10 More Trail Essentials for Great Summer Hiking
We may be halfway through the hiking season, but it’s never too late to improve your gear kit for more convenient and efficient hiking and camping. Here are ten more of our favorite gear items that have become our latest trail gear essentials.
This may be one of the smallest, simplest and fastest water treatment devices we’ve used in a long time. Originally designed for military use, the Platypus QuickDraw Microfilter is a compact water filtration device about the size of a candy bar, and weighs just 2.2 ounces. Simply scoop up water in the 1-liter “dirty” bladder, screw on the QuickDraw, and squeeze it into any water container you have—or drink straight from the filter. The filter and bladder roll up nicely into a neat little package for stashing in your pack’s lid, or any other pocket for quick access when needed. It couldn’t be easier! $40
You never know when you may suddenly be faced with an unexpected weather or injury situation on the trail. Stuffed in its little sack, the SOL Emergency Bivvy weighs less than 4 ounces and fits in the palm of your hand. Constructed of seam-sealed, tear-resistant, waterproof, windproof material, it deploys fast and easy, and can reflect up to 90% of your body’s heat when a dry, warm shelter is needed. It even comes with an emergency whistle on the chinch strap. Toss one in your first aid or essentials kit for a little extra preparedness—just in case. $17
A recent acquisition from one of our monthly Nomadik gear boxes, the inflatable LUCI Candle has become one of our favorite trail accessories. Packed up, it’s about the size of a hockey puck, and weighs just 2.8 ounces. Puff a few breaths into the inflatable housing and choose from three light settings for a warm candle lantern that’s bright enough to cook by, read and write by, or just sit around in place of a campfire. And no batteries needed. Just recharge it with its built-in solar panel. Not getting Nomadik gear boxes? Use code PCT20 and save on your first order! $18
As one of the Ten Essentials, a first aid kit is a must-have on any hike, long or short. But for those of you who like hiking with your four-legged friend, a human first aid kit isn’t much good if your they get injured on the trail. The Trail Dog Medical Kit comes with wound dressings, eye wash, paw care items, a splinter and tick remover, bandages that won’t stick to fur, and a canine first aid guide to help treat most minor trail injuries. The kit comes in a convenient pouch with a waterproof liner bag, and weighs just 12 ounces. Keep your pooch just as safe as you keep yourself. $25
We’re no stranger to Jetboil stoves, and have been using them for years. This season, we’re packing along the new Jetboil Stash Cooking System. Ditching the usual integrated stove/pot system, the Stash employs a compact design with a folding, canister stove unit and a 0.8-liter pot that nests in the burner. The best thing about the Stash is the whole system—including a mini fuel can (sold separately)—packs up into a tiny, compact unit that only weighs 7 ounces. Includes a canister stand for stable cooking, and a folding, locking handle to keep the system secure when packed. $130
National Geographic’s Trails Illustrated PCT Map Booklets cover the entire PCT with the same format, scale and information you need for planning and hiking anywhere along the trail. This includes trail mileage, elevation profiles, trailhead locations, connecting trails, resupply locations, etc. There are seven booklets for covering the CA section, and two each for OR and WA. PCT: Oregon was invited to review the OR maps and have approved of their information and accuracy. Pick up a single map for a small section, or a bundle for larger sections or the whole trail! $15–$125
Following the devastating wildfires that engulfed Oregon in 2017, we rehiked the PCT to update our 5-star guidebook, Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Oregon. Revised chapters for the Sky Lakes/Crater Lake area, Central Cascades, and Columbia River Gorge include new trail descriptions, new campsite and water source info, and updated resupply and resource details. We also included an update about new wilderness permit requirements. We’re glad to continue working with Mountaineers Books to ensure that our guidebook provides the best and most current Oregon PCT information available.* $25
These aren’t new, and we’ve plugged them before, but we love them so much for packing ease, we’re giving them another shoutout. Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s Pods are super-ultralight, zipping stuff sacks that make pack loading a breeze. Constructed of waterproof Dyneema fabric, use them for sleeping bags, tents, hammocks, spare clothing, just about anything you want to keep safe, dry and organized. Their contoured design allows you to maximize packing space and eliminate wasted spaces in your pack, making for easier, more efficient packing. $50–$60
One of our favorite, and most convenient, luxury items in our packs this season is this ultralight trekking umbrella from Six Moon Designs. Constructed with a silnylon canopy and a carbon fiber frame, the Rain Walker SUL is a full-size umbrella that weighs just 5.5 ounces, and easily carries in any pack’s side pocket for quick and easy access. And it doesn’t just shed rain like a pro (which we found in Olympic NP’s soggy Hoh Rainforest), but it’s also great for a little portable shade when slogging over long, hot, exposed areas. You can even add a Hands-Free Kit that attaches to your pack strap. $60
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If you’ve been following us for a while, you know our affinity for camp (and trail) comfort. The lightweight Trail Chair 33 from Montbell is more a stool than a chair, but makes a nice place to plant your bum for trail snacking or camp cooking when there’s no convenient logs or rocks available for sitting. Super-compact, this 13-ounce perch is made with a 600D polyester seat and ultralight duralumin frame, and sets up quick and easy enough for comfy seat any time you want one. For packing up, it slips right into its own carrying sleeve, and is slim enough to fit into any pack’s side pocket, $35
Tired of hassling with stuff sacks for your tent, sleeping pad, etc? Cinch them up with a lightweight Stretch-Loc TPU Tension Strap from Sea to Summit. These versatile, easy-to-use straps come in a variety of lengths and widths for binding, compressing or attaching just about anything, and are ideal for lashing gear to your pack’s daisy chain and/or gear loops. Also great for use in camp for hanging gravity filters, food bags or anything else you want to keep off the ground. Available in packages of two or four straps. $9–$25
When it comes to trail and camp essential beyond the standard ten, lightweight, after-trail camp shoes are a must. And if they’re sturdy enough for river fords or emergency boot replacements, that’s just gravy. Montbell’s Aqua Gripper Sandals weigh just over one pound/pair and feature a rugged, rubber sole for staying grippy on wet and dry surfaces, and a comfortable EVA footbed for giving the feet a break after a long day in sweaty trail shoes. They also feature Velcro straps for getting the perfect fit so they stay on securely, no matter what you’re tromping over. $65
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