Another summer, another chance to hit the trails and pretend you’re Bear Grylls for the weekend. You’ve got your topo maps highlighted, trail snacks packed, and an extra pair of socks – because we all know how much you sweat in the summer heat.

Now comes the tricky part: figuring out what to wear so you don’t end up with heatstroke or nasty blisters by the time you make it to the first campsite.

Cotton is a no-go, unless you want to sport that sweat-drenched t-shirt contest look. And shorts might seem like the obvious choice, but once the sun starts beating down and the bugs come out, you’ll wish you opted for pants.

Prepare for a fantastic summer Men’s Summer Hiking Essentials gear guide. From breathable clothing to must-have accessories, gear up for comfort and safety on your outdoor escapades. Get set for an unforgettable journey on the trails!

The good news is with some lightweight, breathable fabrics and a few essential pieces of gear, you can comfortably navigate those summer hiking trails in style. Here’s what should make your packing list.

Men's Summer Hiking Essentials

Choose Lightweight and Breathable Clothing

For summer hiking, choose lightweight, breathable clothing that will keep you cool and comfortable.

Cotton is a no-go since it absorbs sweat and takes forever to dry. Synthetic or performance fabrics are your best bets.

Choose Lightweight and Breathable Clothing

A moisture-wicking base layer will keep your skin dry. Look for shirts and shorts made of polyester or nylon. For pants, hiking trousers or convertible zip-offs are perfect.

Don’t even think about wearing jeans – you’ll chafe in unfortunate places and end up with heat rash in unmentionable areas.

Bring a hat, sunglasses and sun protection

A wide-brimmed hat, UV-protective sunglasses, and broad-spectrum sunscreen are must-haves for avoiding sunburn and heat-related illness.

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Reapply sunscreen every two hours. Don’t be that lobster-red hiker everyone stares at.

Breathable outer layers

Pack a lightweight windbreaker or rain jacket in case of rain or wind. A fleece jacket is ideal for cool mornings or evenings. For footwear, choose well-made hiking shoes or boots and moisture-wicking socks.

Your backpack should be lightweight but durable, and don’t forget essentials like a map of the trail, pocket knife, fire starter, first aid kit, food, and plenty of water.

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Summer weather can change quickly, so be prepared for any conditions.

With the proper breathable and performance gear, staying hydrated, and taking breaks when needed, you’ll be primed for a successful summer hike. Now get out there – the trails are calling!

Get Hiking Boots That Can Handle the Terrain

When it comes to footwear, don’t skimp on quality for the sake of saving a few bucks. Cheap boots may seem like a good idea now, but after a few miles on the trail your feet will be paying the price.

Invest in boots specifically designed for hiking that offer proper ankle support and rugged traction.

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For summer hikes, look for breathable boots that let your feet breathe. Mesh panels, waterproof but breathable fabrics like Gore-Tex, and ventilated footbeds are good things to have.

Your dogs will thank you when they’re not barking by the end of the day.

Make sure to break in new boots before hitting the trail. Take them for short walks around the neighborhood and apply moleskin to any hot spots.

There’s nothing worse than getting deep into a hike only to find your new boots have shredded your heels into beef jerky.

When choosing a boot, consider the terrain. Light hikers or trail shoes are fine for well-groomed paths, but for rough, rocky ground or off-trail scrambling you’ll want a beefier boot. Think high ankles, rigid soles, and aggressive tread. It’s better to have too much boot than not enough.

At the end of the day, fit and comfort trump all else. Try on multiple pairs from different brands, walk around the store, and find the boots that cradle your feet like a baby’s bottom. Your dogs, and the trail ahead, will thank you.

Don’t Forget Essential Accessories

When hiking in the summer heat, accessories are key. Don’t head into the hills without these essentials:

  • Sunglasses: Unless you want to stumble around like a mole person unaccustomed to daylight, pack your shades. Look for polarized lenses to cut glare and a snug but comfortable fit. Your future wrinkle-free eyes will thank you.
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  • Sun protection: Lather up the sunscreen, especially if you’re of the fairer-skinned persuasion. Aim for an SPF of at least 30 and reapply every few hours. Don’t forget a hat, preferably with a wide brim to shade your face, neck and shoulders.
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  • Bug spray: In the woods, the mosquitoes and flies will eat you alive if you don’t come prepared. Apply insect repellent with DEET before hitting the trail to avoid becoming a blood buffet. Reapply as directed to keep the biters at bay.
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  • Map: Even if you have a navigational supercomputer in your pocket, bring an actual tangible topographic map of the area. Batteries die and signals fade, but maps will guide you out of any precarious situation. Learn how to read it before relying on it in a pinch.
  • Pocket knife: A compact knife comes in handy for various tasks in the backcountry. Look for one with tools like a bottle opener, scissors and screwdrivers. Learn how to use it properly and safely before wielding in the wild.

