Hiking and camping has been scientifically proven to be good for you.
Studies have shown that merely a walk in the park can calm the mind while changing the way the brain works to improve mental health. People who spend time in parks cope better with stress, feel happier and have more self-esteem.
But there is a thin line between an unforgettable trip to the mountains and a disappointing one. Having the right gear can make all the difference.
The following list includes everything you may need while you’re hiking or camping for a day or a week – from boots and socks to GPS and headlamps.
People like Patagonia Women’s Stretch Rainshadow Jacket because it’s completely waterproof, windproof, breathable and highly packable for backpacking. This makes it ideal for hiking as well as alpine climbing. Other pros reviewers point out are the variety of colors, visibility, smooth zippers, the hood tightening nicely during high winds, and relaxed fit. The versatile and lightweight jacket is also available on Amazon.
Hikers gave Patagonia’s Black Hole™ Backpack 25L 5 stars because it’s the perfect size for a day hike. “This Daypack was the solution after months of searching for the perfect downsize […] I'm a 5'6" female, and wanted something that wouldn't be so ginormous but could still carry a sort of ginormous load. This gets it done!” one review says. The ripstop polyester has a water-resistant TPU laminate. Another feature is the heavy-duty molded back panel that allows cooling airflow. The backback is also available on Amazon.
The HH Crew Insulator Jacket has a wind and water repellant fabric paired with Primaloft Black insulation for light protection against the elements. It provides comfort and warmth on cold summer days, while hiking in the mountain challenged by wind, or camping in the backcountry. The jacket also has YKK Metalux front zipper and contrast piping around collar edge and chest pocket, which people like as a style. The insulator jacket is also available on Amazon.
The Lululemon Wunder Under Pants are the perfect kind of baselayer pants. They fit very nicely. Their full-on luon fabric gives incredible support and coverage, according to a review. People prefer it for hiking and biking on nice days, as the fabric hugs the legs tighter during more active physical activities. Bonus: “The roll-down waist worn high is also incredibly satisfying when I am having an angry belly day; the super soft fabric just feels like a hug on my bloated, crampy belly,” the review says. Other Lululemon wunder under pants are great options.
The Core Long Sleeve is an anti-stink workout shirt that doubles as your everyday go-to and is ideal for day hikes when the weather is nice. You won’t need anything else. Powered by X-STATIC®, it inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria on the top. Grab your backpack, pants and comfortable shoes and you’re good to go. The long sleeves are made of Pima cotton and come in four colors. Similar long sleeves shirts are also available.
The Black Diamond Storm is a robust and full featured headlamp that offers a bright beam, a fully waterproof enclosure, and provides good close proximity and trail scores, according to Outdoor Gear Lab. It is Black Diamond's most durable headlamp, using 4 AAA batteries. The multi-mode, 250-lumen headlamp offers PowerTap Technology to transition between full and dimmed power on its touch-sensitive housing. It is also available on Amazon.
What women love about the Black Diamond Trekking Poles is that they are light and short. They relieve pressure on the knees when you’re going downhill. “I really like the strong locking mechanism of the pole segments. They are lightweight and have very comfortable handles which are extended for both uphill and downhill gripping,” one review says. The poles are easily disassembled, so you can pack them in your bag. You can also find them on Amazon.
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 was Outdoor Gear Lab’s top pick for best tents because of its above average space-to-weight ratio, its comfortable for two people, has guy points, pole configuration and a low profile end making it strong in winds. Most people say it’s easy to set up, it’s spacious and holds steady in winds. All seams are taped with waterproof, solvent-free polyurethane. The tent is also available on Amazon.
If you don’t want to stay in a tent, the Marmot Sawtooth Sleeping Bag will keep you very warm during cold nights when you’re out camping. The hood fits well and is comfortable when cinched; the draft collar is large, soft, and effective, according to reviews. This is a three-season sleeping bag; it perfect for fall backpacking adventures and mild winter trips. You can also buy it on Amazon.
Many reviews say the Big Agnes Double Stuffed Double Z is very comfortable, stable, supportive, warm, big, and tough. It is and 4" thick. “On my several trips into the Maine wilderness this pad hasn't lost one ounce of air pressure. As you can imagine it gets pretty cold here in Maine and this system has kept me very toasty on all accounts,” one person wrote. This mummy sleeping bag is also a great option.
The Platypus GravityWorks Filter won Outdoor Gear Lab’s Editor’s Choice award because it’s easy to use and it doesn’t take a long time at all to filter the water. “All you have to do is raise the dirty bag/bottle higher than the clean bag to reverse the flow of water through the filter,” one review says. Other pros include lightweight and little maintenance. It also scored high for durability, high volume output and taste. You can also find the kit on Amazon.
“The Osprey Packs Atmos AG 50 might just be the most comfortable backpack you’ll ever wear,” according to SectionHiker. Featuring the new Anti-Gravity ventilated suspension system, this backpack wraps around your upper torso, positioning itself properly on your hips for maximum load transfer and comfort. A lot of people give it high scores for comfort and durability. Many use it even for 5-day hikes. You can also find the bag on Amazon.
Reviewers say the Hedgehog Fastpack Gore-Tex ® is perfect for light trail hiking. The shoes are comfortable, provide enough support, and are a snug fit without being small. People have also ranked them high for durability, arch support and performance. This North Face hiking boot is also a great option.
According to Backpacker, the best things about the Garmin Montana® 650t are the four-inch color touchscreen, which reads in horizontal and vertical orientations; the dual battery system (use the lithium-ion when you can charge daily from an outlet, and standard AAs on longer trips); and customizable dashboards that reduce excessive clicking. The interface offers the ease of touchscreen input and easy access to menu items. You can also find it on Amazon.
The pros of the Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Half Zip, according to reviews, are that it’s lightweight, breathable, dries quickly, it’s soft and comfortable. It’s also insulating and body temperature regulating. It fits nice and tight but it also allows plenty of movement. It’s comfortable while hiking in the cold and it’s warm enough to wear by itself or as a layer. “I stayed warm and dry with extreme exertion. Then stayed cool after going indoors without a chance to change clothes,” one person wrote. You can find different options on Amazon.
Reviews rate the Ultra Light Crew Socks very highly for hiking because they are soft, warm and reliable. Their wick moisture – wicking fabric pulls moisture from the body to the exterior of the shirt where it can evaporate more easily – is another reason why they are preferred. “They keep your feet as dry as can be. If you are going hiking with boots on get the medium or thick,” one person wrote on Amazon. You can find more options here.
The Arc'teryx Thorium AR hoody is a solid and reliable lightweight down jacket that will hold up and keep up on your many outdoor adventures, according to Outdoor Gear Lab. It scored high for durability, breathability, warmth, compressibility and features. It has elastic cuffs, adjustable hem drawcord, two hand pockets with zippers and stuff sack. You can find this jacket on Amazon.
The Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Crew has been designed with sweating in mind, something you will inevitably do when hiking. The mesh venting encourages airflow to keep you cool. It’s a tight fit but your moves are not restricted in any way. Its seamless construction reduces bulk to help prevent chafing. The long sleeve is rated as very comfortable, soft and layers easily. You can find this long sleeve shirt and similar others on Amazon.
The Patagonia Nano Puff Bivy Pullover is popular for people who like hiking, camping and multi-pitch rock climbing. People like it because it’s lightweight but it keeps them warm at all times. The hand-pouch in the front is a favorite feature. The pullover is windproof and water resistant too. The Nano Puff Jacket is also a great option.