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Trail Gear for Colorado Summer

We hit the trails hard this month—hiking, running, backpacking—and came up with a hit list of the gear that made us happiest when we were tromping into the hills.

1. Hydration: Hydro Flask 18-ounce Wide Mouth Black Butte

We loved the size of this easy-to-hold bottle—it was perfect for keeping hydrated on a Front Range scorcher of a day hike and the wide mouth meant we could use a SteriPen in it when we were backpacking in the San Juans. Plus, the double-walled vacuum insulation kept cold drinks chilled (and even our chai warm in winter). Best of all, the company donates five percent of the purchase price to a charity of your choice. $24; 

2. Pack: Bergans Rondane 12L

Weighing in at just 1 pound, 6 ounces, the Rondane 12L was the right size to haul the essentials but still nice and airy thanks to mesh shoulder straps. Top that off with an included 2-liter hydration bladder and it became our go-to day hike pack. We chose the minimalist 6L ($99) for big trail runs—its unique strap system cuts down on the bounce against your back when you jog. $109;

3. Shirt: Mountain Khakis Equatorial

Super light and fast drying, this shirt was equally at home at the office as it was walking the dog on Front Range trails or backpacking the labyrinths of Utah’s Cedar Mesa. A sun-blocking collar proved a neck-saver when fly-fishing out on the stream all-day. And, of course—breathe easy, outdoor dudes—it’s plaid. $90;

4. Pants: Adidas Terrex Multi Pants

Like a hiking track suit, these 4-way stretch pants (85 percent  nylon, 15 percent elastane) withstood the abuse of scrambling and bushwhacking the Indian Peaks. The natural cut even made them comfortable for running. $95;

5. Shell: Marmot Hyper Lite

It may be pricey, but weighing in at a mere 12.4 ounces, the Hyper Lite proved easy to stash away and forget about… until those Colorado afternoon thunderstorms unloaded on us in the backcountry. Built with Gore-Tex’s Active Shell, which offers up storm-repelling waterproofing alongside the best breathability of the brand’s range of fabrics, this tough shell paid big dividends when we needed it most. $400;

6. Boot: Keen Durand

It may look like one of those big, bulky, blister-inducing hiking boots of yore, but the relatively light (2 pounds, 8 ounces per pair), waterproof Durand feels like a trail runner when you slip it on. That made it our choice for big backpacking adventures when we wanted to move fast but needed a bit of stability. Plus, these babies are made in America. $180;

7. Daily Hiker: Lowa Tempest Lo

Meet the shoe for the perfect summer day: head out for a morning hike, chill in the cafe, walk the dog, hit the brew pub. The Nubuk-leather Tempest felt so comfy on our feet—and stable when we navigated tricky talus fields and steep trails—we didn’t want to take it off. $145;

8. Trail Runner: Salomon XA Pro 3D

The latest iteration of an old standby, this simple-to-lace, breezy, solid-underfoot shoe dealt with all the junk the local trails dished out. It’s still our favorite (and fine for hiking, too). $130;

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