5 Hiking Essentials I Can’t Live Without

These hiking essentials are always with me when I spend an afternoon outdoors. Check out my favorite, most-used tools for being comfortable outside!

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The Best Sun Hat

I have a Sunday Afternoons SPF 50 hat that does seem as effective as a layer of sunscreen. I would also recommend sunscreen (gotta protect that skin!), but my hat has saved my face from getting burned many times. The brim also provides some protection against bugs and light rain.

I love this Sunday Afternoons Unisex Ultra-Adventure Hat: this may have to be my next hat purchase. It comes in Large, Wild Orchid color – hello!

My Favorite Hiking Shoes

I like Salomon hiking boots so much that I wore out one pair and immediately purchased a new pair. I saved some money by checking the “used, like new” options on Amazon over a couple of weeks for the size and styles I was interested in.

My feet are high maintenance. If I walk too far in the wrong shoes, my foot cramps, becomes painful to walk on, and eventually starts to bug me so much that my friends ask me if I have a stress fracture. So I invest in quality hiking shoes such as these. I pull out the insole, add a hard orthotic insert and replace the insole to add a thin, soft layer on top.

I love that these shoes are waterproof, not too heavy, vegan/non-leather, and durable. Yes, I wore out a pair, but it took multiple years!!

A Light and Cool Rain Shell

A rain jacket is not just for rain. I keep a Columbia Boys Glennaker Rain Jacket, a lightweight shell packed in my backpack, so I can pull it out if I get chilled, swarmed with mosquitos, or if it starts to rain. This boy’s size fits me well and is an economical choice. I like that it’s minimal in construction and weight but still made well.

Yes, the Backpack is For Snacks

It’s crucial to bring some water and snacks to enjoy spending an afternoon outdoors. I like to use a backpack to carry my water bottle, chapstick, keys, etc. And of course some food! I found my current bag secondhand, but I generally like smaller, lighter, unpadded backpacks for day hikes.

Beat the Bugs with a Net

Mosquitos close to your head are the worst, especially the buzzing noises and the itchy bites. Use a bug net to give yourself an inch or two of private air space. Growing up in New Jersey, I used to HATE bug nets. But having a net on my head doesn’t seem so bad as an adult because I realize I hate the bites more. Here’s the bug net I use: (it comes in a nice 2-pack, and each net has a little carrying pouch)

I hope you enjoy these great hiking essentials as much as I do!

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