September 21, 2023
Guide to Hiking Gear
From backcountry backpacking to a walk in the park.
Unless you’re hitting the beach at A-basin this weekend (if you know you know), ski season is officially behind us.
Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because that means hiking trails are drying up, lake water is getting warmer, and new spring styles have dropped at Halfdays. Hang up the winter coats but don’t think for a second that we aren’t here to push you out the door and into the outdoors all summer long.
Read on for the Halfdays how-to on enjoying a day hike, overnight, or full-on weekend expedition on the peaks we love yearround.
When it comes to backpacking, you don’t need to be a certified plant identifier or seasoned hunter gatherer, but you do need a few essentials. The most obvious must-have: a backpack.
Sizing can be tricky… but a good rule of thumb is less than 35 Liters for a day trip, 35-55 Liters for an overnight or weekend trip, and 55-80 Liters for a tried and true trek. Think function, but don’t sacrifice fashion with these backpack brands we LOVE:
Topo Designs Mountain Pack: We love some bold colors and TOPO delivers. These canvas packs look great, and best of all, have a spot for just about anything. Extra pockets for snacks? Check. Extra straps to attach a change of shoes? Check. Space for a water bladder on the go or laptop for the work week? Another check.
Cotopaxi: Did we mention we love color blocks? We could go on about the specs and features of these bags, but let’s not lose sight of the best part about this option… Every pack made at Cotopaxi is unique, and when you order, you can opt for a pack chosen at random. Order, wait for the surprise, and get ready for the fun to begin before you even leave the house.
Patagonia Black Hole Pack: This one is lightweight, extremely waterproof, and ready to get rugged. Check out the Black Hole Duffel and Black Hole Cubes for matching luggage sets that scream “granola girl.”
Osprey Skimmer: Our absolute fav has got to be this Osprey Skimmer. At 28 liters, it’s perfect for a day trip with a kick- this backpack comes equipped with space to stash a 2 and half liter water bladder and plenty of gear, plus ‘shove it’ front pockets and pole attachments on the outside. And do you see this color!? It’s the perfect match for our Spring Line earthy tone. The best part? It’s actually fit for women. Bye bye, boys backpack club.
Once you have a pack, you gotta pack it. Make a list, and don’t forget the big ticket items.
Depending on the difficulty and length of your hiking trip, you may need to plan on having a few extra supplies in your back pocket. We brainstormed some things to start with:
1. Poles: extra leverage, please. We love shopping REI or Backcountry for cute colored, high quality poles that are guaranteed to help you get after it on the trails… or if you’re feelin’ frisky, how funny are these WhiSki poles? When you summit the peak, celebrate by washing down your basic hydration with a little something more exciting ;) Have we finally found something that competes with a chair lift beer? Maybe.
2. Sunscreen: because red is still only cute on base layers. Kinfield’s Sunglow SPF 35 sunscreen tints the skin without streaks of white. Their plant based products including sunflower seed oil, rosemary extract, and jojoba oil to keep you glowing but not greasy all hike long.
3. Mace: it doesn’t hurt to play safe.
4. First aid kit: in case you opted out of the poles, or brought some but got a little tipsy.
5. Fanny packs: Baggu packs meet the Halfdays function + fashion standard- 2 main compartments, an interior zip, adjustable straps, and washable fabric.
6. Marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate, matches, and a stick.
You’re going to have to be fueled to keep a skip in your step. The key is balance- what does that look like?
Think simple: a good old fashioned PB N’ J is the perfect example of something that can supply carbs to keep that quick fuel supply up, plus some fat and protein for the long part of the long haul. Add some banana slices or drizzle of honey for an extra kick. When you’re really on the move, try some energy gels. These quick and easy to digest nutrients come in every flavor you could imagine, and some even bring it to another level with caffeine infused into the mix.
We recommend Muir Energy- we’re still trying to figure out the difference between taste in these versus a spoonful of frosting.
Of course, we’ll stay on brand and recommend everyone’s favorite hiking snack: trail mix. Did you remember to save the recipe? 😉
Halfdays’ Treat Yourself Trail Mix:
- 1 cup mini pretzels - salt is a must.
- 1 cup cereal of your choice- Chex!? Cheerios!?
- 2 cups popcorn- but make it festive… all the classic brands are selling cute, seasonal flavors. Check for Skinny Pop Sweet Vanilla Kettlecorn, Lesserevil Sweetheart Pop, or Boom Chicka Pop Chocolate Covered Raspberry Kettlecorn
- ½ cup peanuts- to fuel your turns.
- ½ cup chocolate candy- and if we’re being specific… red and pink M&M’s.
Don’t forget your liquids! Hydration is essential- and water can be bulky and heavy if it’s not packed efficiently. Check out collapsible water bottles like these or look into buying a bladder to stick into your backpack. You could even stick to your daily bottle but make it portable with a canteen. Beis Canteen water bottle slings look chic and double down as the perfect spot to store your car keys, wallet, and phone. The Calpak Canteen are competing with Baggu fannypacks in the ‘cutest patterns ever’ category, and even come with the power of insulation. A cold sip of water on a hot day- we like that. Consider bringing along some electrolytes like Nuun, Liquid IV, or Vitapod.
And now for the part you’ve been waiting for and we’ve been excited about all year long…
While the snow has been melting, things were heating up over here at Halfdays. We are thrilled to launch our first-ever Spring Collection, with wind-resistant nylon, Durable Water Repellency layers, and movement-optimized pieces. You’ll be set to hit the trails and get from hiking to the Sunday farmer’s market in style.
Morning or evening hikes can be a little chilly even mid-summer!
Repurposing winter gear is NOT faux pas. Don’t pack away your best base layer and wool socks – use them to keep the walkers warm. For a more breathable, traditional activewear base, try our Sophia Seamless Leggings.
There’s nothing worse than cold feet, so take the opportunity to rep your fav Ski Club… you know which one we’re talking about. 😉
Pants and Shorts:
Layered over leggings for early spring days or worn on their own, these bottoms will turn heads on the trails and at the taphouse. Catch the eyes of oncoming trail traffic with colors like Loganberry and Verdant, or blend in with the backdrop in Caramel or Lava Rock.
When it comes to planning the perfect fit, nothing will throw you off more than extreme temperature swings from morning to afternoon. Is it truly 70 and sunny, or is a wind chill bringing down the vibe? Will we stay dry, or are afternoon storms rolling in? Lucky for you, we have something for everything.
The Douglas Nylon Windbreaker is the perfect outerwear for that in-between weather, designed for layering or wearing on its own for all the water and wind-proofing without the bulk. Mix and match top layer colors to compliment your base layer tights or nylon pants and shorts- we have everything from an earthy warm Chai to color explosions like Sunset, Granita, and Alpenglow.
Don’t take our word for it- check out the Spring Capsule for yourself.
Happy hiking Halfdayers! Tag us on all your adventures @halfdays.
Explore our collections
For heading to the mountain, out for a run, or straight to après ski.
Versatile, functional performance for every adventure on the trail.
Lightweight, layering-savvy jackets for cooler halfdays ahead.
Foundational pieces to keep you daydreaming and day-trekking.