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The Goods: Trail Tested

Hit the trails hard this fall and be outfitted with the right gear for success. To help you knock out those miles and stay comfy, we present our favorites for hiking and backpacking.


Ousel Mid Waterproof

Comfy straight out of the box and designed for sloppy conditions these women’s mid hikers are a do-it-all shoe—whether you are striking out on a quick day hike or packing in for a few days. Oboz’s proprietary B-Dry membrane offers up waterproof powers and breathes like a champ (and it’s 100% recyclable). Best of all, the brand plants a tree for each pair of shoes it sells. $165;


Rush 2 GTX

Imparting all the guts of a trail runner in a hiking shoe, this baby is the choice for those who want to move fast out on the trails. But don’t think that means it’s not cushy and stable: A recycled mesh upper beefed up with Gore-tex to keep things dry works in conjunction with a pliable outsole that sticks to rocks and roots. The real confidence booster, however, is the DST frame design that keeps your heel in place even in rocky conditions. $199;


Pedroc Air

We just love the way this shoe breathes—making it the kind of kick we don’t mind wearing even when we are done hiking. Chalk that dreamy fit up to the knitted mesh upper that’s reinforced with Kevlar cables (translation: casual feel with a backbone). Meanwhile, the Pomoca speed hiker outsole propels you forward and rolls down the dirt like a trail runner. $150;


Trek Evo GTX Mid

This supercharged boot is just the ticket for rocky scrambles and lighting-strike backpacking adventures. It provides all the DNA of a burly shoe with plenty of ankle support and a sturdy Vibram Rock Trac Sense outsole, but Lowa found ways to cut weight (it’s just 22 ounces per shoe) without sacrificing that hardcore performance. And when it gets messy out there, a Gore-tex liner keeps the muck out. $340;


Nature Tune

Just launched in the U.S., Italian brand UYN is dedicated to using virtually nothing but recycled and all-natural materials in its footwear and apparel. This versatile light hiker proves that approach shoes can be both comfortable and strong. The merino wool upper wraps around the foot like a sock with breathable superpowers and the supportive sole can take on even the nastiest terrain. $239;


Pursuit Seven

Socks are the greatest pieces of hiking gear we never talk about. (Maybe because they are considered boring Christmas gifts?) There’s nothing dull here: These cush merino socks cool your dogs when you are on the move but stay toasty even when you get them wet or sweaty. $22;


Aeon LT 25

The perfect pack for a fall day hike, this 1-pound-5-ounce hauler can hold all the gear you need for variable weather conditions but won’t weigh you down. Perfectly balanced and easy to adjust thanks to a nifty double-sternum-strap system and mesh ventilation back, it moves with you effortlessly as you sashay down the trail. We also give it big ups for being built with 50% recycled nylon. $140;

Mystery Ranch 

Coulee 50

Here’s the perfect pack for both those gear-intensive day trips (think hiking into climbing or fly fishing the backcountry with waders) or fast-and-light backpacking excursions. But what we love so much about it is just how good this pack feels on our backs without the bulk of an excessive suspension system. Don’t worry about stuffing it full of gear, either—a central zipper allows you access to anything in the pack. Plus, big outer pockets hold fly rods, trekking poles, and other random gear. $249;


Atmos AG 65

Ready for that multi-day backpacking adventure? Osprey’s Anti-gravity suspension ensures heavy loads stay close to the torso and well balanced, while plus mesh moves air in and sweat out against your back. Smart pockets inside and out help you organize everything from sleeping pads to trekking poles to hydration bladders. Best of all, Osprey’s products are Bluesign certified, meaning they pass stringent sustainability guidelines for both materials and working conditions. $340;


Pinnacle 12L

Want to run (or just hike in a hurry) over long distances in the backcountry? This well-balanced 12-liter-capacity vest, which weighs just 11 ounces, is going to be your best friend whether you are racing an ultra, training, or just enjoying yourself on the trails. Not only does it fit without shaking and jangling, it’s designed with tapered back panels that wick away sweat. $200;

Outdoor Research 

Aspire Super Stretch

The perfect women’s shell for fall hikes when the weather might get nasty, this light, stretchy shell shucks off precipitation without sweating you out. Credit that performance to the Gore’s Paclite material, made to handle the rigors of athletic movement but still provide the requisite waterproof/breathable pedigree. $300;


MC-2 G Mirror Compass

Don’t make navigation a lost art. Sure, all those apps can help you find and analyze your wilderness paths, but there’s no substitute for a good compass. Enter this high-end sighting compass that helps you determine your location and set off towards objectives anywhere on the planet. The clinometer helps you figure out slope angles and a built-in ruler lets you plot accurately on a map. Luddites rejoice! $95;

Ganesha Cookstove Project 

Tipping the scales at just 7.8 ounces and folding up smaller than this magazine, this clever biomass stove burns sticks and twigs into a contained blaze that boils water in no time. Plus, you won’t have to carry fuel. Beyond camping, the stove can make a big impact in communities across the globe that rely on often dangerous and inefficient wood stoves. $100;

Itacate Foods

This startup creating “Latin backpacking food for adventurers with great taste and strong values” offers three hearty, healthy meal options: Charge-up Chilaquiles, Campsite Lentejas (lentils), and Sunset Caldo (soup). They’re easy to rehydrate: We clocked just about 8 minutes until perfect when on a multi-day mountain-running trip. Packed with all the protein, calories, and nutrients we need on big endeavors, they taste amazing—and authentic. $12.50–$35;


Go Steel

Whether you are on a big day hike or backpacking, water takes up most of the weight in your pack. Having a water bottle with a built-in filter means you can reduce the amount of H2O you carry and keep yourself protected from contaminants. This stainless steel beauty serves as a fine bottle on its own and the carbon and microfilters get rid of microorganisms and odors. Bonus: LifeStraw funds a child drinking water for a year for each purchase. $60;

Pact Outdoors

Lite Bathroom Kit

Everybody poops in the woods and having the right equipment to do it with Leave No Trace principles is key. Designed for backpacking (and even day hikes), this smart kit includes a light, low-profile trowel with the mycelium wipes and tablets that fit into the shovel handle. The mushroom-based wipe expands when wet to create a wet wipe, which cleans so much better than toilet paper and actually helps break down the human waste along with the tablets. $35;

Cover photo: RAB

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