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Get Ready for Adventure With the Best Hiking Gear

These are 11 essential pieces of day-hiking gear, whether you’re out for an hour-long jaunt or a full day in the mountains.

Day hikes are excellent cross-training for running and can double as beta-gathering sessions for future trail runs. For a mellow few miles around a recreation area or an all-day peak-bagging adventure, we’ve listed a variety of gear to get you safely from trailhead to trailhead. Our recommendations of the best hiking gear includes apparel, footwear, packs, and smaller items that you might not think of immediately but you won’t be sorry to carry.

The Expert: I started hiking in New Hampshire with my dad when I was just a kid, eventually ticking off most of the state’s 4,000-footer list. My hiking took me across the country when I moved out west to continue exploring the mountains and trails on the other side of the U.S. My outings range from one-hour trail jaunts on local trails to bagging 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado and full-day traverses across epic ridgelines. I’ve hiked in the swamps of Florida, through Utah canyons, the desert floor in Death Valley, and the high peaks in the Rockies. I’ve been writing about hiking and backpacking and the gear it entails since 2013. My gear reviews and other work has appeared in Backpacker Magazine, Outside, Backpacking Light, The Trek, among other outlets. In 2020, I cofounded Backpacking Routes, a website that connects backpackers with long-distance trails across the country.

How We Evaluated This Hiking Gear

In curating these recommendations, I chose gear that I have tested and loved for many miles of hiking over the years. Some of these time-tested models are in their second decade of iterations, and others are newer models. Not only are these my go-to items, but most are also proven popular among other avid hikers. All this hiking gear is reasonably priced and should last season after season.

You can find Maggie Slepian details on essential pieces of day-hiking gear here.

LAST UPDATED

May 19, 2022

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Runners World

Media Mentions from Runners World

Runner’s World, the world’s leading running magazine, informs, advises, and motivates runners of all ages and abilities.

MEDIA MENTIONS

While DEET products may be more familiar by name and their chemical smell, sprays with 20 percent picaridin, like Sawyer Products, offer comparable protection without the harsh odor and oily feeling on your skin.

Kevin Brouillard
Travel & Leisure

MEDIA MENTIONS

The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
Media Mentions from Halfway Anywhere

MEDIA MENTIONS

SAWYER MINI WATER FILTER, $22 This has been my water filter of choice for years now. The bags can be iffy — I have had a few break – so carry a couple. However, the filter itself is reliable, light and inexpensive. -Logan

Bikepacking Team