Must Have Hiking Gear That Never Leaves the House

It sounds counterintuitive at first, but some of the best hiking gear I have never leaves the house.  No, I’m not talking about tents, packs, or boots.  I’m talking about those things that I use at home to make my field experience safer or more enjoyable.  Here is my Top 5 list of Must Have Hiking Gear that Never Leaves the House:

Food Dryer:  I’ve been drying food for a couple of months now and am admittedly still in the experimental stage.  Even so, my dehydrator has proven its value by expanding my available menu and saving a considerable amount of money.  For more information see my Review.

FoodSealer:  My vacuum sealer is another new addition to the gear closet and another that I wonder how I did without.  This simple machine extends the shelf life of foods and reduces the volume for storage and packing.  Volume is important to me as I have only so much storage space at home and often leave things off my packing list because I can’t fit them in my pack.  Of course you can use this for more than just food.  Want to keep items dry?  Vacuum seal them!  I’m thinking of putting together a small survival kit and sealing it (the bag can even be used as an impromptu water container).  Just make sure you have a knife handy to open the bag.

– Scale:  All backpackers are at war with gear weight.  So we obviously need a way to measure that weight.  If you just spar with weight or have the occasional skirmish then you may be able to get away with just a bathroom scale, but if you are a card carrying ultralight freak then you’ll want a food or postal scale that measures down to the gram.

– Computer:  For me, the computer has revolutionized hiking.  The ability to review gear, research trails and parks, and share stories, recipes, and packing lists with hikers from around the world without even leaving the house is absolutely wonderful.

– Coffee Machine:  OK, I admit that I included the coffee machine just because I couldn’t think of anything else, but I tend to procrastinate when it comes to packing and often find myself planning and packing into the wee hours the night before a trip.  If it wasn’t for several cups of strong coffee I’d never make it out the door the next day.

What items do you have at home that you find essential to your hiking life?

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Filed Under: GearHiking


About the Author: Tucson, AZ Realtor & Investor. My true passions however are hiking and whisky (although generally not at the same time). If you have a question about any of these just drop me a line!

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  1. Deb Lauman says:


    I’m really enjoying your blog and have a lot of catching up to do here, but I wanted to say in response to this post…

    My husband.

    Okay, so that’s a bit different than a computer, a food dehydrator, etc., but it’s true. We love to hike/backpack/camp together, but sometimes he can’t get away when I can (I don’t have a .. well, regular … job), but he’s so supportive and encouraging when I have an opportunity or urge to go explore a trail or canyon or mountain. Like this past week, when a friend who works for Grand Canyon National Park said, “Hey, want to go backpack with me for four days on the South Bass Trail and document archaeological sites? I’m leaving in two days.” And when I told my husband about the invite, he said, “That’s awesome, go for it!” (He had to work.) If it weren’t for his support, encouragement and his willingness to take care of things in my absence, there’s a lot of backpacking I wouldn’t have been able to do … like the Appalachian Trail for six months.

    Okay, sorry for the long-winded comment.

    • Desert Dog says:

      I like your perspective! Relationships are perhaps the most important thing in our lives, and when a relationship complements your other passions then life is good indeed.

      Enjoy the trip. I look forward to your write up.

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