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Gear Roundup | What I Take With Me On Trips (2022 edition)

December 31, 2022.

Another year in the books. Unlike previous years, there weren't any big changes to the way I planned for trips or the gear that I brought along. Rather, it was a year of small tweaks, with most of my energy going towards exploring and enjoying myself in the outdoors.

Taken with the Rig Reviews, this series of posts give a good sense of what's working and what's not with the setup. So, without further ado, let's dig into what's on and in the truck at the end of 2022!

Additions for 2022 are marked in red.
Items we no longer take are struck through.

The Truck Itself

Obviously we can't adventure without the actual vehicle. To see how it's outfitted, check out the Truck Details Build Page (2022) and the relevant links there to the various mods that were part of this year's configuration.

From previous years, the following were new or significantly changed:

  1. Suspension - There were two main changes, neither of which I'm super happy about. The biggest change was in the front: I replaced my SPC Upper Control Arms (UCAs) with a new version of the same UCAs that have an X-Axis joint. I did this after being misled by SPC. The other was in the rear where I put new Alcan leaf springs - with a 4" lift - on the truck. I should have stuck with the 3" lift I had previously.
  2. Dive Train - While there weren't a lot of changes to the Tacoma, I did do quite a bit of work - maintenance mostly - to the drive train. I replaced the transfer case, clutch, radiator, and timing belt+water pump+thermostat.
  3. Lighting - I significantly upgraded the forward-facing lights (again). I thought it was great last year when I put HIDs into the Hella 700s, but I hadn't given those enough time to realize their drawbacks. This year, I installed some Diode Dynamics SS5 Pro lights in their place, and the difference is night and day. Or dark and light. So much better.
  4. Interior - Two changes here - some new scheel-mann seats that were very expensive (I'm not sure they were worth it) and raising the center console so that it is at the same level as the arm rest on the door (so much more comfortable, and applies to every Tacoma).

In all, the truck performed very well - doing nearly everything I asked of it. Maintenance this year was higher than it's been in previous years, but I suppose that's to be expected as the truck gets older.

Sleeping Gear

No changes from previous years. Everything is based around the RTT (things to consider) and Exped MegaMat Duo 10 LW. The mat continues to be one of our favorite things on the truck, and I can't recommend it highly enough; it really does make the entire trip better (because of the great sleep we get).

  1. Two heavyweight down comforters, twin size. We like comforters for two reasons - first, they are so much more comfortable and cozy than a sleeping bag - great for a good night sleep. And second, they compress better when the tent is folded up. Two allow us to control temperatures easily.
  2. One bottom sheet, fitted to the Exped MegaMat Duo mattress. With a sheet and comforters, it's like sleeping in a bed. I know I'm really talking this up, so I recommend you read my rig review about it here.
  3. Two full-size pillows. There's no better pillow than your home pillow, and we've put two of our older ones in the tent permanently.
  4. Ear plugs. On windy nights, or if you're near the highway, soft foam (designed for sleeping) ear plugs can be a lifesaver. I always keep a few pair in one of the tent pockets.
  5. A warm (polartec) cap. I like to sleep with the doors and windows open whenever I can - even when it's cold. A cap keeps the breeze off my head and keeps me a lot toastier through those cold nights.

Earplugs and a cap make for a good night sleep in windy weather.

Packing up the tent doesn't need to be difficult, even with a 4" mattress, two comforters, and full-size pillows. Learn how I do it, here.

Clothing and Footwear

Clothing hasn't changed much from last year - and while it varies a bit each trip, it is more consistent than one might think. There are likely a couple reasons for this - first, the weather is unpredictable, so I always like to have both long-and-short pieces of clothing; second, I never end up changing clothes all that often on a trip - getting dirty is just part of the adventure. So, that said, here's what I bring:

