The Best Gear for Late-Summer Dayhiking

Even on a lowkey dayhike, good gear can be the difference between a forgettable outing and a fun one.

Photo: Lauren Danilek

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As much as we love long adventures, we treasure the short ones too. Getting out for an after-work or weekend dayhike is a chance to relax from the rush of the week and reconnect with what we love about nature. While you don’t need fancy gear to enjoy a day on the trail, these five products will help make your excursions safer and more fun.

Osprey Hikelite 26


The ideal dayhiking pack is small but durable, organized but simple, and comfortable but able to carry moderate weight. The Hikelite nails that trifecta, and has emerged from a year of near-constant use in fine condition thanks to a 100-denier nylon packbag and 500-denier nylon bottom. Read the Full Review / Buy Now

Duckworth Vapor Snorkel Hood


Getting blasted by the sun can end any hike early (or add pain later), so covering up is key. This hooded, long-sleeved shirt will prevent you from frying, and also grants superb temp control and durability. Read the Full Review / Buy Now

Kate’s Real Food Bars


Food fatigue is less of a problem on dayhikes than overnights, but we still reach for the best-tasting nutrition available. With a satisfying organic brown rice and oat-based crunch, this bar adds a crackle to a usually blah category. Read the Full Review / Buy Now

AMK Mountain Hiker Medical Kit


An expedition-worthy first aid kit is overkill, but you should still be ready to address minor injuries. This kit has a dialed-in combo of organization, useful contents, and a nice price. Read the Full Review / Buy Now

Vasque Breeze LT GTX


You don’t always need heavy clompers for a single-day outing. The sub-2-pound Breeze LT is nimble enough for dayhiking but burly enough for light backpacking: Its EVA midsole ranges from 24 to 18 millimeters thick, and combined with the ultracushy midcut ankle cuff kept us comfortable in rough terrain. Read the Full Review / Buy Now