Patagonia Houdini Air Jacket
$169 at BackcountryBest Puffer for Outdoor Adventure: Stio Pinion Down Pullover
Equally great for hanging around a campfire or sitting outside at a brewery on a chilly summer night, this jacket perfectly melds the relaxed fit of a hoodie with the warmth of a down puffer. The outer shell is made of durable, abrasion- and weather-resistant ripstop material, and the inside is full of responsibly sourced, water-repellent down. To stash it when youre not wearing it, simply stuff it into the kangaroo pocket, which doubles as a zippered stuff sack. Life hack: The stuffed jacket makes for a great camp pillow when you forget to bring one.
The experts say: Ive had for two years and I use it both outdoors and around town, says Singleton. She especially loves the kangaroo pocket, color options, fit, and the split hem that gives you some extra room in the hips.
Available in sizes XSXL. Similar style in additional sizes availablehere.
Women’s Thermoball Traction Booties
Best Trail Running Shoes: La Sportiva Bushido II Womens Mountain Running Shoes
The lightweight and quick-drying mesh construction of this style from La Sportiva makes them comfortable right out of the box. Soles with deep lugs and sticky rubber provide the kind of traction you need for running along rocky trails. The shoes have a slim fit, which hugs your foot and keeps them secure without creating hot spots. The downside is that you may need to size up, especially if you plan to wear them in the heat and your feet swell. A moderate amount of cushion helps pad your feet but is low-profile enough for you to maintain stability. Theyre not waterproof, but theyll dry quickly because of the mesh.
The experts say: These have been my trail shoes for over six years. Ive gone through numerous pairs and tried other shoes, but I end up buying them over and over again, Hannah Singleton, a freelance outdoors writer and former backpacking trip guide, tells SELF. Ive used them in rain, snow, rocky terrain, you name itthey’ve been on my feet on every single one of my adventures. Ive used them to hike the Grand Canyon to the river and back in a day, trail run hundreds of miles in the damp forests of the Pacific Northwest, and scramble across ridgelines with big exposure, like Mount Superior in the Wasatch Mountains. Seriously cannot recommend these enough for trail runners and hikers who need a rugged shoe.
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A Nostalgic Pair Of Cutoff Denim Shorts
After an extended personal strike on real pants, I accepted the truth when I finally re-opened my pants drawer: I was going to need a new pair of shorts that fit into the looser style that Ive embraced. I love the fit of my Abercrombie & Fitch jeans, so I bought a pair of its Curve Love 90s High Rise Cutoff Shorts. The looser hip and thigh make these the most comfortable jeans shorts Ive owned in years. Im a bottom-heavy person, and I often need to size up in pants. But the Curve Loves gave me the roomier cut I was looking for in my regular size. They cinch in just enough at the waist and hem to look cute, while staying a little baggy both for a cool factor and for comfort. In the short time Ive owned them, theyve become my warm-weather WFH uniform. I cant wait to wear them to the beach all summer long.
Nena Farrell, updates writer
Stanley Adventure Stainless Steel All
Best Skillet: Lodge Pre-Seasoned 10.25″ Cast Iron Skillet
Lodges cast-iron skillets can be used to cook pretty much any meal in any setting, including in the oven, on the stove, on the grill, or over a campfire. Cast iron offers even heating and great heat retention no matter what youre searing, sautéing, frying, or grilling. This skillet also comes pre-seasoned with vegetable oil to prevent sticking. If the 10.25″ option is too big for your camp stove, you can opt for a smaller version if you plan to cook primarily over the fire, go for a bigger model.
SELF says: A cast-iron skillet is a camping essential. Its the best way to cook over a campfire and also works well on top of a camp stove . Use it to make everything from meat to veggies to eggs, and then simply wipe it clean when youre done with a wet rag or towel. Just make sure you have a protective glove or silicone holder to slip over the handle so that you can move the skillet after its gotten hot.
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Practical Shorts With Expansive Deep Pockets
When the weather warms up, I like to spend as much time outside as possible. Patagonia Womens Baggies Shorts are an important part of my adventure-seeking, toddler-chasing days . The quick-drying, recycled nylon fabric feels breezy even on the hottest, most humid afternoons. And these shorts can handle any situation I throw at them, from getting caught in a summer downpour to fording a creek to taking a quick dip in a lakeeven serving as a napkin for little Popsicle-covered hands. The elastic waist doesnt pinch, and the shorts dont ride up when I scramble over boulders or crouch down to inspect wildflowers. I also like that the pockets on the 5-inch Baggies are deep enough to hold the essentials , as well as newly acquired treasures and maybe even snacks. And because the shorts have a looser cut, you dont look like youve got panniers at your hips when the pockets are full. Patagonia has been making these shorts for decades, in an ever-changing array of colors and patterns, sometimes with a liner, sometimes without. For me, Baggies are about practicality theres nothing particularly flattering about the view from behind , but wearing them frees me up to take in the view in front of me.