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  • Water bottle: This should go without saying, but dehydration is dangerous, people! Pack plenty of water and be sure to drink regularly as you hike to avoid becoming parched. Camelbacks or bottles with built-in filters are ideal for longer treks.
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  • Compass: Between your map and compass, you’ll have navigation covered. Brush up on your orienteering skills before hitting the trail. A compass alone is useless if you don’t know how to use it.

Don’t be the fool who heads into the hills unprepared for summer. With the right accessories, you’ll be ready to handle whatever comes your way on the trail. Happy hiking!

Pack Plenty of Snacks and Water

Listen up, weekend warriors—when you’re miles deep into the wilderness, the last thing you want is your stomach growling or your water bottle running on fumes. Pack snacks and plenty of H2O, or you’ll be in for a long, thirsty hike out.

Toss in some trail mix, granola bars, dried fruit, and jerky for snacks. These energy-dense munchies take up little space but will keep you fueled for hours. And save the candy for when you get home—sugar highs and crashes are no joke when you’re trekking up a mountain.

Bring at least 2 liters of water per person. Dehydration is dangerous, dude, and on summer hikes you’ll sweat through plenty. Camelbacks or reusable bottles are ideal since you can refill at streams or lakes along the trail. Just make sure to pack out any trash—we’re trying to enjoy nature here, not wreck it.

For extra insurance, throw in a pocket knife, waterproof matches or a lighter, and basic first aid kit. You never know when you might need to start a fire, patch up a blister, or cut kindling for said fire. Be prepared for any scenario, from sudden downpours to twisted ankles. The wilderness can turn on you quicker than your favorite sports team chokes in the playoffs.

A snack and water break on the trail is a perfect chance to rest those aching feet, reapply sunscreen or bug spray, and enjoy some gorgeous vistas. So do yourself a favor and overpack the grub—any extras can serve as motivational treats to get you up that last grueling incline.

Your belly and future self will thank you when you’re not dragging yourself out of there hangry and parched. Plan ahead and happy trails!

Check the Weather and Trail Conditions

The weather can make or break a hiking trip. There’s nothing quite like getting caught in a surprise thunderstorm without proper rain gear to turn a pleasant jaunt into a miserable slog. Check the forecast for your hiking destination and trail conditions before you head out. Know what you’re getting into.

Some things to look out for:

  • Precipitation: Will it rain? Snow? If so, pack waterproof jackets, pants, boots, packs—the works. Getting soaked in summer may sound refreshing, but hypothermia doesn’t care what season it is.
  • Temperature: Summer weather is fickle. Pack for a range of temperatures so you’re not caught shivering in shorts when the sun dips behind the mountains. Thermal base layers, insulated jackets, gloves, and hats are good to have on hand.
  • Humidity: If it’s going to be a swampy mess, plan on drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Pack extra snacks for energy and morale. Apply antiperspirant liberally before heading out—no one likes a sweaty hiking companion!
  • Trail conditions: Call the park or check recent reviews to see if there are any trail closures, washed out bridges or other issues to be aware of. The last thing you want is a 20-mile detour because you didn’t do your homework.
  • Wildlife activity: Find out if any seasonal wildlife events could affect your hike. Mass animal migrations, mating seasons, or territorial behaviors may mean certain trails will be inaccessible or require caution. Plan an alternate route if needed.

The weather and environment are always bigger forces than any hiker. Do your research, pack for various conditions, and remain flexible in case Mother Nature throws you a curveball. With the proper precautions taken, you’ll be equipped for an adventure no matter what comes your way. The rewards of the perfect summer hike will make your diligent preparation worthwhile!


So there you have it, fellas — the bare essentials you’ll need for your summer hiking adventure in the great outdoors. Don’t forget the insect repellant, that unscented deodorant you love so much, and of course, a razor to keep that stubble in check for any impromptu selfies along the trail.

Who knows, you might just meet your future hiking partner out there if you look and smell the part. And if all goes well, you’ll be back in time for dinner where you can regale everyone with highly exaggerated tales of surviving encounters with bears, mountain lions and the unrelenting sun. The blisters, sweat, and muscle aches will all be worth it, though, for those Instagram-worthy summit photos. Now get out there and enjoy yourself, you rugged mountain men, you! The summer hiking season awaits.

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