  1. A clean pair of underwear for every day.
  2. A clean pair of socks for every day. I'll tend bring a 75/25 combo of crew/ankle socks depending on what I expect my pants/shorts situation to be, since I much prefer taller socks with pants and shorter socks with shorts.
  3. A pair of running sneakers - my primary shoe in dry conditions.
  4. A pair of Keen waterproof hiking boots - my primary shoe in wet conditions.
  5. A pair of Muck Boots - a great alternative for really muddy forays out of the truck.
  6. One pair of pants per week of trip, plus one extra.
  7. One pair of shorts per week of trip, plus one extra.
  8. Two short-sleeve shirts per week of trip, plus one extra.
  9. Two long-sleeve shirts per week of trip, plus one extra. Note - this year, I started wearing Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hooded Shirts, and they are expensive, but awesome. Light, comfortable, and keep the sun off of skin.
  10. Two sweatshirts (with hoods).
  11. One pair of sweatpants - usually only used to layer if it gets cold, or to wear in bed at night if it's freezing.
  12. One waterproof, hooded, rain jacket.
  13. One down puffy.
  14. Weather dependent: One pair of gortex ski gloves.
  15. Sunglasses.
  16. A baseball hat.
  17. Two reusable grocery bags - one of which I use for dirty clothes, and the other to store my shoes in when I go in the tent.

With everything above, it's easy to adapt to the weather in almost any conditions. There are enough warm clothes to layer up when it gets cold.

Don't take too many clothes! This pile will last two weeks, at least!


Not much to say here - this stuff doesn't take up much room and I just slip most of it into my clothes bag.

  1. Electric Philips Sonicare Toothbrush (and charger as necessary) and toothpaste.
  2. Toilet paper - 2 rolls. I've found that a single roll is enough for all but the longest trips, but this is something you want to have a backup of, in case you lose the first roll, or it gets wet...
  3. Baby wipes. Go for unscented, and make sure they are resealable. I like to take two packs per trip - one to keep in the cab, and the other in the kitchen box. Use them sparingly for washing hands and every day for "showering" the spots that get stinky.
  4. Deodorant
  5. Electric shaver (two-week trips only) - while I probably only end up using this once per two-week trip, it's amazing how nice it can feel to get a week's worth of itchy facial hair growth trimmed down.
  6. Two washcloths - one which I saturate with water for washing my face, and a second for washing dusty areas like my legs after hiking.

Keeping sanitary goes a long way to keeping comfortable on extended trips.

Camera and Electronics

After changing all my camera gear last year, there were no changes this year because my camera and lenses are so awesome, and support my style of photography.

  1. In a camera bag (which came with the camera, so use any bag you prefer).
    1. Canon R6 Full Frame Mirrorless Camera - used to shoot all my photos on a MicroSD card. Note: I love the R6, but if I were to do it again (and had the money), I'd get the Canon R5. This was a hard decision that I made incorrectly when I got the R6 - looking back now, I think the additional megapixel count of the R5 is worth it.
    2. RF 24-240mm f4-6.3 IS USM lens - my primary lens. Note: this is a great lens, but if there were an F2.8 version, I'd spend almost any amount of money on that version.
    3. RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM lens - used for wide angle shots. Note: this is an amazing lens. Any time you can afford F2.8 lenses, spend the money. Seriously, so much better than a variable aperture lens.
    4. Three (3) Canon LP-E6NH Batteries and a charger.
    5. Two, 128GB microSD memory cards (but bring two of whatever fits your camera).
  2. A small, 175W Inverter - for charging camera batteries an my laptop. Note that I've also added a short extension cord into which I can plug two devices at a time, so I can charge a camera battery and my laptop at the same time.
  3. MeFOTO Roadtrip S Tripod - used primarily for sunrise photos, the occasional sunset, and the even more occasional selfie.
  4. A selection of USB cables (microUSB, USB C, mini USB, and lightning).
  5. My laptop - for offloading photos and image processing.
  6. A small flashlight. I used to carry a big 3-D cell Maglight, but have since realized that a little 3-AAA light is plenty and a lot easier to pack.
  7. An LED headlamp. For hands-free light options. Pick your favorite.
  8. Spare, rechargeable, AA and AAA batteries and the requisite battery charger. Bringing rechargeable means less waste, and with an inverter to charge the camera batteries anyway, just makes sense.

A really great setup.

