Grab your gear and go. In the military, especially in Ranger School, you are taught and instructed to never have more than one item out of your ruck at a time. It was always entertaining to see some guy in the position next to me with both boots and socks off just as that fateful high pitched squeal of an artillery simulator kicked off. In school, you never wanted to be that guy.
As I’ve transitioned into civilian life, I still strive to never be the one that gets left behind because I didn’t have my gear in order. Many people have go-bags, medical kits, and emergency rations in their vehicles or homes, but neglect the fun stuff. There have been a couple of occasions throughout the years where I’ve missed out on a quick trip to the mountains or a last-minute adventure because I didn’t have my gear together. I vowed to never let that happen again.
The Adventure GO BAG
I previously kept two large Pelican Cases in the back of my truck for easy access to my gear on the go. This worked great for a while until I needed to transfer the gear to a friends vehicle or throw it on my back to pack into distant camp. I’ve since transitioned to three items for storing and transporting all my necessary adventure gear.
As the seasons change I will adjust the contents of my gear to the specific activities or sudden trips that may come up. Although most of the gear may change, the following is gear that never leaves my adventure go bag no matter the season:
- First-aid kit
- 1″ roll of Gorilla Tape
- 50 feet of 550 cord
- Fire starting gear
- Headlamp with extra batteries
- Stove with one small and one medium fuel canister.
- Bladder Filter
- Extra Nalgene
- Helmet – One helmet I can bike, ski, and climb in
- GOR-TEX Jacket
- Polartec Hoody
- Lightweight synthetic-fill hoody
- Weather resistant softshell pants
- Base-layer, top, bottom, and t-shirt
- Ranger panties
- 4 pairs of socks – I keep a mix of SmartWool, Darn Tough, Serket, and Wigwam. They all have different warmth, thickness, and a variety I like to choose from depending on the activity.
- Lightweight synthetic gloves
- Wool cap
- Flip Flops – Have to keep happy feet after a long day on the trail or the mountains.
*A sleeping bag should never be stuffed for extended periods of time and is therefore omitted from this list. With everything else packed it only takes a minute to stuff the bag and go.
Gregory Stash Duffle 115L
My go to duffle is the Gregory Stash Duffle 115L. The 115 liters of space allow me to throw in everything I need and have it ready at a moments notice. Having one large heavy-duty duffle for storing gear is essential. Too large and you end-up keeping it packed with more gear than you will ever use. Too small and you run out of room for trips and events that involve multiple sports and activities.
When traveling there is enough room to keep my primary backpack, summit pack, the gear listed above, and any additional equipment. In the winter this includes a baseline of alpine climbing or skiing gear (minus skis of course). Summer and fall allowing me to throw in rock climbing, mountain biking, or other backpacking necessities – the extra weight is worth it.
The Stash has a full length zipper that allows for easy access to all items and makes stuffing in extra gear a breeze. The built-in shoulder straps with reinforced stitching make this duffle pretty darn comfortable if you need to haul in a large quantity of gear. I did just that on a recent “find the rock climbing spot that no-one has been to before” trip. What was thought to be just a few hundred meter hike turned into over an hour of searching and plenty of boulder hopping to reach the crag.
This duffle behaved more like a pack and was able to haul all the necessary climbing gear, food, and water for an evening at the crag.
Gregory Stash Duffle Specs
- Big, large, huge, zippered opening to main compartment provides exceptional access to interior
- Can be carried with padded backpack harness straps or with traditional duffel-style handle
- Top of bag is padded for comfortable carry against back
- Zippered exterior pocket with key clip
- Compression straps on each end
- 4 tubular webbing grab handles
- 800 D Ballistic and 1680 D Ballistic Nylon main body materials
- MSRP — $109, but can be found for less online.
Gregory Alpinisto 50L
I own a number of packs and still use them for very specific purposes and when I have ample time to plan and pack. For my grab and go pack I’ve transitioned to the Gregory Alpinisto 50 liter as my do-it-all adventure pack. Although intended for alpine climbing, this pack is capable of multi-day trips in a variety of conditions. From three and four-day backpacking trips, long day hikes, or alpine climbing in the Cascades, this pack checks all the boxes.
Multiple accessory pockets, modern ice tool attachments, and a designated crampon pocket make this pack a do-it-all gear hauler. The comfortable waistband, ergonomic back panel, and side or top openings make this pack not only comfortable, but easy to access. For shorter adventures or for a day at the crag, the pack can be synched down. The crampon pocket is the perfect size for a guidebook or water bottle when not carrying a pair of crampons.
The material is burley and has multiple reinforced stitching points. The gear loops on the waist belt aid in organizing climbing gear while wearing the pack. If you dabble in a variety of outdoor sports and activities this pack may suit your needs as well. The weight, comfort, versatility, and competitive price make this pack a perfect all-rounder.
Gregory Alpinisto 50L Specs
- Stowable crampon pocket with puncture-resistant TPU panel
- Stowable, adjustable ice axe attachments
- Removable top lid, aluminum frame stay, HDPE framesheet, bivy pad, and hipbelt padding
- Top-loading design with side zip access to main compartment
- Removable lid pocket with occipital cutout and security pocket on underside
- Single wand pocket
- Hydration sleeve with locking zip hose port
- A-frame ski carry slots with sled pull loops
- Side compression straps with integrated ice axe retention
- Rope strap and emergency haul loops
- Expedition hipbelt with dual gear loops and ice clipper slots
- High-visibility exterior and interior liner
- Dual-layer HD nylon bottom panel
- Sizes: xs – L
- MSRP — $239, but can be found for less online.
CiloGear 20L WorkSack
Next to my pack and easily stuffed inside of my duffle is a CiloGear 20L WorkSack. If there is a better summit bag or pack for multi-pitch trad climbs, I haven’t found it. Based out of Portland, Oregon, these guys make every pack to order. Their small operation produces packs that are used and coveted by some of the best climbers and adventurers the world over. I know I’ve got this guy on my wish list.
When on a multi-day climb and you want to move fast to the summit and back, this is the pack to take. At only 330g (10 oz) this pack weighs next to nothing and packs down in into a larger pack until needed. I’ve used this pack on numerous occasions climbing throughout Oregon and California. On longer mountain biking days I used this pack with a hydration bladder and still had plenty of room for lunch, jacket, and other luxuries. The greatest benefit is how this pack rides on your back. It sits up high and between your shoulder blades. It doesn’t get in the way and makes access to a climbing harness a breeze.
CiloGear 20L WorkSack Specs
- Weight – 330g
- Material: Dimension Polyant VX07: 70d nylon ripstop laminated in a five ply sandwich with dacron X-Pac for rip resistance and structural stability. This fabric is 200 psi waterproof.
- Colors: black, red, grey
- Two side mesh pockets
- Inner ninja pocket for keys and other small items
- Inner sleeve that will fit a hydration bladder. I cut a section from an old foam pad to use as a bivy seat and it also protects my back from any hard or sharp objects.
- MSRP — $69
Overall, find what combination works for you. These are what I use today, but I may find something else that works better a week down the line. The most important thing is to always be prepared, have fun, and never miss out on an adventure again. Grab your gear and go. If you have an adventure go bag, let us know what you carry and why.
Check out this setup for more great adventure ready ideas.