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Gear Pro: Outfit Yourself for a Day Hike

Everything you need for a typical spring day hike.

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Hopefully the skies will remain bluebird and your shell won’t ever see the light of day, but you still need to pack one. The Plasmic offers full-on…

Hopefully the skies will remain bluebird and your shell won’t ever see the light of day, but you still need to pack one. The Plasmic offers full-on protection at paltry weight, and the Dry.Q EVAP treatment on the shell’s inner surface makes it feel soft, not sticky, against bare skin (like when you toss your shell on over a tee shirt during a summer thunderstorm). $140; 10 oz.; mountainhardwear.com

“The Athenas are ideal for dayhiking,” reports one tester. “But they also provide the underfoot shielding to keep my feet from feeling bludgeoned…

“The Athenas are ideal for dayhiking,” reports one tester. “But they also provide the underfoot shielding to keep my feet from feeling bludgeoned after two 12-mile days with a 35-pound pack.” $189; 2lbs. 6 oz.; asolo-usa.com

This is one of those items that you’ll use so much, you’ll never regret a penny spent on it. We gave this daypack our Editors’ Choice Award because…

This is one of those items that you’ll use so much, you’ll never regret a penny spent on it. We gave this daypack our Editors’ Choice Award because it carries big-day loads with aplomb thanks to a stiffened framesheet, great padding, and innovative (BOA) compression. But it works equally well as a daily communting bag or a carryon for any of your airline travel thanks to its super-smart and convenient packbag layout. $100; 1 lb. 14 oz.; 25 liters; llbean.com

This jacket has logged more days on my back and in my pack over the last 8 months than any other in my quiver—and that’s saying something. It’s the…

This jacket has logged more days on my back and in my pack over the last 8 months than any other in my quiver—and that’s saying something. It’s the perfect puffy to stash in your daypack for rest stops and lunch breaks because it cranks BTUs, packs tiny, and doesn’t mind errant raindrops. $220; 10.4 oz.; thenorthface.com

These convertible pants (legs zip off to create shorts with a 10-inch inseam) look pretty darn cool and way less dorky than any others we’ve found,…

These convertible pants (legs zip off to create shorts with a 10-inch inseam) look pretty darn cool and way less dorky than any others we’ve found, but they don’t skimp on technical features, material, or performance. $79; 15.5 oz.; kuhl.com

Our test crew loves this stink-resistant polyester fabric because it’s cottony soft, wicks sweat fast, and holds up against pilling. $35; 8 oz.;…

Our test crew loves this stink-resistant polyester fabric because it’s cottony soft, wicks sweat fast, and holds up against pilling. $35; 8 oz.; montbell.us.com

Made from super-soft merino wool, with an impeccable fit and just the right amount of cushion, these will become your go-to socks, just like they…

Made from super-soft merino wool, with an impeccable fit and just the right amount of cushion, these will become your go-to socks, just like they have for us. $18; point6.com

Learn how to build your own kit with my latest book, The 10 Essentials of Outdoor Gear. ($13; Falcon Press; available on amazon.com)

Learn how to build your own kit with my latest book, The 10 Essentials of Outdoor Gear. ($13; Falcon Press; available on amazon.com)