Written by: Cameron Vigliotta
Quick Guide to the Best Lockdown Gear
It’s day 65 of the stay-at-home orders. Or day 66. To be honest, I can’t remember anymore because I’ve simply lost count. These days, I’m doing whatever I can to flatten the curve.
That means working from home, limiting my trips outside, and coming to the realization that I won’t be climbing mountains anytime soon.
If I don’t keep myself active, I’ll end up going insane. From home improvement projects to installing a rear derailleur, I’ve stayed preoccupied by forming a routine that feels productive. These are the ten pieces of outdoor gear that have helped me along the way.
Forsake Phil Mid Leather Boot
I like to throw on one pair of shoes in the morning that can take me from the streets to the summit without hesitation.
My favorite all-arounders for the past two years are the Phil Mids from Forsake. The genuine leather upper provides a durable versatility. This makes them capable of withstanding the elements of the Pacific Northwest.
And they also offer an odor-resistant footbed should I wear them around the house.
Best of all, the waterproof design stands up to deep puddles and unforeseen rain showers. So I never have to worry that my feet will get wet on any adventure.
The mid-cut design provides more stability when I’m walking the trails outside the city in search of fresh air.
For the women's equivalent, check out the Forsake Lucie Mid - Women's Waterproof Leather Mid-Top.
Carhartt Duck Bib Unlined Overalls
Overalls are back in style thanks to their classic design and relentless durability.
Whether I’m writing an email to colleagues or weeding the front lawn, rarely does my outfit receive a passing glance because, well, overalls just make sense.
Made from 100% heavy-duty cotton, Carhartt’s Duck Bib Overalls are a thick canvas-like material that manages to shake off spills, stains, and outdoor debris. Pockets and reinforced loops store my folding knife, phone, wallet, keys, and even a mask.
Don’t be afraid to run them through the wash or wear them a few times to break them in. This can take a while, but it’s part of the process that makes your overalls special.
Also, consider sizing up. You may find overalls a little tighter than anticipated because they need to fit across your torso, waist, and legs.
Garmin Forerunner 235 Smartwatch
I may be secluded from the outside world, but you better believe I’m still finding time to run, bike, and walk the neighborhood every chance I get.
I was never a fan of Garmin’s movement reminders that alerted me when I was sitting for too long. I didn’t need a watch to tell me about my physical activity. But those reminders became my best friend while working from home. They nudged me to get outside and stay active when I’d been sitting at my desk for extended periods.
Smartwatches like the Apple Watch offer Bluetooth capabilities, texting features, and even a heart rate monitor. However, I found I didn’t need all the bells and whistles to get the most out of a smartwatch.
Garmin’s entry-level GPS watch features a waterproof housing and a vibrant screen. The classic watch design doesn’t make me feel as if there’s a computer sitting on my wrist that’s monitoring my every move.
Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Fleece Pullover
I’ve long admired Patagonia products for their classic designs, incredible durability, and lifetime warranty. Rarely do I worry that their products will rip or tear. Still, even if they do, I know Patagonia will help me mend whatever’s broken.
Their Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Fleece Pullover is much like any other fleece design. But there’s something to be said about donning your favorite fleece as you work and play from home.
It’s casual and comfortable. And the familiar snapping sound of the buttons as they clasp together reminds me of campfires, mountain ascents, and countless other outdoor adventures.
Knockaround Premiums Polarized Sunglasses
A pair of premium sunglasses are necessary when the sun pokes through, and I find myself outdoors. But I don’t feel compelled to drop over $50 for a piece of plastic that sits on my face.
California-based sunglasses brand Knockaround hasn't been around long. But their classic designs paired with a range of vibrant colors, offer premium shades for a fraction of the price.
Polarized lenses keep my eyes protected from harmful UV rays. And the FDA-approved impact-resistant frames stand up to abuse and occasional dropping.
Whether I’m running, fishing, spending a day at the beach, or running the barbecue, you can find me sporting a pair of Knockarounds without pause.
Spyderco Tenacious Folding Knife
A folding knife may seem like a foreign tool to some. But you never know how many times you’ll use one until it’s taking up space in your jeans’ pocket.
From cutting fishing line and opening boxes to preparing first aid, an everyday carry knife maybe your best friend. So long as it doesn’t fail.
