Reviews You Can Rely On

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
Thursday June 23, 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

Here is all of our favorite hiking gear in one convenient place. 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 recommendations for the best overall, as well as the best value, in each category whether you are looking for hiking footwear, apparel, or packs.

Editor's Note: We updated this list of our favorite picks on June 23, 2022, to incorporate our latest picks for Wind Jackets.


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 hiking shoes and trail running shoes. We also recommend our favorite poles which many hikers now consider almost as essential as a backpack.

Hiking Shoes - Men's

Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex


A long lineage of X Ultras has preceded the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex. We have loved all of them, and in turn, they have continued to impress us as the lineage matured into one of the most known and respected hiking shoes. So it is no surprise that we…

Vasque Juxt


The Vasque Juxt is a capable hiking shoe that we feel has a lot to offer the average hiker. This shoe is low-cut, comfortable right out of the box, and has virtually no break-in period. Like most Vasque shoes, it fits medium feet well and is available in…


Hiking Shoes - Women's

La Sportiva Spire GTX - Women's


The La Sportiva Spire GTX is a sporty yet stable hiking shoe that became a favorite with our lead tester. It performed well on every surface while being supportive and protective. It is equipped with a Gore-Tex liner for excellent waterproofing, and the…

Merrell Siren Edge 3 - Women's


We were impressed by the comfort and affordability of the Merrell Siren Edge 3. They have a short break-in process, after which they provide decent traction and an easy, comfortable fit. While they aren't waterproof, and their light weight comes at the…


Trail Running Shoes - Men's

Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3


The highly precise and sleek Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 was updated and newly released toward the end of 2020 and is perhaps the most perfectly refined trail running shoe we have ever worn. In the same way that a Ferrari or Lamborghini inspires one to take a…

Brooks Divide 2


The Brooks Divide 2 is a road-running shoe reimagined for the trails, making it a versatile option available at an unbeatable price point. This shoe has the "familiar" fit of a road shoe, with a wide toe box and slender midfoot that is approachable and…


Trail Running Shoes - Women's

Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 - Women's


We can't gush enough about the superior performance of the Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3. This hardy trail shoe deservedly earned its place on the top podium in our review and is one we like to wear everywhere, from work to the tops of mountain trails. Stability…

Hoka Torrent 2 - Women's


From roads to ridges, the Hoka One One Torrent 2 is made for trails but offers a comfortable and consistent ride for any type of runner. We fell in love with this shoe while testing it in the mountains of Colorado, the deserts of Utah, and the coastal…


Hiking Socks

Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion


The Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion remains unbeaten by the competition for the last few years. The fabric is cozy and comfortable, the cut is protective and versatile, and the temperature regulation is off the charts. It's a solid gear choice for multi-day…

REI Co-op Merino Wool Ultralight Crew


The REI Co-op Merino Wool Ultralight Crew stands out for its thin, breathable construction that is suitable for many conditions, and for costing sub-20 bucks. We wore it while hiking, biking, backpacking, skiing, and exploring through a wide temperature…


Trekking Poles

MSR DynaLock Ascent Carbon


The newest version of the MSR Dynalock Ascent Carbon is simple, elegant, and perfect for most users. The foam grip and rounded handle are comfortable to grasp, and the locking mechanism is easy to use and secure. The pair comes at an average weight but…

Black Diamond Distance Z


The Black Diamond Distance Z is a lightweight and durable pole that packs down to a small size. It also is the most affordable of the lightweight poles in our review, earning it an esteemed Best Buy Award. Other affordable options are more adjustable, but…


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. Hydration packs make it much easier to stay hydrated and recent innovations in running hydration packs give options that are nearly perfectly balanced from front to back. To really go light, you may want to skip the daypack altogether and consider a fanny or hip pack.

