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The Best Hiking Gear for Summer 2017

Best Trail Shoes

Columbia Montrail Caldorado II

Best for: Running

The Caldorado II excels here on the trails and peaks of the West—but we had the lucky chance to test it across the globe on the high paths of the Alps (in the rain, no less). That’s not an entirely crazy proposition since Columbia sponsors the legendary, 105-mile Ultra Tour de Mont Blanc (UTMB) and hosted us on a European session to bang around on the shoes. We ran and hiked hut-to-hut with small packs and these 9.5-ounce do-it-all kicks on our feet along parts of the race course. Nothing slowed this shoe down: It felt just as stable on dirt as it did in mud and slick snowfields thanks to 4-mm lugs that provide solid traction on bare, exposed rock. When we let them loose, the double mesh upper breathed like a champ and the Fluid Foam/Fluid Guide technology in the midsole offered up some spring to our step while keeping our feet anchored. Best of all, they fit straight out of the box. Add it all up and you have our favorite all-condition trail runner of the season, an ideal shoe for all the variable weirdness of wilderness runs. $120 |

Zodiac Plus GTX

Best for: Big Trips

Need a heavy-duty boot? The Zodiac Plus GTX embodies all the fortitude of a classic trekker without all the weight. Bolstered with a Gore-tex membrane and tipping the scales at a mere one pound, three ounces (in a European size 43), this backpacker’s best friend delivers all the surefootedness of a far heavier kick. You feel the difference as soon as you slip it on thanks to a soft-shell-like sock where a traditional tongue would be. That innovation not only simplifies the boot but also form fits the shoe to your foot shape. The Vibram Drumlin sole sticks to rock and scree and four different densities of midsole material in strategic spots underfoot suck up the shock of the trail. $250 |

Oboz Crest Low BDry

Best for: The Rest

Your daily, stand-by hiker needs to hold up to a summer of hard use. The Crest Low BDry delivers: Speed lacing makes it secure, breathable mesh on the upper keeps it light and airy and the waterproof BDry membrane sheds moisture. Best of all, the tough Thru-hiker outsole, made for 1,000-mile treks, can handle a beating.
$150 |

Lightweight Bliss

Montbell Versalite

The key to the perfect Colorado rain shell is to find one that can deal with the downpour of a sudden cloudburst but that’s also light enough that you forget you have it in your pack (since you most likely won’t need it here). Weighing a silly 6.7 ounces, the Versalite sheds precip like a champ, with a sturdy 2.5-layer membrane, and still includes features like handy front zippered pockets. $169 |

Carry It All

Gregory Citro 25

Meet the ideal small pack for big summer hikes. The 2.5-pound Citro 25 featrues a moisture-wicking back-panel ventilation system that lets in plenty of air and cuts down on sweat without overwhelming the pack. Inside, there’s enough space to hold gear for serious adventures, such as the one-day epics we profile in “I-70 Heaven,” (see page 27). $130 |

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