To ensure mine doesn’t, I chose to carry Spyderco’s Tenacious folding knife. It has a stainless-steel blade that’s big and strong enough for slicing through thick materials.
Plus, the laminate handle offers a superior grip, so the knife doesn’t slip from my hands. It gets bonus points for being reasonably priced compared to similar models from other big knife brands.
Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth BPA-Free Water Bottle
I’m doing my very best to stay hydrated these days. But that only happens when I’ve got a trusty water bottle by my side that can keep up with my casual antics.
Nalgene’s Tritan wide mouth bottle is described as the “Sir Edmund” of water bottles. That’s because it’s been their bestselling bottle for over 30 years.
Made from BPA-free Tritan, this bottle can handle liquids that are freezing or boiling hot. Due to the ounces and milliliter measurements on the side of the bottle, I find myself measuring how much liquid I’m taking in each day as I work from home.
Unlike most water bottles are designed with a narrow mouth that makes the bottle difficult to clean. The wide mouth Tritan bottle makes cleaning a breeze, and I can even throw in a few ice cubes if it’s going to be a scorcher out there.
ALTRA Lone Peak 4 Waterproof Trail Running Shoe
Going for a run down the street isn’t always easy when the entire neighborhood starts taking leisurely walks. But I’ve avoided this potential conflict by hitting the trails instead.
I was never a fan of trail shoes because I assumed they were a waste of money and nothing more than my road shoes with extra tread. But I was silenced after scoring a pair of Altra’s Lone Peak 4s at an REI Garage Sale.
While they remain as plush and comfortable as my road shoes, the strategically positioned treads offer serious grip in muddy conditions. A durable outsole stands up to the most technical of terrains.
I was concerned the waterproof design would render my feet a sweaty mess. But upper eVent fabric manages to deflect water while also giving my feet some room to breathe.
And because these are Altra’s, the foot-shaped toe box allows your toes to relax and spread out naturally for added comfort and stability.
Mountainsmith Trippin Fanny Pack
Fanny packs are back in style, and for damn good reason. The simple design that sits on your hip can hold more than the pockets of your pants, but the pack isn’t so big that it feels like a backpack.
It’s the best of both worlds when I’m heading to the store with a wallet, phone, keys, mask, and hand sanitizer. Mountainsmith’s Trippin Fanny Pack is made from a 610D HP Cordura fabric, designed to withstand potential abuse. But it also looks stylish and a little flashy while doing so.
Vibrant colors are available on every pack. And two separate compartments give you the chance to separate and organize your gear depending on what you need in the moment. Find yourself a Trippin Backpack that matches your fanny pack so you can rock the streets (or the mountain) in style.
AmazonBasics Silicone Hot Skillet Handle Cover Holder
Now that local restaurants and bars are closed for the foreseeable future, I find myself cooking from home more than ever before.
The cast-iron skillet that sits on my stovetop has gotten some use in the past. But I now find myself using it every day to make breakfast, dinner, and even desert.
I quickly learned how hot these things can get when exposed to heat. The handle can burn your hand if you’re not careful. To save my fingers, I purchased a cheap silicone handle cover that offers a secure grip and protection as I whip up some good eats.
It may seem like a silly investment. But nothing compares to the horrible pain of burning your hand when all you wanted was to make a bowl of fried rice. Save yourself from potential injury for less than five dollars.
List of Outdoor Gear to Stay Active During Lockdown
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Step Up Your Social Distancing Game
If you’re like me and you need to keep busy while working from home, don’t be afraid to buy the outdoor gear that can make your lockdown experience a better one.
While sunglasses, water bottles, and overalls may seem like odd investments. These items have provided me with peace of mind and comfort when the world feels like it’s falling apart.
Best of all, these products help me maintain a productive schedule that resembles a sense of normalcy.
I’m following routines, keeping up with tasks, and I feel like myself while doing so. Never underestimate the power of simple objects that help you get back to the basics.
About the Author
Cameron Vigliotta is a freelance journalist and copywriter whose work explores the people, activities, politics, art, and literature of the outdoors. His writing has been featured in by REI Co-op's Journal, Stay Wild Magazine, and Active Interest Media among others. A Massachusetts native, he enjoys running up steep hills until everything hurts, and he doesn’t own a TV.
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