Day Hiking Essentials for Summer
**Warning this is an in-depth, longish review :)
First and foremost I want to point out that I am in no way a big spender when it comes to shopping. For the most part I thrift for my clothes however, when it comes to my hiking gear, I spend the extra $$ to get gear that will last and that will protect me. If you really, really don’t want to spend money on gear, I would advise you to at least spend the money on a good pair of hiking boots. If you’re just doing hikes every once in a while then sneakers are fine, but if you find yourself hiking all the time and especially if you’re doing any type of trail that’s 5+ miles, I would get a good pair of shoes.
I’ve owned multiple pairs of hiking boots over my life but my favorite pair I’ve owned thus far is definitely my pair of Keens I purchased last summer before hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail. I’m super flat-footed and I needed a shoe that not only accommodated my flat feet but were also waterproof and not to heavy (I’m a small girl!). The Keens I purchased do all of that and more. They’re waterproof, shock proof (which is important for long hikes AND day hikes!) but they’re also lightweight and keep your feet cool and moisture free. My pair doesn’t have the high ankle support because I luckily have super strong ankles, but Keens have tons of options for ankle support. Never forget to protect your feet!!! You can find the pair that I wear here. I would recommend buying a pair that has room to accommodate the thicker style of hiking socks so buying a half size up maybe a good idea.
Socks are very important in keeping your feet protected while hiking. Thin socks are the worst thing you can wear while hiking. You really need thicker socks to protect your feet from blisters and keep you feet snug in your shoe. For the summer I stick with socks that go about an in above my ankles so my legs aren’t getting sweaty. My favorite pairs that I have are Wigwam Cool Lite Hiker Socks. My feet sweat when I hike (gross I know) and these socks do a fantastic job of keeping the moisture from my feet under control. As an added plus, these socks are also odor eliminating and of course they prevent any formation of blisters. I wore these while breaking in my new Keens and didn’t get a single blister. They’re great! Ultimately you want a thick sock to protect your foot and I would encourage you to splurge and go ahead and buy the more expensive and effective socks. Most are wool or a wool/cotton blend. You can find the Wigwam socks here.
My Camelbak is a bit of an older version but the closest one to it is the Adventura 18! I love this backpack because it can be used as a daypack but also a short weekend pack (it easily fits my tent, mess kit, cooking ware, extra clothes, and my Tevas can strap onto the side). The backpack has a water reservoir that holds 3 L of water as well as two side pockets to hold even more water bottles. In addition, there is a front compartment with even more little pockets inside to hold all the little personal things you like to take hiking. You can find the backpack here.
I know shorts are shorts for a lot of people but it makes a HUGE different to have the built in briefs (or what I call run-der-wear) to keep them from riding up while having a pack on your back. While all the shorts I wear aren’t Nike, they all have the built in briefs. I made the mistake once of wearing a pair of shorts without them and I was constantly pulling them down and they ended up being super uncomfortable. You can get an idea of the kind of shorts I’m talking about here.
Otterbox Lifeproof Case
This case has saved my phone on more than one occasion. From falling down rocks, to being stepped on, to being dropped accidently in streams, my phone has never been damaged as long as it’s been in this case. In addition to keeping my phone safe while hiking, it has protected my phone while cliff jumping (into water) and diving by surviving the impact of hitting the water and being submerged 10+ feet. It’s amazing to say the least! You can find it here.
Patagonia Rain Jacket
My camelback is spacious enough to hold a lightweight rain jacket and my rain jacket that I’ve had for forever is my ole’ reliable Patagonia Women’s Torrentshell Jacket. Not only is this thing waterproof and will keep you dry in an unexpected summer storm, its breathable and lightweight so you wont be sweating even when the temperatures are still pretty high! The best part about the jacket is you can stuff it into its own pocket and slip it on a carabiner clip so even if it doesn’t fit in your pack you can hang it off the side. You can find the jacket (in multiple pretty colors) here.
I cannot stress enough how much I love my little Tevas. They will forever remind me of my two twin uncles who wore them religiously as we grew up. They’re durable, perfect for the outdoors, and (in my opinion) super cute. I have a pair of the Original’s and I'll probably get about two more pair just to have some more colors (I literally wear them all. the. time.) I don’t always bring them on hikes but if I’m going on a longer hike (5+) miles, I like to have them with me to put on at an outlook or to wear when I break to eat lunch. You can find them here.
Some other things I always just have stashed away in my Camelback are: a first aid kit, sunscreen, bug spray, a flashlight (w. extra batteries), chapstick, wet ones, trash bags (also can serve as a poncho in impromptu rain downpours), a compass, and if I can find it… a map of the state I’m going to be in!
The links I provided are mainly links to the main manufacturer for the products. One website that I LOVE is www.sierratradingpost.com which sells tons of different brands and outdoor gear. My other absolute favorite (and more obvious hiking website) is www.rei.com. They have everything you could possible imagine for hiking and outdoor gear. Hope this little review helped!