Travel Tips

8 Items That Need to Be On Your Hiking Gear Checklist

Summer is officially here, and that means hiking, backpacking, and camping season. Every year, new products come out to make your experience better, and this year we discovered some of the best new gear around. All the items can help you pack better, have more energy, and even keep your gear protected. Check our top choices for your hiking gear checklist.

Platypus SoftBottle


Carrying water is always a battle for weight and space in your pack. If you don’t have the space or don’t want to deal with a water bladder, the Platypus SoftBottle can hold a liter of liquid in a flexible, BPA-free bottle that squishes flat when empty. It has a food grade liner and 80 percent less weight and bulk than a typical hard bottle. $9.

Princeton Tec Byte


Camping lights can be a pain, but the PrincetonTec Byte is simple and has everything you need, all in 64 grams. It has a white LED long spot beam (high and low setting) that can illuminate a whole tent if you clip it on a line and point it up, and a red LED for night vision. Fifty lumens of light and 146 hours of red LED burn time from two AAA batteries (96 with low setting). Careful: high is only two hours! Pricing starts around $15.

Dragon 20 Pack


Montane’s Dragon 20 Pack is a lightweight endurance pack for shorter trips. Think of it as the ultimate replacement of your old JanSport backpack. RAPTOR hydroseal waterproof fabric and zip garages keep all your stuff safe, and there’s lots of breathable mesh. It comes with two custom water bottles that fit into each strap, and can store 20 liters of liquid. Pricing ranges from $120 to $160.



Tired of synthetic energy and protein bars that do nothing but make you feel a little sick and fat? Enter the EPIC Bar. The Texas protein bar provides 100 percent grass-fed meat: bison, beef, turkey, and lamb. All natural, gluten free, paleo friendly, and about 10 grams of protein per bar. Prices average about $3 a bar.

Aero Short Sleeve Crewe Shirt


The Aero Short Sleeve Crewe Performance Shirt is made from merino, a temperature-regulating and wicking material that is soft and light. It’s sewed with anti-chafe seams, and works as a base layer when fall and winter hits, and comes in really fashionable colors! Pricing is about $60.

myFC Power Trekk


Thanks, Sweden! The myFC Power Trekk is a small box that generates electricity into a USB plug for power. It works by using two “puck” spaces. In one is a cylinder with sodium silicide, and the other you fill with water. The water reacts with the chemical to produce hydrogen, which is harnessed in a battery to charge your device. One puck lasts up to three hours and charges at the rate of a wall outlet. Pricing, with three pucks included, starts at 200 Euros, or about $270.

MSR Pocket Rocket Backpacking Stove


The MSR Pocket Rocket Backpacking Stove is the go-to for quick cooking in the outdoors. It weighs only three  ounces and can boil a liter of water in less than four minutes. No need to prime or preheat; hook into any self-sealing canister fuel and adjust the flame at will. Starts at about $40.

Shot Bloks


People are familiar by now with Clif Bars, but the company has now made Shot Bloks: jellies to quickly eat mid-action. The jellies have a great consistency, meaning it feels like you’re eating something substantial but is really quick to get down, and have lots of delicious flavors: strawberry, cola, orange, black cherry, and margarita (the black cherry has caffeine in it as well, if you’re looking for that extra bump). The packages have six blocks of carbohydrates and electrolytes in the form of brown rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, and added electrolytes. Prices range from $1.50 to $2.50.

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By Cody Brooks for