The weather is hot, the trails are dry—let's go hiking. Here are a few new essentials for success on the trail, whether it's a day-hike or a week-long trek:
Fjallraven Keb Jacket
The light and stylish Fjallraven Keb is my favourite mild-weather hiking jacket. Stretch panels on the arms and back breathe well and allow for unrestrained movement (great for scrambles). G-1000 fabric—a hardy, windproof poly-cotton mix—on the hood, shoulders, front panel, rear extension and outer sleeves adds burliness and, after applying the optional Greenland Wax ($12), sheds water better than most chemically treated fabrics. And the side vents and stash pockets remain unobstructed by pack-straps. But the Keb’s defining feature is the Storm Hood—a cavernous cover that, once zipped up, is like seeking shelter in a portable mountain chalet.
Vasque Inhaler GTX
Nimble, athletic and surprisingly supportive—Vasque’s Inhaler GTX are my go-to kicks for nine out of 10 hikes. They fit like running shoes, are sturdy enough for light backpacking trips and weigh only 872 grams. Gore-Tex liners and gusseted tongues shed soakers—though, as with all footwear, splashes and deep puddles eventually leak in through the top—and structural ventilation eases sweaty dogs when the temperatures rise. If you’re pursuing a Fastest Known Time (see page 24), or you just like to hoof-it upslope, these speed-hikers are hard to beat.
Grayl Quest Water Filtration Cup
($80 + $60 for 3 filters; thegrayl.com)
I’ll admit to a muted lack of enthusiasm when I first laid eyes on the Grayl Quest. “Another water filter…” But the compact (though a tad hefty, at 465 grams) and simple design quickly converted this cynic—it functions like a French press, purifying a pint of water with each push. Three levels of filtration are available: Tap (for flavour only); Trail (bacteria and protozoa); and Travel (bacteria, protozoa and viruses). I defied Montezuma’s Revenge while using the Travel filter on unsafe H2O in Sayulita, Mexico—so there’s little doubt it’ll treat fresh lake-water just as well.