The 15 Best Pieces of Gear for the Summer

All the gear you need for the longest days of the year.

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Arc'teryx Beta SL Hybrid opener

For hikers, summer is the season of more. It’s early mornings and late evenings on the trail, the rising of the sun twinned with the bob of your headlamp as you approach camp at dusk. Make the most of those long days with this perfect warm-weather gear checklist.

Dawn energy boost: Stoked Stix coffee

Stoked Stix

With their smooth, full flavor, you’ll have trouble going back to grocery-store instant after trying Stoked Stix. We especially loved the Dark Roast, which is deliciously rich.


Golden hour selfie: GripTight ONE GP Magnetic Impulse

Joby GripTight One

Take perfect selfies—and never crack a screen again—with this three-in-one Joby combo. The GripTight One mount’s clamp extends to fit phones with or without cases and can even hold a giant iPhone 7 Plus. The Magnetic GorillaPod tripod has adaptive, spider-like legs that wrap around tree branches and slick rocks, or can magnetically attach to the side of a truck. The tiny remote (just over an inch wide) connects to mobile devices via Bluetooth, so you don’t have to hassle with a timer. Best of all: The stand folds up to the size of a glasses case, so you won’t notice it in your pack.

$59.95; 12.5 oz.

Early morning trail run: Kaenon Calafia

Kaenon Calafia

Our tester experienced zero slippage with these shades, even while jolting up and down when mountain running in hot, humid weather The reason? Grippy pads that rest easily on the bridge of your nose while still providing stability. The Kaenon’s B12 lens option offers a wide range of light contrast, which is an ideal choice for an all-day adventure which will feature bright sun conditions on the trail. Plus, who doesn’t want their sunglasses to look this sweet?

$229; .8 oz. 

Preemptive protection: Beyond Coastal Active sunscreen

Beyond Coastal Active sunscreen

Aside from sunburn or skin rash, a leftover grease layer is the last thing we want when we apply sunscreen. Beyond Coastal’s 34 SPF outdoor-oriented lotion rubs in without stickiness or odor and get the job done: One tester sweated like a fire hydrant on a 25-mile mountain run in Leadville, Colorado and still finished with zero sun damage.

$9.99 (2.5 oz. bottle)

Mid-morning snack: Phive Bar

Phive Bar Blueberry

We loved the blueberry and peanut flavors of these superfood bars. Phive Bars mix together a combo of fruits, nuts and seeds that’s savory while not being too oily, too sweet, or too salty.

$35.88 (pack of 12); 2.1 oz. each

Hike to basecamp: Kelty Sira 45

Kelty Sira 45

Finding a pack that can handle big loads is easy. Finding one that’s also comfortable is a different story. This women’s-specific offering from Kelty features a stiff and supportive hipbelt that rests at the perfect spot, allowing us to shoulder loads up to 30 pounds. On hot days, we appreciated the airflow from the mesh backpanel. The internal frame (made of steel and high-density polyethylene) follows the contours of your back, hugging the weight close to your spine. There’s tons of extra storage space between the brain, the large hipbelt pockets—big enough for a phone or a point-and-shoot camera—and the central compartment, which features a front-loading zipper. Two huge exterior mesh pockets swallow gear that needs to be separated from the main stash, like muddy boots, stinky socks, or an easy-to-grab layer.

$200; 2 lbs. 13 oz.

Set up in the sun: Chaos Chase Ladies Play All Day Cap

Chaos Headwear Play All Day Cap

This hat is ideal for intense output and sunny conditions. A wider-than-normal brim keeps your face and neck protected from rays, and a moisture-wicking sweatband prevents sweat from getting in your eyes. Testers lauded the hat’s stretch and lightweight feel: “It wasn’t tight on my head at all, and the material is super breathable,” one said about the polyester blend. When testers reached a pit stop and wanted to wear the cap backwards (for style, of course), an adjustable strap tucked into the interior seam and out of sight.

$19.99; 1.7 oz.

Lunch break: Craghoppers Insect Shield Todd

Craghoppers Todd Long Sleeve

This long sleeve shirt protects against the mosquito cloud that manifests around humans who just want to eat in peace. It features a technology called Insect Shield, an insect-repellent fabric which protects against biting bugs. “It’s light and breathable, more than any other long sleeve I’ve worn,” one tester says. Bonus: There’s a hidden, seamless zippered breast pocket that’s the perfect size for a credit card and ID.

