Skip To Content

    4 Things Any Hiker Should Own Before They Hit The Trail

    Here's the stuff I swear by.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI β€” prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    Hey guys! I'm Michelle and I love hiking.

    In the last year, I've traveled to Machu Picchu, the Highlands, and the Swiss Alps in pursuit of breathtaking views, and in the process, I've discovered that one of the keys to stress-free travel is to PACK πŸ‘ LIGHT. πŸ‘

    Now, after having nailed the art of packing just the right amount, here are the things I've found indispensable to every trip:

    1. This Carhartt jacket, which has kept me dry and warm through multiple climates.

    As anyone who's ever shopped for outdoor gear knows: That shit is expensive AF. I understand that a lot of research, development, and pricey, high-tech fabric goes into making Spider-Man suit–like gear. But let's also consider the fact that I'm the type of person who considered it a significant milestone to graduate from Buffalo Exchange to a slightly higher-end Brooklyn vintage store. So believe me when I say I researched far and wide for something that could deliver coverage while still letting me pay my student loans on time.

    I love this jacket because it's made with (tried-and-tested) rainproof fabric, keeps my inner layers snug and dry, is fairly light, and actually looks pretty good. 🀘🏻

    Michelle No / BuzzFeed

    It also has some nifty random features, like thumb hooks, zippered inner pockets, a front lining that snaps over the zippered part, and a detachable hood.

    It's helped me stay dry through hail in Peru's Salkantay mountain, aggressive rain in Scotland, AND windy mist in Switzerland's shitty November weather. The best part? It looks good enough for me to wear it in my day-to-day life in New York City, which on some days, honestly feels like a mix of all the above 😩.

    Sometimes, I switch it up with this Patagonia Torrentshell jacket I got because it came highly recommended. While I love that it's significantly more lightweight than my Carhartt one (and, let's be real, is emblazoned with a stylish Patagonia logo), I've found that it doesn't stay waterproof and leaks inside beyond moderately wet weather. If you want something that can withstand wear and tear, aggressively wet weather, AND wind, the Carhartt is your best bet.

    Get it from Amazon or Dungarees for $79.99 (available in sizes S–2XL). You can also get a newer model from Carhartt for $129.99 (available in sizes XS–2XL, in black or olive).

    2. These wool socks, which are my second bastion against frigid temperatures (and blistered feet).

    There's a reason these socks have 3,703 five-star reviews. First of all, they're super stretchy and stay up instead of scrunching down into a pool of sock at your ankles. They're also thick and keep your feet warm β€” but not that in that purely indulgent fuzzy sock way. These woolly feet-gloves will actually cushion and support your feet over an eight-hour hike up a damn mountain. Even though I was wearing heavy, hard hiking boots, these babies made my feet feel comfortable and extra loved.

    Get a pack of four pairs from Amazon for $24.90 (available in sizes S/M–L, in seven color combinations).

    3. This Camelbak reservoir, so you don't have to stop and pull out your water bottle every time you want to hydrate.

    Whitneylewisphotography / Getty Images

    Call me a noob, but when I discovered this way of hydrating, it totally changed the game. I can easily go an entire half-day without a single sip of water β€” simply because of my commitment to keep going without rest β€” and then end up with early exhaustion, headaches, and mood dips.

    This handy "bottle" solves my accidental dehydration problem via two main pieces. The first part is the main reservoir that fits in your backpack. It's got a pretty generously sized opening, so you don't have to awkwardly try and angle it while filling it with, say, boiled water from a pan. The second piece is the tube-and-valve system, which you loop out of your backpack, and β€” this is key β€” let hang right on your shoulder, for easy access. Every time you want a drink, you just bite into the self-sealing valve and suck the water in. The best part is that the reservoir's design evenly distributes the water throughout the pack (and consequently across your back).

    I honestly wish it were socially acceptable to use this in my office life?

    Get one from Amazon for $30.

    4. And last but not least, this lil' quick-dry towel, that can hold up to seven times its weight in liquid.

    One of the biggest inconveniences you can encounter in the wild β€” or, you know, a middle-of-nowhere Airbnb β€” is being caught without a towel to dry your freshly showered self. This teeny towel solves the problem with a 16" x 32" piece of fabric. While you won't get the snug, post-shower satisfaction of wrapping yourself in a fluffy towel, I can confirm that you can easily spot-dry your entire body and face with this teeny thing. Plus, it's so lightweight you could easily lose it in your bag and it'll easily dry overnight.

    Get a small one (what I have) from Amazon for $8.89 (available in seven colors).

    Do your holiday shopping with BuzzFeed. Check out all of our gift guides here!


    Need A Shopping Buddy?

    Get great products - from pros in the fine art of buying stuff online - delivered to your inbox!
    Newsletter signup form