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Best Hiking Gear of 2022

Tackle the trails with picks in footwear, clothing and accessories from our hiking experts
Best Hiking Gear of 2022
Lead tester Jane Jackson heading out onto the trail to test some of the highest quality and most popular hiking boots for women available today.
Credit: Eric Bissell
By Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief
Wednesday August 31, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

After years of playing in the outdoors and getting our hands on a wide variety of gear, we have had the chance to discover the perfect combination of accessories. We took the time to bring together all of our favorite hiking gear in one convenient place to get your adventures off the ground. We have been testing most hiking categories for over a decade and for each review we buy the top products and spend months on the trails, comparing them side by side. Our experts provide our picks for the best overall gear, as well as the best value options, in each category. Whether you are looking for hiking footwear, apparel, eyewear, or packs, we have the best recommendations for you.

Editor's Note: We updated this article on August 31, 2022.


hiking gear - a comfortable pair of hiking shoes will assure you get maximum...
A comfortable pair of hiking shoes will assure you get maximum enjoyment on your hikes.
Credit: Scott Ring

Footwear and Trekking


The right shoes can make or break a hike. While hiking boots are still popular, there are a number of lighter options that may be a better option for most hikes such as sturdy hiking shoes and lighter weight trail running shoes. We also recommend our favorite poles which many hikers now consider almost as essential as a backpack.

Men's Hiking Shoes


When selecting gear for your next trek, the the perfect hiking shoes should be your first consideration and your most important investment. These typically have a low ankle cut, and knobby soles, and offer more support than other shoes. These are the ones we recommend:
Best Overall Hiking Shoe

Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex

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Best Bang for Your Buck

Vasque Juxt

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Women's Hiking Shoes


Many hiking shoes can be considered unisex, but for those looking for a women's specific fit, we've got you covered. The differences between men's and women's hiking shoes are minimal, but they are there. Women's versions will typically have a narrower design and a smaller volume toe box. Here are our top choices for women:
Best Overall Women's Hiking Shoe

La Sportiva Spire GTX - Women's

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Best Bang for Your Buck

Merrell Siren Edge 3 - Women's

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Men's Trail Running Shoes


If your typical excursion involves a quick moving pace and a lighter pack loads, a lightweight trail running shoe will likely be a good fit. Sticky rubber and large lugged outsoles provide traction and stability for your time on the trail, but the running-centric design keeps things light and cushy. If this sounds appealing to you, these are the models we recommend:
Best Overall Trail Running Shoe

Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3

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Best Bang for the Buck

Brooks Divide 2

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Women's Trail Running Shoes


Women's trail shoes are similar to the men's and unisex models in that they offer more stability on uneven surfaces and more aggressive outsoles provide traction on trail surfaces. These are our favorite options for women who like to keep their hikes light and fast:
Best Overall Trail Running Shoe for Women

Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 - Women's

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Best Overall for Technical Terrain

Dynafit Feline SL - Women's

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Hiking Socks


Almost as important as your shoe is the thin layer of fabric that lies between skin and boot. The best-performing hiking socks are made from materials like wool or a synthetic polymer and they usually have a mid-calf cut to offer more protection. These are our go-to pairs:
Best Overall Hiking Socks

Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion

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Best Bang for the Buck

REI Co-op Merino Wool Ultralight Crew

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Trekking Poles


Some may wonder, are trekking poles really worth it? While it ultimately comes down to personal preference, we would argue that once you find the perfect set of trekking poles you'll never want to hit the trail without them. Here are our favorites:
Best Overall Trekking Pole for Men

MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon

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Best Overall Trekking Pole for Women

Leki Women's Micro Vario Carbon

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hiking gear - the futura vario is a well-constructed pack but in the end, its lack...
The Futura Vario is a well-constructed pack but in the end, its lack of all-day comfort makes it better suited to train travel around Europe than a summiting a mountain.
Credit: Adam Paashaus

Hiking Backpacks


While that simple backpack you've had for years may get you by, there are a number of newer packs that might make hiking more fun and streamlined. To really go light, you may want to skip the daypack altogether and consider a fanny or hip pack.

