There are a few non-photography equipment items I find I'm taking with me on every adventure, and I wanted to share 5 of those here.
Qalo Ring | $25
I kept seeing ads for the Qalo Ring show up in my Instagram feed. I always used to remove my wedding ring when traveling to protect it from getting scratched or beat up. More often than not, what ended up happening was I would go for long periods of time without wearing my ring because it was more comfortable. I (and my wife) didn't like this so I bought a new ring from Qalo for $24.99 and it has yet to leave my finger. The ring is made from a durable silicon I can lift weights and the knurling won't scratch it. I don't worry about banging it on things or If I get too hot or hike too far and my fingers swell, I can still stretch the ring and take it off. I've been impressed with how durable it is and I'm excited for the weather to warm so I can give it a test run in a Southern Utah canyon. The only downside, which isn't really a downside, is that it doesn't spin well on desks or tabletops when you get bored.
Key Knife | $ .99
If you carry a small knife with you every day then you have inevitably forgotten to remove it from your keychain, wallet, pocket before traveling. I've had to throw away/mail to myself a half dozen knives that I used to carry with me on a daily basis. However, a few years ago for Christmas, Santa brought me a pocket knife shaped like a key. This might not sound like something that's very important, but I assure you it makes all the difference. It's easy to bring with me everywhere because it's always on my keychain. Also, I'm a little reluctant to share this because it may give someone a bad idea, but the best part for me is that I've flown with it dozens of times and never had to throw it away. When my keys go through security the knife blends right in and never gets noticed. I even had a Swiss Army card that made it through security several times before having to throw it away.
North Face Winter Boots | $170
Aside from moon boots as a kid (see Napoleon Dynamite footwear), these are the first good Winter boots I've ever really owned. They are extremely light weight, filled with Duratherm® insulation, feature Vibram® Icetrek soles, and are made from breathable Gore-Tex®. They are a great boot! I've spent hours in these boots hiking and standing in the snow and they have never required breaking in or additional feet warmers. Match them with a good pair of gators and you are in business for Spring hiking with lingering high-altitude snow pack.
LTD Sunglasses | $40
I am notorious for losing sunglasses. This wasn't a problem when I was a high school kid living in Texas (my dad's an optometrist). However, I have spent more money on cheap sunglasses from Wal-Mart and Target than I care to admit. Last year I went on a canyoneering trip with Scott Hansen (founder of LTD Optics) and he passed me a pair of Black Chameleon glasses with Zebrawood frames. The rubber frame was super comfortable and and the wood was lightweight but still stylish. I've since bought a second pair and they go with me everywhere. I like knowing gear is well-made, yet inexpensive enough that I can be less than fragile with it. My LTD glasses have been amazing and I will continue to be a loyal customer in the future.
NOTE: I received no additional free glasses for writing this.
This last piece of gear isn't gear at all, but my gear room. My wife and I finished building a new home back in September and I have a whole utility room with shelves and a small table for dumping gear, packing equipment, and storing all things photography. This has been so exciting for me! I finally have a spot where everything can live and remain easily accessible. I outfitted the unfinished walls with pegboard and hooks and it has made a world of a difference. Side note, if you like your electronics organized, pegboard works great for running cords from underneath and zip ties through to hold things in place (see photo). This isn't really a man cave as I only spend time down there when prepping for a trip or an adventurous outing, but it does beat cramming everything into a closet or under the stairs.
On that note we'll wrap. What non-photography items do you take with you everywhere?