Our Editors’ Oldest, Most Well-Loved Gear

The stuff we've owned for ages that we couldn't adventure without


Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

These 11 pieces have stood the test of time, earning permanent spots in our editors’ hearts and kits.

Blundstone Original 500 Boots


I’ve had this pair of Blundstone boots for probably 25 years now. I don’t think there’s a better or longer-lasting foul-weather boot. I got them in New York City, where I’d throw them on with my almost as old waxed Barbour coat, and I was warm and dry walking the streets on rainy days. I still wear them in Santa Fe in snow and rain. —Mary Turner, deputy editor

Milwaukee Stamping Co. Picnic Table

I picked up this collapsible picnic table at a consignment shop for $25, and it comes with me on almost every car-camping trip. Sure, it’s a bit heavy, but it folds up to a rectangle roughly the size of two chess boards and is easy to slide under all the other gear in the flatbed of my boyfriend’s truck. In about one minute, it unfolds into a plush four-seater with ample tabletop space for cooking and eating—way better than cooking on the truck tailgate and using our bouldering pads as a dinner table. —Ariella Gintzler, assistant editor

Assos Summerglove Cycling Glove


Good riding gloves can be hard to find. Many options wear out, have unnecessary padding, or are just plain uncomfortable. Ten years ago, I stumbled upon Assos' gloves. Yes, they’re pricey, but I haven’t found anything like them. They’re perfect, and I still wear the two original pairs I bought. By now they’re ripped and falling apart, but a ten-year shelf life isn’t too bad for a $50 purchase that I use multiple times every week. —Scott Rosenfield, digital general manager

Patagonia Snap-T

(Emily Reed)

It’s so classic it’s almost annoying, but my dad’s old Snap-T is one of my most prized possessions. (Never mind that he never explicitly gave me permission to take it—it just showed up in my bag one day, I swear.) There’s a burn hole in one shoulder from a campfire spark, a few missing stitches around the cuff, and it’s definitely older than I am, but this pullover ends up coming with me just about everywhere. —Abbie Barronian, assistant editor

Handmade Snowshoes

(Country Ways)

When I was a kid—at whatever age you are in fifth grade—I made my own snowshoes. It was a kit with a wood frame and what looked liked industrial-sized shoe laces you wove in a pattern that I remember getting wrong so many times that I wanted to light the damn things on fire. I didn’t, though, and once they were finished, I had a heavy, clunky set of snowshoes that would look at home strapped to the feet of mountain man Jim Bridger. They’re anything but light or sleek, but I wore those snowshoes all over the Rockies in the winter, and I still think they’re great. —J. Weston Phippen, senior editor

Primus Propane Stove

(Emily Reed)

On my first multiday climbing trip to Bishop, California, in 2012, I didn’t have much camping gear. I borrowed my parents’ stove, a Primus that they bought at least 20 years ago. Since then, I’ve taken it with me on countless climbing trips throughout the West. It’s still cooking and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. —Ula Chrobak, editorial production fellow

Vasque St. Elias Hiking Boots

(Emily Reed)

I didn’t grow up especially outdoorsy. I played outside, sure, but I wasn’t introduced to backpacking or hiking until I was in my twenties. Backpacking gear is expensive, especially on a college student's budget. I researched for weeks about what my first investment should be and eventually landed on these Vasque hiking boots. They were the only ones on the shelf at REI that didn’t look dorky and that actually fit my feet. Six years later, they’re still hanging on and come on nearly all of my backpacking trips. —Emily Reed, assistant editor

Tomic Ski Poles


These Tomic ski poles (circa 1988) were given to me by my friend’s mom more than five years ago after my own poles got bent out of shape while taking a bad turn on some moguls. Believe it or not, these were an improvement, and they’ve stayed with me ever since. They’re not flashy; my adjective of choice would be “functional.” —Will Gordon, assistant editor

Tissot T-Touch Watch


My father has long believed that you can tell a lot about a person by the watch they wear. So, when I graduated from high school twelve years ago, it was no surprise that he gifted me a timepiece. It was a Tissot T-Touch, which even a decade later sports some pretty amazing tech, like an altimeter, barometer, thermometer, and chronograph, all activated by a simple tap on the sapphire crystal. There’s also a compass that uses the hour and minute hands to form the needle. It’s been my constant companion on every adventure since and, I suspect, many more to come. —Nicholas Hunt, associate editor

The North Face Firefly Tent

(Jonah Ogles)

I’m not sure when this tent was made (I think mid-aughts), but I stole it from my father-in-law’s garage a decade ago. It’s not an ultralight tent, but it stands up to wind, hail, rain, and anything else I might encounter. I’ve used it in the desert and at 12,000 feet, and it has never been anything but exceptional. I’m never giving it back. —Jonah Ogles, articles editor

Columbia Hiking Boots


I grew up in Florida—land of nontechnical adventures—and borrowed most of my camping gear from Boy Scouts through high school. So I can pinpoint my first piece of real outdoor gear as the pair of Columbia hiking boots I bought at steep discount the first day I moved to Chicago for college in 2010. They were weirdly large—because they were men’s boots, I later realized—but I wore them with my thickest socks and they got me through four years of Midwest winters (including a polar vortex!). I still wear them on snowy and wet hikes—though they’re a little heavy, they are legitimately waterproof, and I still enjoy submerging my whole boot in puddles to demonstrate. —Erin Berger, senior editor

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. We do not accept money for editorial gear reviews. Read more about our policy.