Daypacks


We can think of a million and one ways to put our favorite daypacks to use, whether on the trail, biking around town, or gearing up for a long-haul flight. These options earned the highest marks in our testing:
Best Overall Daypack for Heavy Loads

REI Co-op Traverse 32

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Best Overall Lightweight Daypack

Osprey Talon 22

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Women's Daypacks


Daypacks that are made to fit women generally have narrower-set shoulder straps and a shorter torso length. These awesome women's daypacks performed well in a variety of situations, making them our favorites:
Best Women's Daypack for Long Hikes

Gregory Jade 28L

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Best Lightweight Women's Daypack

Osprey Tempest 20

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Fanny Packs


If you like to keep your hikes short and sweet, you probably don't need to bring a ton of gear with you. These small and light fanny packs come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, so you can find your goldilocks of hiking storage. These packs are our favorite to use:
Best Overall Fanny Pack

JanSport Fifth Ave

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Best Option on a Budget

Tinyat Travel Waist Pack

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hiking gear - this lightweight wonder is comfortable and durable.
This lightweight wonder is comfortable and durable.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Water Bottles and Bladders


Hydration is both a comfort and safety issue. Every hiker should carry adequate water with them, and we review water bottles and hydration bladders to help you with that goal. If you go on extended hikes where you want to purify water in streams or lakes, you might also want to take a look at our backcountry water filter review, some of which weigh less than a smartphone.

Water Bottles


A water bottle is one of the most widely useful and necessary pieces of gear you can have in your arsenal. From walks in the park, to miles of endless trail, a great water bottle should always be at your side (or in your pack). These are the bottles we would never leave home without:
Best Overall Water Bottle

Klean Kanteen TKWide Recycled Insulated

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Best Bang for the Buck

CamelBak Eddy+ Tritan Renew

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Hydration Bladders


The addition of one of these hydration bladders can turn any regular daypack into a hydration pack, giving it a 2-in-1 ability. Alternatively, maybe your older bladder is past its prime and you are looking for a replacement. In either case, these are the products we recommend to quench your thirst:
Best Overall Hydration Bladder

Gregory 3D Hydro

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Best Bang for the Buck

Platypus Hoser

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hiking gear
Credit: Bligh Gillies

Hiking Clothing Essentials


When that unexpected storm rolls in, you want clothing that repels water while maintaining breathability. We look at key water-protective clothing for men and women's apparel as well as other key layers to help you adapt to changing temperatures and precipitation. We also include sun shirts and hats to keep your skin protected.

Men's Rain Jackets


Don't let a splash of rain ruin your hike. In many environments, the weather can turn in a matter of minutes, so it pays to be prepared with a waterproof rain jacket to keep you dry in any event. These are our top picks for men:
Best Overall Rain Jacket

The North Face Flight Lightriser FUTURELIGHT

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Best Bang For The Buck

REI Co-op XeroDry GTX

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Women's Rain Jackets


When you are miles from home, staying warm and dry is critical. A lightweight, easily packable waterproof rain jacket can keep your mood from turning sour if you get caught in unexpected weather, and keep you from having to turn back early. These are our favorite rain jackets with a women's-specific fit:
Best Overall Rain Jacket for Women

Arc'teryx Zeta SL - Women's

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Another Excellent Option

Outdoor Research Aspire - Women's

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Men's Rain Pants


While maybe not as essential as a rain jacket, a pair of men's rain pants comes in handy for those who don't like to let the weather slow them down. Layering up from head to toe with waterproof material will keep you cozy and dry in the wettest conditions. Here are the rain pants we trust:
Best All-Around

Arc'teryx Zeta SL Pant

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Best for Comfort

Outdoor Research Foray Pants

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Women's Rain Pants


Sure, you could probably wear a men's pair of rain pants and stay just as dry, but a pair of women's rain pants will probably be more comfortable and flattering (to the extent that rain pants can be flattering). These pairs are our lady tester's favorites:
Best Overall Women's Model

Arc'teryx Beta SL Pant - Women's

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Best Bang for the Buck

The North Face Venture 2 Half Zip - Women's

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Men's Wind Breakers


Windbreakers are one of the lightest, most compactable layers you can include in your pack when heading out, and give an immense payout when it comes to temperature regulation. In our opinion, it's silly not to have one handy at all times. Many options have a DWR coating that will last through a light sprinkle, but they are best suited to environments with little to no precipitation. These wind breakers came out on top in our testing:
Best Overall Windbreaker

Patagonia Houdini

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Best Bang for your Buck

The North Face Flyweight Hoodie

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Women's Wind Breakers


Just as in the men's version, a women's wind breaker is one of the best items to keep handy out on the trail, and in our opinion is one of the most important pieces of a complete layering system. These are our favorite women's jackets:
Best Overall Windbreaker

