I’m a climber, photographer, and general outdoor enthusiast and may have some knowledge to share!
Goal Zero Flip 30 Power Bank
Gets a solid couple phone charges
This charger will get you 3-4 charges , In your phone. Simple to use and charge. I have heard the flip usb piece easily breaks. While it does feel a little delicate, I haven’t had that experience. Just don’t handle it recklessly. Takes just a few hours to fully charge. Battery indication light is helpful as well, by pressing in the usb piece when it is flipped in.
BioLite SolarPanel 5+
Doesn’t hold a ton of charge, but still handy
You could probably get a phone charge out of this thing on a full charge, but it doesn’t have a huge capacity. But the fact that it’s small and very lightweight makes that okay. It doesn’t take more than a few hours to charge up, and has one single USB port to charge from. I believe you can also charge the battery pack from AC, but have never done this. I leave it on the dash of my car, and whenever I need it it has a full charge. It has a kick stand and solar compass so you can orient it most effectively towards the sun. It’s a minimalist piece of gear, but strap it on the back of your pack through one of the carabiner holes and you’ll never know it was there.
MSR Alpine Deluxe Kitchen Set
The ultimate mini kitchen!
This setup has saved me so many times. Getting camping gear together can be difficult. It’s the small details that can be easily overlooked, like salt and pepper, dish soap, or a drying rag. This kit has pretty much everything you need to cook. Spatulas, serving spoon, knife, cutting board, quick drying micro fiber cloth, dish soap container, compact salt and pepper dispenser, even a pot/pan scrubber that is amazing. and it all folds into a fairly small case. Perfect for car camping when space is an issue. And if backpacking, you could pick and chose and throw it all into an even smaller package.
GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless 3 Pc. Cutlery Set
Durable, and actually sharp
I’ve had loads of camping cutlery sets, from cheap plastic ones to full on cheap silver wear from target, but these are the best I’ve owned. It feels like quality. They are lightweight, decently sized, and the knife is actually sharp enough to cut through tough foods. The openings along every piece makes it easy for them to connect together. It comes forth hitched with a piece of small cord, but can easily be replaced by a small carabiner. This set is actually nice enough that I carry it around with me when I order take out or as a nice alternative to using single use plastic wear. I would recommend.
Petzl Am'D Screw-Lock Carabiner
Big and easy
I use this carabiner in combo with my Petzl Connect Adjust. Because of its large size the adjusting mechanism on the CA doesn’t interfere with operation of the carabiner. The twist lock makes for easy open and close/lock when connecting into anchors or masterpoints. It also has a fairly narrow profile so connecting in to small openings in bolts, chains or rings isn’t a problem. This is also a great masterpoint carabiner. Petzl has the best stuff, as you’ll find in all of my reviews.
Petzl Attache Screw-Lock Carabiner
Best all around carabiner
Great biner for a belay device, masterpoint biner, munter, etc. the wide end makes it easy to attach(e) many things into it, as you sometimes need to do. I own a couple, it’s my favorite carabiner I own. The screw action on Petzl is superior to any other brand I have found, and the fact that you will see red if the biner is unlocked is another way of checking to see if it is locked or not.
Petzl Spirit Express
Best QuickDraw, in my opinion
From my experience, Petzl makes superior products. Their carabiners are the best feeling, best action, and most functional (and good looking). The flat part of the bent gate on the rope side of the QuickDraw helps you get the rope in more efficiently. The reassuring click of the draw snapping shit ensures you you have clipped your rope. I went for the longer set, because I have always found myself needing longer QuickDraws, never shorter ones. Great build quality and durability. Most of Petzl carabiners have a small hole in the gate where it touches the nose to allow dirt and other debris to be forced out upon closing. You can also blow through it to clear. Invest in the quality!
Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L
Ergonomic and very functional
I got this bag when I got my camera (Sony A7III) and a lens. I got it specifically to take up with me on a wall for climbing photography. Easy shoulder sling and easy zip access made it ideal. This bag fits more than it looks like. Easily a body and 2-3 lenses, depending what they are. Peak Design also designed there interior dividers for one half of it to fold down so you can fit 2 small lenses right on top of each other without having to worrying about them clunking against each other. The interior of the bag is a light tan color making it easy to find smaller object in the bag. Organization is very easy with this bag because of their compartments and color labeling for certain pockets. The straps at the bottom of the bag can be expanded to also carry a tripod on the sling. On the side of the bag they also have a special loop type thing to fit their Capture Clip, making mounting your camera securely on the outside of the bag for quick access very easy and convenient.
