Essentials

My Big Three: Jessica Tackett, Backpacking Guide

The gear a hiking lifer can't leave home without.

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We editors at BACKPACKER all have strong opinions on gear, sometimes bordering on the fanatic. (Give me a reservoir and a hose to drink from, or give me death.) But you know whose obsessiveness often surpasses our own? The pros. Here’s what Jessica Tackett, a lead guide at New York’s Destination Backcountry Adventures, includes in her kit every time she heads out.

Crazy Creek Original Chair

Crazy Creek Original Chair: “I don’t care how big or how heavy my pack is, my Crazy Creek comes on every single trip I guide. Unlike backcountry chairs with legs that require flat ground to balance, a Crazy Creek works on almost every surface and can be repurposed as a dry place to kneel when chopping wood and for a little extra support under my sleeping pad. And of course, nothing beats a comfortable chair around the campfire after a big day of hiking, especially one with a backrest.” $55; Buy the Crazy Creek Original Chair now

GSI Outdoors Mini Espresso Maker

GSI Outdoors Mini Espresso Set: “This little espresso maker is good enough that I sometimes use it at home (don’t tell my French press). Americanos in the forest never cease to impress our hikers, and a good cup of espresso provides the motivation I need to get out of my sleeping bag on cold mornings. With a little practice, you can even use it to steam milk for a backcountry latte or cappuccino.” $40; Buy the GSI Outdoors Mini Espresso Set now

SOL Mag Striker

SOL Mag Striker: “A magnesium fire starter with a built-in ferro rod or flint strip is the most reliable way to start a fire without matches in my book. Even in soaking rain, with a little patience (OK, a lot of patience in a downpour), you can start a fire with magnesium. It’s small and light enough to throw in my survival kit for day hikes and overnights.” $12; Buy the SOL Mag Striker now