Best Hiking Gear

Even the most beautiful of hikes can be ruined if you are uncomfortable or don’t have the things you need. Matt and I can be in the mountains less than 10 minutes from our home in beautiful Utah and always make sure to fit a hike or two in on each of our trips. I don’t like to own alot of stuff, but here are the must-haves if you will be doing any sort of hiking.

Water Bottle

You can buy bottled water at any grocery store and it’s convenient. In fact, I recommend using disposable water bottles for children because they lose everything! But if you are buying for yourself and other responsible people, you’ll want to make the investment of a good bottle.

Kleen Kantene
  • Durable and High Quality Food Grade 18/8 Stainless Steel Construction
  • Comes with BPA-free Polypropylene #5 cap with Stainless Steel bottom to create an all-stainless interior
  • Large 2.125 inch (54 millimeter) opening fits ice, easy to fill and pour; Compatible with all Klean Kanteen Wide caps
  • Easy to clean electropolished interior doesn’t retain or impart flavors
  • Backed by the Klean Kanteen Strong as Steel Guarantee

The Kleen Kantene sold by Amazon, is my #1 choice for a regular, multi-purpose water bottle. Matt bought this for more 6 years ago. I could not believe that with just a couple of icecubes, my water remained ice cold for the entire day, even if I was hiking out in the sun for hours. It was incredible. The same is true for hot liquids. It is so nice to go play in the snow and have a hot cup of cocoa ready to go in the car when you are done skiing or sledding.

The design of the lid is so comfortable for carrying around. You can hold it with one or two fingers and its rounded so it doesn’t hurt. This bottle NEVER leaks. I’ve never had a single problem with my Klean Kantene in the 6 years I’ve owned it but after reading through many reviews, I found this is a company that believes in their product and will replace it if it’s not living up to expectations, even 4 years later!

Yeti
  • Get to drinking faster with the Chug Cap. It just takes a quick half-twist of the TripleHaul Handle to open and then you’re good to go, making it easy to steal a sip without slowing down
  • This Double-Wall Vacuum Insulated water bottle has the power to keep your water cold (or coffee hot) until the last sip
  • 18/8 stainless steel construction stands up to even the toughest of conditions
  • DuraCoat Color that is built to last – no fading, peeling, or cracking here
  • The Chug Cap is not intended for use with hot beverages. Bottle Dimensions: 10 1/2 in high, diameter of 3.5 in.

I received a Yeti Tumbler as a Christmas gift 3 years ago from my wonderful in-laws. To be honest I wasn’t too impressed until I used it. Just like the Klean Kantene, my water stays icy for hours. This cup has accompanied me to work every day the past 2 years. It still looks beautiful and I’ve noticed a few of my co-workers using the same cup. The only draw back to this cup is that you can’t take it hiking because of the type of lid it has. I just leave it in the cupholder in my car so I have a cool drink ready when I finish my hike.

Here is a larger sized Yeti with a good lid for hiking. I like that it is a chug style to help you get a good drink of water. One draw back is that it’s not intended for hot drinks and will leak a bit if you use it for that.

Camelbak

Camelbak M.U.L.E Hydration Pack– We’ve owned 3 Camelbaks and have been pleased with all of them. The M.U.LE. is our most recent purchase and we chose this one because of the 3 Liter water bladder and storage available for our other items. Although it was built for mountain biking, we find it perfect for hiking. The front of the pack has an area to store a helmet but we find it’s the perfect spot to store a jacket. It contains 3 zipper storage areas as well. We like to store our sunscreen, bug spray, and snacks in the very roomy first pocket. Trekking poles would easily fit in here as well. In our second pocket, we store our cell phones and keys because it is shallow. The water bladder goes in the 3rd storage area. We love the magnatized clip that keeps the water hose attached to the padded shoulder strap. The Camelbak Mule has exceeded our expectations. Cool, comfortable, and great weight distribution because of the hip belt and chest strap, our pack never feels heavy, no matter how full we it is. Plus, it’s a great price. We highly recommend!

