I work full time, but weekends are reserved for adventure! Whether that’s a paddle around a lake in town or a hike to a waterfall in a national park, I always make sure my dog Finn gets to come along!
Oru Kayak Oru Pack
Not your father’s portage
If you’ve ever carried a kayak across a parking lot, down a dock, through the woods, or over a shallow stretch of river, you know it’s a pain in the a**. This pack allows you to carry your kayak on your back leaving your hands free for things like dog leashes, trekking poles, handrails, or beer (life’s about balance right?). The kayak is made from sturdy material and fits the kayak, paddles, and another small pocket for things like water bottles, towels, etc. well. I’ve even taken to placing my life jacket arm loops through the paddle handles and attaching it to the load straps. Overall - great transportation for your kayak. I love the freedom and safety it gives me to exit a lake at another point besides the launch point - I’ve done this twice now when the lake got too windy [having a plan for self-rescue is important for any kayaker and this kayak is a part of my plan!]. Drawbacks: wide load - be careful not to hit others on the trail. Hip strap - I’m not the thinnest person and the hip strap doesn’t buckle for me, so check those specs for yourself, but it doesn’t stop me from using it. Picking it up - like any heavy pack, it can be awkward to get on your back (backpackers know what I’m talking about). Use a bench, log, or your tailgate to get it on your back without falling over.
Osprey Daylite Plus Backpack
Osprey products are grey - amazing quality and a fabulous warranty policy. I’ve never had a problem with this pack but my backpacking backpack had a malfunctioning zipper and he repair staff were nothing but pleasant to deal with. I like this pack because it forces me to take less than what I normally would - which is wayyyyy over packing. It has a hip and chest strap which allows a lot of options. My only complaint is the water bottle pockets are too shallow, meaning if you bend over with a hydro flask or a nalgene style bottle, you’ll be field testing them for their dent capacity as they hit the ground. However this pack does have a hydration pouch spot so there are ways around the problem.
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot - Women's
Can you say “weak ankles”?
I’m a chronic ankle sprainer, so when I purchased my first pair of adult hiking boots I needed something with good ankle support. I originally looked at a more inexpensive pair that was equally as comfortable, but was warned that the soles would wear quickly and I’d replace them twice as fast. I’ve owned this pair for five years, using about once per month on average, including casual hikes and multi-day pack trips. They hold up to the same standard as the day I bought them, and are very water resistant. If you are someone who likes lighter footwear while hiking, these probably aren’t for you. My only complaint is that I tend to get more friction than I love on the balls of my feet going downhill (possibly a sock issue?). Overall a great, reliable, tough pair of boots.
Oru Kayak Beach LT Foldable Kayak
Accessibility is the name of the game
Honestly, I was a die-hard Oru fan long before I had one. The concept of a foldable kayak?! It’s the dream. When I purchased a new car I was shopping for a new kayak rack for my old hard plastic kayak for nearly a month. When I priced it out, the cheapest I could get a quality kayak rack was $500. Add on top of that the fact that I LOATHE putting a kayak on top of the car. It’s cumbersome, inefficient, and sometimes dangerous. I’ve even had kayak racks bend in windy conditions on the road, which is completely unacceptable. For twice the price of a rack I could have a kayak I never had to load, could pack on my back, and stores easily in my apartment (hello no garage). I will say that an Oru Beach isn’t ideal for all paddling conditions...heavy wind/waves, rocky rivers, or sharp oysters/barnacles may find you hoping for a different kayak style. But for leisurely to moderately adventurous paddles on calm to mild seas, lakes, ponds, or rivers, I highly recommend. The Beach has a 300 lb weight capacity, which means me and my 60 lb rescue dog can comfortably ride. Note: the first few times you fold/unfold you’re breaking the folds in and it can be tough...I recommend you do it somewhere not in public until it’s broken in and you’ve got the hang of assembly on your own - because these babies do attract a lot of attention at the boat launch :)
Jetboil Zip Cooking System
Not just for backpacking
I bought my JetBoil on an REI clearance sale and couldn’t be happier. Having done very little research, I was impressed with the usability, durability, and small touches it offered. It’s made it’s way into not only my backpacking kit, but had found its way on car camping trips, overnight shifts in the animal ER and heating up coffee at the trailhead before a hike. Also...you can cook an entire box of Kraft Mac and Cheese in it...if that’s not what you call winning, I don’t know what is. Note: some canisters of butane don’t fit into the actual jetboil canister for packing, so make sure to but the small size if you’re trying to save space.