Best Hiking Gear (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
With the right gear, you can hike anywhere you desire.
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BY Andra DelMonico / LAST UPDATED ON April 5, 2021
Taking a stroll in the woods is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon. Aren’t you ready to take this hobby up a notch and go on a serious hike? These trips are more than just a walk in your local park. They’re all day or even multi-day trips out into the backcountry wilderness. If you’re going to head out into the great unknown, you need to have the right gear at your side. Put on comfortable clothing, sturdy boots, and pack your backpack. Pack plenty of food and water to last your entire hike. Remember, planning for the worst ensures you have a fun and safe hike and ensure you’re prepared for anything. This guide will help you understand what gear is a must-have for your next trip.
Have everything you need with this survival kit. It includes a compass, water bottle clip, wire saw, multi-tool, tactical pen, flashlight, flintstone, mini light, whistle, and an emergency blanket.
- Weighs 1.11 pounds
- Waterproof and shockproof case
- Hard to pack
- Lacks durability
Protect yourself from insects with this powerful repellent for up to ten hours. Works against mosquitos, ticks, gnats, biting flies, chiggers, and fleas.
- 11 percent DEET
- Sprays upside down
- Feels oily
- Spray cap not durable
This 40-liter backpack has a waterproof wet pocket and hidden back zipper. It’s constructed of tear and water-resistant nylon fabric. It weighs 0.7 pounds and can fold down into its pocket.
- Breathable mesh shoulder straps
- Has bar tacks at major stress points
- Hard to load
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Benefits of Hiking Gear
- Enjoyment. You should enjoy your time hiking. It should be fun to head out into the wilderness and spend some time outdoors. The gear makes you more comfortable and better able to enjoy your time hiking.
- Safety. It can be dangerous to hike out into the middle of nowhere without the right gear. You risk dehydration, starvation, and exposure. Bringing gear on your hike keeps you happy and healthy.
- Better fitness. Hiking is great for your health. You’re more likely to go when you have the right gear. Buying the necessary gear means you’ll go hiking more often and have better overall fitness.
Types of Hiking Gear
Wearing the right clothing will keep you comfortable. In cold temperatures, it will insulate you by reflecting your body heat toward you. It’ll also wick away moisture to keep you dry and prevent chills. Warm weather clothing will be breathable and moisture-wicking. This will also keep you cool and dry in the hottest of temperatures. Look for innovative materials and reinforced seams.
Always buy your clothing in the correct size. Too small, and it will constrict your blood flow and bind you up. If it's too big, it’ll be baggy and catch on the brush and branches.
Getting hurt while in a remote location is more dangerous than anywhere else because you’re so far removed from medical assistance. A small kit will include the essentials, such as bandages and disinfectants. Consider where you’re camping when choosing your first aid kit.
Choose one that’s tailored to where you’re going. Cold weather hiking could call for bringing an emergency heat blanket. While warm weather camping could require your kit to have sunburn cream.
Navigation gear is essential when hiking. There are no road signs in the forest, so you’re dependent on yourself to get where you’re going. Remember that cell phone signals are not reliable in remote locations, so you need skills and reliable tools.
In addition to navigation tools, you also should consider emergency devices. An emergency beacon can signal to emergency services that you need help and where to find you.
LifeStraw is a product of Vestergaard, which is a company dedicated to being an innovative leader in the global war against disease. The company focuses on helping vulnerable populations by developing affordable products that will make life safe. The LifeStraw Flex Advanced Water Filter with Gravity Bag will be perfect for creating a water supply while camping.
This small family-owned business is committed to those who love hiking. Its mission is to produce high-quality products that people can depend on, whether you’re an occasional hiker or a veteran. These TrailBuddy 6-Piece Pack Rubber Tips are perfect for maintaining your trekking poles.
Founded in 1981, Merrell is based in Waitsfield, Vt. This footwear company is one of the most well-known and trusted for manufacturing top-quality high-performance hiking boots. This Merrell Men's Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoe will be supportive and durable for many miles.
