Essentials: Tempest

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The wilderness can, at times, be very unpredictable. And while there’s not much you can do about getting caught in seemingly-random weather events, there are a few things you can do to prepare for that potential outcome — especially when it comes time to gear up.

In the grand scheme of preparation, there’s a hierarchy of things to consider. First, you start with the things that you know — the terrain, your intended route, the general climate of a region during a specific time of the year, etc. Following that comes the things you cannot predict — unforeseen roadblocks, rapid changes to the weather, and so on. You’ll never truly be able to prepare for every possible outcome. But you can certainly increase your own survivability by getting ready for a wide variety of external factors. And the gear you see here is definitely a step in the right direction, as it offers both mobility and versatility, it’s handsome yet functional, and it was built to take a beating.

Kershaw Launch 10 Automatic Knife

With its aggressive CPM 154 steel hawkbill blade and automatic deployment, Kershaw’s Launch 10 is a tough and speed-focused everyday carry knife that’s just as well-suited to normal cutting tasks as it is to tactical applications. Mate that with its sturdy push-button lock, tail end lanyard hole, and anodized aluminum handle and you’ve got yourself a formidable blade worthy of bringing into battle — even if that battle is against some run-of-the-mill paracord.

Purchase: $149

Izola ZYX 6oz Flask

Whether you’re taking a load off in the middle of a hike or you’re settling in at the campsite for the night, a stiff swig of something strong can help you relax and enjoy yourself. Of course, you’ll need something in which to haul your liquor of choice — which is where the Izola ZYX flask comes into play. Made from stainless steel and with six ounces of room, this screw-top flask will serve you well.

Purchase: $34

YETI Hopper Sidekick Dry Bag

Even if your duffel bag or hiking backpack is water-resistant, there might be some delicate tech or rust-prone gear you want to keep extra safe and dry. And that’s the perfect job for the YETI Hopper Sidekick dry bag. Made from the same materials as high-performance whitewater rafts, this bag is completely waterproof and tough as nails. It even has welded seams and a magnetic, waterproof Hydroshield closure.

Purchase: $50

Peak LED Solutions El Capitan Flashlight

Made specifically with professional adventurers in mind, the LED Solutions EL Capitan flashlight is water- and shock-resistant, has an indestructible polycarbonate window, and is compatible with a number of different battery chemistries for plenty of versatility. It’s also made in the USA, is small enough to attach to your keychain, and still offers up plenty of brightness.

Purchase: $60

Under Armour UA Syncline Fishing Sneakers

While, technically speaking, the Under Armour UA Syncline sneakers were made for fishing, we think that claim limits just how versatile they really are. You see, in order to make them suitable for fishing, they had to be made waterproof — lending them a good deal of weather-ready durability. But they also had to be made suited to rough terrains, like rocky river beds, which means they’re also solid hikers if the need arises. Pair that with the easy-to-use and secure Boa lacing system and these are some of the best outdoor sneakers we’ve seen in a while.

Purchase: $110

Benchmade 1100 Series Tactical Pen

Benchmade has imbued their 1100 Series Tactical Pen with the same top-tier expertise that has made them one of the greatest EDC knife brands on the market. Not only is it handsome but it’s tough as hell, too — thanks to a construction of aerospace-grade aluminum and a design that doubles as a self-defense tool — and it even comes with a Fisher Space Pen ink cartridge, meaning it can write upside-down, underwater, or in zero gravity. Plus, it comes with a lifetime guarantee against defects.

Purchase: $124

BRNLY Slingpop Pocket Slingshot

A modern and updated take on everyone’s favorite childhood toy, the BRNLY Slingpop Pocket Slingshot is elevated in both its form and function. Machined in the USA from solid anodized aluminum, it’s small but tough enough to survive just about anything. And while it’s excellent at firing 5mm ball bearings (of which it comes with 50), it also has a handy bottle opener attachment for more versatility.

Purchase: $140

AMABILIS Dave Sr Tactical Duffel Bag

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a duffel bag that’s more rugged and capable than the AMABILIS Dave Sr — named for fallen marine, Dave Ruiz. Not only is this bag built from waterproof tarpaulin, but it also features armor-plated Super Fabric in its construction — meaning this thing is practically indestructible. It also comes with military-grade hardware, has a hideaway internal security pocket, and holds up to 80L of gear.

Purchase: $219

Vollebak 100-Year Zip Up Hoodie

Literally built to survive for a century (or more, if you treat it right), Vollebak’s 100-Year Hoodie is constructed from the same ultra-rugged fabrics used in body armor, aircraft carriers, and spacesuits. These aramid fibers are said to have a strength-to-weight ratio that’s five times better than steel. Yet this zip-up jacket is still comfortable for all day wear, making it one of the most formidable style essentials we’ve ever seen.

Purchase: $395

Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30-BK Outdoor Smartwatch

Wearing the Casio Pro Trek outdoor smartwatch is not unlike having a personal trail guide, except that it’s a lot easier to haul around and might actually be even more useful. That’s because this wearable timekeeper doubles as a digital compass, barometer, altimeter, activity tracker, and can even display full-color topographic maps — all while still serving beautifully as a timekeeper. And that’s just a fraction of what it can manage.

Purchase: $549