I was lucky enough to do a weekend’s navigation training last week with Ted, who is an expert in not dying in the outdoors. I had with me my ‘minimal’ kit which comprised of lunch, water and nav devices, and enough 1st aid to cover blisters and cuts. The sort of thing I’d take on a morning’s hike near home. Ted started the session by pointing out how easy it is become a statistic when out on the hills, and how even a couple of miles from home you can fast get in to very serious trouble. And he was right. So I’ve re-thought my gear and come up with a new trail pack, which covers me on everything from the GearWeAre Test Trail to an unexpected Zombie Apocolypse.
Some of the most important parts of that trail pack are housed in Gear Pods, which are tough little plastic tubes with waterproof, dirtproof seals on both ends and a variety of sizes so you can mix and match for your gear. That’s it. That’s all they are, but after initial scepticism I’m sold on how useful they are. My set was supplied in a very tough cordura pouch with webbing loops all around it to maximise the usability of the whole thing.
The GearPods differ from drybags in that they’re not crushable, so anything inside them is protected and the risk of damage or leakage is minimised. The compromise over a drybag is of course weight, but the GearPods aren’t actually that heavy – their chunky design doesn’t tally with their light weight. They’re certainly less of burden than carrying something like a Peli case if what you need to protect will fit.
Size wise they are the same diameter as most standard water bottles, so they’ll fit in to any backpack pocket or bicycle water carrier if you need them to. And they are supplied in a number of lengths so you can mix and match depending on what gear you want to carry.
The tubes themselves are translucent, so you can see what’s inside them. They have a frosted finish, which helps with grip when you’re twisting them closed, and each tube has a small square area where you can label what its contents are – using the supplied stickers which are very cool.
Gearpods supplies a number of differently coloured caps (which they call terminators) and both open and closed connectors so you can make longer tubes with, or without compartments. There are models designed to be very hi-viz (for rescue teams) and models for more discreet people (military and ninjas).
What I like about the GearPods is that I can stuff them full and then pretty much forget about them. They contain the things I’ll only need when things go wrong and, being so tough and waterproof, I know that the gear inside them will be OK when I do need it.
GearPods make a host of contents to go inside (or with) their pods. You can get a stove, tarp or one of several pre-packed survival or wilderness kits.
SUMMARY: GearPods are useful little adaptable containers for the gear you can’t afford to get damaged, wet or lost in your pack. The ability to tailor the system to your needs is very neat indeed, and the host of carrying systems and sizing to match a water bottle makes for a very usable product. Heavier than a drybag, but with the added bonus of impact and crush protection.