Updated: Jan 5
We're down to the wire for gift buying this year. If you’re still searching for a few last-minute things, we compiled this list directly from our founder Matt Smith’s gear closet. If you don’t know Matt, he doesn’t mess around when it comes to his outdoor stuff, so trust his personally curated list. Also, check out his ammo can post, compiling the must-have gear that he never leaves home without.
1. Garmin InReach Explorer+ First up is the go-to satellite communicator. This comes with a steep price tag, but it is worth every penny when you need it. On top of the initial price, you are required to subscribe to a data plan ranging from $12 to ~$50 per month. A few years ago, there was a rattlesnake bite on one of our trips. We could have called in air support several hours earlier if we had one of these. In those moments, the price tag is irrelevant. Once it’s in your bag, it makes a beautiful companion for sending the 👌 signal home from the wilderness on a multi-day. There are two models, and both hook up to your cell phone. The screen adds a piece of mind if you lose your phone.
2. Ultimate Ears Megaboom3 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker Ok, so the Garmin was a sticker shock. At $165, these little speakers put out great sound and last for days. It’s a standard companion on rafting trips and keeps the armada entertained all day long. Expect a few days worth of sound before recharging via USB adapter, or read on for portable chargers. The bonus is in the size of this little guy. It fits in an ammo can, which is why it makes Matt’s list. Some bigger models have a larger blast radius if that’s your jam.
3. Goal Zero Sherpa 100 As the founder of a digital outdoor company, there is a lot to do when you're out on an adventure. Matt is constantly laying down GPS tracks, taking social media photos, curating playlists, writing reviews, and creating content. It all spends precious battery power. This is the go-to for Matt on adventures. It keeps the arsenal of battery-powered gear charged and ready for action. Recently, on a trip down the Salmon River, this charger kept two phones, a GoPro, SLR camera, Garmin Tracker, and speaker all topped up for five days. If you don’t want to be stuck without power and weight is not a concern, grab this dependable battery pack.
4. Goal Zero Nomad 13 Just in case the Sherpa runs out, or you find all you’re friends pirating your power in the night, a portable solar panel will give you the backup you need. Matt likes the Nomad 13, not for its size but the variety of adapters and the storage compartment. He keeps a variety of charge adapters in the netted pouch. There are bigger units that will charge faster, and Matt says he would look at those if he were back in the market.
5. Black Diamond Spark Mitts They are Cinderella’s glass slipper but reincarnated into a glove. These mitts are money and have been on Matt’s list for a few years. Ever since a buddy left a pair in his car after a ski vacation, he fell in love with the comfort and warmth of these little gems. No, he didn’t steal them, but he couldn’t stop trying them on. They are still on his Christmas list, maybe this year 🤞🏻. Lovely is the cozy fleece lining with internal finger pockets... yummy!
6. Ice Breaker Wool Base Layer Wool is making a comeback in base layers, and rightly so. Wool outperforms synthetics in virtually every way, not to mention synthetics contribute an estimated 35% of the microfibers in the ocean. Upgrading that old long underwear to wool will leave you happy and warm this winter. Icebreaker is Matt’s favorite brand due to their humane treatment of animals to their conscientious business practices. Read about them [here](https://www.icebreaker.com/en-us/our-story/our-story.html).
*Voormi HIGH-E Hoodie* It takes a lot to innovate in the outdoor apparel category, but Voormi is one of those brands breaking trail. They have created a line of wool products that look like a mid-layer but start to behave like an outer layer. Their innovative fabrics are environmentally conscious products are best in the show. You pay for it in the price tag, but they will not disappoint.
Tribe Pilot Content Team