On Sunday nights you will not find us lingering at the trailhead, or squeezing in a few more training miles. We are on the couch watching Game of Thrones. And we make no apologies: apart from the compelling character arcs and epic battle sequences, the series showcases activities you might find in Outside—mountaineering, wilderness trekking, and après luxury. (The carriages are absolutely #vanlife when you think about it.)
So we harnessed our staff’s gear and Thrones expertise to find the best equipment and accessories in Westeros. We tried to choose equipment that has an obvious connection to Outside’s world. (The ice tools Tormund and company used to scale the Wall are a perfect fit; Arya’s sword Needle and Jon’s Longclaw, not so much.)
“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground,” Cersei famously said. She’s right. And having the best gear can get you a seat on that cold, pointy Iron Throne.
(Warning: this article contains spoilers.)
#8: The Climbing Gear They Used to Ascend The Wall
Best For: Topping out on the steepest wall in Westeros.
A straight-handled tool isn’t the best choice for climbing vertical ice, but the picks on the Wildling axes are curved, which is a plus. And those crampons must be solid if Tormund can swing so he’s facing out from the wall without peeling right off. Given that the ropes are likely static and the climbers aren’t wearing harnesses, Ygritte would have surely broken her pelvis and back when she took that whipper. But hey, she has the best swing out of anyone in the group. And sometimes the best tool is whatever skill you can muster. —Will Egensteiner, senior gear editor
#7: The Humble Leather Strap
Best For: Everything.
No smart Westerosi lets anything come between themselves and their trusty blade, except for a good leather strap. Whether you want a classic cross-waist look or the more regal shoulder sling, it can be tailored perfectly to work with your body shape for a fast draw when Lannister patrols approach. Your horsehide ribbon needn’t be humble, either. It can be adorned with a variety of buckles and broaches to represent your house, showcase your fine tastes, or both. The leather strap was the standard well before Velcro or ski straps. It's almost as durable as Valyrian steel and holds up well even in the harshest of winters. —Ryan Van Bibber, senior editor
#6: Sansa’s Leather Jerkin
Best For: Flexing on your opponents.
This jerkin is incredible looking, and as we all know, we should dress for the job we want. Sansa is sending all kinds of powerful don’t-fuck-with-me energy with this look. But it’s not all style. The outfit is also a piece of performance outdoor gear. Leather offers water resistance—Winter Is Here, after all—and it’s durable. The downside of leather is that it doesn’t move with your body until it’s broken in, but this jerkin is ingeniously cut and plated top to bottom to allow full range of motion. Plus, the feather-like layering means extra protection from rough stone walls and weapons. The broad shoulders look badass and intimidating, but they don’t constrict Sansa when she’s swinging daggers, scrambling in the crypts, or just crossing her arms and making people feel small. —Abbie Barronian, assistant editor
#5: Cersei’s Wine Glass
Best For: Making political moves, day drinking.
Stainless and enamel drinkware is great for casual beers, but good wine deserves to be savored from crisp glass—especially after a long day of skiing (or plotting your next attack on the North). This is one thing that Cersei Lannister always gets right. It’s hard to picture her without a smirk on her face and her chalice in hand. We’re partial to our Yeti stemless glasses, but her preferred vessel is a stately chalice that looks like it possesses a satisfying heft, and its prunted detailing provides a nice grip even as control over the Seven Kingdoms slips away. We’ll drink to that. —Aleta Burchyski, associate managing editor
# 4: Dire Wolf
Best For: Protection; being the ultimate trail dog.
A dire wolf is not technically gear, but hear me out. As a woman who regularly heads into the wilderness solo, my trusted doggo companion (who has been compared to a white walker and a dire wolf on multiple occasions) is the only thing I can’t leave home without besides a sturdy pair of shoes. Koda protects me from harm and gives me peace of mind to tackle any challenge, no matter how daunting. Would Jon Snow be nearly as confident without Ghost by his side? Hardly. And we all know that Rickon and Bran would have fared far worse without Shaggy Dog and Summer. Since it’s my continued personal belief that Ghost, Nymeria, and a super pack of wolves will be a critical component of battles to come in Season 8, I say this counts as gear. After all, the lone wolf dies—but the pack survives. —Abbey Gingras, editorial assistant
#3: The Standard Issue Night’s Watch Cloak
Best For: Total warmth in the dead of winter.
There are moments when I feel like Jon Snow. I may not be as courageous or as talented with a sword as he is, but when I’m sitting comfy in my down parka during a snowstorm, I imagine myself in the Night’s Watch cloak he wears to patrol the Wall. Because when the Watch is scanning the border for Wildlings and White walkers for hours on end, they need the warmest insulation to maintain their sanity. And at 700 feet in elevation, the windchill at the Wall’s highest point must be brutal. I don’t quite know what the black furs are made of, but if everyone at Castle Black is wearing them, I trust that they are the toastiest in all of Westeros. —Jeremy Rellosa, assistant editor
#2: Gendry’s Shoes
Best For: Traction on snow.
In Season 7, Jon ordered Gendry to run from Beyond the Wall to Eastwatch to call for help. That’s… far. And although we don’t know exactly how quickly he did it, Gendry still managed to make it there alive. One thing is for certain: his shoes are damn tough. Gendry powered through thick snow and whipping winds to send that raven to Daenerys. And that wouldn’t be possible without some bomber waterproof shoes. They gave him the speed to sound the alarm, and as a result, allowed him to save many characters from the certain death. While most of us aren’t fast enough to wear Vaporfly’s, Gendry surely is. —J.R.
#1: The Valyrian Steel Dagger
Best For: Everyday carry, destroying ancient evil.
I’m going to make an exception here and rank a weapon. (If you’ve seen Season 8 Episode 3, surely you will understand why.) If you think about it, a Valyrian steel blade is like a beloved piece of discontinued gear. This type of steel is no longer forged, and the only way to make new weapons is to melt down old Valyrian blades. To some, this dagger might look like a burly EDC tool or a fishing fillet knife. But beneath its unassuming sheath, this blade plays a vital (or should I say deadly) role in the intertwined plot lines of the show. There are three known ways to kill White Walkers: by using fire, dragonglass, and Valyrian steel. Most recently, hometown hero Arya Stark takes advantage of this fact and plunges this dagger into the Night King’s belly at Winterfell. It was the stab that destroyed all White Walkers, as far as we know. And she used this dagger to do it. So, it gets my vote as an essential piece of Thrones gear. Can you imagine what a blade of this quality could do on the trail? —J.R.