Daypacks - Men's

REI Co-op Traverse 32


The REI Co-op Traverse 32 comes in on top with a refreshing take on a large day pack. REI's design brings the best of big backpacking pack designs and combines it with the versatility and size of a smaller daypack to give us this adaptable, multipurpose…

REI Co-op Flash 22


The REI Co-op Flash 22 wins our Best Buy award with its low price and feature-packed package. Streamlined simple features brought this well-designed pack down to ultralightweight levels. Each piece maximized performance and dropped the kept the weight…


Daypacks - Women's

Gregory Jade 28L


The Gregory Jade 28 is one of our favorite big daypacks. It is one of the most comfortable packs we've ever reviewed — and it's big too. What is it good for? A lot of things. Because it can carry a ton of gear, it's perfect for anyone who packs heavy for…

REI Co-op Trail 25 - Women's


The REI Trail 25 is just as at home on hiking trails, as commuting to work, as on a short backcountry skiing adventure. This pack not only can do-it-all, but it comes at a price tag that's hard to beat. The Trail 25 is durable and comes with some pretty…


Hydration Packs

Osprey Syncro 12


The Osprey Syncro 12 earns our Editors' Choice Award with its high-quality construction, breathable and supportive back panel, and excellent balance of overall storage volume and convenient organization features. Its 2.5-liter water capacity is capable of…

Gregory Nano 18 H2O


A huge 18-liter storage volume and 3-liter water capacity combined with a tiny price tag earn the Gregory Nano 18 H2O our Best Buy Award for the third consecutive year. A gaping main storage compartment, two external zippered pockets, a water bottle…


Fanny Packs

JanSport Fifth Ave


A classic, well-made pack with perfect features and a great fit

Tinyat Travel Waist Pack


This pack is stylish with durable construction and a reasonable price tag


Hydration Packs for Running - Men's

Nathan Pinnacle 12L


There is a newcomer among our award winners this year with the best-designed pockets for accessible storage on the go. The Nathan Pinnacle 12 outperforms every other pack in our review regarding gear organization, a trait that veteran ultra runners can…

REI Swiftland Hydro


After a variety of outings, awarding the REI Swiftland Hydro with our Best Buy title was an easy decision. With three different sizes, all of which offer extensive fit adjustment, choosing the right size should be simple. Simplicity continues throughout…


Hydration Packs for Running - Women's

Nathan Pinnacle 12L - Women's


The Nathan Pinnacle 12L is a comfortable hydration vest that provides an apparel-like fit with abundant space for hauling the essentials and plenty of water. This hydration system earned our Editors' Choice Award because of its soft and supple frameless…

Nathan TrailMix 7L - Women's


The Nathan TrailMix 7 is a heartily engineered, trail-specific hydration system. It wears like a small, snug backpack and quickly became one of our affordable favorites for long, meandering trail days. As its name suggests, it has a total capacity of 7L…


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

Klean Kanteen TKWide Recycled Insulated


A new bottle has taken the crown as our Editor’s Choice award winner this spring. Behold, the Klean Kanteen TKWide Recycled Insulated. This is one of the more thoughtfully designed bottles we’ve ever tested. It has almost entirely stainless steel…

CamelBak Eddy+ Tritan Renew


The CamelBak Eddy+ Renew won our hearts and our wallets and, as a result, takes home a Best Buy award for a top-value plastic option. The bottle is simple and resistant to leakage, plus it's incredibly lightweight and affordable. We loved using this…


Hydration Bladders

Gregory 3D Hydro


The Gregory 3D Hydro surprised us with its dominating performance, combining durability and ease of use better than any other model we've come across. The thick walls of the bladder can be squeezed into packs for nearly any adventure. It features a narrow…

Platypus Hoser


The Platypus Hoser is a lightweight and packable bladder offered at a great price. Earning our Best Buy Award, it has a simple design that'll keep you hydrated, whatever the adventure you embark upon. We tested this bladder while running trails, climbing…


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 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.