Marmot Trestles 30° Sleeping Bag
Good all around sleeping bag.
I’ve had this bag for a few years, and it’s my go to. It’s not gonna keep you super warm when your in teens-30° weather, but anything above that, this bag is perfect. It’s synthetic insulation so it doesn’t pack down very small, so not ideal for backpacking. It has a partial zip on the other side of the bag from the main zip, so when it’s warmer you can unzip both a little bit for a more comfortable sleeping arrangement. And on colder nights, synch the neck down to keep all the heat in the bag that you can.
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Dry Sack
You don’t know you need a dry bag until you have one
This dry bag is super multi functional. And the fact that it compresses down is a game changer. When you’re tight on space, having gear that compresses down to maximize every square inch of packable space comes in handy. Keeps things dry, obviously, but on a climbing trip, this bag doubled as a dirty clothes bag. After a long 2 days of climbing, I’d throw my stinky socks and other clothes in here, seal it up, synch it down, and kept the doors at bay and packed small in my duffel. Also can use as an interior liner for a backpack if you are going to find yourself in wet conditions and need to keep things protected from the elements.
GSI Glacier Stainless Javapress
Insulated to keep your brew warm
Great camping French press. Good for car camping, not necessarily backpacking. This thing is insulated though so it’s gonna keep your coffee warm on those chilly brisk morning for a longer period of tome, and be durable enough to fall of the camp table, or throw into your trunk. It comes apart easily for easy cleaning as well. Aside from drip/pour over, French press is a go to for camping.
Black Diamond Transfer 3 Shovel
Portable and durable shovel
This thing is good for anything from making snow bivy’s, to digging out for car in a pile of snow. I keep it in my truck in case I ever find myself in that situation. It extends out for better leverage and collapses down to a small package. Good little shovel, though still quite small.
Petzl Reverso 4 Belay Device
Smooth and high quality guide style belay device
Petzl is my go to for belay devices and carabiners, and many other things. There attention to detail is superior. This belay device is obviously used for multi pitch climbing, and is similar to the Black Diamond ATC Guide. The difference is that the top guide loop is facing front to back as opposed to side to side. This is personal preference on what works for you. In my opinion the Petzl Verso and Reverso are smoother feeding than the BD ATC. Again, personal preference for what works best with you and your climbing gear needs.
Black Diamond Camalots
These cams are your standard. They have the regular and the ultralight versions. The newer models on bigger sized cams 5-6 have a mechanism to lock them in the engaged position to save room when racked on your harness, which is a simple but super effective feature. The slings on the smaller sizes have black strips in them so you can differentiate them from the larger ones when quickly looking down at your harness. The thumb loops make it easy to handle, as well as provide an extra attachment point for a carabiner. They have dual axles which makes the cam lobes have more range as you pull them back, and in my opinion also makes them stiffer and prevent walking in a crack.
Danner Mountain 600 Hiking Boot - Men's
Supportive, comfortable, and waterproof
I got these boots to hike in, but also make great work boots. They lace all the way up for maximum ankle support. The grip on the bottom is incredible. It grabs in steep and wet conditions. It allows your foot to spread out in the shoe for comfortability and max surface area. They are waterproof, helping when crossing streams or in rainy wet conditions. There is a break in period, and squeaked when I first got them, but that didn’t last long as I put some miles on them. Great, very high quality boot.
Blundstone Original 500 Boot
Durable, comfortable, stylish
I’ve been wearing these boots for years. I’ve hike in them, though that’s not there best use. Wear them at work all day, and wear them casually almost every day. Over the past 4-5 years I’ve had two pairs, both still wearable. They will last a very long time if you take care of them. They are waterproof which comes greatly in handy. Even the fabric part on the side is, at least, partly waterproof. If you order, they are in Australian sizing so make sure you size down a full size.
