MeatEater Associate Producer & Cameraman Garret Smith–affectionately known as Dirt Myth–is a badass photographer, a renaissance man of the mountains, and an integral part of keeping our entire team well-equipped and safe in the backcountry. Here, he delves into the items that are absolutely necessary on each MeatEater shoot.
2. First Lite base layers including underwear: I have not found better, more comfortable, smell-crushing base layers than First Lite’s merino wool. The shit just works. The two other mandatory pieces of clothing I bring are a soft-shell layer or puffy jacket and an outer shell. I choose these based on the climate and the exertion of chasing Steve up mountains each trip might entail.
3. Platypus collapsable water container with Steripen: Staying hydrated is not an option, it’s mandatory or else nothing is gonna get done. With these two items you can stay light and compact while still maintaining your body’s needs. Often, the water sources we find have floaters and interesting color but with the Steripen it doesn’t matter.
4. Black Diamond Storm. Without a trustworthy light source, working till the last light fades isn’t an option. Also a headlamp with dead batteries doesn’t do you any good either, so the ability to lock it while powered down is paramount. Steve uses a SureFire headlamp, which doesn’t have the locking capability, but he just inverts the battery when he’s not using it. That’s a good trick to remember if your headlamp doesn’t lock.
5. Black Diamond Trekking Poles with a Seek Outside tarp. Some may call me soft for always having at least one hiking pole on my pack, but I don’t care. When you are really pushing with camera gear and meat on your back, the hiking poles save my knees for adventures down the road and they allow my arms to help get me up the last hill before the next last hill. A small tarp combined with the hiking pole gives good shelter when it starts to rain or snow and staying dry might make the difference between getting the shot or losing focus on the task at hand.