amazon1 feature
By Lauren Wong

When I made up my mind that I wanted to move to Arizona I’d never even visited the state (Google did it justice). I just knew I wanted something new, someplace full of adventure around every corner. Somewhere that I had yet to explore. Living in Florida for four years during college, I felt like I’d basically seen everything I wanted. I was ready for a change (and going back to bitter Chicago wasn’t an option). 

So, I packed up my life and moved out here. Personally, I think I need to delete Amazon from my phone, but it’s been my go to for everything necessary (and unnecessary) for my southwest adventures. 

I’ve curated a list for you, so you can skip the tedious scrolling through thousands of reviews (wondering if that $5 saved is smart, or if you’ll get that disappointment when your little brown box comes filled with the cheapest material possible). That being said, here are some of my Amazon favorites and starting prices (part 1). 

The Fundamental List for Explorers (Amazon Edition)

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Not only are bucket hats ‘in’ as one of the latest, trendy, fashion must-haves, but they’re also extremely beneficial to have while spending time outdoors. They give you that extra bit of protection against the sun. What I love about these ones is that they’re reversible. You can choose a fun pattern that’ll complement your hiking fit, and then flip it inside out when you want just that pop of color. My favorites are the tye-dye and daisy ones.

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To me, one of the most annoying things is when I hear my water bottle rolling around every time I break or accelerate my car. I very rarely carry around your traditional plastic water bottle, and 90% of the reusable water bottles I buy are in bigger sizes (enough to stay well hydrated in the desert heat). I also like having my water accessible when I am driving, not sitting on a chair or the ground because it doesn’t fit in your traditional cup holder. 

This adapter has made such a difference to me (it’s the little things in life). It fits right into your car’s cup holder and expands to hold 32/40 oz bottles. It’s perfect for your Hydro Flask, Yeti, Nalgene, etc.

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This is a life saver! Unfortunately, I don’t use mine as much as I’d like to because I am always carrying around my camera bag. These packs hold 2 liters of water, have a roomy main compartment, inner sleeve, exterior pocket, and are small and lightweight. You can hike hands free with ease. 

Since I usually hike with my camera bag, I always bring my hydration pack with me to festivals. You skip paying for bottled water and it holds enough water for you to be able to enjoy the concert for hours without worry. And, it allows you to be hands free while you dance and sing along to your favorite songs!

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I received this as a gift and now I can’t imagine camping without it. Unlike most lanterns you’d find for camping, this one is inflatable, so you can flatten it before squeezing it into your bag. The waterproof, 6 inch cube lantern runs on solar power with a built in 2000mAH battery. To recharge you can either leave it in direct sunlight (12-14 hours to fully recharge) or use the included USB cord. A full lantern will stay lit for about 50 hours on low mode. It’s a perfect backup/emergency lantern and power source (in case your phone dies) that you can conveniently toss into your bag.

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These are my favorite go-to for shorter hikes, and to slip on after longer ones! They’re extremely comfortable and lightweight so you can easily just throw them into your bag or car. When I got my first pair of Teva’s I was so obsessed with them I wore them everywhere, which I wouldn’t recommend. On multiple occasions while hiking Arizona’s rocky mountains I’d have my colorful Teva’s strapped on. I always blamed my ignorance of shoe choice on being new to the area, but it happened one too many times (I fell while hiking one too many times too). They’re also great water shoes with their quick-dry straps and rubber soles, perfect for Slide Rock State Park, Sedona! The best part is choosing what pattern and color you’re looking to sport on your next hike, there’s so many unique options. 

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One of the best things about going on a road trip or camping is that you get to take a break from society for a while. You get to unplug, take a step away from social media and just focus on the present moment. However, it becomes a major issue when you’re trying to find your way to your destination and you lose service. This signal booster works across all U.S. phone carriers helping you to keep connection as you drive through remote areas (boosting 5G and 4G LTE). 

It’s a bit pricey, but well worth it if you find yourself losing signal a lot during your travels. For $199 you get the Drive Sleek Booster, cradle, magnetic outside antenna, power supply, magnetic vent clip, dash cradle mount, and installation guide. Its adjustable cradle fits any phone 5.1 – 7.5 inches.