Nemo Fillo Elite Luxury Backpacking Pillow
Best Lantern: Biolite Alpenglow 500 Lantern
This LED, rechargeable lantern gives you 200 hours of runtime on low or 5 hours on high. The whole lantern lights up, providing 360 degrees of lighting, and it has endless modes to choose from: full and half cool light, half warm light, candle flicker, color light, color party , fireworks, and more. A built-in loop makes it easy to hang at your campsite or from the top of your tent. You can also use the lantern to charge other devices via a USB port.
The experts say: Ive used this product for about a year and a half. I got it for camp nights, home bonfires, and general use. I use it every single night as my bedside table lighting and also take it on camping trips, says Singleton. She loves the color optionsand actually uses them all.
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Hiking And Camping Gear Essentials
Best Two-Person Camping Tent: Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2
This three-season, two-person tent is made with ultralight, breathable fabric with a waterproof coating. The seams are all waterproof, too, so you can be sure youll stay dry even if you get caught in rainy weather. Arched poles help expand your space so you can sit up fully, and optional awnings add some extra covered real estate to store your belongings. Inside youll find pockets and gear loops that make it easy to stash items like lanterns, electronics, and more.
The experts say: Ive had this tent for a few years and use it for camping and backpacking, says Singleton. I was sick of carrying around a heavy tent that took up too much space in my pack, so I bought this one to use on backpacking trips. Ive used it primarily in good weather, but also in super windy conditions. She loves how lightweight it is and says its perfect for one or two people. Its smaller than a car camping two-person tent, but its plenty of space for backpacking if you are trying to save on weight. The awnings and functional, deep pockets are two of her favorite added features. Big Agnes just went the extra mile with all the little features on this tentfrom the toggles to open the doors to the easy clasps/buckles for the tent poles.
Polished And Flattering Trouser Shorts
I had a baby almost three years ago, and havent dared to button up a pair of real shorts ever since. I was ready to relegate myself to stretchy bottoms foreveruntil I found the Warp+Weft Trouser Shorts on sale earlier this summer. They sit right at my natural waist, and I find that incredibly flattering. Ive worn them both with blousy tops tucked in and with boxy crop tops, and I love the shape the shorts create, thanks to their slightly bell-shaped cut. They hit pretty high up on the thigh, but because the leg openings are cut rather wide, they dont feel too short, and they make my legs look really long. The pockets are also deep and stronga welcome feature considering that many other shorts Ive tried have shallow pockets lined with floppy, thin fabric. Just know that theyre not super-stretchy , so Id size up. They also come in plus sizes, which are the same price as the standard sized pairs .
Catherine Kast, supervising editor
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Sawyer Picaridin Insect Repellent
Best Anti-Chafe Product: Squirrels Nut Butter All-Natural Anti-Chafe Salve
Squirrels Nut Butter is an all-natural, anti-chafe salve that also heals irritated skin, thanks to nourishing ingredients like coconut oil, cocoa butter, beeswax, and vitamin E oil. The no-stick formula is easy to apply and glides on smoothly. Apply it before activity and throughout the day as needed to any area thats prone to rubbing, including your thighs, underarms, and back. The brand also offers a vegan version sans beeswax. One potential con, depending on your preference: Theres a bit of a cocoa butter odor, which some people love and others dont.
The experts say: Runners always have their chafing areas of concern when training and racing. Mine is under my arms and my back if Im wearing a hydration pack. Ive used this product several times and have come out of long runs unscathed, says Strout. I learned about it because the people behind the product live in my hometown, Flagstaff, Arizona, and support the endurance athletes and weekend warriors who train here.
Nathan Reflective Ankle Band
$10 at REIBest Car Camping Chair: NEMO Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair
This just might be the Mercedes of camp chairs, thanks to the suspended construction that allows you to comfortably recline and rock. The hardware makes it effortless to lean back and then sit upright again. Padded armrests, a cup holder, and pocket that fits a phone or book are just some added features that make this chair a great addition to your campsite. It also comes with a carrying case for easy storage and transportation. One downside: Its kinda big and not exactly lightweight, but if you have the space for it in your trunk, youll be so happy to lounge in it after a long day of exploring.
The experts say: This chair is really comfortable and quite versatile, says Flashman, who has used the chair on over ten car camping trips so far and also uses it regularly on her front porch. Theres a lounge option to look at stars or just relax, and head and back support if I want it, but it can also fold down to use without the full backing. Its also sturdy. I dont feel like its going to break at all. Armrests add to the luxuryand importantly, the nylon material easily wipes clean and is breathable enough so that you wont get super sweaty as you lounge, she adds.