Patagonia Houdini Air - Women's

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Best Bang for the Buck

Rab Vital Hoody - Women's

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Men's Hiking Shorts


If you live and play in a warm climate, shorts are likely your go-to attire. The men's hiking shorts we tested are made from lightweight synthetic blend materials, have useful pockets, and may even be somewhat water-resistant. These are our favorite styles:
Best Overall Hiking Shorts

Patagonia Quandary Short

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Best Bang for Your Buck

REI Co-op Sahara Cargo Short

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Women's Hiking Shorts


Women's hiking shorts have many of the same features as the men's versions, like synthetic, quick-dry materials, and handy pockets. However, they have a roomier cut in the seat and are often available with shorter inseams. We recommend these styles for lady hikers:
Best Overall Women's Hiking Shorts

Mountain Hardwear Dynama/2 Bermuda Short - Women's

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Best Bang for the Buck

Columbia Sandy River Cargo Shorts - Women's

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Men's Hiking Pants


Whether your hikes take you to high altitudes where temperatures drop, through thick underbrush, or expose you to the intense desert sun, you may want more protection than a pair of shorts can offer. Whatever the reason, men's hiking pants offer more coverage and can be more versatile than their short counterparts. AFter extensive testing, these pants are our favorites:
Best Overall Hiking Pants

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants

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Best Bang for the Buck

REI Co-op Sahara Roll-Up

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Women's Hiking Pants


Women's hiking pants prioritize features such as comfort, mobility, breathability, and weather resistance, similar to the men's versions. However, ladies have more variety when it comes to style. In addition to the traditional straight-leg baggies, there are options that are more legging-esque, and some that have a flare-leg cut. We tested a little bit of everything and these are our favorites:
Best Overall Women's Hiking Pants

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pant - Women's

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Best Bang for the Buck

REI Co-op Sahara Convertible - Women's

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Men's Sun Shirts


If you spend a lot of your time outdoors, proper sun protection is essential. Applying sunscreen is great, but the best way to protect your skin is with a physical barrier, such as a long-sleeved shirt. The sun shirts we tested for men are lightweight and breathable enough to wear even in the hottest weather. These are our top choices:
Best Overall Hooded Sun Shirt

REI Co-op Sahara Shade Hoodie

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Best Overall Button-Up Sun Shirt

Mountain Hardwear Canyon Long Sleeve

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Women's Sun Shirts


Sun shirts offer a physical barrier to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Women's fits often feature a more form-fitting cut through the waist and shoulders to accommodate differently shaped bodies. These women's sun shirts earned top scores in our testing:
Best Overall Women's Sun Shirt

Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Long Sleeve Hoody - Women's

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High Value Hooded Option

Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily - Women's

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Sun Hats


The skin on your face is perhaps one of the most vulnerable areas, yet it gets the most exposure. The best way to limit UV damage is to apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed sun hat. These options are our favorites for both men and women on the trail:
Best Sun Hat for Technical Use

Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure

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Best All-Around Sun Hat

Filson Summer Packer

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hiking gear - ellie topped out the major high point over santa fe, nm using the...
Ellie topped out the major high point over Santa Fe, NM using the Coros Apex.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Hiking Electronics


We cover the big advances in trail tech that can help you navigate gps with a handheld device or a gps watch. If you are heading deep in the backcountry, you might want to consider a personal locator beacon for when out of cell service. These gadgets are no replacement for maps and common sense, but they can add an element of security and direction.

Handheld GPS


A handheld GPS is a more durable alternative to many popular smartphone GPS apps. Thanks to their superior battery life, and all-around hardiness, we recommend using one if you ever roam out of cell service or are out in harsh conditions that a smartphone may not be able to handle. Most of the GPS options we tested will do the trick, but these are our favorites:
Best Overall Handheld GPS

Garmin GPSMAP 66st

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Best Bang for Your Buck

Garmin eTrex 32x

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GPS Watches


If you want a hands-free option, a watch with an integrated GPS is the way to go. These handy timepieces can track your distance, pace, and location, and many have a smartphone app that makes viewing your stats easier. These are the watches that we like the most:
Best Overall GPS Watch

Garmin Fenix 7

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Best Bang for the Buck

Coros Apex Pro

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Hit the Trail!


We hope this list of our favorite hiking gear helps you maximize your hiking experiences. Our reviews of each of the categories cited are linked above and provide much more detailed ratings and rankings of competing products. Also, see our Buying Advice articles for each key category where we go deep on what to look for in each category. Happy trails!

Chris McNamara


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