Patagonia Sunstretch Shirt ($99)
The Sunstretch is made for hot weather. Ample coverage, a collar, and UPF 30 provide protection from the rays, while the nylon-polyester blend dries fast.
Prana Stretch Zion Straight Pants ($89)
Prana’s venerated Stretch Zion has been a hiker favorite for years. The new straight fit puts the burly DWR-coated fabric in a silhouette that’s more comfortable, almost tailored.
Farm to Feet Cascade Locks Socks ($23)
Extra cushioning and a reinforced heel and forefoot make these ultrafine-merino socks the comfiest we tested.
Salomon Odyssey Triple Crown Magic Shoes ($140)
The name is a mouthful, but it shows that these shoes were designed for long distances. A wide toe box accommodates trail-swollen feet, while the stiff, cushioned midsole doesn’t pack out quickly.
Therm-a-Rest Vesper Quilt ($320)
For those who detest the constricting nature of sleeping bags, quilts are a game changer. The 15-ounce Vesper is stuffed with 900-fill hydrophobic down and rated to 32 degrees. All packed up, it’s the size of a loaf of bread.
Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System ($145)
Testers loved the MiniMo’s short and stocky pot, which kept fingers clean when spooning mac and cheese. But the best feature is the precision flame control, which made it safe and easy to simmer food inside a tent during a storm.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest 40 Pack ($310)
Maine-based Hyperlite makes its packs almost exclusively from featherweight yet tearproof Dyneema. For the Southwest, it traded mesh exterior pockets (ubiquitous on lightweight packs) for ripstop nylon, which is impervious to branches and cactus. The minimalist 40-liter main compartment has just enough space for those with dialed-in kit.
Eddie Bauer BC Uplift Jacket ($199)
The BC Uplift isn’t much heavier than a wind shell—we nearly forgot we packed the seven-ounce jacket, until a deluge hit just a mile from the trailhead in Santa Fe National Forest. The nylon shell, waterproof zippers, and sealed seams make it completely waterproof.