Patagonia R1 Hoody - Men's
I lived in this thing for a week
On a recent climbing trip, I wore this thing non stop for a week. It was the perfect baselayer. The hoody fits snug over your head, and zips all the way up into a balaclava, and I could easily fit a helmet over the top. It is a long fit so it won’t ride up while your wearing a harness, and is perfectly warm yet breathable. It is thinner material where it is less crucial, like at the bottom and the neck/hood. I’m a big fan. I got it done in an R1.
Five Ten Access Knit Shoe
Comfortable shoe, amazing rubber
I have these shoes in black, and they use the same Stealth rubber as they do on their climbing shoes. You can walk up or down some pretty steep terrain without losing any grip. I climbed the 3rd Flatiron. I brought my climbing shoes, but decided to just wear these the hole time, and didn’t have a single problem. Great approach shoe, as well as a every day stylish sneaker.
Outdoor Research Flurry Sensor Gloves - Men's
These gloves are great, with breathability, snow/little bit of water wicking, very quick drying, and a snug fit. It has silicone rubber for a good grip, as well as touch sensitive index and thumb finger tips. A great glove for active and mildly cold conditions.
Topo Designs Camera Cube
Versatile and durable camera cube
I am able to fit my Sony a7III, 3 lenses, extra battery, and rocket blower all inside this thing. It’s a great product. I specifically got this one because it had a synch too rather than a zipper which is way easier to get into quickly when I have to change lenses on the fly, and easier when your reaching inside of a backpack. Plus you can overstuff it a bit. It comes with a shoulder sling that you can clip on and have that capability which I have use quite a bit. I love this thing.
Peak Design Leash Camera Strap
Best camera strap I’ve used
Peak Design has just been dropping the best and easy to use products. The leash strap is very adjustable and very easy to do so. They’re unique anchor system makes taking the strap off the camera as simple as 2 presses of a button, unlike any standard camera strap where that isn’t really a feasible option. And anything you can attach the small anchors to, you can sling around your neck with the leash. It has made a big difference for me.
Jetboil Flash Cooking System
Gets the job done, quick.
Jet Boil is a great cooking system to get you fast heated water, soup, whatever. It’s compact and lightweight, with everything fitting inside of the cup to pack tight. They also have lots of additional cook wear and attachments to get a lot more use out of it. Great for backpacking, or taking to the crag to have a quick warm meal.
Petzl Connect Adjust
A lot of my coworkers had this device. While I knew it was a great piece of equipment, I didn’t want to spend the money on it. I was using a Purcell prusik, a cheap extendable anchor made out of chord. I finally got one, with no ounce of regret. Quick easy attachment to anchors, and super easy adjustability to get into the right position. It is awesome. This is a static device though. Meaning, it is not meant to take shock load, so do not fall on it. It is very strong in static conditions, but is not meant to take dynamic loads. A good carabiner to use with it is a Petzl Sm’D twist lock, but the best is going to be the Am’D twist lock. It’s slightly larger so the metal part of the lanyard that goes through the carabiner does not get in the way of opening it. A twist lock is ideal for easy open and fast locking.
Patagonia Stretch Rainshadow Jacket - Men's
Very comfortable soft shell jacket
You wouldn’t want this in a downpour, but in a light rain it will keep you dry, and cool. It is breathable, plus pit zips, to let you vent during high output activity. It stretches so when moving your body you won’t be limited in your movement. It won’t keep as much heat in as a hard shell jacket will, but good for wind/light rain protection. Good for climbing, running, biking, etc.
Black Diamond Momentum Harness - Men's
Basic, comfortable, entry level harness.
Wear it to prolong in the gym, or sport climbing outside. Great, affordable harness for general use. The support system isn’t as nice as harnesses like the Solution or Technician, and lack ice clip loops, but if you don’t need that stuff, then why bother?
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 90L
Stuff it full of anything
This bag came with me all over Europe and almost every climbing trip. It is so big and expandable, you can fit a most anything in there. Climbing gear, clothes, photography equipment, tripod, tent, sleeping bag, etc. it’s made out of a super durable material keeping water out for the most part, and tears I likely. It has a daisy chain sewed on either side for extra attachments. The optional shoulder straps made all the difference for me carrying it around Europe, so you don’t have to carry it duffel style. I’d like to get a smaller one such as the 60 or 40 liter option some day for when I do smaller trips, because 90 liters is a lot of bag!
