What real outdoorsmen need their gear to be is tough and reliable—tools that can take a beating without flinching. The gear has to be made for those who aren’t afraid to get muddy and bloody. For those who feel more at home in a mountain cabin than at an overpriced espresso shop, quality outdoor gear is more than a mere novelty—it has got to perform.
The essential gear featured here includes some of the best equipment from brands whose rugged reputations are well-earned. When testing yourself against the elements, you aren’t one to compromise, so why should your gear? Arm yourself with proven products that won’t wilt in the face of a challenge. Wimps need not apply.
Gerber 36” Power Splitting Axe
If splitting wood and working the land are a way of life for you, and not just weekend fun, you need an axe that’s going to get the job done time and time again. Gerber’s 36” Power Splitting Axe is up to the task, with a black PTFE coating on the blade that ensures it slices through wood without sticking and a forged head that splits wood evenly. The balanced weight and easy grip handle make it a breeze to chop for hours, since every experienced woodsman knows that the axe that should be doing the work, not your back.
Mystery Ranch Backpacks
Mystery Ranch’s backpacks have earned a pedigree that other packs wish for. These American-made packs have been tailored for military, hunting, and wilderness fire fighting, but they also are excellent for backpacking and climbing. The same thoughtful design, bomb-proof construction, and no-nonsense engineering make them perfect for whatever your outdoors aspirations are.
Gerber’s StrongArm is a must-have in the wilderness. A flimsy knife will quickly be exposed in the backcountry. Rest assured, this knife’s sheathing system can be customized to keep your knife easily accessible. This set-up will not let you down in situations where a moment’s hesitation can be critical to survival. Made to last, this reliable blade is up for everything from camp chores to true backcountry survival situations.
Carhartt Firm Duck Double-Front Work Dungaree
There’s a reason that people who actually get work done are fond of Carhartt’s line of clothing: The stuff lasts damn near forever. The Double-Front Work Dungaree is just one of their many excellent products. If you’re working the land clearing timber, performing fire mitigation, or trail work, these sturdy pants will stand up to the branches, thorns, rocks, and whatever else would utterly abuse inferior pants. American made and affordably priced, Carhartts are a wise investment for those aren’t afraid of hard work.
Ruffwear Track Jacket
You may be a rugged individualist, but you wouldn’t think of planning your next wilderness adventure without your canine best friend. Ruffwear’s bright orange Track Jacket is perfect for hunting season or any situation where keeping an eye on your dog is important. The fit is comfortable and lightweight, meaning this vest stays firmly in place when its wearer goes running through brush. There are attachment points on the vest to add lights should your adventure continue after dark. For all-season visibility, this vest can’t be beat.
Princeton Tec APEX Pro Headlamp
Princeton Tec’s American made headlamps have been part of military kits for decades, and their outdoors line of lights are every bit as rugged. Waterproof, bright, and easy to use, the Apex Pro has multiple brightness settings so that you can conserve battery power in camp but light up the night if you’re on the move.
Rocky Ridgetop Waterproof Outdoor Hiker
Rocky boots are made in Ohio and have been the footwear of choice for many outdoorsmen since 1932. Besides their literally battle-proven military line, the company provides a line of hunting boots for warm and cold weather, and a solid line of hiking boots as well. The Ridgetop is a waterproof model that is light enough for year-round use, but tough enough for those who are willing to wander off trail.
Gerber Fire Starter
One skill that separates the men from the boys is the ability to start a fire, especially when the weather turns ugly. Staying dry and warm can be the difference between life and death – if you think you can count on soggy matches or a snow-clogged lighter, you may find yourself cursing for hours during unexpectedly cold, wet nights. Be prepared. Gerber’s Fire Starter uses a metal striker to kick off a bright, hot spark that can be counted on in any situation. The lifetime warranty means this safety device is guaranteed to join you on countless adventures.
Yeti Rambler Bottles
Yeti’s coolers and packs are nearly indestructible, a reputation that has made them a vital accessory on river outings, camping adventures, and hunting trips. The Rambler bottles take the same approach—built to last with American made pride. A water bottle may seem like an arbitrary piece of gear until, of course, you shatter a flimsy plastic bottle on a rock. You won’t have to worry about that with the Rambler series. These stainless steel, vacuum-walled bottles ensure hot things stay hot and cold things stay cold. And they’ll last long enough to be handed down to your children.
Garmin Oregon 600 GPS / huntX Maps
While smartphone navigation apps are fine for frontcountry use, using them in deep backcountry situations will ensure you return home with a very expensive paperweight—if you can find your way home. Garmin’s waterproof Oregon 600 is compatible with detailed topographic maps and doesn’t rely on a data signal for accurate tracking. The rugged touchscreen is easy to use, even with gloves on, and the low-power mode lets you track your adventure without draining your battery. It’s worth mentioning that the Garmin line is compatible with huntX maps, which can be downloaded to the unit to show legal hunting areas and other vital information.
Originally written by RootsRated for Gerber Gear | Featured image provided by Gerrit Burow