The best stuff you don't even notice. It stuff that does exactly what it says on the stuff's tin. The even better stuff does several things meaning you carry less stuff. This is my top stuff this year:
- Dermatone Lip Balm - PTC* unwittingly put me on to this one. I use lip balm everyday, especially outdoors and in the cold. This stuff works better and lasts longer than every other brand I've tried. It also acts as a sunscreen and moisturiser in an emergency although I carry a tiny 0.4oz tube of Dermatone's Lips 'n Face variety for this task in the summer.
- Original Buff - Once you get past the dork on the video on loop in the big chain outdoors retailers you realise this company is on to something good. The Buff is more than a practically weightless tube of stretchy material, it's a hat, scarf, water pre-filter, mini towel, goggle cleaner, pot lifter, sweat band, balaclava, sponge, sun protector, etc, etc..... Buy all means buy one that supports your favourite charity but be advised, there is only ONE acceptable colour Buff to be seen out in the hills in and that my friends is black.
- Montane Lite-Speed - almost NEVER gets left behind. The perfect jacket. Windproof, breathable, stands up to light rain, ridiculously light and the perfect cut (as long as you didn't eat all the pies). Turns a baselayer into a midlayer and turns a midlayer into a softshell. What most people don't realise is that it turns the ubiquitous hiker's waterproof jacket into something that you only have to wear when it's actually raining hard so saving you from wearing an expensive portable sauna. It does all this for 165g/6oz and £45.
- Nalgene Wide Mouth 16oz water bottle - Another multifunctional gem. Use it as water bottle, a measuring jug (crucial to prevent your Wolffish and arctic prawns in dill sauce from turning into fish soup), a hot water bottle, a thermal mug and as a pee bottle when you're trussed up like a turkey in a bivy bag.
- OMM Adventure Light 20L - Most daypacks these days already weigh a chunk before you've put anything in them with all their technical wizardry and funky back suspension systems. Behold the AL20, 510 feathery grams of daypack perfection that cuts through all the techno fluff and simply holds stuff on your back, really well. Simple, functional, supportive, stable, easy to use and adaptable.
So there you go. A bunch of stuff that makes running around the hills, mountains and forests more fun and that's the whole point isn't it?