7 Everyday Carry Essentials For The Modern Adventurer
Sourcing the basic, most fundamental items of gear for your outdoor adventures can be a fairly humdrum affair. Many outdoor accessories tend to be very run of the mill and most old-school enthusiasts will smugly tell us that any degree of coolness is secondary to functionality and practicality. Some of us, however, just aren’t prepared to settle – we want both!
Quite frankly, do-what-they-need-to-do but nothing-to-write-home-about outdoor gadgets and items leave us a little bit uninspired. Our inner James Bonds, Lara Crofts and Indiana Joneses are all screaming for, well, just a little more awesomeness. We know, that yours are too. Below, we’ve rounded up seven badass and also super-functional EDC essentials that raise the coolness level of your outdoor appurtenances off the frickin’ chart.
1. Portable Power Charging Device
Recharging your iPod when you’ve listened to one Mariah Carey track too many or, on a more serious note, adding some juice to your cell phone when you happen to get caught in a serious SHTF moment so you can call the emergency services or mom which are both far more effective, than curling up into the fetal position and hoping for the best.
Why we love it:
For peace of mind, mostly. The prospect of trying to power our way up and over that next pass or long uphill stretch of biking trail without the help of the ‘Eye of the Tiger’, the Rocky theme tune or Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’, quite frankly, fills us with dread. Joking aside, a portable power device weighs next to nothing, takes up very little space and could come in mightily handy for emergency calls or urgent Facebook updates.
Staff Recommendation – MyCharge Adventure Plus ($45)
Part of MyCharge’s recently released line of ruggedized power solutions designed specifically for the outdoor enthusiast, the Adventure Plus is a tough, durable, lightweight and minimalist portable charging device that can handle any amount of rough and tumble. It offers four back up charges for your iPhone and comes with a handy carabiner clip so you can charge on the go.
2. Pocket Knife
A knife is one of the most popular everyday carry items, and for good reason. It is extremely functional while in the outdoors and can be used in various ways: chopping up food, opening wine bottles, whittling wood and sticks, fending off intruders or giving yourself a little impromptu manicure while out on the trail.
- Cutting some mock ninja moves in camp when bored
- Cutting apples, cakes, sandwiches, fingers
- Opening beer or wine bottles
- Trimming firewood
- Knife-throwing contests (recommended prior to consumption of beer and/or wine bottles)
Why we love it:
Although we in no way wish to condone violence or advocate presenting an aggressive image, it’s hard to escape the fact that having a badass pocket knife can make you look and feel remarkably cool. Not only that, but it’s hard to consider yourself a true outdoorsperson until you have one. It’s like considering yourself a true politician without a sizeable repertoire of lies and/or multiple skeletons in your closet. Kinda.
Staff Recommendation – SOG Trident ($111)
If you’re gonna buy a knife, half-measures at the purchase point are likely to lead to disappointment further down the line. For something sure to satisfy all of your chopping needs and unlikely to break, go blunt or resemble your grandma’s butter knife after a few months of use, they don’t come much better than the sleek, stylish and – dare we say it – damn sexy SOG Trident. Used by Navy Seals and developed by special ops, this titanium nitride-coated, stainless steel blade comes with the blessing of those truly in the know. As an added bonus, high-tension coil springs propel the blade open, allowing you to open it with just one hand. If it’s good enough for the Seals, it’s good enough for us…
Often the most overlooked item for modern-day adventurers who may not wear a watch, a solid, ruggedized outdoor watch can produce huge dividends for you in the backcountry, and often times provide a badass and fashionable accessory to perk up and dandify your everyday wardrobe.
Measuring distance, calories burned, time on the move, altitude, barometric pressure – oodles of things you might not fully understand but will earn you tons of kudos and brownie points when mentioned to your trekking, cycling or climbing partners. Oh, and they also tell the time.
Why we love it:
Not only does it add an element of ‘bling’ to your outdoor apparel, an outdoor watch can pack a ton of super-handy features into a tiny little bundle.
Staff Recommendation – Casio G-Shock 100 Digital/Analog Watch ($99)
Water resistant to 200m, 10m dropping G-shock resistance, a 10-year battery life and generally tough as nails, this sturdy slice of wrist garnishing is just about as unbreakable as they come without making the thing bulletproof.
Our keys will quite happily dangle from the Sam Adams bottle-opener or the tacky Acapulco hologram given to us by our aunt Betty. To keep them really happy however, why not spice things up a little with something that not only looks a whole lot better but solves that ultimate of all First World problems – chafing and bulging and general jangling caused by your keys in your pocket.
Uniting keys in one tidy, jangle- and bulge-free location that will not sporadically prod you in the intimates while you’re on the go.