Black Diamond Rocklock Screwgate Carabiner
Not my favorite carabiner, but great for the price point.
Black diamond carabiners don’t have a great action. The spring feels old and used, the thimble does not screw very smoothly. But as one of the best priced pear shaped biner of this size, it is quite popular. The rounded shape of the metal makes for a great belay device. Personally, I wouldn’t use it unless I needed to secure something and leave it where I wouldn’t have to deal with it until I was done. Despite my personal quarrels, it is a good piece of equipment. I’m a Petzl fan...
Black Diamond Storm Headlamp
Bright, plenty of features.
By far the nicest headlamp I have owned. Variable brightness, white, red green, and blue lighting, a spot light and wide light mode, and a special little hidden button on the side for a quick boost to max brightness if you need it rather than holding the main button down and waiting. There are battery charge indicator lights on the side as well to let you know when they are getting low.
Black Diamond Index Ascender
My favorite ascender
The Black Diamond Index in my opinion feel the best in hand, and have the smoothest action going up a rope. I’ve used Petzl and Grivel ascenders which I didn’t like the grip as much, and I had a harder time sliding them up the rope. They have plenty of attachment points for foot loops, personal tethers, and redirection.
Patagonia Refugio 28L Backpack
I’ve had this pack for years, it’s seen some adventures.
It is a great every day pack to get you to and from wherever. I used it for school for 4 years, took it on hikes, climbing, all the above. Patagonia is is a great brand with a great warranty. They will fix any product you send them for a very small fee, keeping your gear going longer and preventing the need to create more waste. Has a laptop sleeve for easy access (or water bladder). My only complaint is that the chest straps come off rather easy and are very hard to get them back on. Small complaint though.
Five Ten Anasazi Lace-up Climbing Shoe
I love Fiveten, especially this shoe.
Super comfortable synthetic shoe, meaning it won’t stretch out very much. Nothing like the Moccasym. They fit pretty true to size. A stiff midsole, making it ideal for slab and vertical climbing. This shoe won’t help you in the boulder cave. Laces make for a really snug fit. The only downside for me is when I use them to crack climb, there is no protection for the laces, so the laces wear through.
La Sportiva Skwama Climbing Shoes - Women's
Aggressive shoe, great fit
Of course every climbing shoe will fit different, so I’d highly recommend trying on anything you plan on purchasing. For only Having one Velcro closure, it fits snug. Quite sock feeling. It’s got a stiff toe plate and very flexible midsole making it not strictly a boulder shoe, but will give you some support on vertical and slab climbing. The toe rubber on top gives extra grip for when toe hooking. Great shoe for climbing harder and steeper grades.
Arc'teryx Cerium LT Hoody - Men's
So comfortable, decently durable, of course stylish.
Got this jacket to go on a climbing trip in Wyoming and Colorado in the fall. I wore it almost every day, it kept me very warm. I wore it to bed on cold nights, one of which we woke up to 28° and 3 inches of snow, still cozy. I typically would avoid climbing in it and opt for a slimmer, more durable synthetic breathable jacket, but one day on Bastile Crack in Colorado it was cold and super windy with the entire route in the shade, I wore it the whole time. It help up great. The final pitch was a squeeze chimney, having to shove my whole body in the crack. If anything would tear it, it’d be that. (Besides a thorn bush) but it help up with no scuffs. This jacket fits slim to keep warmth close to your body. I’m 6’1” 175 pounds, and wear a large, fits perfect. Down will keep you very warm in dry conditions. If it gets wet, it will lose most of its insulating capabilities. The jacket does not have any water resistance to my knowledge.
Arc'teryx Brize 32L Backpack
Amazing, durable, fits well.
I brought this bag (to my own regret) which I overstuffed, up 6 pitches on Devils Tower. It was too heavy and thick to squeeze through some of the chimney/off width pitches, so I ended up tying it up and having it hauled up the wall. It’s got some scratches (to be very expected) but has no real wear or tear. It help up magnificently. Which waist and chest straps, you can get it very secure. The more you actually stuff it, the better it feels on your back. The waist straps sit high, but that was perfect for wearing it while wearing a harness. It did not get in the way. The frame of the pack can come out, but I wouldn’t advise it, because it feels like a blob once you put it on. Let me know if you’d like to know anything else!
