The Summer Hiking Starter Pack
Created with Merrell
Spending time outside and staying active are two forms of self-care. Combine them into one and you get the ultimate wellness experience: hiking. If you’re hitting the trails for the first time in a long time, it’s worth investing in a few basics—we’ve gathered our favorites here.
Comfort is key. Designed specifically for the female foot, the Bravada 2 gives the right amount of support for long hikes. The deep tread provides ample grip that keeps you from slipping on dusty or wet trails. And they’re made with recycled materials and a rock plate, which protects the hiker from sharp and uneven stones.
The first step to success with any outdoor activity: Apply sunscreen. For hikes, go for one that’s water- and sweat-resistant for the best protection. We like this 100 percent mineral SPF 30 lotion from Supergoop because it checks those boxes, and it’s also formulated with skin-nourishing ingredients to moisturize skin. You’ll want to bring it with you and reapply throughout longer hikes.
A First Aid Kit
Stocked with bandages, moleskin, hydrocortisone cream, and more, this kit gathers the basics into one compact pouch. Enjoy the great outdoors knowing that a blister or scrape can be treated on the go.
The Swiss Army Knife
A pocketknife is an invaluable tool that gives you added functionality when embarking on a new trail. What it will be useful for: opening food packages and cutting moleskin from your first aid kit, if needed. This one is small and lightweight.
For When Nature Calls
We’ve all done the awkward shake-and-dry dance. An eco-friendly and comfortable alternative: a reusable microfiber pee cloth. Kula Cloth is an antimicrobial pee cloth that is odor-resistant, stainproof, and extremely absorbent. Simply attach it to your backpack and snap it closed after use.
Trail mix is nice to have on hand for shorter hikes so you have something to munch on if you need a quick fix. This gorp no-recipe recipe packs in pistachios, cherries, chocolate, cashews, and cardamom, and it’s the perfect balance of salty and sweet.
You have all the gear ready. Now you just need a place to keep it organized and easy to access. Merrell’s Crest Eco Dye Sling backpack is equipped with all the right pockets and compartments. The EVA foam shoulder straps and back panel, along with the added compression straps, provide extra comfort so you don’t feel weighed down, even if you’re carrying a larger reusable water bottle.
The Map App
Hiking Project is a free trail guide that includes all the best hikes to explore near you. We like to have it downloaded because it shows your location on trails even when you’ve lost cell signal.
We hope you enjoy the products recommended here. Our goal is to suggest only things we love and think you might, as well. We also like transparency, so, full disclosure: We may collect a share of sales or other compensation if you purchase through the external links on this page (including links to Amazon).