Kitchen Gear

All the kitchen gear is stored in a single, aluminum, medium-size, military medical case. This makes it relatively easy to get to, and of course protects it from the elements. The case contains:

  1. A propane Coleman Camp Stove/Grill. This makes it equally easy to heat up a pan or grill a burger, and folds down relatively small. The only think I don't really like about it is that the burners are either on or off - though they look adjustable, they aren't really.
  2. Two 1lb cylinders of propane. This seems to be enough to last for a couple weeks, and having a backup means that when one runs out, I can start looking for another if I think I'll run out before the end of the trip.
  3. A custom propane hose to make cylinder placement easier.
  4. Plastic bowls - one per person, but a minimum of two. Used for breakfast cereal.
  5. Plastic plates - one per person, but a minimum of two. I sometimes use these for cutting items, but more often I use them for simply supporting a paper plate that I eat off of.
  6. Paper plates - usually about 50 of the cheapest ones I can find. We have a stack at home and I make sure there are a bunch in the case before a trip - these are my primary prep/eating surface since clean-up is easy (fire or trash).
  7. One stainless steel mixing bowl. Used primarily for doing dishes, when there are dishes to do.
  8. Utensils stored in a plastic container:
    1. Two (one per person, min of two) - forks, spoons
    2. One (only) - butter knife, spatula, serving spoon, small tongssmall sharp kitchen knife (love this knife, it's always sharp)
  9. Paper towels - one roll per week.
  10. Baby wipes. Go for unscented, and make sure they are resealable. Use them sparingly for washing hands.
  11. Aluminum foil - a full box, which you can use to make hobo meals (meals you cook in the camp fire, by double wrapping them with foil).
  12. Fire starting implements - at least one box of wooden matches and a cheap lighter.
  13. 10 quart-size Ziplock plastic freezer bags. A box of sandwich bags.
  14. A bit of clothesline rope. Never used, but good to have just in case we need to hang or tie something.
  15. A 2 qt steel sauce pan. This is better than the skillet I used to take, and also allows heating up of things like soup.

First Aid

I've been super lucky and never had to use my first aid kits for anything except minor cuts and scrapes, but I always take two kits with me - one for minor stuff, and one that can help in a more serious event. Of course, they both contain some of the basic items, since one kit or the other may be quicker to grab at any given time.

Most Important: I carry a Garmin InReach Mini for emergencies. Learn the best way to use it (at the lowest possible price, which is all you need).

Minor stuff; kit kept in kitchen container:

  • assortment of band-aids (sizes and shapes)
  • burn cream
  • sterile eye pads
  • sterile gauze (different sizes and shapes)
  • medical tape
  • scissors
  • CPR mouth shield
  • two ice packs
  • IB Profin (Advil)
  • UTI pills (cranberry concentrate)

Trauma kit, kept in cab of truck:

  • flexible splint
  • clothing scissors
  • large sterile pads (various large sizes and shapes)
  • non-latex rubber gloves
  • idoine cleaning pads
  • medical tape
  • band-aids (various sizes and shapes)
  • tourniquet

Minor stuff for day-to-day injuries.

Trauma kit for more serious issues.

Garmin InReach Mini for emergencies.

Basic Tools

These are tools that I think should go on every trip, no matter how short. Of course, a break down may mean the adventure is "over", but with them, you can get yourself out of a lot of situations, and back to civilization.

