In honor of our new partnership with Leave No Trace, I will be talking about quality this week and have listed 5 quality items under $50 that will help you to leave no trace!
Quality of the goods and equipment that people purchase is often overlooked, especially with the number of cheap products out there and the bargain-bin retailers selling them. I always stress the importance of purchasing the right equipment. It often means a more expensive item, but if you purchase a good product you won’t need to replace it later. Each piece of clothing you buy will eventually wear out, and it then becomes waste. The responsible route is to lessen that waste by purchasing quality products. If you have ever bought a pair of jeans from Wal-Mart for $20 in addition to a pair of jeans made by Patagonia, you will know what I am talking about. The Wal-Mart denim will stretch, the stitching will unravel and holes will appear in the most unusual wear spots, all within a year. The Patagonia pants cost you quite a bit more, but they will hold up to abuse for years and years. Plus, Patagonia will repair them if the stitching does wear out. They won’t end up in landfill. On top of that, you won’t have to hassle with something that doesn’t work right, and you’ll end up saving yourself money by not re-purchasing.
How does this relate to Leave No Trace? With items as simple as water bottles, you can prevent waste and reduce the possibility and temptation to leave stuff behind on the trail. Here are our 5 Under $50 picks for leaving no trace:
1) Outdoor Research Dry Ditty Sacks $26.95
These small, roll-top dry bags not only work well for organizing your personal items or food but they also make awesome trash bags. Being dry bags, they are leak proof and able to handle coffee grounds or empty oatmeal packets. Plus Outdoor Research products are guaranteed forever!
2) Nite Ize S-Biners $1.95-$9.95
Organize and connect your equipment so that it isn’t strewn around. These s-shaped clips are well made with a simple and durable wire-gate design. They function just like a two-sided carabiner, and they are immensely popular! The large variety of sizes will do everything from clipping your bear-bagging cord onto a sack of rocks, to preventing the loss of your Nalgene by keeping it secured to your pack.
3) Nalgene Wide Mouth Water Bottles $10.95
In addition to holding water, these versatile and durable bottles make great storage containers for foods like cereal, powdered drink mix or any dehydrated foods. This means that you aren’t tempted to throw those food packets in the fire, and trash won’t accidentally get blown into a lake by the wind. Plus they are way more durable (and also less likely to get thrown into the fire) than a re-used Alhambra bottle.
4) Petzl Zipka Plus Headlamp $44.95
This headlamp is an excellent around-camp and around-the-house light. The retractable cable serves to secure the Zipka to your head, wrist or a backpack. The 35-meter range will help you in cleaning up after dinner so a bear won’t sneak to your campsite for your leftovers while you’re snoozing.
5) Trek Windproof Lighter $24.95
Quit buying all those cheapo plastic lighters and matches. This butane jet lighter will stay lit in the worst weather, and you won’t be throwing used matchsticks in the trash.
And lastly, for FREE you can support leaving no trace by simply liking Tahoe Mountain Sports on Facebook. With every new fan we get through Wednesday October 27 we are donating $1 to Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. We’ve raised $300 so far… help us raise more!
Kevin O’Hara is Tahoe Mountain Sports‘ hard goods manager, and 5 Under $50 is a TMS monthly blog series dedicated to showcasing some of our more affordable products. Each month we pick a theme, then show you the gear. Suggest a topic in our comments if you need some shopping help!