Hiking is a fantastic pastime—not only is it an excellent form of exercise, but with all that beauty to be discovered from coast to coast, it’s also a great way to explore what’s going on in our own backyards. The best way to optimize your hiking experience is to have all the necessities to stay comfortable and hydrated. If you’re looking to up your hiking game, here is some gear to take hiking to the next level. —Jennifer Cox
The Women’s Montrail Trinity AG Trail Running Shoe from Columbia ($152) is loaded with cool top-of-the-line technologies like a responsive TechLite+ midsole as well as an engineered Pebax plate to deliver high energy return and multidirectional stability. Not only are they extremely lightweight but they have seamless mesh with asymmetrical lacing to provide exceptional fit and support.
Big Bear Gear’s Women’s Rolpa Full Zip Fleece Jacket ($60) will be the only jacket you’ll need for hiking this season. It has two-sided brushed anti-pilling fleece that will keep you warm and cozy on cooler days and acts as a great base layer under your winter shell. It also has two zippered hand pockets along with a media port for accessibility.
The JAAKARI M backpack from Canadian Outdoor Equipment ($327) is the quintessential hiking carry-all. It is versatile and expandable enough to carry as much as a few days’ worth of supplies and gear comfortably. It comes with a hydration pocket, a long side entry zipper, padded suspension, and a thick lumbar pad, so you can have everything that you need with you and stay comfortable while transporting it all.
The Women’s Black Diamond Trail Trek Poles from Mountain Equipment Company ($135) are specifically designed with smaller grips and a slightly shorter overall length compared to unisex poles for comfortably balancing while hiking. They also have soft rubber grips that are insulating, comfortable and extremely durable, and non-slip foam extension grips so you can slide your hands down on steep terrain and sidehills.
Keep hunger at bay during longer hikes with the CLIF Chocolate Brownie bars ($12 for 12 bars, available through Amazon). They are made with 70% organic ingredients and contain 23 vitamins and minerals, and they deliver a healthy dose of plant-based protein to keep you satisfied throughout your trek. Plus, you’ll love that sweet homemade brownie taste!