2024 Outdoor Lovers Spring Gear Guide

2024 outdoor lovers spring gear guide

It’s spring again and time for my annual outdoor lover’s spring gear guide. I write one every year to showcase new products that have hit the market just in time for summer. I’m lucky to have individuals and companies reach out to me to try and test their latest gear.

In 2024 my spring gear guide includes some rugged pieces for the bikepacker that will keep your gear dry, a super lightweight sleeping pad that collapses into nothing and a down sleeping bag that keeps you warm but comes in at just 700 grams. I love The Remedy Pack – over the counter drugs packaged in small doses for common aliments, the Swiftwick socks that keep your feet dry and the Solight, a brilliant new product that can light up your tent, yard, kid’s bedroom – and charge your phone at the same time.

I’ve included a couple of newly released books that hikers and backpackers will want to add to their guidebook collection.

This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a qualifying purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you very much for your support.

Swiftwick Socks

Swiftwick’s Pursuit Seven Merino wool socks are a winner in my books. I’m super fussy about socks because if they’re too thick my feet overheat, and I get a lot of foot pain thanks to Morton’s neuroma.

These crew height socks worked – and I was thrilled. I wore them on the Bear Mountain hike in Sedona, along with a couple of shorter hikes and found them to be very comfortable. My feet didn’t overheat and never got sweaty. Even after a few days of hiking, the socks didn’t smell.

The socks retail for US$21.99 though you can get 10% off on your first purchase.

Wearing my comfortable Swiftwick socks on the Bear Mountain hike in Sedona
Wearing my comfortable Swiftwick socks on the Bear Mountain hike in Sedona

Solight – an amazing solar powered lantern

Solight – the world’s first solar-powered inflatable lantern that is also waterproof is one very cool product that I’m thrilled to show off in the spring gear guide. The lanterns are built with PET Sailcloth material so the lanterns can stand up even in very harsh conditions.

The Megapuff solar lantern is lightweight, and folds flat into a six-inch by six -nch square. It can be charged quickly with a USB hookup to the computer or in bright sun in 10 hours. It can also be used to charge your phone.

My Megapuff has six different light colours – four shades of white lights, red lights, and red blinking lights. It’s easy to toggle between them to find the one that suits your mood. They are perfect for camping as you can hang in your tent. Buy several and thrown them around your garden or hot tub. For kids that are scared of the dark, they’d be a great product.

The Solight was nominated for a USPTO Patents for Humanitarian Winner in 2018. In addition, Popular Mechanics called it one of the top solar products of the year.

They have other versions including the Solar Puff and the Solar Helix – which are good for camping or backpacking, and the Solar QWNN light is for those of you who want to keep your devices charged as its powerbank holds a full phone charge.

The Megapuff solar lantern with a solar phone charger
The Megapuff solar lantern with a solar phone charger
The Megapuff solar lantern in warm white

MEC Provincial Handlebar Roll

MEC’s Provincial Handlebar Rollis a new take on a handlebar bag. The top and bottom panels are made of a rugged very waterproof 300-denier polyester while the body is 200-denier recycled nylon. with a heavy-duty water-resistant coating.

It took my husband and I a few tries to figure out how to configure the bag as it’s really one long open bag with closures at either end. Once we caught on to rolling up each end and tying it off with the buckle it was a snap. You can literally take it off or put it on your bike’s handlebars in 30 seconds or less.

The bag is perfect for stuffing tools, a jacket and a lunch. The front zippered section can fit a cell phone and a protein bar. If you need your jacket quickly, put it in the bungee cargo net at the front of the handlebar roll.

If you’re into bikepacking or you ride muddy trails on mountain or gravel bikes, this would be a great addition to your bike gear – and perfect for biking to the Mount Romulus Campground as an example.

MEC's Provincial Handlebar Roll bag for bikes
MEC’s Provincial Handlebar Roll bag for bikes

MEC Provincial Saddle Pack

I’ve put theMEC Provincial Saddle Packto good use many times this spring including on a two-day 110 km bike ride on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes in Idaho. It’s a workhorse and perfect when the weather goes south.

Around Calgary I use it to carry extra clothing or things I’ve purchased while doing errands. But this is a piece that is ideal for all you bikepackers as it’s big enough that you can stuff the MEC Spark 2.0 2- person tent inside it.

The saddle pack is made of the same materials the handlebar bag is made of – 300 denier polyester and 200 denier recycled nylon, again with waterproof coating for a super water- resistant bag.

The saddle bag attaches securely around the seat post and to the bike rack. The bungee netting on top is good for other light gear such as a jacket or even a tarp. There is a light loop for mounting a flasher on the back of the bike too. It’s a tough bag that will last you a long time.

