wanigan gear readers essentials
A wanigan. (Inga Hendrickson)

The Things You Carry: A Warm, Naked Shower

Outside readers send us their favorite gear

wanigan gear readers essentials
Inga Hendrickson

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“My keys are attached to it,” says Kenton Lawson, of Ojai, California. “It also keeps my Nalgene bottle from rolling away under the seat of my truck and my hydration bladder from slipping down to the bottom of my pack. I’ve used it to secure a towline for a friend’s car and to add extra mechanical advantage when pulling a slackline tight. Most important, the wire gate fits perfectly over the top of a beer.” From $6; Black Diamond

“We’d always say, ‘It’s like having mother’s cupboard with you,’” says Brook Yeomans, of Jackson, Wyoming. “A wanigan is a traditional piece of canoe-camping gear with leather straps for portaging. You don’t see ’em around much anymore. My buddies and I built this one to carry our cook kit and other fragile gear. Table, seat, cutting board, wind block, gear organizer—it was always the focal point of our campsite.” 

“In the desert, water is king,” says Chris Benson, of Moab, Utah. “If I’m expecting to go two or three days between water sources, I usually pack two—a four-liter and a six-liter. This gives you redundancy—in case one fails, which is rare—and lets you keep the weight in your pack, where you want it. These puppies are durable and make other hydration systems look like fancy ziplock bags. With any new drom, I recommend getting a little bit of plumber’s tape to seal the threads of the two caps. Side note: a Nalgene lid works as a backup if you lose the original.” From $30; Cascade Designs

“My Leitz binocs have been to Africa, the Arctic, Alaska, and Hawaii,” says Rick Derevan, of Atascadero, California. “When I bought them 25 years ago, they cost a small fortune. But I’ve never looked back. For what amounts to about $20 a year, I have a super-sharp, perfectly built companion that brings the world closer every time I use them.”

“For a rock climber, every piece in the rack has a story,” says Erik Vance, of Oakland, California. “The Stregor was a tiny camming device, about a size smaller than a crack my fingers could fit in. I bought it at a store in Berkeley that was so classy it actually sold used climbing ropes. In truth, the Stregor was prone to sticking and hard to use, with questionable ’80s-era print on the slings. It was always my last choice. So whenever we used it, I or my partner let out a familiar cry: ‘Stregoooor!’ We used to say, ‘Stregor makes you stronger,’ because the piece was so ugly, you would do anything not to fall on it. And yet that little piece saved my butt more than all of my other gear combined. I came to respect that scrappy little cam and looked forward to hearing that call. And when the Stregor finally got stuck in a crack from which it would not leave, we had a moment of silence. Today, looking at my shiny, refurbished rack, I sometimes think of that crappy little cam that could. And inside I say, Stregoooor!”

“Because there’s nothing like a hot naked shower outside.” –Bear Carlson, Boulder

Limmers were Matt Keating’s standby kicks in college. Keating, of Littleton, New Hampshire, hiked all over South America in them, traversed the Grand Canyon, and even evaded a landslide on Vermont’s Jay Peak. “Now I teach college courses in backcountry skills,” he says. “I own my own gear shop. I’ve been through dozens of boots on hundreds of trips. The Limmers don’t even fit anymore, but I still can’t part with them.” $345; Limmer

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