There are a few things I’ve come to expect out of summer, like a nice lake swim, a couple boxes of popsicles in the freezer and at least one farmer’s tan from a weekend of working in the yard.
And while the brand of tents, packs or hiking boots I’m using may evolve from year to year, there also a few perennial products I’ve come to rely when the days get long and the fun never sets.
The Patagonia Stand Up Short
I took my first pair of Stand Up Shorts from a mountain town roommate some 20 years ago, and despite their previous use, they still lasted through another four seasons of daily landscaping, mountain biking and trail scrambling after that. Sturdy as canvas, comfy as hell, with storage-friendly back pockets for keys or credit cards, the 100 percent organic cotton Stand Ups just seem to keep getting better with use. I opt for the 5” inseam for the best combination of mobility and comfort, and think of these shorts as the outdoor working man’s version of the khaki pant.
Sole Sport Flips
I used to think all flip-flops were the same. They are most definitely not. The fit, arch support and all-around badass durability of Sole’s Sport Flips have made these my go-to footwear in the summer months. Even though I get a new pair each spring, I keep the old pairs around for yard work or arroyo walks, and have yet to wear a single pair out. The coolest feature is the way each flip molds to your foot, becoming more customized the more you wear it. With color choices from cayenne to a woody brown, you can also customize your style from surf casual to active flash.
Kaenon Gauge Sunglasses
Nothing enhances summer like the perfect pair of shades. And from Vuarnet to Revo to Ray-Ban Wayfarers, my best Julys have all been framed in the UV-protective comfort of good times and good looks. Kaenon’s polarized lens has become my glass of choice over the past few years, with absolutely awesome optical clarity from the river to the ski slope. I particularly like the Gauge for the wide side protection it offers my eyes and my face. With a big and blocky style that’s decidedly Euro, these are perfect for the road trip and the peak hike.
Got your own favorite piece of summer gear? Hit the comments section and let us know about it.