Gear Love

In this piece from Mountaineer magazine, we hear from our members on what their special piece of gear is.
Trevor Dickie Trevor Dickie
Content Associate
April 04, 2020
Gear Love

Forget about that special someone – let’s focus on that special something! We all have the pieces of gear we love above the rest. Things that keep you warm, safe, and comfortable. Take a moment to think about that piece of equipment you just couldn’t live without, and enjoy these love letters written by Mountaineers to gear they adore the most.

Dear Hiking Boots,

I wasn’t expecting to develop such a wonderful, lasting connection. From the moment I laid my eyes on you, I could tell we would visit some wonderful places together.

You always offered the best support. Never a blister nor a slip, even in the stormiest of conditions. You kept me safe and warm. I always looked forward to another season with you. But I’ve been noticing some changes recently. You seem a little worn down; a bit tired. I can’t tell if it’s from all the steps we’ve taken together or the wear of the difficult trails, but your sole seems tired. I worry you might not want to adventure much longer. Maybe we aren’t who we used to be.

I find myself admiring the flexibility and versatility of trail runners. I never thought I’d find another love like you, but I think it’s time we part ways. I hope there’s no hard feelings.

Love, Trevor



 Dear Kula Cloth,

Thank you for being the piece of gear I never knew I needed! I’ve spent years peeing outside. Alone. I’ve heeded the call of nature while watching the sunset on mountain summits and while trying to stay dry in sudden downpours. I’ve tried the shake-n-drip technique and I’ve wished for a well-timed breeze. But with you, my beautiful Kula, I never have to pee outside by myself again.

Thank you for helping me feel strong and confident in the outdoors. I love how easy you are to take on adventures, with your double-snap strap (allowing me to snap you closed for privacy if I desire). I love your reflective stripe so I can find you in the dark. I love that you are sustainable and made in the USA. I love that a fellow outdoorsy lady created you for us. And I love all your beautiful designs!

Thank you, Kula Cloth, for changing the way I pee outside.

Love, Katt


My Dearest Caldera Cone,

Every day I spend backpacking on the trail, I thank Trail Designs for creating you. Can you believe that we've been together for more than 7 years?

Other stoves are picky. Some stoves demand gas as white as snow. Some are as finicky as Goldilocks, rejecting anything but the perfectly balanced mixture of propane and butane. But you don't care. Your good nature will happily take denatured alcohol. You don't object to rubbing alcohol. When the availability of other fuels is scarce, you will even accept antifreeze from a gas station. And on special occasions, we can have a romantic evening fueled by high proof alcohol from the liquor store.

And your loyalty! I'm sorry I hurt you when I left you for a canister stove last winter because you do a poor job of melting snow. I will never forget that once the snow had melted, you welcomed me back into your loving arms. You also stood by me when I once stepped on you. Understandably, you did get a bit bent out of shape, but with a few nudges with my pliers, you were as good as new.

Others do not appreciate your magnificence. Land managers ban you because you have no shutoff valve and are a fire risk. Maybe you can start a forest fire when used carelessly, but your care keeps the flame in my heart burning eternal.

Oh, Caldera Cone! How I love thee! You are by far my most beloved gear.

Wait a second? I can go stoveless and save a few ounces? Sorry, Caldera Cone, I'm leaving you at home from now on. Warm food is overrated. It's not ultralight unless you suffer.

Love, Adam


Dear Kanpai Bottle,

My mind is always on what you carry for me, what you bring to the world just when I need it. You are there for me when it is scorching outside, carrying some mouth-watering ice cream, but when it’s freezing cold, you carry hot coffee for me. No one has made my life more wonderful than you. When I am away from the comforts of the worldly pleasures of a freezer or stove, you show up in my pack. I always know you have my back. The more time I spend with you, the more I find myself falling deeper in love with you and everything you hold. I love you — and I love us together.

Thank you for being there with me through the very thick and thin moments of life; on a glacier, on a rock face, and at a campsite.

Love, Ananth


Dear Freshette,

Before I met you, there were so many things I didn't like about peeing outside: 1) trying to keep my butt warm while taking care of business, 2) hiking a sizeable distance away from the trail/camp/group to ‘water a rock’ (I would never pee on trees, that’s not Leave No Trace), 3) taking off all of my layers, which can be okay on hot summer days but is especially bad in snow camping scenarios, 4) Returning to the lodge to use a restroom at a ski resort, 5) Splashing a little, a reality no matter how talented you are, 6) Asking myself if I should face uphill, or downhill, or maybe side hill (I still don’t actually know)?, 7) sometimes, choosing to under-hydrate or hold it for too long due to the aforementioned reasons.

Things I do not like about peeing outside as a woman since I met you: 1)

Look at that! There’s not a single entry on the list. Thanks Freshette, you’ve changed my life.

Love, Emma

Illustrations by Emma Switzer

This article originally appeared in our Spring 2020 issue of Mountaineer Magazine. To view the original article in magazine form and read more stories from our publication, visit our magazine archive.

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