The Moab shoes have been around for years now, garnering love and a cult-like following from hikers across the country. This low-volume option for women is completely waterproof and has a Vibram outsole for extra grip and durability.
The Gear You Bought the Most of This Summer
When the Switchback first came on the market last year, we crowned it the best budget sleeping pad. It uses two types of foam with different densities and specially-designed raised spikes to give optimal comfort and warmth.
Gear columnist Jakob Schiller loves the Weekenders. “They look great, have high-quality lenses, and are so affordable that I won't worry about them getting a little bit dinged up,” he says. “It's rare to find one pair of shades I want to wear for 80 percent of the things I do outside—and even rarer to find one at this price.”
Outside columnist Jakob Schiller wrote an ode to these shorts and praised them for their versatility. “Buy two pairs, and I promise that they’ll be all you need from June through October for the next five years,” he writes.
The 900-denier ripstop polyester body is water-resistant and boasts a padded bottom panel for added structure. Daisy chains make lashing a breeze, the shoulder straps are comfy and removable, and there are side-grab handles for extra convenience. We dig the U-shaped lid, which makes for quick packing, and the two mesh pockets on the lid for storing small items.
The Storm is the perfect example of how far headlamps have come. It’s moderately priced but pumps out 375 lumens from a proximity beam—ideal for working in close quarters or as a spotlight when you’re on the trail. We really like the battery meter, which shows how much juice you have left in your AAAs. Oh, and it’s fully waterproof.
The Nalgene Wide Mouth is a beloved classic. While it won’t keep your water insulated like other stainless steel bottles, it’s still lightweight, leakproof, easy to clean, and completely BPA-free. Plus, as our Gear Guy says, it's just plain nostalgic.
Like many other pants made for the outdoors, the Konfidant is constructed from a light and breathable blend of cotton, nylon, and spandex. But the real story with these pants is the vents. They’re everywhere—in the rear pockets, in the front pockets, in the thigh pockets, on the back of the knees, and in the crotch. The idea is to keep air moving so you stay cool when you’re on the trail.
There’s nothing too fancy about the Stowaway—it’s a comfortable, low-profile camp chair that hits the budget price point and rocks a few smart details. The foam-padded armrests and the mesh backing won’t absorb sweat or rain if you leave the chair out in a storm. Also, it’s low enough that you can bring it to a music festival or concert and not piss off the people sitting behind you.
Showers are great—when you can take them. But it’s not always possible, so make sure you have a pack of these wipes in your kit. They’re extra thick but soft enough to use in the most sensitive places, and aloe vera and vitamin E moisturize as you scrub the grime away.
Our Gear Guy put these merino wool socks through the wringer last year. The result? They won his test of the best hiking socks. Joe Jackson wrote, "This sock did everything extremely well, but mostly it was just damn comfy."
Our Gear Guy praised this shirt in his test of the best performance flannels. “The Fjord deserves points for its 100 percent organic cotton, which felt soft and supple, and it had just enough give to never slow me down as I rode the Jabberwocky Trail outside Ashland, Oregon,” he wrote.
Editor Ariella Gintzler loves the two-ounce Cita because she barely notices it when she's running. “Internal pleats on the forearms raise the jacket away from your skin so the fabric doesn’t stick when you sweat,” she wrote. Plus, vents in the back prevent clamminess that’s typical of ripstop wind jackets.
Of the 34 hydration vests we tested, the VaporAir was the best. “It’s one of the few we tried that has a two-liter bladder and a quick-release hose for easy one-handed refilling,” one tester wrote. This, combined with adjustable straps, means the vest can carry 112 ounces of water without sloshing and sliding.
A pair of high-quality merino wool socks are a worthy investment in our book, considering that unpleasantries on the trail––blisters and chafe––start with wet feet. These socks wick and breathe exceptionally well, and are built to provide warmth and comfort for all-day endeavors.
Helinox nails the backpacking camp seat with its Chair Zero, which is light (one pound) and compact enough (collapsing to the size of a Nalgene bottle) to justify taking on multi-day trips but comfortable enough to use while car camping. The shock-cord aluminum poles require minimal setup, and the chair keeps you 11 inches off the ground, not too low to sit down and stand up out of easily.
This is our Gear Guy’s insulated water bottle of choice. In 2013, he did a full test of the entire Hydro Flask quiver, measuring their durability and how long they kept liquids hot and cold. He wrote, “I highly suggest buying a Hydro Flask as your insulated, everyday water bottle.”
This shirt jacket is one of contributor Jakob Schiller’s favorite long sleeve layers for shoulder season. The Bedford is heavier than a long-sleeve shirt, but not as warm as a midlayer, so it’s ideal for those in-between days. The durable shirt also stands up to “everything from weekend chores, yard work, woodworking, to tree cutting,” Schiller wrote.
The Wide Mouth was selected by our readers—and by our editors—as one of their favorite water bottles. The Nalgene's tough, BPA-free plastic can take a beating; we've slung ours around at crags, banged them against rocks, and generally abused them for years. Yet they still work just as intended—no leaks and only a few scratches, for character.
Our Gear Guy loves the Hydro Flask 32-ounce tumbler. With one of these suckers, he can “nurse a single pour for hours without having to worry about lukewarm beer.” The same goes for hot drinks—a freshly brewed cup of coffee will stay warm for up to six hours.
We included the Torrent Pro in our review of the best water shoes of 2019. “This technical shoe is ideal for boaters, with a low-profile sole and rounded heel that fit into the tight spaces of kayaks and pack rafts,” we wrote. Midsole drainage ports and a breathable mesh upper allow the shoe to flush out water and dry quickly.