Gear geek’s essential summer gear

What are some of the things a true gear geek always brings in the backpack? Let's have a look!

Hi there, fellow gear geeks! Bjørn here, product designer at Norrøna HQ. Today I’m taking a look at some of my essential summer outdoor gear, stuff that I always bring with me when enjoying the outdoors in the summer.

1. Zinc oxide cotton tape

2. Folding knife

3. Sun protection

4. Rain jacket

5. Wool shirt

Zinc oxide cotton tape (commonly known as sports tape) is the underrated cousin of duct tape (commonly, yet erroneously known as duck tape). Just like its silvery cousin it’s incredibly versatile, and probably even more so when it comes to human centered tasks.

Sprained ankle? Tape it. Hole in your jacket? Tape it. Hole in your skin? Tape it. Attaching something to something? Tape it.

Fun facts about sports tape:

  • Cotton weave with a zinc oxide adhesive
  • Serrated edge for easy tearing
  • Doesn’t stretch
  • Sticks to most surfaces without leaving residue. Just make sure to remove within 24h.
  • Zinc oxide is practically not soluble in water, so it won’t come off even if you’re sweating or you’re caught in a rain shower
  • Zinc oxide is mentioned in medical texts written more than 2500 years ago.

The word knife is possibly derived from the Old Norse word “knifr”, meaning blade, but this versatile tool wasn’t invented by the vikings. The trusted knife is one of the earliest tools used by mankind, appearing at least 2.5 million years ago. And just to put that into perspective, that’s roughly when we started mostly walking upright on two feet, and 500 000 years before our ancestors learned to control fire.

Protect yourself before you wreck yourself! Always sun protection, you’ll thank yourself later. 

Never underestimate the power of the sun, especially high in the mountains during summer. Even if you “never get sunburned”, use sunscreen! Skin cancer doesn’t care about your tan. Remember that zinc oxide from earlier? It’s back! This is a common ingredient in sunscreen, as it blocks and disperses harmful UV rays.

And don’t forget about protecting your eyes. I once got a mild sunburn on my retinas (snow blindness) after just 15-20 minutes without sunglasses while kiting in Antarctica. A few more minutes and I could have permanently damaged my eyes, or worst case ended up blind. Get yourself some quality shades and look cool and stay safe at the same time.

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Weather changes fast, so stay prepared and bring a light rain jacket.

Did you know that the whole purpose of sweating is for the surface of your body to get wet? Your body constantly generates heat by burning off those ice creams you’ve been enjoying in the sun. And to stop itself from overheating, your body has this really clever and effective way of dumping excess heat; it sweats. When droplets of sweat evaporate off of you, the surface temperature of your skin drops, cooling your body. But this salty steam has to go somewhere, and preferably elsewhere before it cools down again and condensates back into droplets.

A rain jacket with a Gore membrane isn’t going to stop you from sweating, but all the tiny holes in the membrane are going to let the evaporated sweat flow away into the atmosphere, while at the same time keeping those pesky water droplets out. #science! Wanna know more about how membranes work? Click here to check out my previous post!

Wool works! Hiking for seven straight days without access to a shower? Your wool shirt still won’t stink. Heading straight back in to the office? Keep the wool shirt for that effortless business casual look. Off to a cocktail party after work? Wool shirt, and even James Bond would raise his martini and give you an approving nod. Meeting the in-laws for the first time? Wear the wool shirt like that handy and honest angel you are for a guaranteed stamp of approval. This is the magic of wool. Self cleaning, temperature regulating, sustainable, and timeless, the wool shirt is the perfect garment for any occasion.

"Straight from the office to the climbing crag; I can wear my salmon pink svalbard wool hoodie anywhere"

2 thoughts on “Gear geek’s essential summer gear”

  1. More wool works info: Go for wool that has the lanolin (wool fat) intact. There are also lanolin “soaps” that wash the lanolin back in as your wool shirt gets older and loses its original wool fat. Why keep the lanolin? Because lanolin + sweat turns to soap. So when you’re out for a weeklong hike or bike trek with only room to pack two shirts, after a couple of days you just rinse the used one in plain water and hang it to dry – for instance on the outside of your backpack. A light-weight wool shirt will dry fast too. Lightweight packing, but still clean and fresh 🙂

  2. Useful and nicely written article, I enjoyed reading it and learning a few tricks and info.
    Good job author 👍

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