Travel Loot

A 9-Step Guide to Hiking in Style

by Jeralyn Gerba

From top left: Chambray by J. Crew; The Napsack by Poler; a scene from Moab, photo courtesy of Lanee Lee; and the Wigwam sock that will be your best friend.

In the 1974 Sierra Club Totebook: The Best About Backpacking, a small silver manual I picked up in a secondhand shop in California, pages 36-98 are dedicated solely to "Footwear" and "The Outfit" and include a particularly hokey chapter on walking sticks as well as very entertaining drawings detailing the balaclava.

If you haven't fully committed to the idea of sleeping in a mummy bag but are okay with a long stroll that leads to a picnic in the woods, then you're ready to get dressed for a day hike. Consider this a starter kit for your hiking wardrobe.

1. Layering is key.

Start with a button-up that can be worn over a T-shirt or under a fleece without adding too much bulk. Everyone should have Japanese chambray in their denim arsenal.

Who wears short shorts? Photo courtesy of Outlier.

2. Make it multipurpose.

I love the return to American-made, expertly constructed clothing that has great design and is made to last. Outlier's New Way Shorts for men serve three purposes in one: You can run, swim, or straight-up look good while hiking.

3. Keep it covered.

Why torture yourself? Hit the trails in a hat unless you want to nurse a sunburn. Fathom contributing editor Stephanie March turned me onto J.J. Hat Center and I have since fallen in love with The Nogal Wide Brim and The Hilton by Tesi.

Dry tootsies are happy tootsies. Photo courtesy of Outlier.

4. Wick away the sweat.

Oh, how you will thank your lucky stars that you are wearing the right socks. Hiking liners may be all you need in the summer, but a cushy, moisture-wicking wool sock from Wigwam will keep your feet the right temp in colder climates. Megafine Merino Socks for men are soft, breathable, and temperature regulating, too.

Cocooning. Photo courtesy of Poler.

5. Get cozy.

Whether you're curling up by the campfire or chilling out at the beach, you want to be wrapped in a Poler Napsack. Think of it as a high-performance Snuggie for the great outdoors.

6. Play defense.

Keep a bandana around your neck to mop brows, wipe hands, or blow noses in a pinch. Pack an Earth Tu Face Skin Stick in your pocket. The hydrating, plant-based salve is 100-percet natural and can be swiped on lips, face, and body.

Hers and his Vassan versions. Photo courtesy of Penfield.

7. Sing in the rain.

Keep dry whether you are sitting pretty or getting dirty with a shell that's strong, soft, breathable, and lightweight, like Penfield's Vassan parka.

8. Give in to the tread.

Do not attempt the Tetons in your Converse. USA-made waterproof Danner Explorers and Danner Light IIs mix nubuck, nylon, and Goretex, ensuring comfort and the traction while trekking sunrise to sunset.

Find a seat. Photo courtesy of Yield Design.

9. Take a breather.

Pack your picnic in the cleverly designed Yield Picnic bag, which doubles as a blanket. How civilized.


By the Fireplace, in the Icefields, and On the Road in Glacier National Park
Into the Wild, Aspen's Mountain Huts
Rocking Red: A Few Days in Moab

We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.