MEC's Provincial Saddle Pack can hold the MEC Spark 2-person tent
MEC’s Provincial Saddle Pack can hold the MEC Spark 2-person tent (my bag is dirty from my recent bike rides)

MEC Aphelion UL-7C Down Sleeping Bag

If you’re trying to lighten the weight of your backpack MEC’sAphelion UL-7C down sleeping bagis a must. Weighing in at just 700 grams, it’s filled with 900 fill down to keep you warm to -7C. The bag has been treated with a water repellent finish so it can shed light moisture.

The sleeping bag was lightened by using a half zipper only. For those of you that are always cold and stay snuggled up, that won’t be a problem. I get hot easily, even when it’s snowing, so what worked best for me was throwing my feet in the bottom half of the bag and using the rest of it like a quilt. I was never the least bit cold.

I loved the size and the softness of the sleeping bag and would absolutely use it in any trip where weight mattered – cue the North Coast Trail on Vancouver Island and Kluane National Park this summer.

My Mexican dog loved the sleeping bag/sleeping pad combo and raced to get on it
My Mexican dog loved the sleeping bag/sleeping pad combo and raced to get on it
I was cozy in the sleeping bag too
I was cozy in the sleeping bag too

MEC Vectair UL 3-Season Insulated Sleeping Pad

Over a May long weekend I tried out theMEC Vectair UL 3-season insulated sleeping padon a backpacking trip up the Little Elbow River in Kananaskis Country. We woke to snow so that will give you some idea of temperatures.

First off if you’re trying to pack lightly this is the sleeping pad for you. It weighs just over a pound and scrunches up into nothing as you can see in the photo below. What a space saver compared to earlier sleeping pads!

After you get the sleeping pad blown up by way of pushing air into a valve (it took some getting used to, but my husband was fast), you end up with 10 cm of cushioning. The dog loved it!

The pad is made of a brushed polyester that doesn’t crinkle and make noise when you flip about. What it does do is reflect the heat back to you via an internal mylar film. I was never the least bit chilly in the tent – and I was very comfortable. The only negative I would say is that it’s a bit more slippery that my old sleeping pad. But this will be joining me on the next seven backpacking trips I have planned this summer.

See how small the Vectair UL 3-season sleeping bag is in relation to previous models
See how small the Vectair UL 3-season sleeping bag is in relation to previous models
In the spring gear guide I showcase the Vectair UL 3-season sleeping pad that its in the palm of your hand
The Vectair UL 3-season sleeping pad fits in the palm of your hand

The Remedy Pack

I’m not a person to push drugs but I love The Remedy Pack – am emergency travel pack of medicines for mild aliments and commonly used medications. I think it’s ideal for someone like me where space is an issue when you travel or backpack. What a treat to have just a few pills rather than a whole bottle of something you might need. No more night runs to find a pharmacy that is open in the middle of the night.

Designed by a pharmacist mom in New York City, the idea is to make common over-the-counter medications compact and to have information that is clear and understandable for people over the age of 12.

Each box – sold for $US38 comes with 2 – 4 doses of individually wrapped medication in child resistant packaging to get you through tough times. The bundle covers sleep, cold and flu, heartburn, diarrhea, motion sickness, cuts, burns and skin rashes, fever, muscle aches, menstrual cramps, indigestion and toothache.

The 2024 spring gear guide includes the  Remedy Pack with over the counter medications for 10 common aliments
The 2024 spring gear guide includes the Remedy Pack with over the counter medications for 10 common aliments

The Garmin InReach Mini

I’m including the Garmin InReach Mini again in the spring gear guide as it is a lifesaving piece of equipment that is on sale at MEC for $399.99 until June 20, 2024. It’s usually $539.99. It’s a must have if you’re doing a lot of paddling, hiking or backpacking trips in the wilderness.

My Garmin InReach Mini2 - one of the must haves in my spring gear guide
My Garmin InReach Mini2

A couple of books you won’t want to miss in my spring gear guide

40 Days & 40 Hikes – Loving the Bruce Trail One loop at a Time by Nicola Ross

40 Days & 40 Hikes is a wonderful read as its part love story around Nicola’s experience hiking the Bruce Trail and part guidebook in that there are maps and field notes.

You’ll find the notes peppered with stories and drawings, so you don’t even have to hike to enjoy this book. I can see why it’s on the bestseller list! Perhaps you’ll be inspired to follow her footsteps and hike 950 km in 52 self-supported loops over three months. I know I am.

You canpurchase it on Amazon here.

40 Days and 40 Hikes on the Bruce Trail - a great read and guidebook for my spring gear guide

Backpacking on Vancouver Island

Taryn Eyton’s second book –Backpacking on Vancouver Islandis a winner and as it’s been out less than two months it’s perfect for the 2024 spring gear guide. It’s very well-researched with loads of details (including best months to go, fees, regulations, caution…) and lots of inspiration for your next Vancouver Island hiking adventure.

I discovered loads of new trails that I’d love to backpack – like the Augerpoint Traverse, Della Falls, and Keeha Beach. I bet you’ll find lots of fresh trails and trips to do too.

Backpacking on Vancouver Island by Taryn Eyton

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