off every time I go outside. Along with loving the actual product, EIR as a company is great because it’s a Brooklyn-based, female owned small business with a love for surfing, skiing and everything outdoors.
About: The Luno Life Signature Air Mattress will change the way you camp. Our Signature Air Mattress is custom-fit to your vehicle’s make, model, and year, allowing you to sleep comfortably, conveniently and safely in the back of your vehicle. Made with high quality, durable fabric that protects against punctures and "push-valve” technology that allows you to easily adjust the firmness of the mattress, you'll enjoy easy, epic camping experiences wherever the road takes you.
Use case: This product is so new that I haven't had the chance to try it out yet (and it looks like the pre-order price is discounted!). I'm pretty excited because as much as I love camping, I have a really hard time sleeping through the night when I'm not on a mattress. This seems like the perfect fix so I can still explore (and save money by not staying in hotels) while getting my beauty sleep. #LunoLife here I come!
About: The fourth release in the Alox Limited Edition Collection has arrived! The 2018 collection features Berry Red scales and is once again available in Classic (58mm), Cadet (84mm) and Pioneer (93mm) models. The Alox scales are stamped from aluminum, embossed and anodized to give the scales their color and provide protection against damage and corrosion. Each edition is limited to 2018 and features the year on the back of each piece.
Use case: File this one under “extremely useful” in the day to day category. While I don’t use this every day, I always throw it in my bag because it’s small and light. Plus, having a tiny scissors, screwdriver and basic blade come in handy in the most random of times.