Hiking Essentials

Prep for the trail with these nine basics for wilderness and open space exploration.


Leki Micro Black Carbon

We used to think hiking poles were for folks who were over the hill. No more. At 7.3 ounces per pole, these easy-to-assemble, carbon fiber trekkers are a godsend when the terrain gets tricky or you are burdened with a big pack. $250; leki.com

First Aid

CVS Survival Prep Pack

It can be a pain to round up the emergency essentials you should always have in your pack. No fear: You get Adventure Medical Kits emergency blankets, whistle and more in this inexpensive, simple package you can grab at the chain pharmacy. $6.50; cvs.com


Gregory Zulu 35

This roomy bag will carry all you need for a fourteener excursion, or when you need to pack along everything for the family—yet it never feels like overkill on your back. Credit that easy feel to the FreeFloat suspension system that shifts with your torso even when the pack is fully stuffed. Extra points for the simple sunglass stow on the shoulder strap. $170; gregorypacks.com


Oboz Sawtooth II Low Waterproof

The perfect do-it-all hiker, this 17.4-ounce (in a men’s 9) lowtop caters to the demands of thru hikers. Beefed up with a burly sole that can stick to rock and handle weeks of abuse, this waterproof kick is just the ticket on quick backpacking trips for those who don’t demand lots of ankle support. But with out-of-the-box comfort, it’s also a good choice for afternoon rambles. $140; obozfootwear.com


Wigwam Arbor NXT Mid Crew

A top-quality sock is the oft overlooked key to smart hiking gear.  With a blend of nylon, merino and spandex, these cushy socks prevent blisters by putting more protection in zones prone to hot spots. Plus, they are made in the U.S.A. $16; wigwam.com


Outdoor Research Refuge Hybrid

The perfect backpacker’s companion, this insulator will prove its worth when the temperatures drop at your wilderness camp in the bottom of a canyon. Tipping the scales at a scant 12 ounces, the jacket features water-resistant stretch fabric in arms and hood and just enough insulation in the core, making it comfy even when you are on the go with a pack on in chilly temps. $159; outdoorresearch.com


Stio Eddy SS

If you’re the type who heads straight to the bar from the trailhead, this is your shirt. The breezy nylon-poly-blend short-sleeve can handle sweat and a bit of weather as well as an errant drink spilled on it. $99; stio.com

Wind Shell

Backcountry Canyonlands

Most summer days in Colorado you can skip a full on rain shell, but when the wind picks up on an exposed ridge, you’ll be glad you stuffed this packable, crazy light (just 4 ounces!) jacket into your pack or even a pocket. $100; backcountry.com


686 Anything Cargo

Comfy enough for anything from a rowdy hike to a long plane ride, these four-way-stretch drawstring cargos feel luxurious yet can handle a beating. The plentiful pockets work to hold valuables from phone to credit cards when you want to forgo a pack—but they don’t look too dorky off the trail. $110; 686.com

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