In case you haven’t noticed, we’re all about spending time outside. In an era where social distancing is all the jam, where better to do it than in nature? While you’re getting out there, however, you’re going to want some must-have social distancing outdoor gear. Whether you’re totally new at this outdoor thing, or do it all the time, these must-have items are at the top of our social isolation gear list.
Here’s what we’re packing and why.
1. The Most Versatile Social Distancing Gear Ever: The Buff
Is it a sweat band? A neck warmer? A hat? A handkerchief? A face mask? No — it’s a Buff, and it’s basically the most versatile piece of outdoor gear you’ll ever find, for social distancing or anything. A favorite of podcast guest and certified forest therapist Michelle Abbey (episode X), we know the Buff can be used for almost anything. In winter it covers our neck, in the summer it keeps the hair out of our eyes. We carry two to three on every long run — one for nose wiping and at least one as a hat, hair band or ear warmer. And while social distancing is all the rage, you can also double it cover on your face for a good-enough face mask.
2. A Great Pair of Shoes
An adventure with uncomfortable feet is not a good adventure. Our favorite brand of shoes for almost anything is Altra. Their trail shoes have the perfect weight-to-grip ratio, and their road running shoes give our toes all sorts of happy room. That’s because of their unique foot-shaped toe box, as Altra co-founder Brian Beckstead told us during his podcast episode.
We like the Altra Escalantes for running, and the Altra Superiors for trail running and light hiking. Both offer good cushion without too much between you and the road, so you can still feel where you’re going.
3. Rain Gear
The only thing worse than uncomfortable feet on an adventure is being wet when you don’t want to be. Back in 2017 before we started our 20 minutes outside a day HumansOutside365 challenge we let little things like rain keep us from heading outside. Not anymore. The moment we first decided to get outside daily was also the moment we decided to score some rain gear for the whole family. Bonus: rain makes it super easy to be socially distant because all of those folks who didn’t bother to buy a rain jacket will be stuck at home.
We like the REI rain jackets and rain pants for their durability and awesome pockets. On our feet we wear Bogs boots because they keep you dry while also blocking the wet chill.
You’re going to need somewhere accessible and comfortable to stash that Buff and your rain gear. Day packs come in all shapes and sizes depending on where you’re going or how long you’ll be out. If you’re going far, you’ll want a pack with some padding and structure, and straps that make sure it stays put.
Day packs can get pricey fast, but we like these ones from Osprey. Not only are they well made by a company that knows what it’s doing, but Osprey has a really fabulous product guarantee. If something goes wrong, they’ll help you out.
Like podcast guest Lisa Hallett, we know the secret to life and outdoor success is good snacks.
We’ve toyed with all sorts of different adventure food, but we’ve yet to find something that holds up as well as good old fashioned peanut butter and jelly. If you don’t do nuts or gluten, you can replicate the reasons we like that by breaking it down: carbs, fat, a little protein and more carbs. As long as your adventure food has a good balance of those things, you’re good to go. Want something in a bar form? Our absolute, hands-down favorite is the RX Bar.
If you’re out there for fitness, take the advice of podcast guest and nutritionist Nicole Spitzak and match the snacks to the effort. For that we like Honey Stinger, which makes some great-tasting gels and waffles (yummmmm waffles).