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. Your local mountains, forests and parks are teeming with trails and open air; a great salve for current sheltered and restricted conditions that are gradually easing, but still very much in-place for most of us. Hiking trails help open your mind and challenge your body, and aiding in the effort is your wardrobe. Aim for functional, breathable garments that are durable enough to handle a rock scramble but comfortable for all-day wear in variable temperatures.
Author’s note: Be responsible out on the trail. Parks will see a significant uptick in traffic even as establishments of all sorts gradually re-open. Be courteous, be kind, and be patient. There’s no rush – enjoy the view.
The Shirt: Under Armour Tech Tee in Martian Red – $25. Short-sleeve moisture-wicking tech tees. Great for the gym, great for the trail. There are plenty of options with UPF fabric, but those tend to run a bit more expensive. Layer on the sunscreen instead and go with the tried-and-true Under Armour tech tee for less. Bright colors like this hyper-red work great in the woods to ensure you’re visible to your party and others.
The Pants: Kuhl Silencr Pant in Carbon – $85. A pair of proper hiking pants in a technical stretch fabric are crucial to keeping you secure and comfortable on the trail. Pants do a better job than shorts in fighting off ticks, other bugs, and poison oak. This pair from outdoor brand Kuhl offers UPF 50 for extra protection and water-repellant fabric when you have to cross a stream. These won’t be confused for a pair of chinos, but the first review on page says it best,” These are hiking pants that don’t look like hiking pants.”
The Sunglasses: Sunski Polarized Topeka Sunglasses in Matte Whiskey – $68. There are a lot of options at more than twice the price for specialized uses like fishing, and some cheaper options for trail running, but these Sunski shades offer incredible quality for the price and keep you looking and seeing sharply for all-around outdoors use.
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 keeps ticking and can take a beating, and you’re less likely to be saddened if it does, given the low price. If you want to keep track of your distance and heart rate, the FitBit Charge 4 is an all-in-one band that doesn’t require linkage with your phone for $150
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. Once you hike in a pair of these, you will never hike in anything else.
The Boots: Danner Mountain 600 in Sand Waterproof Suede – $108. Mid-top hiking boots offer superior protection for both your ankles and feet than hiking shoes, and certainly more than the average athletic shoe. If you plan to spend a good amount of time on the trail over the next few months, investing in a proper pair of hiking boots is worth the extra coin. These Danner boots provide ample ankle protection for most hikes, along with midsole cushioning to keep you fresh. A vibram outsole keeps you sure-footed on scramble. All this, wrapped in a handsome waterproof suede built for miles and years of use. The color shown above is no longer in stock, but the pair linked here has the identical build and suede upper, albeit in an arguably more stylish sand color. Ships and returns are free, too.
The Bug Spray: Sawyer Picaridin Bug and Tick Repellent – 2 for $13. Not all bug repellents are the same, and this is, by far, the most effective I’ve used. Routinely rated the best bug spray on the market, and for good reason. Picaridin is less harmful than DEET, while being quite effective without staining your clothing and gear.
The Water Bottle: HydroFlask 32 oz National Parks Collection – $53. Yes, this is an expensive water bottle. But, you can never have too much clean water available on a hike, and the HydroFlask keeps water cool the entire day for a refreshing jolt and is incredibly durable. Show off your dedication to parks preservation with their National Parks collection. For a slightly cheaper option, they have a wide array of 32 oz and 40 oz solid colors.
The Backpack: Gregory Miwok 24 Daypack in red – $90. A good daypack is lightweight and a large enough volume to store all your gear for roughly 10-12 hours on the trail. This pack from Gregory has a 24 liter capacity to provide enough space for your stuff, while maintaining low weight. The entire pack is built with durable ripstop nylon to withstand rock and snags on branches. Ventilation along the back to keep things from getting too swampy and 7 smaller pockets and places to snap on carabiners offers flexible organization for quick access. 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.
Don’t forget to take your furry friend along for the journey.
About the Author: Jason P. spends his days working in the creative marketing department of a big telecom company. He also does a bit of real estate investing on the side. He believes in curating a timeless, classic wardrobe with subtle modern touches for today. He and his wife love hiking with their dog and shopping at local small businesses and antique stores when they travel. Jason is a practitioner of muay thai and traditional boxing, and his favorite drink is a hoppy New England IPA.