Black Diamond Vapor Helmet
Feels like it isn’t there
Super lightweight helmet, fits so well and barely noticeable when your up on a wall, even for 9 hours. Make sure you know how a climbing helmet is supposed to fit, and how to adjust it! It has headlamp clips (which is pretty standard) so when you find yourself on an alpine start, or spent to long on the wall and have to rappel in the dark, it keeps your headlamp secure.
Sony Alpha A7 III Mirrorless Digital Camera
In my opinion, the best.
This camera come with me literally everywhere. Day to day, or when I am on a trip. I dragged it up 6 pitches on Devils Tower, Kayaking through Michigan, hanging off of walls capturing climbers. It’s mirrorless so the body is compact, which helps with weight and space. Image quality is spectacular. It shoots 4K and 120p snow motion, time lapse, and has many customizable settings to suit you. Sony and many other companies have a ton of lens options for it, as it was one of the first full frame cameras on the market. This camera goes beyond my expectations. Let me know if you’d like to know anything else!
NEMO Losi 3P Tent: 3-Person 3-Season
Awesome pretty lightweight tent.
This tent sets up quick and easy, everything snaps right into place. Feels spacious inside. Has kept out rain and snow effectively. Can fit 3 people pretty tight, but that’s good to keep warmth in the tent. The dual entrance is nice so nobody has to crawl over each other, and the vestibule is nice to keep shoes out of the tent but projected from the elements. Downside, when everything is zipped up, you can’t see out of the tent, which I like to do. But I can deal.
Five Ten Grandstone Climbing Shoe - Men's
Larger toe box, snugger mid sole.
I bought this shoe as a crack climbing/multi pitch trad shoe, so I sized it larger than I would a normal climbing shoe. My first thoughts was that Fiveten did a great job on the styling. Bringing alive a classic shoe. They are high tops for better protection when inserting your feet in cracks, with some ankle padding. A flat midsole makes it easier to jam, as well as edge on slab routes. The laces are plentiful, making you able to get a super snug fit, it’s just a little time consuming to lace them up. I notice mid foot it fit me snug, but the toe box was a little looser (which I was looking for) especially so I can wear socks under on colder days.
Hydro Flask 10oz Wine Tumbler
Good, durable, small insulated mug
I use this thing daily for coffee, keeps it warm for hours. Even when it’s pretty cold outside. It’s not the biggest, and the shape does make it prone to tipping easier, but good for general use. I also left it on top of my car one time and drove off to have it fly off the roof, and it barely had a scratch.
Petzl Micro Traxion
Great multifunctional pulley/progress capture
This device is very multi functional. Works great as a regular pulley and has the added bonus of engaging teeth that will bite down on the dope to stop it moving in one direction, making it a progress capture device. Great build quality as well.
La Sportiva Tarantulace Climbing Shoe
Decent crack shoe
I don’t really use this shoe for anything else but as a training shoe for crack climbing. I say decent because the lace loops are exposed and wear through pretty quickly from jamming your foot in the crack. But it is very comfortable and has a stiff midsole for better support on long multi pitch of even while edging or placing your foot into a crack. The laces help you get a precise snug fit.
Mammut Smart Belay Device
A nice device, but I don’t use it much
I know many people who use this device. I however don’t find a need for it. If I need something simple and multifunctional and light, I use an atc. If I need something safer and for other purposes, I use my Grigri. But a nice assisted breaking device that is ergonomic and simple to use.
Arc'teryx Proton AR Hooded Insulated Jacket
My go to
This jacket is amazing. It has gotten me through two winters and is just starting to show ware. I wear this thing everywhere and do everything in it. Climb, hike, and just go about my daily activities. The fit is perfect, nothing fits quite like a nice Arc’ jacket. Keeps you warm, sometimes I even later it with my Arc Atom lt underneath for a warmer synthetic insulation combo. And the synthetic insulation keeps fairly warm when wet, compared to down.
Black Diamond Solution Guide Harness
Great gym/crag harness
This harness is great for sport pitches in the gym or at the crag. It’s lightweight, minimal, and super comfortable to wear. It’s designed with a support system through the waist and leg loops to provide more support compared to your average harness like the Momentum. Especially for the price, a great minimalist sport harness.
