There’s nothing I love as much as getting out into nature and being active, and while the last (*counts on fingers*) 20 or so months have been incredibly difficult, one silver lining is the fact that the pandemic caused many of us We spend more time outdoors than ever.
From weekend kayak trips to epic mountain hikes, I’ve been making the most of all the fresh air Ma Nature has to offer, and with a camper van adventure in Arizona planned for December, I have no intention of stopping. But, as I talk with friends about these exciting outings, I realize that not only do we exchange tips and tricks about where to go and what to do, but we also talk a lot about our entire team. What did we wear? We use? What would we buy again and again?
So, I thought it was time to do a little product roundup full of my favorite outdoor gear and active gear. Please note that this is not an all-encompassing packing list (although, if you are planning on backpacking and are looking for a list, I find She dreams of the Alps be an incredible resource). These are things I’ve used and loved for different types of adventures (both day and night, kayaking and hiking) that might help round out your supply.
IBEX Women’s Merino Tencel Pocket Short Sleeve T-Shirt ($85)
Fun fact, in case you don’t know: Merino wool is naturally antimicrobial (making it naturally odor resistant), which is part of the reason you’ll see it used so often in hiking clothing that It can be used for several days in a row. I put this silky-soft shirt to the test during a few surprisingly hot days in Colorado last summer, and I can attest that it works. You may remember that I sweat a lot, but every time this shirt dried, it looked (and smelled) like I hadn’t even worn it.
Salt Life Long Sleeve Performance Fishing Shirt ($64)
Okay, full disclosure: I have not worn this shirt fishing. Mainly because I don’t really fish. Instead, I threw it on over the aforementioned Ibex T-shirt to have a little more sun protection for an epic hike from Crested Butte to Aspen via Maroon Bells, and since the trail offered little protection from the elements, I was very glad to be able to roll. I pulled down my long sleeves and covered my arms as the sun came up. Also, let’s be real: the color is gorgeous and it looks cute! I also appreciate the fact that it takes up very little space when packed, making it an easy option to have on hand, even if you don’t want to put it on right away.
Title Ninth Clamberista Pants and Shorts ($89)
Of course, I was already a fan of Title Nine because of some of their other clothing, not to mention the fact that they’re a woman-owned company that does everything she can to support other women. But even if I hadn’t been, these pants would have made me one. They’re abrasion resistant with enough stretch, easy to cinch around the ankle when you want to shorten them or wear them as joggers, and best of all, they have tons of well-placed pockets! they come like bermudaAlso, they are perfect for a kayak or SUP outing in the middle of summer.
Branwyn Essential Bikini ($34)
Remember what I said about Merino wool? Branwyn uses it to make high-performance underwear that will, in his words, keep you “bog-free and funk-free all day long, no matter your adventure.” Add to that the fact that these bikini-style underwear dries quickly, has a no-sag waistband, and offers the perfect amount of stretch, and you can trust me when I say that you won’t just want to wear them on big adventures. !
injinji women’s boot + crew ($29)
And what do you know, it’s more Merino! And before you ask why I think a pair of socks is worth $29, hear me out. I used this two-piece sock and liner system for the Aspen hike I mentioned earlier, combined with newer-than-advisable hiking boots, and finished the very long, full day without any blisters. A couple days later, I wore the same boots on a shorter, much less intense hike with other nice wool socks and ended up with half-dollar-sized blisters on both feet. It was horrible. If you’ve ever walked, you know that your feet are the most important thing in keeping you comfortable. Considering you can wear them for a few days if necessary before washing them, well, suddenly getting a pair for under $30 seems like a great deal, right?
HOKA Women’s Kaha Gore-Tex ($220)
Looking for a durable, supportive hiking boot that will keep your feet comfortable and dry? Here you have. They offer plenty of cushioning without being too heavy, and the Vibram Megagrip traction has great grip, which is very important for people like me who aren’t very confident on technical terrain. I splashed around in a few rivers and never had a problem getting my feet wet, and the lacing system makes it easy to adjust for comfort. I will say that these are the boots that I ended up getting blisters in with my lower quality socks, but I’ll also admit that they weren’t as broken in as they should have been before I took them off, so they’re still 100 percent in my rotation.
Forsake Patch Mid Women’s Waterproof Hiking Boot ($160)
Maybe you’re looking for a hiker that won’t clash with your street clothes, and trust me, I get it. Packing too many shoes for a trip is a hassle! Forsake was a new brand to me, but I was intrigued by their Peak-to-Pavement philosophy that combines all-weather protection with versatile styling, and the fact that they’re officially climate neutral was enough to seal the deal. deal. But really, it was wearing them for a non-stop weekend in New England, exploring trails and small coastal towns, that lit my fire. They were comfortable, had great traction, and looked perfect with leggings, jeans, and hiking pants. (Hey, it matters!)
