Summer is often seen as the perfect season to explore the great outdoors. Sunny, warm weather is a great backdrop for exploring national parks and getting a workout by running or hiking through trails. With just a little over a month left of summer in the U.S., we would be amiss if we didn’t grab a chance to explore nature and wildlife. National parks are a great place to start if you’re looking to explore a new adventure as it is a great venue to go hiking, camping, fishing, and pursue other outdoor activities. Of course, one must take precaution in heading outdoors and ensure that one is physically and mentally prepared for the challenge. To help you be prepared, you can read about tips on going hiking for first timers or supplement your knowledge with tips from other more experienced hikers. When it comes to hiking, safety is of utmost priority, so you will also need to ensure that you have a checklist in place with all the essentials you need before heading out. In today’s list of recommendations, we’ve curated some of the items you’ll need for hiking from summer’s end through fall as you explore the great outdoors. Here’s the list.
Exploring the Great Outdoors in Style
1. THE NORTH FACE Venture 2 Packable Waterproof Jacket
A rain jacket that is lightweight, breathable, and packable, the Venture 2 Packable Waterproof Jacket from the North Face features a seam-sealed DryVent® shell that can withstand summer rains and sudden downpours, even the heavy ones. This rain jacket is ideal for both commuting in the city or hiking in the mountains, making it a versatile and stylish piece that you need in your closet asap. It features a front zip closure with hook-and-loop storm placket, cinch-cord hood, secure-zip welt pockets, adjustable hook-and-loop cuffs, zip underarm vents, stows into hand pocket, a cinch cord hem, and a non-PFC durable water-repellent finish. Its durable water-repellent coating is free of per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals. Shop at Nordstrom.
Promising review: “The print and color scheme are a really fun departure from all of my black/grey outerwear. Fit is as expected and I can’t wait for a rainy day to wear it.” Nordstrom25
2. ZELLA Live In Racerback Bra in Grey Forged
The Zella Live In Racerback Bra is a stretchy and light supportive bra that is great for staying comfortable all day or during low impact activities like a short hike through the woods or yoga. It features a round neck, removable soft cups, and a lining. It is made from 88% polyester, 12% spandex with 77% nylon, and 23% spandex mesh. Get 40% off for a limited time at Nordstrom.
Promising review: “Overall love the look and covers everything that needs to be covered. I like the wide band at the bottom, it stays put. Best of all it is super comfortable and fits my ‘workout at home’ needs.” PixieTrinket
3. CRAFT Glide Wind Tights in Black
Designed to beat the weather, this pair of tights from CRAFT is outfitted against the cold and wind with its waterproof and windproof construction that lets you enjoy the trails for longer. It’s made of breathable fabric to prevent overheating and features an elastic/drawstring waist and zip hems. This pair is made with recycled 2L Ventair waterproof and windproof fabric on front and 88% recycled polyester, 12% elastane with 100% recycled polyester and 100% polyurethane contrasts. Get up to 57% off for a limited time at Nordstrom.
Promising review: “LOVE THESE pants. The description states they are tights, however, they are pants but fit like tights in the leg and thigh area. I’m usually a size 10 and very curvy, I ordered the size large but will exchange for the ex-large, could wear the large but I prefer a looser fit.” Seriousshopper
4. HOKA ONE ONE Anacapa Low Gore-Tex® Waterproof Hiking Shoe in Cherry Mahogany/Hot Sauce
Meet your new favorite trail buddy: The Anacapa Low Gore-Tex® Waterproof Hiking Shoe from Hoka One One! This well-loved all-condition hiker not only leaves a smaller footprint but offers waterproof protection thanks to its layers of recycled leather and polyester on a durable, cushioned sole. It also features a gusseted tongue and PFC-free Gore-Tex protection to keep your feet protected from splashes or debris on the trail, as well as an Achilles-cradling pull tab and a liner made of 50% soybean oil wrap for extra comfort. It’s also equipped with multidirectional lugs and an extended heel that absorbs ground impact with stability and confidence. This pair, which features a removable OrthoLite® insole and is made with Late Stage Meta-Rocker technology and Vibram® MegaGrip tread provides great stability and traction on hills, uneven surfaces, and changing terrains. Shop at Nordstrom.
Promising review: “Super comfortable in all terrain! Best hiking shoes I’ve ever owned. I love them and hike in them everyday.” Carrol
5. SWEATY BETTY Swifie Running Cap in Calypso Pink
Whether you’re shying away from the sun or rain, this lightweight cap from Sweaty Betty is a perfect choice for your hikes and other outdoor activities. It features an elasticized strap for a perfect fit and reflective details that enhance visibility in low light or at night. Made of 92% polyester and 8% elastane. Shop at Nordstrom.
