Springtime hiking adventures can be a frustrating mix of chilly mornings and sneaky rain showers that turn into toasty afternoons and even the occasional snowstorm. Mother Nature’s indecisiveness is on full display this time of year, which sure does make it tough to be fully prepared for spring hiking excursions. But with a little planning and the right gear, conquering mud season can be a breeze. Check out these seven pieces of women’s gear perfect for hitting the trails with this season.
Let’s face it, tights are so damn comfortable, and trekking tights on the trails is a trend that is here to stay. Just in time for spring, The North Face released the Women’s Progressor Hybrid Tights, and if you’re a fan of comfort, durability and compression, these are the tights for you. Made with a very cozy blend of stretch knit and stretch woven materials, the Progressor’s feature a stretchy and wide waistband, abrasion-resistant material on the thighs, butt, and lower pant legs, and pretty awesome hip pockets that will hold your phone, car keys, or whatever necessities you need to bring along on your adventures. Excellent support, with plenty of freedom to move and the technical materials to stand up to the elements and rugged adventures make these tights a must-have for springtime hiking adventures. $85; thenorthface.com
We’ve all been there. It’s dawn at the trailhead, and you’re throwing on all of the layers to fight off the early morning chill in the air. Cut to two hours later, and the sun is shining, temps are up, and you are feverishly trying to de-layer to avoid burning up on the trail. Smartwool’s new Women’s PhD Ultra Light Sport Vest helps eliminate the need for hoards of layers to match the changing weather. To say this vest is light is an understatement. At 4.7 ounces, it takes up minimal space in your hiking bag and offers a wide variety of features for such a small piece of gear. But toss it on over a short sleeve shirt or a long sleeve baselayer, and this vest will add an extra layer of warmth without sacrificing breathability or movement. Made with a merino wool and polyester blend, elevated with strategically-placed body-mapped panels of ultra light mesh for breathability and temp control, and finished with DWR water and wind-resistant repellent, this vest embodies the theory that the best pieces of outdoor apparel are the ones that you forget you’re even wearing.
Warmer weather and the lure of gorgeous backcountry views, colorful landscapes and new growth along the trails will inevitably inspire early morning adventures and pre-dawn treks to the trailhead — which means you’ll need a hard-working headlamp to light the way. Ledlenser’s MH10 is definitely a work horse, but a thoughtful one that includes a helpful Advanced Focus System, a transportation lock, and a rear light to guide fellow hikers behind you. At 600 lumens, the MH10 easily lights the way for your outdoor excursions, and it’s rechargeable, so no need to worry about dead batteries. But perhaps the best feature of this small but mighty headlamp is the Temperature Control System aimed to cool the LED to provide constant maximum lumen output. If your headlamp is finicky and unreliable, toss it aside and invest in an Ledlenser MH10 instead. $80; ledlenserusa.com
Mud, snow, torrential rains, blazing heat … you’re likely to run into it all when adventuring on the trails in springtime. KEEN’s Women’s Terradora Waterproof Mid is designed to stand up to all — no matter how many times you hit the trail in a week. Designed specifically for women, these boots provide excellent all-day comfort and are easy and fun to break in, which make them the perfect footwear to don on the first hike of the season. The Terradora’s showcase the power of Keen.Dry, KEEN’s waterproof, yet breathable membrane that staves off water while exhaling vapor out. These boots also feature natural odor control technology, stability and support for the ankle, achilles tendon and arch of the foot, and a casual look that easily transitions from the trail to adventures around town. $140; keenfootwear.com
Every hiking enthusiast knows just how important a great pair of tech socks can be. Farm to Feet’s Damascus Medium Weight Technical Crew socks not only look great, but add excellent comfort and a little bit of warmth, which will certainly come in handy when logging miles on the trail all day. These socks are constructed with 19.5-micron merino wool and boast a quick-dry technology, which is perfect for surviving those rogue afternoon rainstorms. Targeted cushioning offers an extra layer of comfort and helps eliminate wear and tear, and a series of ventilation channels work hard to make sure that even if the weather is wet and muggy outside, your feet will remain nice and dry and warm. $26; farmtofeet.com
A good rain jacket is absolutely crucial this time of year, and Marmot’s Women’s Eclipse EvoDry jacket fits the bill. This jacket sports an athletic women’s-fit and is made from a sustainable, eco-minded recycled nylon fabric that is waterproof, breathable, and works hard to keep the elements out at every turn. It’s 100 percent seam taped and includes PFC-free water resistant zippers, pockets and asymmetric velcro cuffs. The Eclipse also has strategically placed pit zips that allow the jacket to breathe and vent with the change in temperature. When not in use, this jacket is a cinch to roll up and tuck away in your pack, which means not only does it have a reduced footprint on the environment, but a minimal impact on the coveted storage space in your pack. $250; marmot.com
Durable. Budget-friendly. No frills … Deuter’s ACT Traill 22 SL checks all of the boxes, but it’s specific women’s fit is really what makes this pack an excellent selection for inaugural springtime hiking adventures. While most backpacks standard designs are made for long torsos, the ACT Trail carry system is a bit shorter than standard sizing, making it a better and more comfortable fit for ladies who hike. This pack also features a cushiony Air Contact back system that continues to provide comfort and support throughout the day. And this pack is equipped with plenty of storage pockets, so load up with layers, stash your rain coat, bring plenty of water, and don’t forget your lunch. And of course, while you hope you won’t have to use it, Deuter’s ACT Trail comes with a removable rain cover that easily tucks away when the storm clouds leave and the sun returns. $120; deuter.com