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Starter Kit: 5 Hiking Essentials

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Let nature take its course with these hiking essentials.

In theory, a hike requires little to no gear — take yourself up a mountain, and you’re on a hike. But a few basics can make a world of difference when it comes to actually enjoying the trek. Here’s what to start with:

R-Evolution GTX W

1. Supportive shoes with good traction. Your Nike Frees aren’t gonna cut it on a rocky, slippery path. Avoid ankle twists with a solid pair of hiking shoes. We love Scarpa’s new R-Evolution GTX, which is both supportive and light, and features a Gore-Tex lining that’ll keep your toes dry through puddles, creeks and rain storms. $239, scarpa.com

BD_Alpine_CarbonZ_open

2. Walking sticks. They may look goofy at first, but when you’re scrambling down a steep decline, they’re a lifesaver. Black Diamond’s Alpine Carbon Z Trekking Poles collapse into three sections and are as tough as running the rim-to-rim-to rim. $190, blackdiamondequipment.com

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3. A good backpack. Because you have to carry snacks and beer somehow. Sleekly efficient, Osprey’s Aura Pack features anti-gravity suspension, which allows you to pack it up without killing your back. $260, REI.com

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4. An insulated water bottle. Hiking in the Southwest can get a little toasty. Keep your water chilled with the Klean Kanteen vacuum-insulated bottle — it keeps hot drinks hot for 12 hours and cold drinks cold for 24, plus it comes in sizes up to 64 oz. so you can pack one and be done. $59.95, kleankanteen.com

 

Image courtesy Clif Bar.
Image courtesy Clif Bar.

5. Snacks. It’s called trail mix for a reason. Pack a bag of gorp to munch on along the way or throw in a few apples and energy bars to have at the summit. Just remember not to include anything that could melt, like a chocolate bar. Some of us had to learn that one the hard way. We love the new Clif Minis, which are the perfect size for shorter hikes. clifbar.com

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