Gear

Choose Your Gear

As an outdoorsy travel website, we use a ton of gear during our weekly travels around California where we do a wide range of activities. Our gear recommendations are organized by activity so you can easily find what you’re looking for.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our gear testing endeavors take us both into the wild and controlled environments. We’re serious about our recommendations: we don’t offer any paid promotions of products, we don’t have any AI content, and if we don’t like something we’ll tell you that as well.

In-The-Wild Tests: The best way to test gear is by using it on the trail/campground/beach/mountain. That means hikes on rainy days, trips to the mountains year-round, and sunny days at the beach. Okay… maybe these aren’t hard sacrifices.

Controlled Tests: Back at home, we’ve researched how to test for a variety of factors. We’ve thought up ways to test for traction, breathability, shock absorption, durability, waterproofing, and much more. Whatever the product is, we’ll test it out in our lab (i.e., our backyard) and you can check out videos of our experiments on YouTube.

Redwood Regional Park Photos
A female hiker stands on a dirt path through a dense grove of tall, thin, redwoods in Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park.
A woman standing on a wooden bridge over a creek on a Muir Woods Trail, surrounded by towering redwoods.

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Gear Guides

HOW DO I PACK FOR A WEEK IN CALIFORNIA?

Of course, what you pack depends on what activities you’re doing on your trip. No matter what, you’ll need comfortable walking shoes, a reusable water bottle, and layered clothing.

There is so much to see and do in California. Odds are, you’ll be on your feet. Sneakers are a must for sightseeing. Flats are also versatile and easy to pack for casual outfits and upscale dinners or all-day conferences.

Reusable water bottles are important for reducing waste from single-use plastic bottles. Not only will you save money by refilling your water bottle instead of buying new ones, but you’ll help protect the environment.

Be sure to pack for diverse weather. No, you don’t have to bring your winter parka to Miami Beach in August. However, be prepared for cooler temperatures in Northern California and mountainous areas, and bring a wrap in case a breeze picks up while eating coastside.

HOW DO I PACK FOR CALIFORNIA WEATHER?

As noted above, California is home to several regions, which have diverse climates.

Check the weather forecast while you’re packing, and bring layers.

CAN I TAKE BACKPACKING, SKIING, OR SNOWBOARDING GEAR ON THE PLANE?

For the most part, yes, you can take backpacking, skiing, and snowboarding gear on the plane.

Note that bear spray is not allowed in checked luggage or carry-on items. Follow airline regulations for knives and firearms.

Ski and snowboard gear bags are designed to protect your equipment while in flight. Typically, a set of skis, a helmet, and a boot bag are considered one “item.” Check with your airlines to be sure.

CAN I RENT OUTDOOR GEAR IN CALIFORNIA?

Yes! If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of traveling with your own gear, rent it in California. Be sure to arrange reservations ahead of time for the smoothest rental experience.

Most ski resorts have equipment rental packages. You can also rent camping and backpacking gear in LA, surfboards along the coast, and even jet skis at Lake Tahoe.

WHAT OUTDOOR GEAR STORES ARE IN CALIFORNIA?

REI is the easiest place to buy outdoor gear in California. We love their vast selection of camping, hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, and snow sports equipment.

California also has all of the name-brand stores that you would imagine, like Arc’teryx, North Face, and Columbia.

It’s also worth visiting local shops like Sports Basement in the Bay Area. They have great deals and donate to local charities.