Spring has sprung. Time to hibernate your skis, dust off your trail shoes, and head for the hills. Below you will find a list of 13 items that currently make up my day hiking kit – basic essentials you need to have a safe and fun day out.
1. High Sierra Piton 30 ($160): The perfect size day pack- not too big but big enough to hold all your gear for the day. The molded foam back panel with Airflow channels keeps your back cool and dry on hot days. A large main compartment, along with plenty of external gear loops and large mesh side pockets, render the pack capable of overnight duty. For those heading on some early season high Sierra treks or the Pacific Northwest, the ice axe attachment could come in handy.
2. Mountain Khakis Granite Creek Windshirt ($120): Coming in both a men's and women's version, this lightweight, nylon ripstop jacket blocks sun (UVA-UVB 50+), wind, and rain. The perfect layer to keep in the bottom of your pack.
3. Swiftwick Pursuit Seven Socks ($22): Your feet are your only means of transport so you need to keep them happy. These merino wool, made in the USA socks feature a padded footbed for extra cushioning and the seamless design cuts down on your chance of blisters.
4. Columbia Freezer Zero Neck Gaiter ($30): Your neck is one of the easiest places to burn when out on the trail all day. Packed with UPF 50 sun protection and Omni-Freeze Zero technology, this simple neck gaiter not only guards you from the sun's harmful rays but helps cool you down when the going gets tough.
5. Beyond Coastal Natural Sunscreen SPF 30+ ($14): You will find no harmful additives here, as this natural sunscreen uses zinc oxide to protect your skin from the sun. The sunscreen is also fragrance-, oil-, and paraben-free, so slather on without worry.
6. Sweaty Bands Headband ($15-$18): Spring hiking brings with it lots of wind, so keep those flyaways out of your face with one of these headbands. Available in an endless number of styles, the velvet backing ensures no slip regardless how crazy you get.
7. Black Diamond Spot Headlamp ($40): Always good to keep a headlamp at the top of your pack for those unexpected situations. With the simple tap of your finger, the lightweight Spot adjusts from 4 lumens to 130 lumens to perfectly light up the task at hand.
8. Hydrapak Softflask 750 ($21): A liter of water is all you need for most day hikes, as you can easily hydrate at the start and end of the day. Anything more just means extra weight in your pack. This flexible bottle collapses as you drink, taking up less room as the day goes on.
9. Smith Optics Shorewood ChromaPop ($209): Glamour meets performance in these sunglasses, with eco-friendly frames made from renewable, non-GMO castor plants. The wide temples and oversize lenses block glare, while Smith's new ChromaPop technology will amp up your wildflower viewing with incredible color and clarity.
10. Salomon X Ultra ($120): Want to bag that summit but be home in time for happy hour? This technical trail shoe will see you absolutely crushing the miles. With a secure yet comfortable fit, the Contragrip outsole and midsole stability keep you on your feet regardless the terrain.
11. Columbia Zero Rules Shirt ($40): Super soft against the skin, this quick drying t-shirt will keep you cool when that midday sun starts to bear down.
12. Salomon Minim Pant ($110): These lightweight yet durable synthetic pants flex and breathe as you move, and also dry quickly in case you get wet. The Minim look great on, so can serve double duty around town, with a small zippered leg pocket for easy access lipbalm or money storage.
13. Snacks: Whether you like to eat energy chews, energy bars, or a simple PB&J sandwich, don't forget to bring food along to fuel your adventure.