Staff Gear Favorites: Part 1
Your favorite piece of gear can be like a good friend. You might only see it a few times each year, but it can feel like no time has passed. RRT’s staff has many gear favorites; here are some pieces in particular that have won our affection year after year.
Will – Mystery Ranch – Coulee 25
Toss in a harness, climbing shoes, quickdraws, and high-calorie snacks. Strap a helmet on the outside and drape a rope over my shoulder, and I’m set for a day at the crag. A week later, I’ve got a puffy, rain shell, water filter, and Twizzlers stuffed in the same pack. The Mystery Ranch Coulee 25 carries it all with ease. It’s not often that I meet a do-it-all bag for the crag, trail, or town, but the Coulee falls into that category in a durable, nearly bomb-proof package. I’ve taken this pack to the summits of Katahdin and Mt. Washington, to the rolling hills of Shenandoah, and the cliffs of New and Red River Gorges. I’ve abused and loved this pack for upwards of four years and it still looks like it just came off the shelf. I never seem to be able to stuff it full, but with a rigid, adjustable frame it carries well no matter how many layers I over-zealously, over-cautiously, or over-thinkingly overpack. I know I’ll demand more from this pack in the years to come. With the Mystery Ranch name behind it, I know the Coulee will stand up to every snowfield, talus slope, and ascent I dream of.
Dalton – Rab – Pulse Hoody
Have you ever run out of space in your day pack and had to leave a crucial layer behind? Have you ever been a bit too cold but too lazy to put on another layer? Did you curse yourself for not putting on enough sunscreen? The Rab Pulse Hoody solves all those problems and more. This hoody has been a major part of my outdoor wardrobe for the past three years. It is an incredibly packable piece of gear, but it is rarely ever packed since I am almost always wearing it the moment I step onto the trail. This hoody has traveled with me for hundreds of miles in more states than I can count. It has been my go-to for summer 14ers, camp pajamas, and multi-day backpacking trips. It is so light I don’t overheat on summer days, but with the sleeves rolled down it gets me through alpine starts without shedding layers.
*New for Spring 2022, the Pulse has been updated as the Force Hoody
Ben – Helinox- Chair Zero or GSI – Spatula
My favorite gear is either my GSI Spatula or my Helinox Chair Zero. I love my spatula because I can make my friends grilled cheese or pancakes on the trail. It’s also the most extra thing you’ll ever see a guy pull out of his cooking kit on trail. My Chair Zero comes in as a tie for my favorite, because when all the plebes are sitting on the ground with rocks up their butts I’m in a comfy, cozy seat with a dry butt and relaxed legs. It is my luxury item, but it’s for sure worth the extra pound in my pack.
Bryan – Bedrock Sandals – Cairn/Cairn 3D
I have been a diehard fan of minimalist footwear for over ten years, so Bedrocks were an easy choice. There was no break-in period for me. They have been my go-to, day-in, day-out shoe for five years now (winter excluded) on trails, waterways, or towns. It is refreshing to see a company do everything so right, from manufacturing to distribution to function and accountability. The heavy arch-pushing sandal never worked for me, so I’m happy to have my solution.
Olivia – The Tent Lab – The Deuce #2
I love my deuce for many reasons, but I’ll give you the quick fix. One: it is the proper size to measure your cathole (watch the tutorial on how to dig; it’s worth it). Two: it feels good in the hand and can wrap around a Nalgene bottle to save space. Three: it’s sturdy AF; you could dig a grave with that thing. Four: it’s lightweight and comes in a rainbow of colors.
These gear favorites have pleased our staff for years of adventures. Odds are, they’ll soon become your favorite too.
You can look forward to more amazing gear selections from our staff in Part 2 of this series.