Arc'teryx Alpha AR Jacket
I have had this jacket for a couple months now and spring season in Michigan, I have needed it. In a complete downpour I was completely dry underneath. When I get back to my car, I take it off for a dry comfortable ride home, and within a 20-30 the jacket has almost dried completely after laying it out over my passenger seat. This jacket is great for climbing, specially alpine conditions when you need a hard shell. The pockets are up at the check leaving room for a harness to go around the waist, and has a synchronized down hood for a tighter fit around your head/helmet. Great product. The only down side is that when I where it out casually (not what it is designed for) I like to have pockets for my hands down low. But when your climbing in the alpine wearing a harness, this wouldn’t be an issue. For a better casual pocket situation, maybe check out the Beta series.
Five Ten Anasazi Moccasym Climbing Shoe
I looove this shoe. Very comfortable, wearable all day as long as you size it correctly. I don’t know if sizing has changed since Adidas bought 5.10, but you want to size them pretty snug, because it is an unlined leather shoe and will stretch almost a complete size. Once broken in, they are very comfortable and they are one of my favorite shoes. Ideal for crack climbing, slab/edging, or all day multi pitch.
Arc'teryx Atom LT Jacket
Perfect light jacket
This thing is the best all around jacket. The material is incredibly soft, yet durable on the outside. I have had mine for almost 3 years and the only wear it has is a burn hole (unfortunate but common). Breathable side panel material makes it keep cool when you need it to, and otherwise keeps you warm on chilly days. Perfect for athletic output on a cooler day. Nothing fits quite like a good Arc jacket.
Black Diamond Belay Parka
Good warmth to weight
Great product that keeps you warm, and retains heat even when wet. Not water proof, the the puffy synthetic insulation will keep most of its insulating properties when wet. Pros: very warm, fits will, dual zipper for when warm with a harness, layers well. Cons: doesn’t pack down very small, sometimes the zipper and be finicky.
Goal Zero Boulder 50 Solar Panel
Ideal for vanlife/car travel
I had this thing on the road for 6 months in combo with my Goal Zero Yeti 400. It was great, and gave me power in the back of my truck for what I needed, which was mostly charging my phone, computer, camera, and running a fan occasionally. I made a home made rack to mount it to my roof and it worked great. It’s nice that it comes with a kick stand where you can angle it toward the sun if you want. The design is nice and durable. It isn’t necessarily a low profile panel because of the metal frame it’s in, but it makes it easily mountable. This 50 watt panel would take about 10 hours of full sun to charge my 400 watt hour batteries from low to full. And that’s without being able to angle it. Not the quickest, but fine when you don’t need a ton of power. It’s nice because it comes with the cords if you want to chain more solar panels to it. I’d recommend!
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station
User friendly, gets the job done
I used this product while living on the road in combination with the Boulder 50 solar panel, and it was a good pair for somebody who didn’t need excessive amounts of power. The most power I’d use is to run a fan overnight on the hotter nights. That would usually take the battery from 100% don’t to 20 or 30%, but for my other uses which we’re charging my phone, computer, and camera, I could get multiple charges in no problem. I had the solar panel mounted to my roof so if it was sunny it was constantly charging, so I seldom had to worry about running out of power. And if it was a concern, I could take it into a coffee shop with me and charge it out of the wall if I really needed to. Ideally 100 watt panels would have been nice, but 50 worked just fine. It’d take about 10 hours or so of full sun to charge to full. But the battery life was great and it was easy to use.
Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Pullover Fleece - Men’s
Snap To on this one
Always love supporting Patagonia. A company doing business for good. This recycled polyester fleece is a must. Super soft, keeps you very warm, and a very durable piece of clothing. It’s great as is or used as a mid layer with a jacket. The sleeves are designs to not pull the sweater up while your arms are extended, so perfect for climbing! And it just looks pretty good.
Scarpa Vapor V
I’ve had two pair of these now, love the shoe. It is considered a technical shoe, in between all around and performance. It has a slight downturn and pretty flexible midsole which will give you power on overhung routes, but also a stif rubber and a stif toe plate that will give forgiving on your toe muscles while trying to edge on slab routes and small features. The dual velcro closure makes it easy on and off.