About the Author: Jason P. is a Dappered devotee, having curated the majority of his wardrobe through the site. He is an enthusiast of wool sweaters, chino pants, and affordable automatic watches. In his free time, you can find him at his boxing gym or antiquing with his wife.
What are you going to wear? Sometimes it’s good to look at a few suggestions then add your own tweaks and ideas. That’s what these are for. America has thawed from a long, cold winter and broken into the sunlight. Something about the spring air brings new, revived heart to my attitude and cultivates a desire to just get out there. Our national, state, and local parks are beckoning for visitors to come and responsibly enjoy all they have to offer. These places are a treasure, and deserve your attention, respect and activity. Getting onto the trail is a great way to exercise and gain new perspective and experiences. Aiding in the effort is your wardrobe. Aim for functional, near-tactical garments that are durable enough to handle a rock scramble but have just enough polish to hit the café after a morning on the trail. In addition to the below, I advise you to pack a sunscreen, bug spray, and water bottle.
The Pants: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants in Storm Blue – $48 w/ SUMMIT40 A pair of pants in a technical breathable, and stretch fabric are necessary if you want to really dive into your hike. Of course, they won’t be as stylish as a pair of Bonobos chinos, but the aim is trail functionality first, and pub comfort second. It’s all about situational apparel here. If you’re in an outdoorsy, adventure laden area like a town near a National or State Park, items like these will be common. I go for pants instead of shorts to help fight off ticks, other bugs, and poison oak. I learned the hard way.
The Sunglasses: Costa Copra in Tortoise & Black – $129.99. Lightweight and has superior lenses. This brand has been a favorite of seafarers, specifically fishermen, for a long time. I wept when I broke my pair beyond repair, but can vouch that the lenses on these are as good as they come for all day ease on the eyes. A little spendy, but they walk the line between sport functionality and stylish sunglasses perfectly. And that’s tough to find. A cheaper option would be these Costa Copras in a lower profile, or, these $68 Sunskis from Huckberry.
The Watch: Casio Diver – $50. Because while it’s a good idea, for safety, to carry your phone on the trail (if you have service out there), keep your nose out of the thing while you’re out enjoying the fresh air. You still need to be able to tell time. This Casio is a bit of a legend, and for good reason. Prices have gone up on these as of late? About $15 – $20? What gives??
The Shirt: Alpine Design Henley in Blue Heather – $20. A henley just fits for the outdoors. It gives off a masculine, woodsy, yet slightly refined look. Perfect for transition from trail to the rail. Look for a thin, lightweight option, and roll those sleeves up when you start to sweat. Afraid you’ll overheat? There’s always a tech tee (I like these from adidas), but know that you do lose the extra protection from the sun and insects that long sleeves provide. Check for ticks fellas.
The Shoes: Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator – $100. For a while, I would resort to a pair of older running or training shoes for my hikes. I cannot recommend more strongly to STEER FAR AWAY from this blunder. Your ankles will thank you for days after a strenuous hike if you opt for shoes that are actually built for the trail/rock scrambling. No, you will not find a pair of hiking shoes that transitions well into everyday life. Store these in your trunk, and swap them on and off for the hike only. Merrell is a trusted brand, and offers durable, yet breathable Gore-Tex versions of their hikers. Yes, for serious backpackers, these are more running shoes than true hiking boots. But that’s just fine for a day hike where you want lightweight, super breathable shoes. Want something with more support but still doesn’t look like you’re gonna try to summit Everest? Try the Danner Mountain 600.
The Socks: Darn Tough Vermont Micro-Crew Hiking Socks – $20. Listen to Lt. Dan. Socks make a difference. Especially on the trail. When you’re scrambling up rocks, jumping (or falling into) streams, and generally on your feet all day, you need a pair of socks built to breathe, dry quickly and provide lasting comfort. Merino wool here, to no surprise. What might be surprising is the crew-length height. Higher height = more coverage. With these, you can prevent ankle chafing if you wear mid-height hikers, and can potentially opt for shorts instead of pants depending upon your terrain. Made in the USA, just like the National Parks.
The Backpack: Gregory Miwok 24 Daypack – $59. The key to a good backpack for a day of hiking is lightweight and a large enough volume to store all you might need for the day. Minimalism is key on the trail, in my opinion. 24 liters (1,465 cubic inches) provides a nice amount of space for your things, without getting hefty. This pack has added ventilation to keep things breezy and TONS of smaller storage pockets. Added bonus: it comes with convenient space for storing a water bladder and a system to manage the tube to keep it from flailing about. Convenient.