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Your Ultimate Urban Exploration Gear Guide: The Absolute Essentials

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Put down the binoculars, first aid kit and who knows what else. While these are all excellent things to have when you’re urban exploring, they aren’t essential. You can definitely start urban exploring without these luxuries. However, there are some items you certainly don’t want to go in abandoned buildings and ghost towns without. Here’s what you must have before your next adventure and why.

Urban Exploration Gear Guide: The Essentials

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The first thing you need to grab before heading out for some urban exploration is a backpack. Forget about trying to lug around a cross-body bag, book bag, handbag, purse, garbage bag – whatever. You’re going to be hurdling your body over all kinds of surfaces, many of which will be sticking out just waiting to snag your clothing. So, you need to have a bag that’s right on your body for comfort and optimal movability – a backpack.



Yes, this urban exploration must have needs to be plural. Just when you think you have the best-charged flashlight in the world, you find it going dead when you’re in the basement of an abandoned hospital. Trust us, it’s not fun! So, make sure you have, not one flashlight but two or three, or even four. Small LED flashlights are ideal since they take up little space yet shine enough to keep you safe as you explore. It’s also good to have backup batteries. Just in case because weird things happen when you’re urban exploring –you just can’t explain it.

A headlamp is also ideal hear for urban exploration. Although, it isn’t a requirement.



Don’t count on refilling your water bottle in any of the water fountains or taps you may stumble across. Chances are, they haven’t seen human consumption for many years and you certainly don’t want to be the first. So, pack as much water as you can without weighing down your backpack too much. We recommend a super large water bottle plus one extra per person.

This is also ideal for your health. When your urban exploring, you’re breathing in all sorts of stuff – dust, dead bodies, dirt – who knows. So, you want to flush out your system as much as possible during and after an urban exploration, and the best way to do that is with water. 


Polarized Sunglasses

Newp. Just any old pair of sunglasses won’t do when it comes to urban exploration. Since you’re trekking off the beaten path, you need to have the optimal vision. Otherwise, you risk hiking right into a pile of dirty glass, falling off a broken wood beam or worse, missing out on some awesome visuals. So, you need polarized sunglasses because they are designed to block out more than just the UV rays.

Our wood sunglasses block out intense light from the sun, as well as the reflections coming off of surfaces, which as you know, reflections are prominent throughout abandoned buildings. So, by having polarized sunglasses, you can ensure your safety and a quality urban exploration.

Another thing to consider is opting for lightweight wood sunglasses. When you’re lugging all kinds of things on your back as you maneuver through rigged window sills, busted-down doors, and cob-web alleys, the less weight you feel, the better. While sunglasses are such a small item and may seem trivial, you’ll be wearing them all day and not feeling them at all is just an added bonus.



Unless you want your fingerprints all over these abandoned places which you’re technically “breaking into”, you’ll want to wear some gloves. Aside from that, gloves are a good idea because, like we said, you have no idea what you’re getting into when you start a new urban exploration. The things you come across will make you want to wear gloves for the rest of your life. Plus, they’re idea for your safety. If there’s anything you’ll always find in abandoned places, it’s broken glass.


Lastly, don’t forget your camera. Whether it’s your smartphone or an expensive DSLR, you’ll want to capture these crazy moments – and we want to see them! Tag #NotSoPublic for a chance to appear on Public Sunglasses Instagram. And you better be rocking some epic handcrafted wood sunglasses from our collection designed for the urban explorer.