Must-Have Gear for the Casual Hiker


By Reannon Muth

Summer is here, which means it’s time to slap on the bug repellent, lace up the hiking boots, and hit the trails. The mornings are warm, the afternoons are long, and the swimming holes are finally reaching prime temperatures—just cool enough to feel refreshing after a long morning climb.

But, as every hiker knows, adventures in the wilderness don’t come without risk. Here is a guide to this season’s must-have mountain gear for the safety-minded adventurer (trail mix not included).

Quench Your Thirst for Convenience

If you can’t make it to the French Alps this summer, the Quest Grayl Water Filtration Cup is perhaps the next best thing. Combining elegant European flair with scout-approved practicality, this French press water filter will purify river, lake, or pond water in just 15 seconds, removing any odd flavors and 99 percent of bacteria—all with just the push of a button. Although nothing is as tasty as French champagne, after a grueling uphill climb, your taste buds won’t know the difference.

See Nature in Living Color

Binoculars from BassPro Shop

Unlike workouts at the gym (where oftentimes, the only “breathtaking view” is of the gasping man cycling in a sweaty tracksuit in front of you), workouts in nature provide panoramas you’ll want to see in magnified detail.

The waterproof Nikon Monarch 5 Binoculars allow you to admire the scenery in bright, high-resolution color. At just 21.5 ounces, the Monarch 5 is one of the lightest full-sized pairs of binoculars on the market, ensuring your back muscles won’t have to suffer for your senses’ benefit.

Don’t Be Left in the Dark

A headlamp is an important piece of mountain gear to carry in your pack, as day hikes can easily turn into dusk hikes if you aren’t careful. The Princeton Tec Fuel LED Headlamp is ultra lightweight—just 2.75 ounces—but can crank out up to 70 lumens of light and last up to 146 hours before needing a battery change.

Survival of the Book-Smart

A safe hiker is a knowledgeable one, and the SAS Survival Guide: For Any Climate, In Any Situation (which comes pocket-sized and as a mobile app) is one of the most popular and thorough wilderness survival guides available. With sections devoted to compass skills, shelter-making, and edible-food-identification, the 384-page “backpacker bible” provides a wealth of helpful, fascinating information for the avid hiker, camper, or survival-junkie—because, hey, you never know when being able to field dress a hare might come in handy.

For Those Times When Siri Can’t Hear YouGarmin eTrex 30x Handheld GPS Unit from Bass Pro Shop

While purist hikers may say “take a hike” to the idea of backpacking with a GPS, it’s definitely a good thing to have while out exploring.

For those feeling apprehensive about heading into the “no cell service” zones of the wilderness, the Garmin eTrex 30 might be just what their hiker hearts are looking for. This waterproof GPS device comes with an electronic compass and 20 hours of battery life, which means that the next time you pick “the road less traveled,” you won’t have to worry about navigating back to safety.

Purify water fast with the Quest Grayl Water Filtration Cup from Orvis. This French press-style filer purifies water in 15 seconds with just the touch of a button. It's elegance and conveninece in a bottle.


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