Great gear makes for great adventures. In shoulder seasons, like spring, we need to be prepared for a variety of conditions on any given day. And coast-to-coast, springtime looks a lot different across the country.
For those reasons and more, we love these 13 outdoor hiking and camping essentials:
Hurtta Trail Pack
Straight from Finland, Hurtta dons North American pups in Scandinavian style. Their sleek, tactical-looking Trail Pack offers both a padded safety harness with dual leash-clips and detachable saddlebags with four pockets—so Fido can carry his fair share. Tough ripstop nylon ensures a long life and reflective hits on both the harness and pack keep your doggo visible on night hikes.
An upgrade from the classic Gen3 satellite locator beacon, Spot X adds the ability to send and receive 140-character emails or text messages, along with rudimentary navigational features and, of course, the SOS function. The latter summons emergency assistance via the Globalstar satellite network; the former allows adventurers to stay in touch with home-base; both function when travels go way off-grid. And we appreciate the new month-to-month service plans so we can use the Spot X as needed and shelve it the rest of the time.
Icebreaker BodyfitZONE Base Layer 200
($120 top/$130 bottom; icebreaker.com)
When it comes to base layers, nothing is as cozy as 100 per cent merino wool. Plus, it offers great warmth-for-weight, wicking and extreme odour-resistance. Take Icebreaker’s revamped BodyfitZONE Base Layer. We wore the 200-weight tops and bottoms for five days without washing and our hiking partners never once complained.
Merrell Thermo Rogue Mid Gore-Tex
The Thermo Rogue stands out because it’s stripped down. With five-millimetre lugs and a Vibram Arctic Grip sole, plus 100 grams of Primaloft Aerogel Gold insulation, this boot is warm and stable in icy conditions. The bellows tongue and molded arch-shank add to the all-weather ability and comfort.However, at just 960 grams for the pair, these insulated kicks are as light as most summer hikers.
So compact it folds up into itself, MEC’s new Travel Light Carry On expands into a 37-litre bag whenever you need it. Made of 70-denier ripstop nylon, this backpack features sturdy zippers with several pockets and mesh dividers. Weighing only 570 grams, it’s easy to tote with you. And when it’s unfolded, you’ll be surprised how much it can fit—this bag packs everything for a full-day adventure or an overnight hike.
HH partnered with Primaloft to craft the filling on this new midweight piece—the quilted insulation on the front and back panels is made from 75 per cent Lifa fibres (HH’s longstanding proprietary technical fabric) and 25 per cent synthetics. Arms and sides are wind-resistant fleece. The result? Extreme moisture management and temperature regulation, creating a piece we can wear while hiking or camping in temperatures ranging from below zero to double-digits.
Gregory Praxus/Proxy 65
This is one of the most feature-packed and innovative adventure travel backpacks we’ve seen. The 65-litre Praxus (men’s) and Proxy (women’s) offers padded laptop protection and an ActiveShield compartment that keeps dirty and wet gear separate from the rest. Multiple pockets, tons of padding for comfort and security, a shoe compartment and a removable hip-belt arejust a few more key featuresof this versatile unit. (Also available with similar features in a 45-litre.)
Redbear Apparel Stitched Up
We love that Redbear Apparel is owned-and-operated by a couple of British Columbia outdoor enthusiasts. They ethically source their fabrics then stitch their homegrown designs in Port Moody, BC. This cotton-poly zip-up hoody is stylish, with a two- tone design and a “Redbear” logo, as well as a cozy way to warm up on a spring evening.
Buff Headwear CoolNet UV+
As temperatures warm, we stash our winter gear and look for a breathable, lightweight and sun-protective kit. Which makes Buff’s new CoolNet UV+ lineup ideal. Twenty per cent lighter than a classic Buff, with UPF 50 and an evaporative cooling fabric, it’ll keep us covered right ‘till summer. Three styles available.
Eddie Bauer Microtherm Stretch Down Jacket
We’ve been sporting this lightweight puffy for months. Its outstanding chilly-weather performance rests on the ultra-narrow baffles, each of which is stuffed with 800 fill RDS- certified goose down. Thin channels means the down doesn’t move around and cause cold spots. A DWR coating stands up to West Coast showers and the outer even has a light stretch.
Oboz Sawtooth II Mid Waterproof
We look to Oboz for comfort. Take the Sawtooth Mid Waterproof—narrow heel cups hold feet in place, reducing slippage and blisters, while the wide toebox allows the forefoot to spread out. The insole has three different densities of EVA where they’re needed and the BDry membrane is one of the driest we’ve tested. (Women’s pictured, men’s available.)
Backroads Mapbooks Adventure Topographic Maps & Guide
There’s no substitute for a Backroads Mapbook. Each book details regional hiking routes, parks, communities, fishing spots, paddling routes, winter sports and adventure getaways. Available books cover British Columbia through to Ontario as well as Atlantic Canada; most are 200 pages plus.
Yeti Rambler One-Gallon Jug
Built of 18/8 stainless steel and double-wall vacuum insulated, this jug feels bombproof. We love the magnetic dock on the lid—unscrew the cap and it sticks in place. It weighs two kilograms dry, but offers performance worth the weight. Case in point: we filled it with boiling water, left it outside for 12 hours and made tea come morning.
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