Where are those essentials again?

I was just cruising through the blogosphere, checking out what other people were writing (paleo ice cream? Really? How is a mashed banana ice cream?) and read one woman’s blog of the five things she can’t live without. Lipstick, a handbag. Ho-hum. But it got me thinking, are there five main things I use in my daily outdoors life that I can’t live without?

Which is silly of course. I COULD live without them. This is a first world, salaried list. Also, it excludes stuff that I have to bring for safety, like first aid.  Or water. Or maps. That’s a given. Got it? Okay. Here they are without a lot of thought:

1. Running shoes. Because yes, I love my bike, I love my kayak, I love my skis. But if you have a pair of trail runners, you can always find somewhere to go. Even if you have to run in circles around a tiny track or walk on a block that houses pit bulls that snarl behind a fence, you can do something that isn’t dependent on parts, weather (mostly) or water.

2. A hat. I never used to wear a hat! Not ever. I wanted to be tan! Alas, the hatless years have caught up with me in the form of wrinkles. I’m so used to wearing a hat now that my eyes kind of hurt if I don’t have a brim outdoors. I possess two important hats: an ancient Nike one that I wear on every backpacking trip, and a lovely sun hat for the desert, something your Grandma might be seen in. Hats rule.

3. Little write in the rain notebook. I would never blog from the outdoors, or Facebook. I carried little books like this on the fireline, in my kayak on patrols, and on trail crew. I love reading back from decades ago about where I was, what I did, and who was there. Old school? Yes. I don’t care. I’ve also started novels, written lists refuting the Famous Ex Boyfriend List of My Faults, and griped about hiking partners in the privacy of my own notebook, which allowed me to calm down in peace.

4.  My point and shoot Lumix waterproof camera. I’m hard on cameras and this is the only kind that ever has worked for me. I’m not one of those picture-snappers who lingers long at viewpoints, but I like having my own record of the places I go. (I don’t do a lot of selfies, don’t worry.) I have several pictures of the same mountain, just because it fascinates me.

5. A Plan B. I know, not a thing. But very often my plans can get derailed. Too much wind on the lake for kayaking. Too much ice on the trail. Bike maintenance. I always have a plan in my back pocket for a way to salvage a trip. It’s flexibility, which is more important than any item I might carry.

And you? What items can you not live without? If you say lipstick, I promise not to laugh.