Photo by Toomas Tartes on Unsplash

Hiking in the mountains

Hit the Trail with the Right Gear

Hiking can be an incredibly joyful and rewarding pastime and is made even more enjoyable when you have the proper gear. Hiking gear can be a big investment to make but is well worth it in the end. If you are just starting out and are on a budget, try buying one or two pieces of gear at a time to spread out the cost. So what exactly do you need to go hiking? In this article, we'll cover all the essentials and link to some of our favorites.

Backpacks

A hiking pack is one of the most important pieces of gear you will buy as an outdoor adventurer. With so many different types of packs to choose from, it may be difficult to know what kind you need. If you are mostly doing day hikes (hikes that can be completed in one day) you will want to go with a small to medium-sized pack. This may be anything from 15 Liters-40 Liters, depending on your preferences. If you intend to do longer multi-day hikes or backpacking trips, you may want a larger pack, ranging from 45-70 Liters. Features to look for when shopping for a backpack include extra pockets for easy organizing, a compartment for your hydration reservoir, and loops for your trekking poles. Hiking packs come in different sizes, so it is important to try them on with at least 10 pounds of weight to ensure a correct fit. Here are a few of the best hiking backpacks:

Osprey Sportlite 15

an teal colored osprey backpack.

Osprey Sportlite 15

This 15 Liter pack is great for shorter day hikes. It is super lightweight and comfortable to carry.

Buy at Osprey

Gregory Nano Waistpack

teal gregory waistpack.

Gregory Nano Waistpack

Perfect for quick hikes, you can stash your wallet, keys, and a bottle of water in this waist pack. Bonus: it comes in an array of fun colors.

Buy at Gregory Packs

Osprey Talon 44

a dark blue osprey talon backpack.

Osprey Talon 44 Backpack

A versatile bag that can be used for day hikes and backpacking trips, the Talon has a sleek and functional design and is super comfy during long days in the backcountry.

Buy at Osprey

Trekking Poles

two trekking poles with yellow handles and black straps.

Trekking Poles

Trekking poles are not essential for everyone who hikes, but they sure are nice to have. Trekking poles will save your knees on steep terrain, loose rocky trails, and long days logging miles. Look for a pair that are lightweight and easily collapsible. Lightweight, collapsible, and easy to store, these Leki trekking poles are a must for anyone who wants or needs a little extra support when hiking. These aluminum poles are a great all-around option for hikers and backpackers alike.

Buy at Leki

Hiking Footwear

One of the most essential pieces of your hiking kit is your footwear. Whether you decide on a sturdy hiking boot or a light and breezy trail running shoe, make sure you feel comfortable and supported for all of your outdoor adventures. Here are a couple of the best hiking shoes available:

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid WS

a brown high top hiking boot.

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid WS hiking boot

The Lowa Renegades have been setting the standard for hiking boots for the last 25 years. With durable and waterproof GORE-TEX construction, these boots will withstand many years and many miles on the trail.

Buy at Lowa

Salomon Alphacross 3

green and gray hiking shoe.

Salomon Alphacross hiking shoe

If you are looking to go fast and light on your next adventure, these Salomon trail runners might be the perfect shoe for you. With an all-terrain grip and a comfortable fit, these shoes were made for long days of hiking, casual walks in the park, and morning runs from the pavement to the forest.

Buy at Salomon

Rain Jacket or Shell

Whenever you hit the trail it is vital to be prepared for changes in weather. There’s nothing worse than being caught off guard by an afternoon storm without any rain gear. Be sure to pack a rain jacket or shell on your next hike. Here are a few that really stand out:

REI Co-op Groundbreaker Rain jacket 2.0

blue REI groundbreaker rain jacket with hood.

Co-op Groundbreaker Rain Jacket

This light, fully weatherproof rain jacket is an excellent choice for many reasons. It has an all-around design that makes it perfect for hiking and other sports, as well as casual use. It also doesn’t break the bank and comes in an assortment of colors. As an added bonus, the jacket is made using Bluesign-approved materials, making it an eco-friendly choice.

Buy at REI

Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Shell

woman's black rain shell jacket.

Black Diamond Stormline Rain Shell

From icy rain in the alpine to sudden downpours in the city, this outer shell can handle anything. Completely waterproof with a helmet-compatible hood, this jacket is ideal for hiking, climbing, mountaineering, running, and more. Find the men’s version here.

Buy at Black Diamond

Time to Gear Up

Now that you have an idea of what you need to hit the trail, it’s time to gear up and get outside. With so many fantastic options for hiking gear out there, you are sure to find pieces that suit your needs and your style. Happy hiking everyone!

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