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The Gear Guide

This hiking gear guide will help you find the best hiking clothing and equipment -- even mobile apps for hikers -- for use in any conditions.
  1. Backpacking Tents and Shelters (5)
  2. Buying Guides (15)
  3. Gear Reviews (63)
  4. Gift Ideas (7)
  5. Hiking Boots (12)

Everything You Need to Hit the Trail
Our comprehensive guide to the best hiking gear, including how to shop for it.

A Ten Essentials Checklist for Hikers
Have you packed the ten essentials? Here's a quick, printable checklist to help you make sure.

The Ten Essentials for Hikers
"The Ten Essentials" is a concise list of must-have equipment for backcountry travel. Here's how it applies to hikers.

Essential Hiking Gear You Can't Do Without
Everyone has a slightly different version of what you should carry on a hike, but these four essentials will always be on the list.

The Best Books for Hikers
From instructional materials to gripping true tales, these are my favorite hiking-related reads.

How to Choose the Right Hiking Gear
This quick buying guide introduces you to the essentials of purchasing hiking gear. If you want more information about shopping for any type of gear, just click the "Read more" link.

How Gear (and Clothing) Tests Work
Are you wondering how I test hiking gear, and where I get it from? I've got your answers right here!

What's in My Hiking Emergency Kit
The right emergency kit is a balance between preparedness and convenience. Here's a look at what one experienced hiker carries, and why.

How to Attach Snowshoes To Your Backpack
Snowshoes are a great tool for winter and spring hiking -- but carrying them by hand gets old fast. Here's how to attach them to your pack instead.

What to Take on Your First Day Hike
Wondering what to pack for your first day hike? Here's the answer!

Backpacks By the Numbers: Sizing and Buying Guide
Wondering what size backpack you need, or how to go about buying it? Start here.

The Best Hiking Boots
A list of my favorite hiking boots based on fit, traction, protection and support.

The Best Light Hiking Shoes
After extensive hands-on testing, I pick the best light hiking shoes on the market.

Hiking Book Review: Snow Sense by Jill Fredston and Doug Fesler
Hikers can get caught in avalanches too. Fortunately they're not random, and this book -- Snow Sense by Jill Fredston and Doug Fesler -- is one of the best tools for learning how to avoid avalanches in the backcountry.

How to Put on Gaiters
Gaiters keep snow and mud from creeping into your boots and pants legs. Here's how to put them on.

What Hiking Gear Can I Take on a Plane?
Are you combining travel with hiking? Here's what hiking gear you can and can't take on a plane with you.

Gear Reviews
Wondering which gear is best? Check out these frank, thorough reviews from experienced hikers.

Daily Deal Sites That Feature Hiking Gear
A roundup of quick-deal sites that frequently feature hiking gear.

How to Use Hiking Poles
Hiking poles aren't absolutely necessary on the trail, but they do come in handy if you struggle with stability, or if you encounter certain trail conditions.

Q & A With Buystand CEO Joe Davy
Get the inside line on how Buystand works, and where it's going from here, in an interview with Buystand CEO Joe Davy.

Nifty Things You Can Do With a Bandana
The best hiking gear serves multiple purposes. Case in point: The humble bandana.

The Pros and Cons of Common Backpacking Shelters
A summary of the advantages and disadvantages of various backpacking shelters, including tarps, bivy sacks and freestanding tents.

Why Shouldn't I Wear Cotton While Hiking?
Yes, wearing cotton really can kill you -- if worn under the wrong circumstances. Here's what that means.

How to Attach Hiking Poles to Your Backpack
Here's how to put your hiking poles away so you can hike hands-free.

Where to Buy Inexpensive Hiking Gear
A roundup of the best places to buy premium gear at great discounts.

The Budget Gift Guide for Hikers
Hikers will love these inexpensive gifts, many of which cost less than $20.

How Long Should My Trekking Poles Be?
Trekking poles can be a great tool on the trail -- but only if they're the right length. Here's a quick test for making sure you've got the right size pole.

Hiking Gear: SmartWool PhD HyFi Full-Zip Hoody for Women
The SmartWool PhD HyFi full-zip hoody is pricey, but worth the cost.

3 Questions to Ask About Everything in Your Pack
Lighten up! Next time you pack for a hike, use these three questions to reduce weight and bulk.

3 Tips to Make Your Sleeping Bag Last Longer
Three tips for making sure your sleeping bag lasts as long as possible, and keeps you as warm as possible in the meantime.

Merino Wool vs. Synthetic Fabrics: Which is Best?
You already know you shouldn't wear cotton on a hike. That leaves wool and synthetics as the best clothing choices.

How to Pack a Backpack
Follow these tips to keep everything in your backpack ready-to-hand when you need it, and nicely balanced so it rides comfortably in the pack.

Packed Weight vs. Trail Weight: What the Heck are They Talking About?
Learn what the difference is between trail weight, packaged weight and fast pitch weight for a tent.

All About Hiking Poles
Answers to the most common questions about buying, using and carrying hiking poles.

Places to Rent Hiking Gear
If you need a little hiking gear in a hurry, you can rent it from these providers. Includes a state-by-state list.

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