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Eno Rothbury daypack

The last time a total solar eclipse crossed the United States like a beauty pageant sash — from the shoulder of Portland to the hip of Charleston — was in 1918. At the time, the metal-framed rucksack was all the rage, people were still adjusting to this new-fangled device called a zipper, and the down sleeping bag was still a couple years from being invented. When folks headed outdoors for an adventure, they truly were roughing it.

That won’t be the case Monday afternoon when we venture outside to view the first total eclipse to hit the area in 99 years. When we venture out, we’re venturing out in lightweight, high-tech, comfortable style. All of that’s important, because the best viewing will be away from the staring masses (note: don’t stare, unless you’ve scored some nifty eclipse glasses) and you’ll need that modern gear to make the most of this event-of-the-century. Modern equipment such as:

Astral TR1-Trek

Astral TR1-Trek. Getting to that view-point is the goal. This turbo ventilated,amphibious light hiker can cover any type of terrain on the path of totality. Constructed with the super-sticky “G” Rubber outsoles you can navigate the most technical trails and river beds. Learn more here.

Helinox camp chair

Helinox Chair One travel chair. The eclipse lasts, what, two, two and a half minutes? But the transition, the eager anticipation, starts around 1 p.m. when the moon begins crossing the sun’s path and lasts until about 4 p.m. That’s a lot of time to be standing around with your hands in your pockets. Pack in this lightweight (less than 2 pounds), backcountry barcalounger and enjoy the wait in comfort. It also won’t hog room in your back, folding down to about the size of the Sunday Times (which would make good reading in your Helinox). Learn more here.

DrinkTanks Growler

Your camp kitchen. Again, it’s a long process. You’ll get hungry. You should eat, a hot meal, if possible. To make your momma happy.

  • Stove. With the Primus Classic Trail Stove, you can have a pot of boiling water ready in three minutes, water that can bring to life a nice, dehydrated Mountain House lasagna, perhaps, or a Good-to-Go Herbed Mushroom Risotto. Perhaps you have an array of dehydrated canapes you’re preparing for the occasion. This stove is reliable, lightweight (8 ounces, not including the gas canister), and compact so it isn’t piggish with pack space. Details here.
  • Beverage cooler. The average high temperature on Aug. 21 in the Piedmont is 88 degrees (the long-term forecast suggests this Aug. 21 will be a might hotter). This is eclipse-viewing weather that calls for a frosty beverage guaranteed to remain frosty during the three-hour event. Enter DrinkTanks’ 64-ounce Insulated Growler: durable, leakproof, guaranteed to keep your beverage frosty for 24 hours, or certainly until the sun goes down (for good). Details here.
Primus camp stove

Whittlin’ knife. Face it, you’re in for a bit of a wait before the big event — more than an hour and a half between when transition commences and we achieve totality. What better way to pass the time than by crafting something handy (a hiking staff, curtain rods) out of a fallen branch. We have a range of suitable carving devices, include the Benchmark 530, the ultimate lightweight knife when weight is an issue. Learn more here.

Day packs. You’ll need a way to haul all this stuff to your viewing venue, preferably a pack with volume and style. The new line of day packs from Eno, for instance. Lots of internal pockets, outside storage, ventilation — everything you seek in a pack. (It even has a compression hammock hatch to haul in your Eno hammock — if you can find a couple trees that won’t obscure your view of the action.) Learn more here.

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Looking for a remote location to haul your gear and watch the eclipse? Check out our five recommendation of five relatively remote spots to see the show, here.