Oboz Arete Low Hiker
Unless you’ve got really squirrely ankles forget hiking boots and go with a low-top shoe like the Oboz Arete, which ranked an impressive score of 88 out of 100 after a series of field tests. Get solid purchase of variable terrain, good protection from the trail elements, and one of the market’s best standard footbeds for out-of-the-box comfort.
Marmot Essence Jacket
Though not as highly ranked as the Adidas Outdoor’s Terrex Feather or Ark’Teryx Alpha SL Hybrid, the top winners in our recent jacket test, the Essence keeps things no frills and pretty affordable, with prices currently going for less than 50 percent off the $200 MSRP. Tester Ryan Stuart also proclaims that it’s the most breathable hard shell that he encountered, meaning it should deliver reliable, comfortable protection throughout the spring, summer, and early fall.
Mile High Mountaineering Salute 34 Backpack
Most hikers exercise more than a little hyper-organization, and the Salute 34 provides enough storage options to sate even the most obsessive day tripper, details that tester Tanner Jackson described as something out of some MI-6 sub-basement. It carries a lot—and also runs a bit heavy—but you shouldn’t notice the weight thanks to its solid harnessing system.