$85; 7 oz. (men’s M); m’s S-XXL

Afternoon hike: Mammut T Aegility Low

Mammut T Aegility

On a double summit of Colorado 14ers North and South Massive—beneath hot sunshine and up steep segments of trail that included everything from rocks and mud to late-season snow—these lightweight low-top hikers proved they can handle it all. They’re waterproof and offer solid traction via a deep tread on the outsole. Lightweight uppers make for a cloudlike feel. The uppers are made from a 3D-knitted textile plus TPU protection, resulting in high durability for such a light shoe. The lacing—a single-pull system—is also efficient and simple. Caveat: Make sure you break in these boots before steep, long ascents.

$129; 1 lb. 8 oz. (pair men’s 9); m’s 7-14; w’s 6-10.5

Sun-drenched summit bid: Columbia Titan Ice Hoodie

Sun-drenched summit bid: Columbia Titan Ice Hoodie

This long sleeve shirt both wicks away sweat and uses it as a cooling agent, all while protecting you from the sun, thanks to two proprietary technologies. Absorbent Omni-Freeze Zero rings on the garment’s inside hoover sweat from your skin, creating a cooling effect as the sweat disperses, while the Omni-Wick fabric aids in evaporation of excess moisture. Four-way stretch makes dynamic moves on the mountain easy, and the pocket on the bicep is great for lip balm, keys, or a credit card.

$80; 6.4 oz. (women’s M); XS-XL

Surprise swimming hole dip: Ortovox Brenta shorts

Ortovox Brenta shorts

A rugged Cordura/polyamide/elastane blend means these shorts can handle anything you throw at them, while the mid-thigh cut and stretchy construction leaves you free to jump logs and scale rocks. The Brentas are light despite their durability, and dry extremely fast (aided by a DWR treatment) so you can keep them on when that irresistible pond right off the trail beckons.

$129; 9.3 oz. (men’s M); m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-L

Dry off and descend: Astral Rosa flip-flop

Astral Rosa

A minimalist design features a removable strap (which attaches to the thong portion via slits on each side) that secures this flip-flop to your heel for hopping around boulders and walking through streams. A grippy outsole and cushy dual-density EVA midsole result in trail stability if you need it: After exiting a riverbed outside of Boulder, Colorado, one tester was able to comfortably run downhill with a 15-pound daypack.

$75; 5.9 oz. (pair size 7); w’s 6-11

On-the-go gear fix: UST FlashBlade Recharge Multi-Tool 1.0

UST FlashBlade Recharge 1.0

This knife is as light as its name is long, and for making gear fixes on the fly, cutting up food, or whatever else you might need it for, the FlashBlade is our go-to for dayhikes. “I clipped the tool to my belt loop and it was so light that I forgot it was there, even after leaving the trail and grocery shopping back in town” our tester says. It features flat and Phillips heads screwdrivers, bottle and can openers, a 1.5-inch stainless steel blade, and even a rechargeable LED light for unanticipated late nights on the trail.

$20; 2.6 oz.

Late-afternoon storm: Arc’teryx Beta SL Hybrid

Arc'teryx Beta SL Hybrid

The sunshine-rain-sunshine sandwich is a high-alpine constant. Stay prepared for it with this lightweight jacket, which packs down to the size of a large grapefruit while still providing bulletproof construction. The hood is sturdy (via a laminated brim) and has a wide reach, so it protects eyes from weather without obstructing visibility. Pit vents sport two-way zippers, while the slim fit isn’t constricting and allows for layers underneath. “One of my favorites features was the smart design of the two extra chest pockets, which are wide and deep enough for snacks or a camera,” says one tester. The jacket was surprisingly breathable during humid hours caught in the rain. Ding: This type of quality comes with a hefty price tag.

$399; 12.3 oz (men’s M); (m’s XS-XXL, w’s XS-XL)

Picnic under the stars: Nite Ize Radiant 300 Rechargeable Lantern

Nite Ize Radiant 300

This lantern is the perfect addition for night activities around camp: At only the size of a soup can, the Radiant’s 300 lumens can illuminate a wide area. “The light is so powerful everyone in camp could organize their gear and cook in the dark without burning their headlamp batteries,” says one tester. Don’t worry about any lingering drizzles: it’s weather resistant, and an integrated carabiner handle lets you clip it to your pack or hang it from a branch or tent loop. A USB port allows you to recharge your other devices before bedding down for the night.

$45; 8.9 oz   

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