Hiking Gear Pricing
- Under $20: You can find several pieces of hiking gear in this category. These are small items or those that are designed for single-use. Paracord bracelets, foot cream, mini first aid kits, LifeStraw, socks, and bug repellent.
- $20 to $50: Hiking gear in this price range uses quality materials and has multiple functions. Items in this price range are trekking poles, bags, and survival kits.
- $50 and up: Larger pieces of gear like backpacks and clothing tend to be in this price range. They’ll use innovative materials and multiple comfort features to help you perform your best.
The gear that you buy needs to last. At a minimum, it should last your entire camping trip. At best, it should last through several camping trips for years of use. The worst thing that can happen is to have your gear fail when you need it most out in the middle of nowhere. To buy the most durable gear, pay more attention to quality than price. Strong materials and sturdy construction should be used.
Weight is everything when you’re camping. You’ll have to carry everything that you want to bring with you. Heavy gear will require you to exert more energy and thus get tired faster. Look for gear that’s made from lighter-weight materials. This will reduce the overall weight you have to carry. Choosing gear that is multifunctional is also smart. This reduces the amount of gear you have to carry.
You need gear that you can depend on. This is different from durability. Reliable gear performs the way you expect it to every time you use it. Look for gear that’s simple and straightforward to use. The less complicated it is, the more reliably it will perform. This can also apply to the quality of construction so that your gear not only performs but does so accurately.
- Size. When you’re carrying everything, size is crucial. Larger and bulkier gear is hard to carry by yourself. Some gear could be light in weight but large in size. This is just as troublesome. Look for gear that folds down small to a compact size for easier carrying while hiking. Gear that’s too large will limit your ability to gear other items that you may need.
- Maintenance Requirements. All quality gear will require a certain amount of maintenance. However, you don’t want to buy gear that’s constantly requiring maintenance and repairs. You’ll end up spending more time caring for your gear than actually using it. Also, consider the maintenance routine. Occasional maintenance isn’t bad until you realize that these maintenance requirements are time-consuming and expensive.
- Price. There’s no denying that price is a factor when buying your hiking gear. Try to buy the best quality gear that you can comfortably afford. As a beginner, don’t buy all of the most expensive gear you can find before you know hiking is for you. Don’t buy the cheapest gear either. This gear is often low quality and won’t perform reliably.
Best Hiking Gear Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Test your camping gear out before you take it on a camping trip. Set everything up and turn anything on that can. This lets you figure out how it all works and that it does work.
- Check your gear after your trip and make any necessary repairs and cleaning. This preserves the quality of your gear and makes it ready for your next trip.
- Look for trusted brands that you’ve had good experiences with. This helps you have equipment that works together, is high-quality, and performs reliably.
Q: What is the essential gear for hiking?
You need a backpack for carrying all of your gear. You need appropriate clothing that will keep you comfortable and dry. Sturdy and protective shoes are crucial. A mini first aid kit is good just in case you get injured while on your hike. Bring enough food and water to last the length of your hike.
Q: What are the 10 essentials for hiking?
The 10 items that are essential for hiking are navigation tools, headlamp, sun protection, first aid, knife, fire, shelter, extra food, extra water, and extra clothing. These items will keep you comfortable, making hiking more fun, and keep you safe.
Q: What should you not wear while hiking?
Denim is terrible. It’s restricting, not breathable, and heavy. Cotton is also a bad idea. It absorbs your sweat and is slow drying. No-show socks are also a bad idea because they aren’t fully protective and can slip down off your feet.
Q: Why is hiking gear so expensive?
Your gear doesn’t have to be expensive. However, high-quality gear has a durable construction and uses high-quality materials. Some gear you can buy cheap because it’s designed to be disposable. Other pieces of gear you should invest in more expensive options that are meant for long-term use.
The Trscind Survival Gear Kit is packed with useful tools that help you be ready for anything while out on your hike. You’ll appreciate that it’s lightweight, waterproof, and shockproof.
An affordable alternative is the Repel Insect Repellent, with its easy application and a broad range of insect-repelling abilities.