Birder's Guide

NOV 2018

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 19 of 43

FOR SUN LOVERS When I was a kid, I didn't really think about the sun too much, other than to wish for it to reappear on rainy days so my friends and I could play. These days, especially since moving to southeast- ern Arizona, I spend a lot of time try- ing to protect myself from the sun, and I know a lot of birders are in the same situation. Unless you want to switch to strictly nocturnal birding, it is impor- tant to have the right gear to protect your skin, and sunscreen only gets you so far. Why not get the birder on your list a hat or long-sleeved shirt with built- in sun protection? (I recently got myself this hat and am pretty happy with it: An online search for "clothing for sun protection" gives you lots of options. FOR HIKERS AND TRAVELERS The search for the perfect backpack has consumed most of my adult life. I've had a series of bags that have been al- most right, but nothing has hit the nail on the head. I now have two bags that come pretty close to meeting my needs. My requirements: • Large enough to carry a first-aid kit, rain shell, lunch, and extra snacks for those times when I or someone else gets hangry (30 liters at least). • Easy to access. When I'm in the field, I often have to quickly get to my first-aid kit to fix a blister, treat a headache, or bandage a scrape. Or maybe I'd like to get to a stash of granola bars for an extra bit of energy. The last thing I want is to unpack everything in my backpack to get what I need. • Pockets for organization. I carry a lot of stuff and I like everything to have its place. There is a fine line between enough and too many when it comes to pockets, though, so finding a bag with just the right amount of organizational storage is key. • Water bottle storage. I want a bag with large-enough pockets on the side to hold a one-liter or larger water bottle. The pockets have to be deep and secure enough that the bottle won't fall out when I bend over to look at a flower or insect on the ground. • Multiple purposes. I travel a lot, so I appreciate a bag that can do double duty as carry-on luggage and to take on a multi-mile hike. The Peak Design Everyday Backpack I have owned the 30-liter version of this bag for about two years and overall have been thrilled with it. THE GOOD: The accessibility and organization of this bag are great. I can quickly get at anything inside, whether it is at the top, middle, or bottom. The bag has two lare pockets on the side that eas- ily hold my water bottle, and with built- in extra straps I can even stick my tripod in one and strap it down with ease. It has a pocket for a laptop and/or tablet that is accessed separately from the main pocket, making it very easy to pull out my computer when going through a se- curity line at the airport. The side panels have ample pockets and storage space, with a zipped cover to keep everything in the side panel instead of shuffling around loose in the main compartment. SHORTCOMINGS: I'm hesitant to say "shortcomings" here, because I really love just about everything about this bag. The only real downsides for me have been the size (the 30-liter bag has lots of ca- pacity, but the fit on my back is too large) and the lack of a padded hip belt. It does have a hip strap and a chest strap made of narrow webbing, but after a recent five- mile hike my lower back and shoulders were aching because of all the weight on my shoulders. Special note: Peak Design did just come out with a new Travel Series, which includes a 45-liter back- pack with a padded hip belt. I haven't tried this, but it looks like it addresses some of the issues I had with the Every- day Backpack. • everyday-backpack REI Co-op Trail 40 Pack THE GOOD: This bag is big, with plenty of space for everything I carry. It has a great zipper system that lets you get at the main compartment from pretty much any angle, deep pockets for water bottles, and a sturdy and comfortable hip strap with pockets large enough to hold two cell phones. I can fit my lap- top in the sleeve in the back of the bag, and there is a separate compartment for a hydration bladder. Basically—this bag has enough space for just about any- ■ Sunday Afternoons Sunset Hat ■ Peak Design 20L Everyday Backpack ■ REI Co-op Trail 40 pack 18 Birder's Guide to Gear | November 2018 Birders' Gift Guide Continued on page 20

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