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  • Photo: Michael Karsh

    Women's Hiking Essentials

    Gear for the long haul.
    Whitney Spivey

  • Photo: Michael Karsh

    Leatherman Signal multitool

    Leatherman’s 7.5- ounce Signal ($120) houses all the tools you’d expect—saw, pliers, bottle opener—plus a few you wouldn’t (emergency whistle!). The diamond-coated sharpener and fire-starting ferro rod might seem like overkill, but you never know.

  • Photo: Michael Karsh


    Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir is out in paperback ($16), and at 8.6 ounces it’s a completely justifiable backpacking accessory. Plus, Strayed’s solo adventure along the Pacific Crest Trail might inspire you to embark on your own journey.

  • Photo: Michael Karsh

    Icebreaker Sphere SS Low Crew Stripe T-shirt

    Eighty bucks might seem pricey for a tee, but the Sphere ($80) might be the only one you ever need. Constructed from blended merino wool and Tencel (made from sustainably harvested wood), it breathes incredibly well, dries fast, and won’t stink even after days of use.

  • Photo: Michael Karsh

    The North Face FuseForm Dot Matrix jacket

    It’s hard to combine moisture resistance, breathability, and durability into an ultralight shell, but the Matrix ($199) does it thanks to new FuseForm technology, which weaves two waterproof fabrics together for protection from rubbing pack straps. Fewer taped seams means less clamminess.

  • Photo: Michael Karsh

    Osprey Aura AG 65 pack

    At just over four pounds (admirably light for its 65-liter capacity), the Aura ($260) is ideal for long hauls. Osprey’s seamless suspension hugs the body for a better fit. Testers loved the trekking-pole attachment and the mesh pockets along the straps—perfect for stashing snacks. 

  • Photo: Michael Karsh

    Lorpen T3 Light Hiker socks

    Polyester next to the body wicks moisture, while a middle layer of Tencel adds comfort and nylon fibers in hot-spot-prone areas prevent blisters. $18,

  • Photo: Michael Karsh

    Patagonia Quandary shorts

    With only two low-profile front drop pockets, these lightweight nylon-spandex shorts ($59) don’t allow you to carry much, but that’s why you have a pack.

  • Photo: Michael Karsh

    Aku Ultra Light 30 GTX boots

    We love the vintage look of this 15.5-ounce reissue ($200), but it’s the modern updates we appreciate most. The Gore-Tex liner, dual-density foam midsole, and Vibram outsole kept our feet comfortable through hundreds of tough miles.

  • Photo: Michael Karsh

    Next Up:The Best Women’s Jackets of 2015

    Mountainsmith Carbonlite Pro trekking poles

    These 20-ounce poles ($75) telescope between 26.5 and 54 inches to adapt to most terrain. Cork grips and neoprene wrist straps are easy on hands, even after miles of use, and the durable carbide tips will last years.

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