MARK SIREK Administrator Posts: 313
edited February 20 in THE GEAR LAB

Words and Photos by @Abby_Evans - @abbigator53

We asked our friends and fellow adventurers across a broad spectrum of outdoor specialties to take a look in their gear piles and pick three items–one for each of the following categories:

MUST HAVE: Don’t go roam without it!

SHOULD HAVE: Maybe you can still get after it without one, but you should seriously consider adding it to your kit. 

WANNA HAVE: You’ll be fine without this, but dang, if you don’t wanna up your game by bringing one of these along.

We all love comparing and tweaking our gear lists, so without further ado, check out how their MSWs stack up with yours! 

NAME: Abbigale Evans

LOCATION: Richmond, Virginia

FOCUS IN THE OUTDOORS: Backcountry adventures, thru hiking, backpacking 

My MUST HAVE item: Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter

Why you MUST have it, too: It’s essential to filter water in the backcountry. The Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter features a lightweight way (3 oz!) to filter water efficiently. It clears 99.9999% of the bacteria most commonly encountered on backpacking trips. Knowing I won’t have to end my trip early due to Giardia from unfiltered water gives me peace of mind. I feel safe drinking from any water source with the Sawyer filter and don’t have to wait thirty minutes for iodine tablets to dissolve for me to have potable water. On my Appalachian Trail thru-hike, sometimes I would just sip straight out of the Sawyer Filter like a straw. Additionally, these filters can last through over 3,780,000 liters as long as you continue to backflush and properly care for them. 

My SHOULD HAVE item: Unbound 40 Hyperlite Pack

Why you SHOULD have it, too: This pack has some of my favorite features I’ve ever encountered. From its flexible back pocket that expands to hold my rain jacket, fleece, trowel, Sawyer backflush syringe, and baseball cap to its complete waterproof capabilities — it keeps my gear dry and compact. Additionally, it has a pocket on the underside of the pack that I can store all my food for the day in. One side of the pocket has a large opening, and the other side has a smaller opening — allowing me to easily grab food out of the large opening and stuff the wrappers into the smaller opening. I don’t have to wear a fanny pack or stop to eat a snack—I can just pull it right out of the bottom of my pack! This makes it my ideal companion for any backcountry expedition.

My WANNA HAVE item: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Mid 1 or Unbound 2P 

Why you WANNA have it, too: The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Mid 1 is an ideal lightweight shelter weighing in at only 16.80 ounces and is completely waterproof. The only dilemma with single-walled tents is that they tend to have a lot of condensation on the inside of the walls. However, this dilemma could be solved with the Unbound 2P, as you can keep your gear and yourself away from the tent walls with a roomier shelter. Both tents feature high bathtub walls to prevent any water from coming inside, keeping you and your sleep system dry. For both tents, set up is quick and easy—making it a great shelter for keeping you safe in the backcountry.

Abby Evans (Sh*twater Fireball Queen of the Salamanders) hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2023 and loves to write about gear and outdoor misadventures. They look forward to hiking the Pacific Crest Trail this coming summer and hope to triple crown before they're thirty. You can find them cutting their toothbrush in half, eating cold ramen and embracing the struggle on a trail near you! You can follow their journeys through their Instagram: @abbigator53.