Where I grew up as a child, the forest was very close. For us, neighborhood kids the outdoors was our playground. Every day after school we were outside and disappeared into the woods. We built huts, small lean-tos, tree houses, dugouts, made fires, picked berries, and mushrooms. In winter we build snow houses. Great childhood, lots of fun. We knew the animals, we knew the plants and the trees that grew in the woods, we all felt like little rangers. This time was formative and today I feel very connected to nature, probably because of this childhood.
I was only 7 years old when my parents took me to the mountains for the first day hikes. Every year my brother and I had to go on vacation with my parents, and we always went to the mountains where we hiked and stayed in mountain huts. I didn’t like it at first because I didn’t find anything special in it as a child. We did drive a long time, just to be in nature? At home, I had the same.
Later when I was in my early teens we went on multi-day backpacking tours through the wilderness. That’s when I caught the bug.
In the last couple of years, I haven’t had as much time to get out as I want. But whenever there is the chance I take it. I appreciate nature and the outdoors, being away from the hustle & bustle of the daily routine, and just stay connected to what we are.
The best gear helps, but it is not all that matters!
Don’t waste your money on cheap hiking gear. You need to be able to rely on your gear in any situation. For that, you have to get the best hiking gear that fits the tour and environmental demands. It may have to be light-weight, of small pack size, robust and durable, etc.
Never forget that even with the best outdoor equipment you cannot be prepared for all eventualities. Incalculable conditions, such as extreme weather, natural disasters, equipment that breaks, animal attacks, injuries, etc., are just some of the things that need to be mastered with improvisation and the will to survive.
The best gear can be useless if you don’t know what to do with it. Your outdoor and survival knowledge and your foresight may be worth more than the most expensive and best hiking gear.
Good outdoor gear for hiking, mountaineering, and outdoor adventures needs to be chosen depending on the season, on the weather to expect, as well as on the nature and duration of the tour. In addition, the difficulty of the hike, as well as the altitude, the terrain, and other factors such as constitution and fitness, must be taken into account.
The best outdoor gear
The best gear is designed for functionality, reliability, lightweight, and minimal pack size in mind. But is there actually such a thing as the ‘best outdoor gear’ for every conceivable occasion? No, not really.
What’s best and what you need depends primarily on the type of outdoor activity. It makes quite a difference whether you go hiking, or on a backpacking tour or even a multi-day trekking tour in extreme environments.
The difference between hiking vs backpacking vs trekking
Hiking is recreational walking outdoors on a path or on hiking trails. A hike takes a couple of hours or starts in the morning and ends in the evening. The hiking equipment for day hikes is basic as it only needs a couple of things for a day.
Backpacking is a hiking activity that stretches from several days to weeks along known trails and where all the equipment is carried in a backpack. Sleeping may be in tents or in cabins along the way. The pack list may include food, water, clothing, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tent, stove, and cooking utensils. Lightweight gear and small pack size are important.
Trekking is hiking into secluded areas of unspoiled nature away from civilized areas and infrastructures such as roads or paths. A trekking tour may last several days to weeks at a time. Sleeping is in tents or makeshift shelters. All gear needed considering the weather and environment as well as all food must be brought. Compared to going on day hikes, trekking is a much more demanding challenge. Trekking in remote and difficult-to-reach areas requires the best outdoor gear that is always reliable and functional. The ability to improvise, nature, and survival knowledge are skills you should bring with you.
An expedition is trekking and exploration into very remote regions. Here you need the best equipment and wilderness skills and survival skills.