  • Tire related
    • 20-foot compressed air hose with ARB tire inflator - I've added a longer hose to the ARB inflator for convenience.
    • Full size spare tire (255/85 R16 Cooper ST Maxx) on matching wheel (16" 4Runner 5-spoke) - Having a total replacement for a wheel/tire is good practice when in remote areas. Of course, along with tires, I also use the following on every trip:
    • Tire pressure gauge - get the cheapest you can IMO. It's just checking pressure and you mostly want to make sure all tires are the same and around a certain PSI.
    • Tire deflators - these things are cheap and work way better than the tools that unscrew the valve stem. You can even install them and then air down while driving.
    • Tire plug kit, to fit many small punctures. I didn't use the plug kit this year, but I've used it several times over the years. All the kits are basically the same as long as you get the tools. So get the cheapest one you can.
    • Colby valve stem repair kit - which would have made my life a lot easier when I broke off a valve stem on the trail.
  • 48" Hi-Lift Jack - with a lifted truck, the stock bottle jack is no longer tall enough, so I now carry a Hi-Lift. No point in bringing a spare tire, if you don't have a jack that allows you to change it!
  • Fuel
    • 15 gallons extra fuel - in 5-gallon Scepter (military issue, plastic) jerry cans.
    • Cap opening wrench - necessary to open the Scepter jerry cans at a different altitude than they were previously closed. (Note: shown above with the Garmin InReach Mini.)
    • To transfer fuel from the jerry cans to the tank, I bring and use a fuel siphon. Make sure to get a 10' siphon, so you can leave the fuel cans in the bed or on your rear bumper when you transfer fuel.
  • Chopping axe - more useful than a hatchet for splitting smaller firewood, clearing small down-fall, and as a hammer.
  • 20' of 3/8" rope - something I carry in the truck at all times, and always have.
  • A folding 10" Japanese pull saw - this is way more convenient for cutting small trees out of the way than the hatchet or chainsaw. I've used it well over 100 times and it's still as sharp as ever.
  • Two small (500lb) ratchet straps - these straps can be used for securing loads and for temporary repairs, holding pieces of your vehicle in place so you can limp to repair.
  • A pair of rubberized gloves - I get mine at Harbor Freight, but any gloves will do and they look cheaper on amazon if you buy several pair. These are a necessity when changing tires, working on the truck, chopping wood, or using the chainsaw - allowing for better grip than bare hands.

Basic Recovery Gear

Much of the equipment in the basic tool set and OSK can be used as part of a recovery - but in addition to those items, I always have the following with me in the truck. Every one of these items has been used on one trip or another, though none of them are used very often. I'd bring all of these things, even if I wasn't bringing the full OSK.

I of course also have a Warn M8000-S winch hidden in the front bumper of the truck, but it's usually the last tool I turn to - I've found that most situations don't require a winch to escape.

OSK (Oh Shit Kit) - More Tools and Spare Parts

I now carry an OSK comprised of two DeWalt T-stack cases (Deep Box, Clear Organizer) which contain all of my items.


  • WD-40 PTFE Dry Lube - This is the WD-40 that I now use as my go-to variant since it's a dry lube and so doesn't attract the dust and dirt so common on the trail.
  • MAF cleaner - I've had problems with my MAF a couple of times, so this is now a staple in my kit.
  • Throttle Body cleaner - I've never (that I know) had a specific problem with the TB, but this is a good all-purpose cleaner as well, so it is part of the kit.
  • Brake fluid - brakes are a key component of a working rig. If a leak happens somewhere, I want to be able to refill any lost fluid - at least enough to limp back to civilization.
  • Power Steering Fluid (ATF) - If a leak happens somewhere, I want to be able to refill any lost fluid - at least enough to limp back to civilization.




On most trips I bring 5 gallons in a Scepter (military issue, plastic) jerry can. I generally expect to use ½-1 gallon/day per person. Fill up in town (fuel stations) when running low. On longer, or extremely hot trips, I bring 10 gallons.

Though water is stored in the jerry can, that's not a convenient way to drink it, or use it for washing. For those activities, we use

  • Two Camelbak water bottles - these are useful for drinking out of, and stay sealed up when driving.
  • Camelbak Rogue Hydration Pack - this can store enough water for a longer hike and is also useful for washing dishes - water flow can be started by suction and then continues via siphon at a high enough rate to wash, but low enough rate to not waste too much water.


There are a few things that don't fit well in other categories, so I'll list them here:

  • A Trasharoo for all our garbage. We don't generally make much trash on a trip, but any we do (and any we find in camp from previous adventurers) goes into the bag and is forgotten until we get home.
  • Rocking camp chair - I got sick of eating in the low camp chair. The new chair has a much better position for eating. It is not more convenient to pack, however, so I don't take it on solo trips, where I just sit on the tailgate or ground.
  • I use rocks for leveling the truck/tent in camp.
  • A 2' x 3' astroturf rug/door mat - for the bottom of the RTT ladder, to keep from getting muddy on those rainy nights. And, for laying on if I have to work on the truck while on the dusty trail. Get whatever old mat you can find for free - that's how I got mine!
  • A small step stool, which makes it easier to see into the fridge if camp is on a hill.

