15 Summer Hiking Gear Essentials

Jun 21, 2018

Category: Gear

Summer’s here, and the time is right – for a lot of things. For relaxing poolside, sipping a cold glass of lemonade (or something stiffer). For hitting the beach and catching some waves. For reading a nice book under a shady tree. One of the best ways to enjoy the estival solstice is to go for a hike.

With June gloom in the rear view, and Mr. Blue Sky up above, it’s time to hit the trails, and that means strapping up. With the sun shining, scorching you as you blaze your trail, it’s more important than ever to be prepared. We’ve provided you with a convenient compendium of the best hiking products to make sure you’re well equipped for journeys into the unknown.

Injinji Outdoor Midweight Crew NuWool Sock

With all the moisture that will be trickling down during an arduous hike, it’s important to stave off trench foot with a breathable and absorbent pair of socks. These Injinji outdoor socks will do just that, and keep you comfortable in your footwear for longer. Natural antimicrobial properties will defend against fungus (and odor) and thermal-regulating materials with arch support will have you walking on a cloud as you ascend steep hiking trails.

Purchase: $20

Smartwool Merino 150 Pattern Boxer Briefs

Possibly more important than socks are the boxer briefs in which you hike. We’ve all been in some bad spots, resulting from a poor choice in undergarments. I needn’t mention the sordid details. Stay strapped with the Boxer Briefs from Smartwool, with a durable nylon core wrapped in soft, gentle Merino material. These briefs offer the elasticity that you, as an intrepid explorer yearning to stretch your limits, require.

Purchase: $45

Black Diamond Spot Headlamp

The summer solstice means longer days. But should you venture out after the setting sun, the Black Diamond Spot Headlamp will keep the trail illuminated. Whether you’re rappeling down a cliffside, foraging for firewood, or simply searching for a secluded place to uh, do business, the Spot Headlamp provides the reliability we’ve come to expect from Black Diamond. PowerTap Technology allows easy-toggling between brightness levels and functions, which include dimming, strobe, and red night-vision. Whether you’re in a pinch, or pinching one in the woods, the Black Diamond offers the coverage you require.

Purchase: $40

Arc’teryx Motus Crew Neck

Don’t subject yourself to the fool’s errand of hiking in a cotton T-shirt. Those absorbent sweat rags become like added weights once they become saturated. Instead, opt for the Arc’Teryx Motus Crew Neck. Moisture wicking and lightweight, you’ll feel the breeze through this crew neck, but not too much – it will also keep you warm if the winds start to nip. Merrow stitch seam construction provides a tight seam size and gusseted underarms provide flexibility and comfort – which you’ll need for adventuring.

Purchase: $50+

The North Face Venture 2 Rain Jacket

April showers are a thing of the past, but spontaneous summer storms are a reality that you must consider in your travels. The North Face Venture 2 will provide shelter from the storm in the case of inclement weather, thanks to a 2.5 layer dryVent waterproof breathable laminate. Still light enough for a summer hiking jacket, the Venture 2 will keep you dry but not weighed down. Pit-zips let you vent, so as to not create moisture on the inside while protecting from the wetness outside.

Purchase: $69

Buck Knives Vantage Pro Folding Knife

Whatever your plans are, whether you’re forging deep into the unknown, or going for a little jaunt, it’s never not the right time to have a knife handy. The Buck Knives Vantage Pro is the perfect folding knife to tuck in with the rest of your belongings, in case you need to cut some rope, shave down some kindling, or skewer a squirrel for a stewy dinner. The 3-1/4″ Drop Point S30V steel blade is super sharp, and offers one hand opening, in case you’re holding down your catch with the other. With a comfortable, ergonomic grip, this is an EDC knife that you’ll want with you wherever you may roam.

Purchase: $85

Rapide Field Short GC

Now that summer is officially here, it’s time to free your shins and soak up some sun. The Rapide short from Prometheus Design Werx lets you do just that, along with keeping your belongings safe and accessible. Made of 4-way stretch nylon fabric, these shorts are rugged and durable, and extremely comfy, even in the most extreme of conditions. A higher cutoff point means more leg freedom for demanding activities like climbing, and thirteen low profile pockets allow you to keep your essentials organized and readily available at any time.

Purchase: $120

Julbo Explorer2 Sunglasses

Julbo is the staple brand of mountaineering goggles and glasses. So if you’re looking to do some light mountain climbing this summer, take a look through these lenses. The 2.0 glacier sunglasses are one of Julbo’s slimmest designs, and offer more ventilation, so things don’t get foggy on a clear, hot day. The mountaineering-side shields keep the sun from obscuring your peripherals, but they’re removable if you find your vision getting a bit too tunneled. The NXT Shatterproof proprietary Zebra lenses provide 100% protection from UV A, B and C rays, while still keeping your surroundings well illumined.

Purchase: $180

Osprey Stratos 36 Backpack

The hiking pack is possibly the most important item on your list, and Osprey’s Stratos 36 is the perfect bag to fill that slot. A top-loading design with backpanel and suspension allow you to pack heavy and travel light, never feeling like Sisyphus lugging a boulder up a mountain. For long and perspiration-inducing hikes, the Stratos has everything you need. With hydration-compatibility, upper side compression straps, integrated rain cover, and even telescoping stow-on-the-go hiking poles, this pack is a must have.

Purchase: $220+

Terrex Fast Mid GTX Surround

While not known for making hiking shoes, Adidas has produced a rugged and athletic pair to facilitate your summer exploration. The Terrex Fast GTX is a mid-top hiking shoe that has the lightweight and flexibility of Adidas athletic shoes, with a ruggedness that has been multiplied manifold. Stitched together from an abrasion-resistant textile upper with protective weldings and a gore-tex breathable outer, this boot-sneaker hybrid is 100% water-proof. A Continental rubber outsole keeps your grip clingy in the best of ways.

Purchase: $225

Garmin inReach Mini 2-Way Satellite Communicator

If you plan on venturing off the grid this summer – like really off the grid – then go prepared. Either leave yourself a trail of bread crumbs (not recommended) or bring the Garmin inReach Mini 2-Way Satellite Communicators. Featuring two way messaging via the 100% global Iridium network, which allows you to communicate with other hikers on a more reliable platform than your cellular network, a fifty hour battery life, and the ability to send an emergency signal to GEOS (emergency rescue organization), the Garmin inReach will keep you out of 127 Hours-type situations.

Purchase: $350

Suunto 9

If the Garmin slips and falls out of your Osprey – which would never happen, but let’s say it does – the Suunto 9 is a more than capable backup plan. If this thing falls off your wrist, too, though, you’re likely out of luck. (Maybe not). Thanks to powerful GPS connectivity and a battery life that goes for 120 hours – that’s 5 days – straight, this watch is a failsafe. Offering several different modes, you can also use the Suunto to monitor your health and hiking progress over time, making this GPS watch the perfect addition to any hiker’s summer collection.

Purchase: $600

30 Camping Gear Essentials

So you’re ready to hit the backcountry for the more than just a day hike? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our round of the best camping gear to hit the trails.

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