Summer Hiking Must-Haves
Summer is here, well, I supposed it's been here, but I'm a little behind on blogging since I was working on getting the new site up and running. Nonetheless I have thrown together a list of Summer Hiking Must-Haves for your summer and honestly a lot of these things can be used through multiple seasons/year round! Check out more below:
Hammocks are such a great piece of gear to have during any season but especially in the summertime. It's so relaxing to hang one up and take a nap or enjoy a book while also taking in endless views or listening to a rushing river. Most outdoor hammocks pack down to a very small size and are lightweight, making it easy to take them wherever you go. I have two backpacking hammocks and whenever I'm hiking or camping with friends I always bring the extra for them and I've never had someone not be excited for it!
Right now I'm really into Madera Outdoor hammocks. For every hammock bought they plant two trees to help local farmers in Africa, so you're also contributing to a great cause and the hammocks are under $100! Get an additional discount of 30% off by using my promo code, "JESSF30."
I swear by these little shorts. I bought a pair of these two years ago because the reviews on REI's site were just too good to be true, everyone just raved about them. So I broke down and bought a pair. A month after getting them I bought two more pairs, I am obsessed with them! They are literally the best outdoor shorts out there. They're lightweight, moisture wicking, fast drying and comfortable. You can wear them in the water, hiking, backpacking (they don't smell even after an entire weekend in them!), and so much more. I also run errands in mine a lot. I couldn't recommend these shorts more! If $50 is a little too much for a pair of shorts (I think it is at least) wait for them to go on sale :)
Sunscreen is one of the most important things you need during the summer, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors. Not only do you help lower your risks of skin cancer, but protecting your skin from the sun helps it stay younger for longer. In high school I was so lax with sunscreen and let my skin burn all the time with the excuse that "It'll turn to tan after." Ugh I just cringe thinking about how dumb I was, luckily I never got into the fake bed tanning. In college I really started to care about my skin and always made sure to try and have sunscreen with me at all times when I know I'll be outdoors. I've been testing out some organic sunscreens recently, some I love, some I hate. But I ALWAYS make sure I have a little tube stashed in all my backpacks so I don't accidentally forget to bring it. Also there is nothing worse than getting a severe sunburn, or worse, sun poisoning, while adventuring. If you've ever had a severe sunburn and gone backpacking then ya know what I mean. NOT fun. (Also, side note- but if you want a natural looking tan FAST, do not go to a tanning bed, instead research some sunless tanners that you can apply at home. Sunless tanning has come such a long way and very rarely are the formulas orange and streaky anymore. My favorite brand is Tanceuticals.)
I've only recently jumped on the bandwagon with using hydration tablets and I have to say I really love them. I'm the kind of person that struggles to drink plain water every day and most days I bring a lemon with me to work or slice some up to throw into my water bottle before hitting the trail. Something about plain water is just not appealing to me. Aside from hiking I do a lot of spin classes and HOT yoga classes so re-hydrating is so important after physical activity like that where you're sweating buckets. In the summer when you hike and backpack you tend to sweat more because of the heat anyways. My favorite tablets are Nuun and I usually stick with basic citrus flavors (lemon + lime) but there are so many flavors to choose from! I also try to avoid any hydration tablets or mixes that have an energy boost component to them. Usually when I see that advertised on products I always end up really shakey and feeling sick.
Water shoes are always in or on my pack when I'm hiking and backpacking in the summer time. I love how versatile they are as a camp shoe, a short distance hiking shoe and as a swimming shoe. I love my Chacos but when I'm backpacking I bring my Tevas instead just because they're more lightweight and weight is everything when you have to put everything on your back! In my experience, neither shoe is great for hiking more than 1-2 miles unless you put on a thick sock to keep the shoes from rubbing against your feet and creating blisters. Keen is another great brand that makes durable, reliable shoes and I've owned multiple pairs of hiking boots by them.
Well that's it! I hope this was helpful. If I had to pick one of these items for summer I really don't know which I would choose! I use all of them very regularly so that would be a hard decision. Just make sure whatever you're buying, you're investing in some good gear that will last you for years.