Promising review: “Light but structured. Looks cool and feels great. Would be great for running and walking. Hoping it fares well in the wash on gentle cycle.” Winkymom
Other Hiking Essentials for Summer Through Fall to Explore the Great Outdoors
1. Osprey Sirrus 24 Women’s Hiking Backpack in Ruska Purple
For serious hikes, make sure you’re equipped with the Osprey Sirrus 24 hiking backpack, which features an internal hydration sleeve that accommodates up to a 3-liter reservoir, a ventilated back panel with an adjustable shoulder harness for a perfect fit, stretch mesh pockets on both sides of the pack that offers convenient storage for bottle and other small items, two zippered hipbelt pockets, and a Stow-On-The-Go Trekking pole attachment for easy attachment and carrying of trekking poles as you wear your backpack. Lastly, it comes with an integrated and removable raincover. Female hikers love this bag so much it has an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “This is the best backpack I have ever owned. Perfect fit and very comfortable. Also, the zippers are smooth and don’t get stuck. I also love the design and front compartment. I use this on day hikes and longer weekend hikes.” Kathleen
2. Adventure Medical Kits AMK Mountain Series Hiker Medical Kit
Serious hikers know that a trusty, reliable medical kit is a must-have for every hiking activity. Good thing there’s the Adventure Medical Kits AMK Mountain Series Hiker Medical Kit, which is perfect even for overnight trips. This lightweight kit features an Easy Care First Aid system that lets you find a tool easily and quickly during emergency moments. The Easy Care First Aid system organizes contents by injury into clearly-labeled pockets, while its durable, water-resistant medical bag keeps all items safe and ready to use. The compact hiking first aid kit weighs less than 8 oz. and fits easily into your daypack and comes with a find-it-fast design with an external kit map that shows where supplies are located and a reflective mountain design on the front helps you find the kit quickly at night. Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “This kit came with some great things inside. I was surprised at how much they could put inside this pouch! I highly recommend if you are a backpack camper like myself.” RN&Mom
3. Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle in Orange
Perfect for hiking and traveling, the Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle is made of 100% food-grade materials and free of BPA, BPS, PVC, phthalates, lead, and latex. This portable and sturdy water bottle rolls up for compact travel and even loops around your wrist for easy carry or attaches to your back for quick access. It’s made with tough material that can survive drops when you’re outdoors thanks to its flexible, shatter-proof silicone body. Rated 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “Used this on a recent trip as well as various hikes. Folding feature is nice for saving space in a bag. Took it through the airport security and filled it afterward for use on the plane. Did not leak. Easy to drink from. Probably not the cheapest bottle but I like it.” Reader
4. HikeGoo Blister Prevention Cream Specifically Formulated for Feet
A quick search for “hiking essentials” will introduce you to HikeGoo, a blister prevention cream that offers advanced blister prevention with a single application that lasts all day so you don’t have to stop and apply during those fun hikes. It works in wet and dry conditions with its non-staining and no residue formula that prevents blisters wherever you go. Founded by a pair of avid hikers and climbers who are also scientists, the HikeGoo blister prevention cream is a unique barrier cream that is specifically formulated to last all day on your feet. It contains a high percentage of specialty hard waxes that together provide a protective layer that reduces rubbing, friction, calluses and blisters. Rated 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “This product saved my feet and my walking/hiking goals! I walk at least four miles 5 days a week and do a long hike weekly. I could not sustain this schedule without support of this cream, I have terrible feet issues including blistering.” Judith A. Meyer
5. EnerWear 4 Pack Women’s Merino Wool Outdoor Hiking Trail Crew Sock in Cloud/Sky/Geometry
Made of 42% Wool, 34% Acrylic, 20% Polyester, 3% Nylon, and 1% Spandex, these outdoor hiking trail socks are designed to keep your feet at optimal level of warmth. It offers full cushion support with reinforced heel and toe and is designed for extreme weather conditions, so you’re sure it will hold up whenever you go hiking, mountaineering, outdoor camping, cycling, and more. These socks offer moisture management thanks to the fiber at the sole and a breathable mesh that supports your insteps, bringing maximum comfort and support to your feet. Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “Loved these socks for hiking on my national park trip. Great in any weather. Absorbs sweat and is great for warm or cold weather. Came in a really cute zip up bag making them easy to pack or keep with my hiking gear.” Peggy Plymel
For more great last minute outdoor ideas, check out these stories from our archive that you may have missed. Also don’t forget to sign up for our weekly newsletter so you’re the first to know about the latest deals and discounts at your favorite retailers.
On the Road: Safe Driving Essentials for Summer Road Trips
A Park Picnic: Fun Picnic Essentials for Summer
International Picnic Day: Essentials for Packing Food and Hosting Picnics
Plan a Summer Outdoor Party with These Great Tips!
Just a disclaimer – We have partnered with these companies because we use their products and/or proudly trust and endorse them – so we do receive a commission if you make a purchase or sign up for services. Often, we are able to negotiate special discounts and/or bonuses, which we will pass on to you via our links. We often get short notice on sale items available for 24-48 hours as we will pass these savings onto you.