What is Your Favourite Piece of Gear?

We all have our gear favorites: an item or two that perfectly solves an outdoor problem, or fits perfectly, works like nothing else, endures forever. Maybe we bought it, maybe we made it. Whether we climb, sea kayak, backpack or manhaul, we all have items like this.

We’d like to find out yours and share it with the ExWeb community. Send us a photo of it and about 300 words on what it is and what makes it so good. We’ll publish the best ones.

To illustrate, I first bought one of my most beloved items — related, of course, to arctic travel — from a Quebec company when I lived in Montreal. The company was just starting out, and the imaginative young owner designed some of the best winter camping gear in the world. It includes a pair of soft camp boots that were called, in French, supermoufflons.

Camp booties, both down and synthetic, are common, but supermoufflons came up to the knee and were three times thicker than other models. I snapped them up for my first winter arctic expedition, and they kept my feet warm around camp even at -50°. Nothing else on the market comes close. Combined with an expedition parka and insulated pants, they allow me to comfortably do chores around camp or to sit in the tent without huddling half-under the sleeping bag.

Every few years, I’d replace the boots, but eventually, of course, they fell out of the company’s line. The company itself changed. Sadly for us winter lovers, the owner realized that his business couldn’t go far producing great winter camping gear. He phased that out, and now they make town-and-country wear. It’s probably pretty good, but still…

Most cities even outdoor-oriented towns have small businesses that do warranty repairs on gear, but they also do custom sewing. Eventually, I turned to them to replace the supermoufflons when necessary. I’d show them the old, ratty, well-worn model and ask for something similar. Although I haven’t tried this, it may also be possible to combine Western Mountaineering’s sock-like Flash Down Booties inside their XL-sized Expedition Booties. The combination would be equivalent to the supermoufflons.

Tell us about the gear you love and send your photo and write-up to jerry@explorersweb.com.

Jerry Kobalenko is the editor of ExplorersWeb. Canada's premier arctic traveler, he is the author of The Horizontal Everest and Arctic Eden, and is currently working on a book about adventures in Labrador. In 2018, he was awarded the Polar Medal by the Governor General of Canada.

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Damien Francois
Damien Francois
2 years ago

Down jackets, no doubt.

2 years ago

Jerry, that is a very hard question. There are favs for cold weather, survival, hiking, jungle,……geez. I guess my fav that I use the most would have to be my Salomon hikers. Absolutely the very best all round for rough terrain. Mud, slick rocks, jumping, sliding, clay mud, falling down a mountain, briar killers, snake sprinters, and giant big stompers. They WIN!!!
(Even great if you are on a steep mountain and accidentally pee on them. Ta-Da, waterproof!)