Mammut Albula HS Hooded Jacket ($119)
I know I said that keeping your feet comfortable is priority number one, and it’s true! – but if the rest of your body is wet and cold, you might not care how comfortable your feet are, making having a waterproof jacket a must. This sustainably made (100 percent recycled polyester!) hooded jacket is super lightweight, takes up little space, and comes in some fun, bright colors. While it was helpful when Colorado decided to drop a monsoon on us, it was also amazing all summer here in Florida for our daily afternoon storms.
Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket ($250)
Almost every hiking checklist I’ve found recommends a puffer jacket or hoodie, and I honestly don’t know if you can find a better option than this. Available in a variety of great colors, the Fuego is lightweight, water-resistant (as I learned when I got caught in a nor’easter in southern Maine), made with responsibly sourced down, and packs into its own pocket. (Bonus: there are TONS of great pockets for all your stuff!) The slim fit is completed with a scuba hood, elastic trim, and an adjustable drawstring hem. It’s my new travel jacket because, look, this Floridian doesn’t like being cold. I am also a big fan of Cotopaxi. Gear for Good Missionso the more gear I can incorporate into my life, the better.
If you find camping in a tent uncomfortable, you may need the right sleeping pad. At least, that was the lesson I learned after using the Quasar 3D sleeping mat. I was fine with the regular, uninsulated version, but you can also get wider, longer, insulated versions to suit your needs. It comes with its own easy-to-use pump bag for inflation, and while it’s incredibly lightweight and great for backpacking, you can really use it anywhere you need a comfortable bed while traveling. I have slept in real beds that are less comfortable! So if cold, hard ground is preventing you from camping, this is a total game-changer.
Good takeaways ($14.25)
Raise your hand if you’ve ever embarked on an outdoor adventure with grand plans of making an amazing camping meal, only to end up tired, cranky, and eating another loaf of some kind because you can’t do it. All the work necessary for a great dinner. If the same. So the fact that Good To-Go has a huge variety (risotto, bibimbap, chili, pad Thai, pho, the list goes on and on) of delicious foods that require nothing more than hot water? AWESOME. There are vegan options, gluten-free meals, and more, and they’re all handmade in Maine.
Forclaz Trek 100 Easyfit 60L hiking backpack ($119)
You don’t need to be a backpacking expert to know when your backpack fits or doesn’t, and luckily, this backpack is not only designed specifically to fit women’s bodies, but it’s also designed to make adjustments incredibly simple. Seriously, it literally has illustrations to remind you what to adjust, in what order, to achieve the ideal fit. I carried this with about 30 pounds on the Aspen hike, and while naturally hiking over mountains with an extra 30 pounds was no walk in the park, the pack itself was never uncomfortable. Plus, the flaps and zippers made it easy to access my gear.
Cotopaxi Tarak Of The Day ($105)
One lesson I’ve learned is that if your backpack has room, you’ll probably use it. And that means you’re much better off sticking with a smaller backpack for shorter day hikes; That way you will bring the essentials, but nothing more. This 20-liter backpack has an internal hydration sleeve, configurable compression points and tabs, comfortable straps, and an optimized ice tool carrying system, if that’s your thing. Personally, I most like the fact that each one is made with high-quality fabric left over from larger production runs from other companies, making each one a colorful and unique offering. (I told you I dug Cotopaxi!)
Parks Project Glow in the Dark Water Bottle ($20)
Here in Florida, I’m a big fan of insulated water bottles; Otherwise, the water is likely to get quite hot and quite quickly. However, I’m learning that on these longer hikes, every gram really matters, and warm water is a small price to pay if you can shave off a little weight. (Yes, I know most of the world has realized this a long time ago. It just takes me a while to recover. I really like cold water, okay?) This nifty wide-mouth bottle from Nalgene doesn’t Not only is it lightweight, it’s also glow-in-the-dark, which comes in handy when you’re sharing a tent, need a drink in the middle of the night, and don’t want to wake anyone up by using a flashlight to find water. Additionally, proceeds benefit the Open for Outdoors Kids program led by the National Parks Foundation. Who can beat that? (I also have a cool little camping mug from Parks Project, similar to this(that made my morning coffee a little more enjoyable).
Next on my outdoor adventure wish list: some trekking poles, a lightweight tripod for taking photos, and a way to overcome my fear of heights so I can more fully enjoy some of those incredible views. Do you have tips? I’m here for them! —kristen