We asked our favorite runners, skiers, bikers, and adventurers to name something that's in their bag every time they're on the road
We constantly see sexy Instagram photos of pro adventurers charging big lines or sitting in front of amazing vistas. But we rarely see what it took to get to those spots (the airports, the tuk tuks, the trekking). To find out how the pros make it through the hundreds, if not thousands of hours they spend on the road each year, I asked a handful about their favorite piece of travel gear.
Eric Larsen: Fisher Space Pen Zero Gravity ($34)
Larsen, who lives in Boulder, Colorado, is famous for his polar explorations. He always brings a pen to fill out customs forms and take notes as he makes his way toward either pole, but a typical pen won’t do. The Fisher Space Pen, pressurized to work in zero gravity, also works in temperatures down to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Unlike normal pens, this one doesn’t explode from sitting around in the frigid temps that Larsen can be in for months at a time.
Angel Collinson: Black Diamond Storm Headlamp ($50)
Collinson, a Utah-based big-mountain skier, always brings a headlamp when she travels. She likes the Storm because it has a locking mechanism that prevents it from turning on in her bag. The lamp came in particularly handy this winter while Collinson was heading home after visiting a friend in Alyeska, Alaska. She was packing her gear at a friend’s house but ran out of room on the living room floor and moved outside. As the sun went down and snow started to fall, Collinson turned on the headlamp to ensure she didn’t leave a crucial piece of gear in the driveway.
Jenn Shelton: Stuffed Woolly Mammoth Animal ($30)
Shelton, an ultrarunner who splits her time between Colorado and Italy, always travels with a small stuffed woolly mammoth that she named Mammoth. It was a present from Deena Kastor, another well-known runner. On the road, Mammoth serves as a pillow, a comfort blanket, and an icebreaker. “Seriously, people are much kinder when you are lost, clueless, and knocking them over with your oversized ski bag if you have an extinct furball under one arm,” Shelton says.
Eric Porter: Big Agnes Sleeping Giant Memory Foam Pillow ($40)
Porter, a Utah-based pro mountain biker, camps with this pillow out in the boonies, but he also takes it to every hotel because he thinks it has the perfect amount of loft. Porter hates ultrathick pillows that leave a crick in his neck and the packed-out pillows that don’t provide enough support. He also likes that he can guarantee the Sleeping Giant’s cleanliness. “When you are breathing through hotel pillows in other places, who knows what the life of that pillow has been?”
Sage Cattabriga-Alosa: The North Face Thermoball Booties ($80)
Oregon-based big-mountain skier Cattabriga-Alosa emailed me five suggestions for indispensable travel gear. I chose the Thermoball Booties, even though they’re from one of his sponsors, because I find them indispensable as well. “If it’s winter, down booties are your flip-flops,” Cattabriga-Alosa wrote. They’re not waterproof, but they do have a rubber sole and are packed with synthetic insulation, so you can wear them on the plane and then out to a snowy parking lot without having to worry about them getting wet. Thermoballs are also great for a hut trip and for après when your feet are tired of being in ski boots.
Mike Foote: Aeropress Coffee Maker ($30)
Foote, an ultramarathoner, is headed to the Dolomites in Italy next month to compete with the U.S. Ski Mountaineering team. Italy is one of the coffee capitals of the world, but Foote is still bringing his Aeropress coffee maker. Why? Because he relies on routine. Foote doesn’t want to waste time in the morning looking for coffee, and he doesn’t want to drink an unknown coffee that might upset his stomach before a race. His coffee of choice: the Vinyl blend from Black Coffee Roasting Co., which is just down the street from where Foote lives in Missoula, Montana.