Backpacking Fitness

The Best Fitness Gear for Hikers

6 key pieces of gear that go from gym to trail.

You likely get most of your exercise in the outdoors, but a few hours in the gym every week could pay big dividends: You’ll be able to haul more weight, log more miles, and have a better time doing it. You could just wear your zip-off pants and hiking boots, but we don’t recommend it. So we asked our favorite gym-rat hikers for the best gear that’s as useful and comfortable in the weight room as it is on the trail.

Gym to Trail Must-Have #1: Wicking Headband

Gym to Trail Must-Have: Buff UV Headband
Buff UV Headband

Of course a Buff, the most versatile piece of outdoor gear, makes this list. Buff’s sweat-wicking UV Headband keeps sweat out of your eyes whether you’re on the treadmill or the trail. $15;

Gym to Trail Must-Have #2: Badass Sweat Towel

Gym to Trail Must-Have: Perfect Cooling Towel
Perfect Cooling Towel

The Perfect Cooling Towel’s 1-by-2-foot material stays cool for much longer than cotton when it gets wet, so you can drape it over your head during spin classes or wrap it around your neck on a warm-weather hike. $10;

Gym to Trail Must-Have #3: Do-Everything Shorts

Gym to Trail Must-Have: The North Face Kilowatt Shorts
The North Face Kilowatt Shorts

Durable, stretchy material, a loose fit, and a 10.5-inch inseam makes these Kilowatt Shorts from The North Face’s Mountain Athletics series perfect for transitioning from a squat session to a trail run. $65;

Gym to Trail Must-Have #4: Fitness Tracker

fitness gear for hikers
Microsoft Band

In the gym, Microsoft’s Band fitness tracker measures your heart rate, calories, and steps, acts as a stopwatch/timer, and alerts you to texts, emails, and social media notifications. Going on a trail run? Turn on the GPS to track your distance. $199;

Gym to Trail Must-Have #5: The Perfect Tee

Gym to Trail Must-Have: Super.Natural Nergy 175 Tee
Super.Natural Nergy 175 Tee

The merino/poly blend Super.Natural Nergy 175 Tee combines the odor-resistance and heat-regulation of merino wool with the durability of synthetic material in a shirt that feels as soft as cotton. $65;

Gym to Trail Must-Have #6: Versatile Shoes

Gym to Trail Must-Have: UnderArmour Micro G Deception Training Shoes
UnderArmour Micro G Deception Training Shoes

A reinforced upper in the UnderArmour Micro G Deception Training Shoes holds up to rope climb workouts, while a midsole shank and springy sole keep feet comfortable on rough trails. $99;