Nobody knows gear like the people who rely on it every day. We asked two of our travel award-winning guides what tops their list. Dawa Temba Sherpa, 50, of REI Adventures, has been leading trips in the Himalayas for 18 years, and Jorge Esquivel, 34, of Bio Bio Expeditions, has been leading whitewater trips for 19 years.
At the top of the world, nothing is more crucial than your sleeping bag. Dawa Temba uses the REI Expedition ($480). The 700-fill down provides superior warmth, and the waterproof shell has a pass-through pocket, so you can get what you need with-out leaving your cocoon.
Lowa’s Renegade GTX Mid boots Smart-wool Hiking Light Crew socks
Lowa's Renegade GTX Mid boots ($225) keep out the pebbles that litter the trek to Base Camp, and the perforated footbed -increases breathability while reducing friction. Temba pairs his with Smartwool Hiking Light Crew socks ($21).
Julbo’s Vermont Classic Sunglasses
Julbo's Vermont Classic sunglasses ($120) look like the shades Sir Edmund Hillary wore, but the lenses are made of state-of-the-art Spectron 4 poly-carbonate, with a reflective coating. Courage and glory not included.
REI’s Traverse 30 Daypack
REI's Traverse 30 daypack ($100) is basic and fits everything Temba needs. "Sunscreen, sun-glasses, water bottles—every-thing," he says. "I don't like a lot of extra pockets, because then I can't find things."
Mountain Hardwear’s Absolute Zero Parka
Mountain Hardwear's Absolute Zero parka ($800) is built for harsh climates: 800-fill waterproof down, big pockets, and, Temba's favorite, an insulated hood. "You've got to protect your neck."
Eagle Creek No Matter What Flashpoint Duffel
Temba likes the water resistant Eagle Creek No Matter What Flashpoint duffel ($100) for its simplicity. "Sometimes people bring wheeled bags and we have to put them on the poor yak," he says.
Chaos World Beat Club Beanie
Even if the day starts out warm and clear, Temba stuffs his wool and acrylic Chaos World Beat Club beanie ($33) in his pack, because "you never know what the weather is going to do in the mountains."
Nalgene wide mouth bottle
"I always tell my trekkers to drink warm water," says Temba. "At higher altitudes, it really helps heat your body." He suggests pouring just-boiled water into a BPA-free, 32-ounce Nalgene wide-mouth bottle ($11).
Columbia Moonstone 15 Mummy Sleeping Bag
The Columbia Moonstone 15 Mummy sleeping bag ($500) is stuffed with 800-fill goose down and has a heat--reflecting liner. "It keeps me warm even when I sleep out under the stars," Esquivel says. The 21-ounce bag packs down to the size of a cantaloupe.
Smith's Touchstone Sunglasses
The polarized lenses on Smith's Touchstone sunglasses ($219) block glare, and hydrophilic pads at the nose and temples keep them on Esquivel's face through the rapids. The frames are made of renewable bio--plastics, and best of all, Esquivel says, "they fit perfectly under a helmet."
Smartwool's NTS Light 195 Zip T
Smartwool's NTS Light 195 Zip T ($95) is 100 percent merino, so it resists funk even after days on the water. "It's the best way to stay warm when wet," Esquivel says. Sculpted side panels and flatlock seams curb chafing under a drysuit.
Mountain Hardwear's Mountain Tech Jacket
Mountain Hardwear's Mountain Tech jacket ($180) is "roomy in all the right places," says Esquivel. "It's easy to wear while I'm working." The poly-ester fleece is windproof and super durable, thanks to reinforced panels on the arms, shoulders, and sides.
Iridium Extreme Phone
In case disaster strikes, Esquivel carries an Iridium Extreme phone ($1,400), which makes mobile and satellite calls out of the box and can be -upgraded to allow SMS texting, GPS location, and Wi-Fi access. "The peace of mind it gives me is invaluable," he says.
North Face Base Camp Duffel
Esquivel's North Face Base Camp duffels ($170) have lasted ten years and counting. The 155-liter, ballistic-nylon bags feature alpine-cut shoulder straps, locking zippers, and four compression straps. He has a red one and a yellow one, which makes them easy to spot on the baggage carousel.
NRS Extreme Relief Drysuit
The NRS Extreme Relief drysuit ($785) is a favorite of river guides for its comfort and breathability.
Bonus: reinforced Cordura on the seat and at the knees helps it withstand on-board thrashings.
GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition
Esquivel uses wearable action cams to document trips around the world. "I bring them everywhere," he says. The GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition ($400) is waterproof down to 131 feet, shoots 4K video, and takes 12-megapixel photos at speeds up to 30 frames per second.