I read an article recently that broke my heart. It said that the outdoor industry has a millennial problem. Our SOFREP team just returned from SHOT Show in Vegas. The O in SHOT stands for Outdoor and it’s the place that I love to be more than anywhere else. But apparently, many millennials don’t share my love of fresh air and adventure. That’s because though technology has allowed us to make more impressive waterproof jackets and ultra-light, well, everything—the latest generation of potential campers only want to chill at Coachella or some other outdoor music festival. They aren’t necessarily looking to summit mountains or break climbing records.
I for one refuse to lose my connection to the great outdoors. And I don’t care if it’s for lazy Sunday hikes, an outdoor music festival, or a challenging alpine climb. Someday I will do that thru-hike on the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails.
For now, I love to share the outdoors with my own Generation Z sons. Thankfully they aren’t eating Tide pods, maybe because I get them outside enough to keep the fresh air flowing to their brains. And I do that by always being ready to hit the trail!
I drive a tiny car. Her name is Clementine. She is great for fuel consumption but horrible for space. But I do have this nifty little quasi hidden compartment in my trunk and I have happily turned it in to my EDC3 space.
Let’s unpack that trunk shall we?
1-No camping kit is complete without a USMC “woobie” – provides the lightest weight layer of warmth I’ve ever found. Don’t ask me how I acquired it. We can save that story for Q&A some time. This makes a great base layer on the floor of my hammock tent to keep out cold air in the winter. It also makes a great lightweight blanket in warmer weather. Marine woobies are magical that way.
2- Bear Butt Double Hammock (plus separate rain fly and netting) – Hammock camping is awesome. It’s a great way to drop weight from a pack. It’s more comfortable, more enjoyable and even easier to set up and take down, without the sacrifices often associated with ultralight or minimalist gear. ** I have an ENO double as well but Bear Butt offers the same basic quality for less $$.
3- Leupold Binos – Got these courtesy of Crate Club. Because you never know when you need to do a little long distance recon.
4- Quick Dry Towel – yes it’s hot pink. My favorite color. Sue me. Throw these over a guy line and it’s completely dry in around thirty minutes or less. Lightweight too! The best ones I have found are yoga towels but if you’re in a pinch and need to save money, they make these towels from the same material in the guise of towels for dogs. You can get a full size one for under $10 and it’s a must have.
5- Boonie Hat – you need to keep the sun off your face on bright days, so I keep one in my kit that is also quick dry and sweat resistant.
6 – SOL Emergency Space Blanket – You really should have one of these in your car at all times if you live where the temperatures fall below freezing. It reflects up to 90% of your body’s heat back to you and can be a life saver.
7- LUCI Inflatable Solar powered lantern. I hook this to the outside of my pack while I’m hiking during the day and it gives off an incredible amount of light that lasts all night and more. You can also throw it in the dash or back window of your car to charge it if you’re on the road.
8- Osprey Talon 22 Day Pack – This pack is good for a quick out-and-back weekend trip. I suggest something larger if you plan to do more than two days, but this baby served me well on many a hiking excursion and I can fit everything you see in my trunk (only one of the sleeping bags) It also holds a two liter H2O bladder and works super well for a day out on the bike too. **I’ve included a picture of what I have in that pack!
9- Princeton Tech Helix Backcountry Collapsible Lantern – another wonderful lighting option courtesy of Crate Club.
10-Stanley (made for Starbucks) travel French Press. Because I am prissy and I like my coffee to be legit, I take Black Rifle Coffee grounds out on the trail with me.
11- Marmot Lightweight Sleeping Bag – there are a LOT of other ultra-light options but this is my inexpensive version for now. It takes up almost no space and combined with my USMC woobie, I don’t worry about being cold in three seasons. If it were to be tremendously below freezing, I’d probably opt for a true four season bag.
12- Sea to Summit 2.8 Liter X-Pot – this baby is collapsible and great for when you want to make a slightly bigger meal. They make these pots in a bunch of sizes as well as cups and bowls. Totally worth the money.
13- MiniMo by JetBoil cooking system – I cannot tell you how much I love this little camp stove. Boils the water for my French Press (see # 10) and makes some pretty great meals for one or two people.
14- This is my kitchen kit – has all my knives and seasoning and all the extra stuff that I can choose to take or leave depending on where I am going. If it’s just me and I need to save weight, I leave this one in the car. I can make do with the knives I already have in my pack.
15- Flite (two-man)tree tent by Tenstile and the T-Mini Double Hammock that goes with it—if you don’t know this brand, check them out. I have the three-man version as well. It’s the perfect cross between tent and hammock. It’s definitely the most fun tent I have ever used and works great in all four seasons. All its functions are a bit lengthy to explain here so probably best to check out the manufacturer’s homepage.
** I wouldn’t take my other hammock (#2) and this out at the same time unless I was camping with my boys too. You are fine with one or the other.
So that’s it minus a few things not shown in these pictures. I also keep a change of wicking clothes in the car, a LifeStraw and freeze-dried food in my pack, and a solar charger. My regular Tier 2 EDC bag holds my firearms, some other knives, and flashlight options so I would just merge those into my camping pack before hitting the trail; it’s the same with my travel size toiletries in my gym bag. I would normally have a telescoping trekking pole too but I broke mine hiking the narrows at Zion National Park and just haven’t replaced it yet.
So if you were prepared to get out on to the trail, anytime and anywhere, why wouldn’t you? You never know where the trail might lead!