Camelbak Mini M.U.L.E Hydration Pack– This pack is the mini version of the pack the we love. Quite a bit smaller than the original M.U.L.E. holding 50 oz of water (vs 150 oz), it is the perfect size for a child all the way up to a woman (Cheryl uses this for long runs). Our kids love that it’s not alot of work to get a drink when they hike and it comes in several cool designs and has a nice pocket for snacks! Plus there is an emergency whistle on the chest strap for safety.

Running Belt

This is an inexpensive and very handy way to protect your phone while hiking and sight seeing. So often you are getting it out to take a picture and it’s either packed away in a backpack or purse, or in a pocket just waiting to fall out and get damaged. When your phone is in a running belt, it is so easy to access but nice and safe as well. The one I use I got when I completed a half marathon in my swag bag but this one from Amazon looks like a good bet. Plus it has a couple of extra pockets for keys, chapstick, etc.

Liquid Water Enhancer

This is the secret sauce right here. Pick up this MiO Energy Black Cherry Liquid Water Enhancer Drink Mix from Amazon or your local grocery store to throw in your pack. It’s yummy but what I love about it most are the B vitamins and the caffeine. It’s not so much that it makes you jittery but enough to give you that extra boost of energy to finish that long drive on your road trip or that last mile of your hike. Plus its one $2-$3 dollars.

Full Brimmed Hat

Jason Aldeen Georgia Boy Hat– Keep the sun away, stay cool, and look good in this straw cowboy hat. Cheryl bought this for Matt for Father’s Day and it’s the perfect hat for exploring the West! A wide brimmed hat is a must for exploring sunny parks like Zion and the Grand Canyon.

Baby Carrier

If you have a new born to a four year old, you need this! I owned a couple of cheep baby carriers before I cracked and spent the money on my Ergo. I can not endorse this product enough. For some crazy reason, having 4 kids under the age of 7 never slowed Matt and I down from seeing the Rockies. We just packed those little ones along. We bought a second one with our second kid and the Ergo made hiking and sight-seeing doable.

Here are some of my favorite things about the Ergo.

  • Carry’s in all positions: inward, front outward, side on hip, and back carry.
  • Comfy weight distribution for baby. Their weight is on their little bottom, not their crotch.
  • Comfy weight distribution for the adult. Baby’s weight is mostly on hips, with some on shoulders and chest strap.
  • Machine washable
  • Can carry 7-45 lbs. Newborn to 4 years old.
  • No metal frames- easy to fit in a travel bag
  • Sunshade
  • Great for hiking or home use

Our children all loved being in the Ergo. They often fell asleep and we loved not having to get them in and out of a stroller. Plus, taking your child in and out is a breeze.

Our 2 Ergos survived 4 children and my sister is now using them to pack around Europe with her children. Ergo’s customer support is excellent and they sent me a replacement part and talked me through how to attach it. This is a buy you wont regret.

Water Proof Bag

If you are going to hiking in water, a water proof bag is a must. When we hiked the Narrows last week, Matt had his phone in his pocket and it dropped into the river! Fortunately it survived but that could have been an expensive mistake.

Water proof bags are sold at Zion Adventures, a gear store where you can rent various equipment including boots to hike the Narrows. They range in price from $9-$12. You can buy these lanyard type ones from Amazon that would work just fine for alot less. If you really don’t want to buy something special for this, bring some high quality Ziplock bags with you. They aren’t 100% water proof, but should offer some protection.

Trekking Poles

Trekking poles are especially valuable when hiking on rocks, in water, or through the snow. Many people use them on paved or dirt trails as well, just because of the added stability they offer. I was very grateful to have a stick when hiking the Narrows. A pair of trekking poles would have been better.

These poles found on Amazon are a great pick.

  • Cork handles. Your hands will sweat less which means you are less likely to get a blister
  • Lever locks- makes adjusting and storing your poles easy
  • Made of strong, light weight aluminum
  • Ranges from 24.5- 54 inches to be comfortable for most heights
  • Multiple caps for the ends to change for different surfaces
  • Under $40. Great value