Only on Some Trips

There isn't much that I only bring on certain trips, since a bed that isn't full means that things have a tendency to slide around. But, there are a few things that only come along when I think I'll need them.


  • Chainsaw - I decided that if I need a chainsaw, I want it to work, so I purchased a Stihl MS-261 professional saw (ebay) with a 20" bar. This wasn't a cheap purchase, but it's never let me down...and I know other saws that can't say the same.
  • Chainsaw sharpener - spend the extra and get this one; it's amazing how well it works.
  • Chainsaw fuel - 1 gallon of pre-mixed fuel/oil mix in a fuel rotopax. This seems to be more than I ever need on a single trip.
  • Chainsaw bar oil - 1 qt of Stihl bar oil. Like the fuel, if I need more than this, I should likely find another route around the dead-fall.


And that's what I've got. I think I've managed to list pretty much everything, but I'm sure there are things that you may feel that I'm missing. I'd love to hear any feedback or suggestions!



More annual gear roundups


  1. Kenny
    Kenny January 26, 2023

    Excellent, very thorough and well spoken from years of experience. I am with you, I take similar items in the toy hauler to ensure my comfort. After 50= years of camping and traveling one gets it all down without a thought.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • turbodb
      turbodb January 27, 2023

      Thanks Kenny! I can only imagine that you have this even more down to a science than I do. It's definitely nice to have things "down pat" so that going on a trip isn't a week of planning just to make sure everything is together. These days, we can get ourselves packed up in a couple hours - the thing that takes the longest is probably food prep, and even that isn't bad!

      • Kenny
        Kenny January 28, 2023

        Guys laugh at me for all the things I carry in my box on the RZR, but I am prepared for about anything from stitching up a wound to tools to rebuild all minor things and everything in between.
        Remember what grandpa taught us, it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Old Boy Scout

  2. Tom
    Tom January 26, 2023

    I second the Exped Megamat Duo and the Stihl saw. We use a similar setup with a Travasack sleep system and a down comforter with four pillows and it's as comfortable as our home bed.

    Good to know about the Scepter can wrench. I use the cans and haven't had an issue opening them but we are usually within 2-3 thousand feet of where we left home which is already at 2560 feet.

    Your first air kit is missing a key item that came with my kit gifted to me by an old SEAL buddy - toe tags! Never had to use one but they have slipped out of the pocket in the kit where they are stored and are always good for a laugh when grabbing a band aid for someone.

    • turbodb
      turbodb January 27, 2023

      Hahaha, love the toe tag idea. I'll have to add a few of those.

      I've been considering an electric chainsaw just so I don't have to bring fuel. I'd have made the switch already if they didn't still require bar oil, and so are just as messy as their gas counterparts. A "dry" chainsaw would be so awesome (for this type of use; obviously it's Stihl all the way for professional use).

  3. Bill Rambo
    Bill Rambo January 26, 2023

    Check into getting a couple of the external battery packs. With the right cord, you can recharge your phone, camera, and I have the extra just for my heated jacket. Thanks for the list as this is some really good information from your experience on the trail. Some I got, some I have yet to get, and some....really need.

    • turbodb
      turbodb January 27, 2023

      Thanks for the suggestion Bill. I used to have one of those battery packs (got your follow-up email) but it was stolen (out of my garage) a couple of years ago and I never got around to replacing it. Now I've resorted to using the inverter in the truck to charge batteries as we're driving around. Of course, that doesn't solve the headed jacket problem, so maybe I'll need to look into the battery pack again (and a jacket!).

  4. Bill Rambo
    Bill Rambo January 28, 2023

    You bet! I use my battery pack a lot owhen out on my landscape photography. Handy for keeping not only the camera charged (EOS R), but my cell phone. Let's get ready for some springtime!! BR

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