Planning on hiking this summer? With the benefits of fresh air, beautiful scenery, and exercise, hiking is now more popular than ever before. We here at Road Trip 7 are seasoned hikers. Last year we completed a hiking challenge, where we hiked nearly every week, through fall, winter, spring and summer. Though we hike in pretty much every type of weather, we definitely have a fondness for summertime hiking. Warmer temperatures, blue skies and sunshine are hard to beat. Especially, since they provide the perfect opportunity to go creek stomping when hiking. Regardless of where you hike, some basic gear is key to an enjoyable warm-weather hike. From water bottles, daypacks, sun protection, to hiking clothing and footwear. Here we give you the rundown on our family’s favorite warm-weather, summer hiking gear.
The number one essential item to bring when warm weather hiking is water and lots of it!
For short hikes, everyone in our family brings their own insulated water bottle. While I use a Hydro Flask, which I love,they are on the pricey side. Our kids use the more affordable ThermoFlask insulated water bottles. These can be purchased in 2-packs from Costco or Amazon. Honestly, they seem to work just as well as my Hydroflask water bottles, without the price tag.
Hydro Flask Water Bottles | REI
ThermoFlask 40 oz Water Bottles 2-Pack | Costco
ThermoFlask 14 oz Water Bottles 2-Pack | Costco
Additionally, we often keep extra water in these durable Nalgene Bottles. While they aren’t insulated, they are incredibly lightweight. Best of all, they don’t leak!
Nalgene Wide Mouth 32 oz Water Bottles | REI
Of course, there is only so much water that you can carry. To minimize the amount of water we carry, as well as dehydration, we often add an electrolyte powder mix to our water on long, warm-weather hikes. Our favorite is Liquid I.V Hydration Multiplier. While it has plenty of electrolytes, vitamins and minerals. We like it because it doesn’t have artificial sweeteners, colors or flavors. Also, we can order it in bulk from Costco. Our go to flavors are the lemon-lime and passionfruit.
Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier | Costco
Another option if you are going on a longer hike, is to use a hydration reservoir. We used these Osprey reservoirs last year when hiking in 100 degree heat in Zion National Park. They are easily-filled, durable, fit into our daypack hydration-pockets, and best of all, they eliminate the need to carry a heavy water bottle.
Osprey Hydraulics LT 2.5 L Reservoirs | REI
If you’re hiking any significant distance during warm weather, you’ll need a day pack to carry water, snacks, and other supplies like sun protection and first aid. We are big fans of Osprey day packs. Although he is male, our 12-year old son wears an Osprey women’s day pack because it better fits his frame. The gender-neutral colored pack has a 27 L capacity, with a hydration pocket, which is perfect for a growing tween or teenager.
Osprey Women’s Packs | REI
My husband and I share a larger, 30 L capacity Osprey Skarab day pack with a hydration pocket. While it is a men’s pack, the straps are easily adjusted to fit both of our frames. We particularly like the zippered hip belt, upper and lower compression straps, and trekking pole carrying loops for longer hikes. The zippered side panel pockets also come in handy for quick access to items like our phones, snacks, and sunscreen. That said, none of a pack’s features matters if it doesn’t properly fit your frame. We strongly suggest that you visit your nearest outdoor recreation or sporting goods store to try on a day pack before purchasing one.
All Osprey Packs | REI
After water, sun protection is crucial for any warm-weather hike.
First and foremost, a brimmed hat is a wise idea for reducing exposure to UV rays. Wide-brimmed hats are best because they provide protection for the head, face, ears, and neck. When our boys were younger, they constantly wore these kids’ bucket hats from REI. In addition to UPF 50+ sun protection, they have a mesh ventilation panel that keeps you cool. As the boys grew, we upgraded to the Bora Bora II Booney by Columbia. Just like the smaller bucket hats, they offer UPF 50+ protection and mesh venting. What’s more, they also have an adjustable drawcord and toggle that keeps the hat securely on your head during windy conditions.
Sahara Bucket Hat | REI
Bora Bora II Booney | Columbia
Our girls were not a fan of tan, so we ordered them their own pink sunhats. Also, with UPF 50+ protection and drawcords with toggles.
Toddler Girl Sun Hat | Amazon
Kids Sun Hat | Amazon
If it’s overcast or we are hiking in a wooded area, our kids tend to prefer a trucker hat to a sun hat. The smaller brim is less cumbersome and the mesh back provides air-flow during hot and humid hikes. Our boys’ favorite are Patagonia Kids’ Trucker Hats because they come in a large selection of patterns and colors. We are also fans of the Sunday Afternoon trucker hats.
Trucker Hats | Patagonia
Kids Trucker Hats | Sunday Afternoons
While we regularly apply sunscreen when outdoors, we’ve now started wearing shirts with UV protection when outside for extended periods of time. Coolibar seems to be one of the more popular brands for clothing with UV protection. We bought our younger kids the Coolibar Coco Plum Everyday Long-Sleeve T-Shirt with UPF 50+ protection. Not only are they affordable, but them come in a variety of colors Our older boys are big fans of Patagonia, so we invested in these Capilene Cool Daily T-Shirts. In addition to UPF 50+ sun protection, their techincal material is designed for to keep kids cool during warm weather while offering odor control.
Capilene Cool Shirts | Patagonia
UPF 50+ Clothing | Coolibar
Footwear: Hiking Sandals
Next, our favorite warm-weather hiking footwear is Keen Sandals. They are equally protective as comfortable for long hikes. They are so durable that they often last for more than one season. Indeed, we have frequently passed these sandals down from kid to kid. This year we were lacking the correct sizes for our oldest and youngest. We ordered a few new pairs of the Keen Newport H2 sandals. These sandals are our go-to. They come in fun colors and they are made of quick-dry materials, ideal for creek stomping.
Keen Sandals | REI
In addition to quick-dry sandals, we are also big fans of wearing quick-dry shorts when hiking during the warmer months. Reason being, you never know when you’ll want to cool off in a stream or pond. But when you do, you certainly don’t want to be wearing soggy clothes for the remainder of the day. For kids, we recommend Columbia’s Backcast Shorts. They are quick-dry, provide UPF 50 sun protection, and come in a variety of colors.
Boys’ Backcast Shorts | Columbia
Girls Backcast Shorts | Columbia
We adults often wear Patagonia’s Baggies shorts. They’re durable, lightweight, and dry quickly. Not only do they come in fun colors, but patterns as well!
Men’s Baggies Shorts 5” | Patagonia
Women’s Baggies Shorts 5” | Patagonia
Food: Energy Snacks
If you’re like us, no hike is complete without a snack. I hate to admit it, but we’ve definitely been known to use snacks as motivators when kids begin to drag on the trail. Since they are constantly drinking water, the kids don’t necessarily need a large snack, just something to give them a boost. Energy snacks are a great option because they have a good balance of simple and complex carbs combined with electrolytes for hydration. They are small and lightweight; so they don’t occupy much space or weigh down your pack. Best of all, they come in so many fun flavors! Our favorites are the fruit, especially citrus flavors. But beware, some have added caffeine. If you’re anything like us, you don’t need your kids up all night!
Energy Bites | REI
Honey Stinger Energy Chews | Amazon
Honey Stinger Waffles | Amazon
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