The Well-Outfitted Trekker

Mar 12, 2002
Outside Magazine

Low Arko GTX boots, Prospector Pant, and Kavu's mesh-vented Trailrunner

Timberland's Mountain Athletic Zone pack

Outdoor Research Flex Tex Low Gaiters

Traveling light is the only way to trek, particularly when teahouses are providing your food and shelter. When shopping for gear, think versatility; temperature extremes will demand layering, packability, and durability.

Apparel A journey of a thousand miles begins with one a supportive pair of waterproof, lightweight hiking boots. Gore-Tex liners and beefy soles bolster the Lowa Arko GTX ($185) and the Scarpa Vento Mid GTX ($150). Both feel cozy right out of the box, but break them in for at least a month, and treat yourself to the extra stability and cushioning of Superfeet's Trim-to-Fit Synergizer foot beds ($30) to minimize blisters on the trail. Pair Bridgedale's A.T. CoolMax Liner ($8)—an easy-to-clean lightweight liner for fighting friction—with the Bridgedale Trekker sock ($16)—a soft, reinforced blend of wool, nylon, and polypro, with a touch of Lycra to keep the high-density padding under the heel and toe from slipping. But get a pebble in there and you're doomed. The featherweight (4-ounce) and stretchy Outdoor Research Flex Tex Low Gaiters ($33) seal your boot-tops and laces against mud, puddles, and yes, pebbles. For morning jogs don Kavu's mesh-vented Trailrunner hat ($22), but on the passes in the wind, swap that sun lid for the insulating fleece of Mountain Hardwear's Phillips Head ($20). The wind-resistant, water-repellent nylon and 700-fill of The North Face's Nuptse down jacket ($199) weighs just 23 ounces and compresses into a tiny pocket. But for temperature control and sweat removal on the way up, layer wisely. The SmartWool Next to Skin Wear (zip-neck top, $74; bottoms, $60) wicks moisture faster than any other base layer, keeping you dry and insulated against cold and heat. Mountain Hardwear's Monkey Man or Monkey Woman Jacket ($110) makes an ideal second layer: breathable, durable, water-repellent, and quick-drying, with the highest warmth-to-weight ratio of any Polartec fleece. Or try Patagonia's R2 Jacket ($145), with stretch panels at the elbows, cuffs, and torso sides. With or without long underwear, the Cloudveil Maverick ($140) serves as a rugged do-anything mountain pant, spun from Schoeller Dynamic Micro for moisture and temperature management, wind stopping, and abrasion protection. Or go with Cloudveil's slightly heavier Prospector Pant ($135). For the mist and rain, bring Marmot's lightweight, nylon-coated, and seam-taped PreCip Jacket ($99) and Pant ($69). Protect your hands from sunburn and wind with the lightweight fleece and reinforced palms of The North Face's Pamir WindStopper Glove ($50).

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