When it comes to gearing up for an adventure vacation, most guys worry most about the weight of their bag. The current obsession with the lightest backpack, shoes, and shirts almost borders on neurosis. We don't sweat the pounds so much. Instead, we focus on three qualities: utility, durability, and mobility. If an item doesn't function well, hold up, or pack easily, it doesn't belong in our bag.
With those requirements in mind, we set out on a weeklong international adventure trip. We camped, stayed in hotels, trekked, ran, and saw sites without ever putting down our pack. Sure, it was a few pounds heavier than our buddy's featherweight setup (we'd prepared for the trip with squats), but we were better prepared. And we eliminated things as we went in order to leave ourselves with just the essentials for the ultimate adventure travel kit. Here's what we couldn't bring ourselves to leave behind.
Gerber Diesel Multi-Plier
If you're carrying your bag on, skip this item unless you want to give a TSA agent a gift. But if you check your bag, a good stainless steel multitool is indispensable on an adventure vacation. We like this one because its tools lock into place and can be deployed with the flick of a wrist. Use the knife to cut food on a picnic, the saw to rip through kindling for a campfire, and the pliers, screwdrivers, and scissors to make small repairs. [$74; gerbergear.com]