LaSportiva FC 2.0 GTX ($140, sportive.com): I’ve been loving these versatile, lowcuts all summer and fall. They’re rugged and fairly light (1 lb. 12 oz. for my women’s 8), and they fit like a dream. Plus, they’re not wimpy, like so many other lowcuts; there’s enough support and stability to shoulder a weekend-sized load. If you don’t need or want waterproof, opt for the FC 1.1, which is very similar, minus the Gore-Tex, and will save you 35 bucks.
GoLite Ether Wind Jacket ($80, golite.com): When all you need is a layer of insurance against the weather and you’ll be back home by nightfall, this is sweet shell that weighs less than a Snickers bar. (I also often pack an ultralight shell like this on longer backpacking trips—they’re great for tossing on over a tee-shirt when the wind kicks up and the goose bumps rise, but you don’t want to overdo it with insulation.) This one’s made of recycled poly with a DWR that beads light precip. I like the full frontal zipper (many shells this light are pullovers) and the hood.
CameBak Vantage ($150, camelbak.com): This sweet daypack has enough room for big-day epics, with a solid, comfy suspension system and an easy-to-live-out-of, top-loading packbag. It comes with CamelBak’s 100-ounce reservoir, too. Read Our Complete Review.
Adventure Medical Kits Pocket Survival Pack ($33, adventuremedicalkits.com): It’s like a 4-ounce insurance policy for your beloved hiker. It’s jam-packed with items you hope they’ll never have to use, like firestarter and tinder, a fishing hook, a mini compass, and a signal mirror, but it’s so small and light that nobody in their right mind will balk at carrying it.