Essential Adventure Gear

Basic travel gear you shouldn’t leave home without.

Jan 20, 2011
Outside Magazine

A Compass
Your GPS or smartphone might be faster and more informative … until your battery dies or your coverage fades. Even just wandering around a foreign city, it's nice to know you'll always have your bearings. Or, as journalist Scott Anderson puts it, "There's just something cool about carrying a compass." We like Brunton's Classic 9020G ($13;

Quality Binocs
There's always something—wildlife, snow/surf/wind conditions, a distant mountain pass—you want to see just a bit closer. (If there isn't, why are you here?) Cheap models are like cheap flatscreen TVs: what's the point? The best portable pair: Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x42 ($413;

A Sturdy Knife
For building a shelter. Skinning an animal. Or simply cutting cheese. It should have a good-size (3.5-inch) partially serrated stainless- steel blade, like the one on Benchmade's 551S Griptilian ($105; "I like to attach it to my belt loop with a bit of parachute cord,” says Junger, "so I never drop it."

A Trusty Belt
The unanimous favorite here is Bison Designs' Last Chance Belt (from $16 for the plenty tough "light duty" version; "Its aluminum buckle and sliding lock mechanism are designed so it literally can't come undone," says Steven Rinella. "I've actually used it to rappel. [Editors' note: not advisable.] It's kinda cool knowing that you're rigged for a medevac at all times."

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