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Under Armour Mission Full
$85 at Under ArmourBest Outdoor Sport Leggings: Nike Fast Mid-Rise Crop Running Leggings
Made with Nikes famous Dri-FIT fabric, these leggings do a great job of managing moisture and keeping you comfortable even during ultra-sweaty activities. Mesh panels at the back of the knees help with air flow too. The waistband features a drawcord so you can adjust for the perfect fit. The zippered pocket in the back is large enough to stash your phoneas all good pockets should beand the smaller pocket on the front is a great spot for items like keys or a credit card.
The experts say: I have been wearing these pants since last year. I absolutely love them, says Small. I hike, work out, work, grocery shop, and play with the kids at the park in them. They hold all of my body in place comfortably and there is no jiggling when I run or jump. She calls them cute but functional, and notes that she feels very confident when wearing them. Theyre also durable. I have a plus-size body and my thighs rub together. These pants hold integritythere are no holes on the thigh after using them so much.
Eddie Bauer Cloud Cap Stretch Rain Pants
$97 at Eddie BauerBest Water-Repellent Trail Jacket: Under Armour Womens UA Storm Impasse Trail Jacket
This jacket is lightweight, water-resistant, and windproof, yet still breathable enoughthanks to the light fabric and strategically placed ventsthat it doesnt get uncomfortably hot. It also comes with built-in mittens that pack into the sleeve, and the entire jacket packs up into the zip chest pocket for easy travel.
The experts say: I have last years version of this jacket and its my go-to for rainy running, Erin Strout, a freelance journalist, runner, and hiker, tells SELF. This jacket keeps you dry and also not too hot. It also packs down very small, so you can throw it in your pack in case of emergency. I even threw it in my purse once while traveling because I didnt have a streetwear rain jacket with me.
Available in sizes XS3XL.
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Apparel Shoes And Accessories
Best Daypack: Gregory Maya 22 Liter Backpack
This low-profile daypack is designed specifically for womenand even comes in a 16-liter plus-size version, an unfortunately rare option among many popular outdoor brands. On this pack, the foam back panel provides ventilation to help you avoid back sweat, and the quick stow pockets on the shoulder harness and hip belt allow you to easily access items like sunglasses or snacks.
SELF says: As SELF previously reported, the best hiking daypacks should be multifunctional and designed with all the features that will help make your day trek a success. The Maya pack fits the bill and then some, thanks to its size-inclusive range.
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Best Wind- and Water-Repellent Jacket: Patagonia Houdini Air Jacket
The Patagonia Houdini has been around for a whileand its a bestseller for many reasons. Made of 100% recycled nylon, this jacket is water- and windproof. It has a slim fit and drop hem to keep it low-profile and an adjustable hood and hem for more customization. Overall the ultralight, double-weave textured back fabric does a great job regulating your next-to-skin microclimate during high-output activity so that you stay protected from the elements without overheating.
The experts say: When I moved to Chicago two years ago, I needed a high-quality running jacket that would keep me warm on winter runs. With winter sometimes lasting six months out of the year, this jacket has been a lifesaver, Taylor Dutch, a sports and fitness writer, tells SELF. Pros include durability, warmth without keeping too much heat in, and adjustability. Plus, there are plenty of pockets to hold keys or fuel on the go. The material is perfect for a range of cooler temperatures: Ive worn this jacket when its below 10 degrees and Ive worn it in 50-degree temps. It has served me super well in many conditions.
Available in sizes XSXL. Similar style in additional sizes availablehere.
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Kammok Roo Single Camping Hammock
$75 at KammokBest Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Distance Z Trekking Poles
Trekking poles can really come in handy if you plan to hike a trail with lots of elevation gain or loss. They can also be helpful if you know the terrain will be slippery and youll need some extra support staying stable. These collapsible poles from Black Diamond are made of aluminum, so theyre lightweight but sturdy. The foam handles and straps help you get a comfortable grip. These poles also come with two changeable tips and removable baskets to stop them from sinking into the ground too deeply.
SELF says: Trekking poles arent one of the essentials, but they are great for anyone traveling on uneven terrain, Wesley Trimble, the communications and creative director at the American Hiking Society, previously told SELF. Trimble recommends the Black Diamond Distance Distance Z poles because theyre lightweight, adjustable, and easy to fold up and carry in your pack when youre not using them.
A Subtly Stylish Short For Prime Relaxation
The Outdoor Voices Sunday Short is my ultimate weekend short. This pair is absurdly comfortable. The thick polyester/spandex fabric has just enough stretch, the false-fly elevates them above your average basketball shorts, and they have an easy elastic waist and well-placed pockets. The 7-inch inseam reveals exactly the right amount of thigh, too. These shorts embody peak subdued athleisure.
Would I wear them to a bar? Nope. Thats not their vibe. But would I go from a Netflix marathon to grabbing an iced coffee at a café? Absolutely, and I would feel subtly stylish doing it.
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