Rain Jackets - Men's

Arc'teryx Zeta SL


The Arc'teryx Zeta SL is the top scorer in our fleet. It scores the best, or very near the best, in all of our comparison categories and provides the greatest overall blend of performance and versatility. It is light and compact enough that it practically…

REI Co-op XeroDry GTX


The REI XeroDry offers a fantastic price on a functional, outdoor-focused Gore-Tex jacket. While you can buy a nicer, lighter, or more stormworthy rain shell, it's tough to buy a more versatile one for less money. This jacket offers above-average weather…


Rain Jackets - Women's

Arc'teryx Zeta SL - Women's


The Arc'teryx Zeta SL is a well-rounded, seriously impressive rain jacket, and is our Top Pick for a Torrential Downpour. The highly anticipated Paclite Plus fabric is impressive; it's lightweight and especially comfortable, even while the fabric rests on…

Marmot PreCip Eco - Women's


The Marmot PreCip Eco is the updated version of our previous Best Buy award winner, the Marmot PreCip. With a few upgrades and a more environmentally conscious material-sourcing, the PreCip Eco still reigns supreme as our winner this year. In addition to…


Rain Pants - Men's

Arc'teryx Zeta SL Pant


Stormworthy and lightweight, the Arc'teryx Zeta SL is the best all-around performing pant in our fleet. The Zeta is simple, yet offers just enough features to keep even our most demanding testers happy. This design, coupled with a lightweight and…

REI Co-op Essential Rain Pants


The REI Co-op Essential is our OutdoorGearLab Best Buy winner because it is simply the best rain pant you can buy for the price. At the price, it's extremely comparable, and in some aspects slightly better than most other pants in a higher price range…


Rain Pants - Women's

Arc'teryx Beta SL Pant - Women's


The Arc'teryx Beta SL is an impressive shell pant for a variety of uses. They are lightweight enough for backpacking and durable enough for moderate mountaineering adventures. The feature set reinforces this versatility as well, with full-length side…

The North Face Venture 2 Half Zip - Women's


The North Face Venture 2 Half Zip rain pants are comfortable and supple lightweight rain pants. They are roomy enough to layer over thicker hiking pants. The half zip makes them easy to put on or take off over light hiking or casual shoes, and even over…


Wind Jackets - Men's

Patagonia Houdini


The Patagonia Houdini is the highest-rated wind jacket in this review; amazingly, it is also one of the most affordable. This piece sets the standard for this category, so it should be no surprise that we have awarded it our Editors' Choice. It is super…

The North Face Flyweight Hoodie


The North Face Flyweight Hoodie makes a triumphant return to our lineup, once again earning our praise for high value at an affordable price point. This jacket skillfully balances wind resistance and breathability, with a mesh-backed ventilation system…


Wind Jackets - Women's

Patagonia Houdini Air - Women's


Patagonia's Houdini Air is a lightweight, flexible windbreaker that combines active functionality with superior comfort and performance, winning our Editors' Choice award for the best women's windbreaker. It's one of the lightest models we tested, yet…

Rab Vital Hoody - Women's


The Rab Vital offers solid performance and impressive protection against the elements for a reasonable price. This Best Buy award winner is a top scorer in both wind and water resistance. As a more technical windbreaker, it offers many features not found…


Hiking Shorts - Men's

Patagonia Quandary Short


The Patagonia Quandary shorts are rockstars of versatility. They are a lightweight, breathable pair of shorts that earn our favor for all-around performance. With an exceptional fabric blend, they have the rare combination of stretch comfort, performance…

REI Co-op Sahara Cargo Short


The REI Co-Op Sahara Cargo shorts are a utilitarian hiker's best friend. The fabric is surprisingly airy yet water-resistant. They earn our admiration for their practicality at a reasonable price. True to their name, they come equipped with a full…


Hiking Shorts - Women's

Mountain Hardwear Dynama 2 Bermuda


The Mountain Hardwear Dynama 2 Bermuda shorts bring quality, comfort, and versatility to a whole new level. The fabric is technical and breathable, and the stretch is generous with the shapes of our bodies. During testing, we found little to complain…

