best hiking gear

Best Hiking Gear 2018

In This Guide
  • Must-Have Hiking Gear
  • Hiking Boots & Clothing
  • Navigation
  • Camping
  • Everything Else

Don’t waste your money on gear that’s no good; I’ve already done that for you! Here’s my trail-tested best hiking gear list for 2018, updated regularly. I only recommend hiking gear that I’ve used over hundreds of miles. I don’t post any paid reviews and don’t waste your time with gear that I try but isn’t up to snuff.

For most gear on this site, I link to REI, and when you click on the link and purchase the item, I receive a very small affiliate commission. I use that commission to pay for website hosting and other costs of running HikingGuy. So please use the links on this page to buy your gear. Think of it as an easy way to support free hiking guides for everyone.

And don’t forget, use your gear at home first on a simple walk and get used to it before you take it out on the trail. Unboxing and setting up at the trailhead is usually a recipe for bad times.

Looking for a gift idea? Check out my 2018 gift guide for hikers.

Also → Big Sale at REI On Now:

REI SALE

Must-Have Gear

Inreach Mini Review

If you ever hike out of cellphone range, you need this. The Garmin InReach Mini allows you to send and receive text messages where cell phones don’t work using satellite technology. You can tell your family you’re okay, that you’re running late, or signal for a full blow emergency to search and rescue. It also has weather reports and navigation tools. It’s worth every cent, and you can read my in-depth review here or go right to REI and read the reviews and specs. There’s also a larger version called the inReach Explorer that comes with topo maps, and my review for that is here.

Garmin InReach Mini Prices & Reviews

Fenix 5x Plus

I use this Fenix 5x Plus GPS mapping watch every day.  The Garmin Fenix 5x Plus is a GPS with topo maps that you wear on your wrist. I use it to track my hikes and also load GPX tracks onto it that I want to follow.  I don’t do a lot of on the fly planning using the maps on the watch, but I can if I need to. Outside of hiking, I use the Fenix t to track my heart rate, my sleep, all my other workouts, and it integrates with my smartphone. I have an in-depth review of the last (regular) Fenix 5x if you want to learn more. A full review of the Fenix 5x Plus is coming soon.

Garmin Fenix 5x Plus Prices & Reviews

Resting On Blady

Hiking Clothing

cris hazzard wears hiking clothing

I don’t like to have a lot of crap in my closet, so I just invest in a few key pieces of hiking clothing. In general I like clothing from REI, Columbia, and Kuhl. They fit well, are built for hikers, and wick/dry quickly.

This is what I use on the trail:

Winter Hike Gear

Navigation Gear

hiking essential navigation
Using a GPS is easy, but know what to do when your battery dies.

Any good planner will tell you that backups and redundancy are important, and that holds true for your hiking navigation too. I recommend bringing multiple sources of navigation for your hike in case one fails or is incorrect.

Here’s what I bring:

General Hiking Gear

Camping Gear

camping gear

I don’t do really long trips, with my longest being a week. Here’s what works well for me.

Emergency Survival Kit

Here’s what I carry as my emergency hiking essentials. Most of this gear sits at the bottom of my pack, there in case of an emergency.

Post Hike Recovery

General Gear & Clothing

Planning Tools and Software

Here’s what I use when planning hikes.