One of the first purchases we made when we moved to Flagstaff two years ago was hiking gear at our local REI. Although my husband and I are Arizona natives, it took us living across the country to truly appreciate spending time outdoors. When we lived in Phoenix, we would never think about taking day trips up north, even though there are hundreds of hiking trails and parks to explore. But when we lived in Buffalo, we frequently took day trips to other cities, state parks, and nearby hiking trails to spend time in nature. Our rock climbing gym that we had a membership at was in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, a two-hour round trip across the border.
So when we moved back to Arizona, we had a newfound appreciation for the outdoors and were excited to explore our mountain town. Our daughter was only 6 months old at the time, so she mostly slept in the baby carrier, but now that she’s older, going out is quite the adventure.
Here are our essentials that we don’t leave home without. We may not bring everything with us on the trails, but everything is in our car, just in case.
- Osprey Pogo AG Plus Child Carrier – This is the second carrier we purchased. We had the model just below this one, but we found this one at an REI sale and decided to upgrade for the extra padding and the ability to add in a Camelbak Bladder for extra hydration.
- Men’s Polarized Sunglasses – These are my husband’s shades of choice.
- 40 oz. Hydroflask Wide Mouth w/ Straw Lid – Each of us has a hydroflask that we use daily. We like the straw lid because you can drink it using one hand (not having to twist off a lid), and our daughter can, too.
- Patagonia Hat – We have a variety of hats, but Patagonia’s are always a good choice.
- Prana Sutra Pant – My husband wears these pants for everything — hiking, climbing, yard work, and probably more often if I’d let him!
- Men’s Salomon X Ultra Low 2 GTX Hiking Shoes
- Wide Brim Straw Panama Hat – I have a weird sized head and most hats don’t fit me that well, so I usually go for the wide brim hats that give me a little more shade than a normal hat.
- Sunglasses – My shades of choice from Warby Parker.
- Women’s Salomon Ellipse GTX Hiking Shoes – I was looking for an ankle shoe that gave me good traction. It was hard for me to figure out if these were a good fit in the store, but thankfully REI’s return policy allowed me to try them out risk-free. These have been great for what I need.
- Mountain Buggy Terrain Stroller – I own three strollers. Why does someone with one child need three strollers? Well, you know. One for grandparents’ house, one for daily use/travel, and one for the mountains and trails. We love this stroller and use it all the time.
- Kids Hat by Jack and Winn – I recently found this brand on Instagram and thought the hats were the cutest. I got my daughter a pineapple one, a beach waves one, and a doggy one. They’re having a great sale for the 4th (20% off or 3 for 50) right now, so keep an eye out for that. My daughter loves them.
- Gathre Medium Purpose Mat – We have a medium-sized play mat from Gathre, which has been really great for all kinds of activities. We took it with us climbing at Priest Draw when it was snowy and muddy and it protected the kiddos from the ground. We’ve taken it with us to the beach and to grassy lawns and my daughter uses it inside when she’s painting, too. We hose it off with water and let it hang dry on our deck and it’s good to go for the next adventure.
- Kids Camelbak Eddy .4L Water Bottle – We have a few of these for our daughter. Usually, she drinks out of our Hydroflasks, but when her independence strikes and she needs her own, then we bring along one of these. Lots of fun designs!
- Kids Keen Shoes – Perfect for everyday outdoor exploration. These are comfortable and cute. My daughter also wears them climbing and they give her good traction.
- Meiji Hello Panda Biscuits – You can pick these up at Target in the Asian food section. Fun little treat for kiddos when they need a break or need to be encouraged to keep going . . .
- CamelBak Antidote Lumbar Reservoir – For the longer hikes, we bring our bladders along, one in each of our packs.
- Osprey Women’s Pack – This pack became my diaper bag when Tilly was younger, storing diapers, wipes, pacifiers, pouches, and snacks.
Hope this has been helpful. I’d love to know more about what your essentials are outdoors!