Why we love it:
Does much more than the Acapulco hologram or the Sam Adams bottle-opener and looks the part, too. Some models go a step further, featuring mini multi-tools, compasses, corkscrews and even micro LEDs.
Staff Recommendation – Keysmart Rugged ($35)
No keychain negates the problem of finding the right key, reduces clutter in your pockets and prevents pointy pokes quite like the Keysmart rugged. It’s tough, extremely durable, can hold up to 14 keys and comes with an integrated bottle opener, pocket clip and a two-year warranty. Your thighs will thank you…
When out in the wild and far from artificial light sources, the consequences of not having suitable means of lighting your way can be fairly extreme. While at home you may inadvertently stub a toe or headbutt a wall, in the great outdoors things have the potential to be a whole lot gnarlier. You could, for example, stumble off a cliff, get lost, trod on your camping partner, trod on a random stranger, lose your lucky teddy bear or snuggle yourself up in entirely the wrong tent. Having a decent flashlight will help you avoid all of the above problems and navigate freely in the dark without worrying about the battery on your phone dying when you’ve used up all its juice on the torch! Plus, who doesn’t want a badass tactical flashlight?
- Illuminating your face in the tent or around the campfire to scare the bejesus out of your camping partners
- All-in-all the perfect prop for bedtime scary storytelling
- For midnight pee-breaks in the dark: because your camping buddies would never forgive you for peeing on their breakfast/jacket/head
- Locating grub when seized with the midnight munchies
- Making sure the thing you’re about to shoot or scream at is actually a hungry bear and not your friend Susan
Why we love it:
As much as we like to kid on that we’re a hardy, tough, fearless bunch of outdoorsy types, for the most part we are terrified of the dark. Let there be light!
Staff Recommendation – Surefire G2X Pro ($70)
To make sure your chance at scaring your camping partners isn’t thwarted by technical failure, you’re going to need a flashlight you can really depend on at the crucial moment. The Surefire G2X Pro is just that. Not only is this tidy little giver of light ultra-compact and lightweight, it’s virtually indestructible thanks to its tough Nitrolon body, anodized aluminum bezel and polycarbonate window and is also entirely weatherproof.
There are wallets and there are wallets. For the city-dweller, a little bit of leather with a few CCC (Cash, Card, Condom) compartments will do the job. Anything else and you run the risk of a serious fashion faux-pas and basic overkill. For the outdoorsperson, however, you can pimp your pocket-purse guilt-free and get something mightily practical into the bargain – fashion be damned!
Stashing crisp dollar bills in a way that makes them look like possible hundreds, saving cows (the outdoor variety of wallet is usually leather-free), and slapping down on the counter in your local coffee shop to receive the acclaim of fellow patrons as they marvel at your oh-so-unique cash-carrying system.
Why we love it:
Nothing quite starts a conversation in the gas station, coffee shop or supermarket line like a wallet that looks like it has been sourced directly from the set of the latest James Bond movie.
Staff Recommendation – Dango T01 Tactical Wallet ($89)
This little beauty has won our hearts for a number of reasons, most of all the fact that it boasts a mighty 14 built in functions – we’re no mathematicians but by our count that’s a healthy 13 more than your standard wallet! In addition to carrying you cash, the Dango packs a high carbon, heat treated, corrosion resistant stainless steel multi-tool into a slender card cavity which includes hexes, a para cord cutter, a nail pryer, knife, saw and even a phone stand!
In the quest to become a true outdoorsperson, your reused plastic Gatorade bottle just isn’t going to cut the mustard. To look the part, you need something a bit more rugged, stylish and capable of hiding the fact that you’re sneaking sups of Jack Daniels and/or Appletini mix as opposed to electrolyte supplements.
- Concealing secret alcohol stash
- Posing like Lieutenant Barnes in ‘Platoon’ for #badass Instagram pics
- Showing up very uncool hiking companions wielding reused Gatorade bottles
Why we love it:
Few backcountry accessories can elevate your game and appearance like a kickass flask, least of all one that’s loaded with your favourite tipple. When the rain kicks in, kick back and elevate your spirits with a sup or two and you’ll feel, we’re sure, a whole lot better.
Staff Recommendation – Stanley Adventure Ecycle ($15)
This tough, rugged, classy looking little flask is essentially the Hummer of the outdoor flask world. Not only that, it’s environmentally friendly, dishwasher safe (how many Hummers can you squeeze in your dishwasher, huh?) and has a two-part lid for easy cleaning. Best of all, however, this fetching little 7oz.fluid-bearer is entirely leak-proof, meaning it can be trusted not to spill so much as a drop of that precious Appletini (any loss, we imagine, will be purely down to human error).
Final Instructions: Head into the outdoors kitted out with each of the above, crank that Rocky theme tune or Katy Perry track on your MP3 player and live the dream!!!