Essential Adventure Gear

I saw this article on Men’s Journal about essential adventure gear. I was researching review of the Arc’teryx Naos 55 and found this interesting article. There are a few items that I really liked on this list. Other like the inflatable kayak, the constellation viewer, the GPS, the mountain bike didn’t really interest me. Also, after having done some research, I was able to find lighter or more practical things than they mentioned.

I will start with the three items that weigh the most of a backpacker. The goal is to get the weight somewhere within 2 to 5.5lbs for all of these items. These first items are the ones that I found which were lighter than the ones mentioned in the article.

I then pursue with sun protected and insect repellent clothes, which are a must in hot conditions.

I’ve included a useful chart that I have seen in the wikipedia entry on Ultralight Backpacking.

Examples of reducing weight:

Weight Class: Traditional Lightweight Ultralight Super-Ultralight
Shelter Double-wall tent (~5+ lbs.) Single-wall tent (~3 lbs.) Tarptent/tarp (1-2 lbs.) Tarp (<1 lbs.)
Sleeping system Synthetic-fill sleeping bag (~5+ lbs.) Down-fill sleeping bag (2-3 lbs.) Down quilt (1-2 lbs.) Down quilt (1 lb.)
Backpack Internal frame 60+ liters (~5-8 lbs.) Internal frame 40 liters (~3 lbs.) Frameless (~1 lb.) Frameless <30 liters (<0.5 lbs.)
Sleeping pad Inflatable 2in. thick (2-3 lbs.) Inflatable 1in. thick, 2/3 length (~1 lb.) Closed-cell foam 3/4in. thick, torso length (0.5 lbs.) Closed-cell foam 3/8in. thick, torso length (0.2 lbs.)
Total weight of these: 17-21 lbs. 9-10 lbs. 3.5-5.5 lbs. 2.2 lbs.

As you can see, with a target weight of 5.5 lbs, the base gear will be in the ultralight category. I have found a sleeping bag that weighs 1lbs and 2oz (1.125lbs), a tent that weighs 2.7lbs and a stove that weighs 2.01oz (0.125625lbs) with a wind shield. The Osprey Atmos 35 pack that I have weighs 2.5625 lbs bringing the total weight to around 6.5lbs (6.513125lbs). Pretty good with a lot of gear.

The Sleeping Bag

Pictured above is one of the lightest sleeping bags available, the Wicked Light from Sierra Designs, good for up to 45ºF/7ºC.

Total weight: 1.125lbs

The Tent

Pictured above is the inflatable Nemo Equipment Hypo PQ tent.

When packed, this thing is as big a volleyball! Talk about light and compact.

Total weight: 2.7lbs

The Towel

Just like Douglas Adams mentions in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, it’s always best to have a towel with you. And what towel! The Sea to Summit Pocket towel weighs 1.5oz and is not your average towel. 16″x 32″ big.

Most towels are made out of cotton and weigh a ton once they are wet. This towel folds up to the size of a baseball!

Total weight: 1.5oz (0.09375lbs)

The Shirt

A Berhaus indigo colored Pancora shirt with Healthguard (repels insects and bacteria) and SPF50 sun protection. A must when traveling in really hot places.

This is the shirt that you want when you are in the sun all the time on a trip. It wicks away sweat, protects you from dangerous insects and the sun. What’s cool about these is that you can wash them on site and have them dry within a very short time; they aren’t made out of cotton, they are made out of a techy wicking synthetic fiber. It’s good to mention that Craghoppers has a similar shirt on sale with SPF40 for half the price of this one, though it doesn’t look as good as this one.

Total weight: 7.9oz

The Pants

These two pants might not look like much, but they pack a load of features. Both are from Berghaus.

  • HealthGuard™ Mosquito Protection helps to protect you against tropical diseases such as Malaria, by repelling blood feeding insects and other bugs and reducing bites.
  • UPF50

The pants on the left are the Exodus Cargo pants made out of enzyme treated cotton. They are not fast drying.

The pants on the right are the Quest Convertible pants have these features.

  • Lightweight nylon fabric for comfort and durability.
  • HealthGuard™ Mosquito Protection helps to protect you against tropical diseases such as Malaria, by repelling blood feeding insects and other bugs and reducing bites.
  • HealthGuard™ also features anti bacterial agents which inhibit the formation of bacteria that feed on sweat.
  • Concealed security pocket.
  • Two side cargo pockets with darts for volume.
  • Colour coded zip off legs to longer length short.
  • UPF50

My choice would be the Quest Convertible because in a high temperature setting, you would need to have pants that dried quickly and wicked away the sweat. And since they convert into a 3/4 pants, which is essential because most convertible pants will irritate your thighs after a few hours because of the zipper.

Total weight for the Quest Convertible pants: 446g – 15.7oz (almost 1lbs). You could take the 3/4 pants which are only 350g (12.34oz) instead to save some weight.

Honestly, having been to Thailand recently, this is something I will most probably consider for my trip to Cambodia during the summer. It’s best not to mess around with the sun and the bugs. Malaria is a real problem and it’s easy to get bitten. On top of that, you should take some anti-malaria pills for the duration of your trip. The cost of that is pretty cheap in Taiwan.

The Hat

An interesting hat that will also repel mosquito bites while traveling. This model is from Berghaus. But OR gear makes some good hats as well, though none have mosquito protection.

  • UPF 39
  • HealthGuard™ Mosquito Protection helps to protect you against tropical diseases such as Malaria, by repelling blood feeding insects and other bugs and reducing bites.
  • Unisex
  • Reversible

* * * * *

Featured Photographer

Cap’n Surly

3 Responses to “Essential Adventure Gear”


  1. 1 chase March 19, 2007 at 01:35

    Nice gear but for me the important thing is the GPS then the bug spray… I hate bugs!

  2. 2 range March 19, 2007 at 01:37

    Well, when you are adventure traveling, you don’t really need a GPS. Most of the time, a Lonely Planet guide will be enough to guide you around.

    Bug spray is a must!

  3. 3 range March 19, 2007 at 01:38

    Hey, I read up on Pete Burns after your post. He looks nasty! But he probably has got an interesting life.


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ranjitwithkinginbehand.jpgI'm Range, your host. On the menu, photos, art, stories, entertainment and reviews. Links, maths, education and social issues. I'm in Quebec (Canada) or Taiwan (R.O.C.). Follow me on Twitter.

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