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   Don’t go hiking without these hiking essentials that could save your life, or just your attempt to reach the summit.

 Backpack: A good backpack is the key to a comfortable hike. Choose one that is light and big enough to hold all your hiking essentials, but not so big that you can’t resist overpacking. The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Ultralight Day Pack is one of the lightest, weighing in at just 1.26 pounds. The light weight doesn’t mean that important features are ignored – it still has a snug padded strap, a hip strap to hide, a waterproof appearance and a padded back plate. Keep your backpack organized with the same lightweight Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Sacks. Bonus: All Hyperlite gear is handmade in Maine.

   Water bottle: If you don’t want to carry a ton of water on a long hike, or just want to be prepared in case of an emergency, the Lifestraw Flex is a great water bottle option. The included filter removes bacteria, parasites, and chemicals so you can safely and quickly drink whatever water source you find. Soft bottles are lightweight, easy to pack and easy to drink.

   Portable batteries: Don’t get stuck with a dead phone in an emergency. The Goal Zero Sherpa 100 PD QI won’t take up much room in your backpack, and for certain compatible devices, it offers wireless charging. If you get lost, having a fully charged cell phone is essential.

   Trekking poles: A good set of trekking poles will help you avoid straining your knees on the descent and prevent slipping on rough terrain or muddy trails. I like the LEKI Miniature Vario Carbon AS trekking poles, which break down to packable size and are fast thanks to their easily accessible release mechanism. Made of high-modulus carbon fiber, the axles are lightweight and perfect for hikers, at just 8.9 ounces.

 Hiking shoes: Low-top hiking shoes are designed for short day hikes. Keen Terradora II Waterproof shoes are designed specifically for female hikers to provide stability and shock absorption while remaining completely waterproof and breathable. For men, the Keen Targhee II is a similar option, with the same breathable waterproof and lightweight design.

   Hiking boots: Choose hiking boots over shoes when you face longer, harder hikes, or when you need to carry a heavier backpack, such as when traveling at night. Hiking boots provide more ankle support, as well as extra protection against bites, scrapes and water. I love the Iowa Innox Pro GTX Mid TF(there are women’s and men’s versions). The boots provide the traction, support and water resistance needed for hiking without adding extra weight, weighing in at just 375g per boot, which is extremely light for hiking boots. This dress was custom-made on a womenswear last and is very comfortable. Closed lace hooks allow your boots to be worn tighter, and toe and heel caps provide extra protection on rocky terrain.

 Hiking leggings: Leggings are an attractive option for hiking. You probably already have these super-flexible leggings in your wardrobe similar to those worn for running or yoga, but the hiking version is designed to withstand the rigors of an intense hike. Fjallraven’s Abisko Hiking tights are tough enough because they come in a super durable four-way stretch fabric with extra reinforcement at the back and knees to protect your skin when you climb over rocks or sit on the ground. Also, unlike most leggings, these hiking tights have lots of pockets and come in a men’s version.

   Socks: Good socks are the key to a comfortable hike. They keep your feet dry, prevent blisters, and provide cushioning and warmth. Iowa unisexual hiking socks use merino wool and a unique honeycomb pattern to wrest moisture away, prevent friction, and help regulate your body temperature.

   Hiking pants: For backcountry hikes, you’ll need some sturdy hiking pants, such as Arcteryx’s Sabria pants. The pants are lightweight and durable, with an SPF of 50 +. Sabria’s is designed for women with a lower adjustable waist and a slim silhouette.

   Base layer: For cold weather hikes, add a layer of Lululemon’s Fast and Free Tight under your hiking pants, made of Nulux patented fabric that dries quickly and sweates, but is designed to feel like you’re wearing nothing. Wear it alone for trail running or low-intensity hiking that doesn’t require a lot of fuss.

   Sunglasses: Taking in the view from the top of the mountain means protecting your eyes with sunglasses like Maui Jim’s. Choose their wraparound frames for adequate eye protection and scratch-resistant lenses to handle any situation encountered on the hike.

   Hiking underwear: Your favorite delicate underwear may be comfy, but they’re not immune to long hikes. Look for moisture-absorbing, odor-proof underwear, such as ExOfficio underwear for men and women. For women, the Switchback sports bra from Patagonia is a soft, supportive option that dries quickly and doesn’t cause friction.

   Hiking shirt: If you plan on wearing a backpack, choose a T-shirt over a tank top to prevent the backpack straps from causing any irritation. Smartwool’s Merino 150 Base micro-striped short-sleeved top can be worn by both men and women on its own or layered in cooler weather, and the merino wool fabric means it won’t smell, even on long backpacking trips. The Patagonia Capilene Lightweight Men’s and Women’s T-shirt is an ultralight option on warm days that absorbs moisture and wels sweat, breathable, and features patented Polygiene control for smell.

   Hiking shorts: On hot days, Fjallraven’s Abisko sunshade shorts keep you cool, and ventilation promotes air circulation. The lightweight fabric dries quickly and stays cool even as temperatures rise. Shorts are made for hikers, zippered handbags and a loop to secure your gear.

   Jacket: Even if it looks like it’s going to be warm, it’s always a good idea to take a jacket with you when hiking, especially at summits above the tree line (where it can be colder/windier than at the bottom). The weather can change quickly: Pack a light jacket, such as Patagonia’s Nano Puff Hoody, for both men and women, that offers impressive warmth and wind resistance.

   Hat: You’ll need a hat to keep out the sun, but a regular baseball cap can get very sweaty after a while. Buy an event-appropriate hat, like Arc ‘teryx’s Calvus Cap.

   Gloves: A pair of lightweight waterproof gloves is essential for a cold fall hike or a cool summer morning. For men and women, these clothes will keep you warm and dry, even when it’s suddenly pouring with rain.

   Gaiters: While not very fashionable, gaiters are waterproof covers that go over your boots and are very practical for protecting your ankles and calves from rain and dirt. I like these pairs from Outdoor Research, they’re easy to slip on and off.




 Hand sanitizer

 Emergency equipment

 Foam first aid bandage

 Lip balm with SPF

 Hair binding

 Snacks: Peanut butter sandwiches, bananas, and trail mix are also good choices.

   Caroline Morse Teel loves to hike, especially in New England. Follow Caroline on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline for summit photos.

   Some review products are sent to us for free, with no incentive to provide a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation for reviewing a product.

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