Columbia Sandy River Cargo - Women's


The Sandy River Cargo is an outstanding performer. The main disadvantage resides in the snug waistband design. The nylon covered elastic band slowly detracts from the all-day comfort and versatility due to their lack of practicality for activities such as…


Hiking Pants - Men's

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants


The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants take the Editors' Choice Award for the best overall model of the bunch. They are great for a variety of adventures. These technical pants exceed the performance of the competition, garnering high scores in several…

REI Co-op Sahara Roll-Up


The REI Co-op Sahara Roll-Up is a super comfortable and relaxed-fitting pair of pants. They are also easier on the wallet than many other models. We like the integrated belt and the variety of pockets for storing snacks on the go. Skinnier folks may find…


Hiking Pants - Women's

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pant - Women's


The Outdoor Research Ferrosi hiking pants are ready for a wide range of trails with 50+ UPF fabric that blocks wind and shrugs off splashes of water. The soft fabric stretches like a dream, allowing you complete freedom of movement. The zipped thigh…

REI Co-op Sahara Convertible - Women's


The REI Co-op Sahara Convertible pants offer excellent performance, stellar comfort, and top-notch features at a reasonable price point. They easily win our Best Buy Award. These lightweight, easy-to-convert, and weather-resistant pants are a worthy…


Sun Protection Shirts

REI Co-op Sahara Shade Hoodie


Fabric as soft as your favorite lived-in t-shirt is not a trick so easily pulled off by a technical piece of gear –- the REI Co-op Sahara Shade Hoodie must then be magic. We were impressed from the first time we wore this shirt at just how comfy it is…

Columbia Silver Ridge Lite


The Columbia Silver Ridge Lite is our Best Buy choice for a button-up sun shirt. It provides excellent overall sun protection, long hemlines, ample yoke venting, easily accessible breast pockets, sleeve roll tabs, and terrific all-day comfort. It is…


Sun Shirts - Women's

Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Long Sleeve Hoody - Women's


The Mountain Hardwear Crater Lake Hoody continues to beat out some stiff competition to be our Editors' Choice Award winner for the second year in a row. This super versatile shirt is just about everything we could want from a sun shirt. It provides great…

Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily - Women's


The Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily is a lower cost than most of its competitors and our choice for Best Buy for a Hooded Sun Shirt. With materials and seams that are both comfortable and durable, we love wearing this top out under the sun. Its colors are…


Sun Hats

Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure


The Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure is the highest performing hat for high output sunny activities and wins our Editors' Choice Award for Technical Use. We were pleasantly surprised by how protective and versatile this competitor is. We took it on many…

Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap


The Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap is the most versatile and protective hat in this review, and is a great value. For these reasons, it takes home our Best Buy award from among the cape-style hats. The Sun Runner comes with a removable neck cape that can…


hiking gear

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

Garmin GPSMAP 66st


The Garmin GPSMAP 66st is essentially a suped-up version of other models offered in the already high-end GPSMAP series — easily earning our Editors' Choice award. The 66st uses a high-powered, quad-helix antenna and includes an astounding 16GB of memory…

Garmin eTrex 32x


The capstone product of the baseline models offered in Garmin's handheld GPS lineup, the eTrex 32x is much more capable than its price-point suggests. This petit handheld offers a user-friendly blend of simplicity and performance, by integrating…


GPS Sports Watches

Garmin Fenix 7


If you are in the market for the best GPS watch, we recommend the Garmin Fenix 7. Exceptional in everyday use, this workhorse also can perform under harsh conditions and on extended adventures. The Fenix 7 provides industry-leading health metrics and…

Coros Apex Pro


If you're looking for a new GPS watch but question if you need a top-of-the-line model, we suggest the Coros Apex Pro. With an excellent screen and easy-to-use interface, Coros has done a top-notch job of creating a stellar watch at an impressive price…


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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