I never really thought about the things I carried on my hikes being "gear." To me, "gear" is the high priced stuff in those outdoor retail stores with price tags too high for me to even consider. It was only recently, after I posted a few pictures from my trip to Colorado on Instagram, that I got a few queries as to what gear I used that I started considering my stuff in this new way. Now, I am not a serious hiker (yet...?), and at this point I don't undertake hikes that are more than a day, so the list of my must-haves includes only the things I need for one day outdoors. My items, with the exception of my boots, my camera, and a few other odd pieces, are second hand, and all are vegan. Gear junkies or more seasoned active outdoorsy folk may scoff at my list, but let's remember that in 1960, Grandma Gatewood, age 67, thru hiked the Appalachian Trail in Keds sneakers, carrying only a blanket, a rain coat, and a shower curtain (for shelter) in a homemade duffel bag.
THE SOFT STUFF
>> BLANKET // thrift store - I like to bring a blanket in case I decide to rest along my way, picnic style.
>> BANDANNA // thrift store - Keeps your neck warm or cool (when saturated with water). Us it to tie your hair back or out of your face.
>> BRIMMED HAT // thrift store - Mine's not waterproof, but it does keep the sun out of my eyes.
>> BASEBALL CAP // thrift store - I like to carry a second hat in case one blows away (it's happened). I like baseball caps because they are easy to clip onto the outside of my bag with a carabiner.
>> FLANNEL SHIRT // thrift store - These are easy to throw on for extra warmth, and then tie around your waist if you get too warm.
>> SWEATER // thrift store - In case I get too cold (duh, I know). I don't like long hikes when it's below freezing, and I'm usually working up too much of a sweat to need a sweater, but I like having it. Lots of early morning walks start out a lot chillier than they end up!
>> FANNY PACK // thrift store - I never thought I would ever seek out a fanny pack, but after my first day of long hiking without one, I made it my mission to find one at the next thrift store I went to. I don't want to have to take off my backpack in order to find little things (phone, lip balm, knife, lens caps, ect.), so I keep them easily accessible in my lil pouch.
>> HIKING BOOTS // Keen via REI - I ended up spending some money (around $160) on a quality pair of hiking boots. I wanted a pair that were vegan and made in the USA, which was actually a pretty hard combination to find. I initially really wanted a more stylish pair (like the ones on the cover of Wild by Cheryl Strayed), but cruelty-free was obviously the way to go, for me. I highly recommend these boots. I haven't had a blister in them (*knocks on wood*), and they have nice thick soles, and quality support.
>> INSOLES // Dr. Scholls - I work long hours on my feet, and I spend a lot of my free time on them, too, so it's super important for me to have a little extra cushioning and support.
>> SOCKS // REI - EcoMade liner socks. I swear by these. They wick moisture away from your feet (which helps keep them more comfortable and blister free), and they're not very thick, which I like. I double up if it's a chilly day.
ELECTRONICS & ACCESSORIES
>> CANON 70D DSLR CAMERA // new
>> CANON 18-135MM LENS // new - My all around favorite lens.
>> CANON 55-250MM LENS // new - My must-have for wildlife close-ups.
>> CAMERA BAG // eBay - (See it in the top photo.) It was really hard for me to find a vegan camera backpack that I liked the aesthetic of. This canvas one I finally found on eBay for $30, and it's perfect for my camera gear and everything else I take with me.
>> WATERPROOF COVER // This one came with my camera bag.
>> TRIPOD // thrift - I love this one for hikes because it's super light. I like experimenting with time lapse, low light, and night sky photography, so a tripod is essential for me.
>> CAMERA REMOTE & EXTENSION CORD // new - I use this kind of remote because it's great for time lapse images.
>> LENS FILTERS // eBay - UV, polarizing, gradient, and macro filters, just to name a few favorites.
>> EXTRA 32GB CARD // new
>> MICROFIBER CLOTH // new
>> LENS HOOD // eBay
>> CAMERA RAIN COVER // eBay - I hope I'll never have to use this, but just in case, it's nice to have. It's also extra protection for my camera if I get caught in the rain.
>> CELL PHONE // new - For emergency calls, gps, and selfies (haha). (Call and data coverage might be spotty, especially if exploring in the mountains or other rural areas, so always have a backup map handy.)
THE SMALL STUFF
>> HEADLAMP // eBay - I've never had to use mine, but I like having it in case I get stuck out longer than I intended.
>>KNIFE // eBay
>>WATER BOTTLE // found in my car (thanks ex-bf!), and decorated by me - I especially like this bottle becuase I'm able to clip it to my bag (my bag doesn't have designated water bottle pockets).
>> CARABINERS (non load bearing) // eBay - I love having a bunch of extra carabiners with me. I bought mine, used, for super cheap online.
>> BOOK // I always have a book with me. Always.
>> LIP BALM // My lips get extra dry when I'm hiking, so I always have a tube or two handy in my fanny pack.
>> SMALL TIN BOXES // old mint tins - I use these old Altoids tins for EVERYTHING. In my backpack they hold band-aids,a small tube of antiseptic cream, extra lip balm, bobby pins, hair ties, and floss. I also like to bring an empty one in case I find small feathers or leaves I want to take home with me.
>> NOTEBOOK AND PENS // Always like to have a notebook handy for sketches, lists, and random thoughts.
>> MAPS & TRAIL GUIDES
>> DUCT TAPE // Many uses, but I mostly carry it in case I develop blisters on my feet. If I don't have room in my pack I wrap a few layers around my water bottle.
>> WHISTLE // eBay - In case of emergency.
>> LARGE PLASTIC GARBAGE BAGS // In case of heavy rain, one for my pack, and one for me (cut a head hole, voila).
Well, there you have it. This list stays pretty much the same for every hike, but there's always a few differences depending on weather and photo plans. If you're looking for a good guide for more vegan hiking gear, I love love love Vegan Outdoor Adventures as a reference. What are your favorite go-to items for a day spent outdoors? Is my list missing anything? Any questions? Let me know!