The best equipment for summer outdoor activities
Long days, strong sunshine and dry weather make summer the most popular season for a variety of outdoor activities. Hiking, camping and backpacking are especially fun when the weather is nice because you can cover longer distances with less equipment – plus the scenery tends to look better in full sun.
While you don’t need bulky sleeping bags or thermal clothing in summer, there are some types of gear that are essential to staying comfortable and safe as temperatures rise. Lightweight, breathable clothing and shoes that don’t suffocate your feet make a world of difference on long rides in hot weather.
Best clothing for summer hiking and camping
Gildan softstyle cotton t-shirts for men
Being relatively thin and made entirely of cotton, these basic t-shirts offer the best evaporative properties and give your body the best chance to beat the heat. There are multiple sizes and a variety of colors to choose from. Sold by Amazon
Gildan women’s softstyle cotton t-shirts
These share the same effective, minimalist design and low price as the men’s version. Do note, however, that they run almost two sizes smaller, so order accordingly. Sold by Amazon
Columbia Men’s Bonehead Long Sleeve Shirt
Plenty of ventilation, a baggy fit, multiple front pockets and adjustable sleeves make this one of the most versatile hiking shirts on the market. It’s also 100% cotton, so sweat and other moisture get the most out of hot days. Sold by Amazon
ExOfficio Nomad women’s shorts
Not only do they offer excellent protection against overheating, but they are also moderately water-resistant in case you get caught in a downpour. They have handy zipped pockets and are available in light grey, dark gray and tan. Sold by Amazon
Men’s Free Soldier Cargo Shorts
They’re either 10 or 12 inches long and come in a choice of muted colors, but the key parts of these versatile shorts are their lightweight, durable construction and low price point. This includes a belt made of ultra-lightweight nylon fabric. Sold by Amazon
Men’s ExOfficio Give-N-Go boxer shorts
Men’s underwear doesn’t get much lighter or better at wicking moisture while still providing as much support. While not cheap, these are some of the best boxer shorts out there. Sold by Amazon
Ruby River Women’s Long Sleeve Shirt
This stylish long sleeve shirt comes in two checked patterns and is made from a cotton and polyester blend that’s great for keeping you cool and comfortable. There are two front pockets and it uses convenient snaps instead of traditional buttons, making it easy to put on in a hurry. Sold by Backland
Venture tank for stoic women
This simple, plain and cute top offers comfort and durability at a great price. It’s perfect for staying cool in direct sun while preventing your upper back from chafing due to your backpack. Sold by Backland
Outdoor Research Echo women’s tank top
This full length tank top is as light as a shirt can get. It’s great at minimizing heat build-up because, despite being so thin, it’s made from a breathable polyester fabric that’s more durable than cotton. Sold by Backland
Outdoor Research Echo Men’s T-Shirt
While cotton does a great job of maximizing the effectiveness of sweat, an ultra-thin polyester shirt offers better airflow and lets you feel the wind right on your skin. This synthetic men’s t-shirt fits that bill and comes in multiple colors and sizes. Sold by Backland
Ferrosi convertible pants
At dawn and dusk, they are effective polyester pants that regulate temperature and protect you from mosquitoes and thorns. When the sun is up, zip off the legs and you’ve got a pair of super cool shorts. We’ve highlighted the relatively form-fitting women’s version, but it also comes in a men’s cut. Sold by Backland
Men’s ExOfficio Sol Cool Shorts
These are some of the lightest hiking shorts you can buy. Although they’re made of polyester, which isn’t always very comfortable against the skin, they’re actually quite soft. Sold by Amazon
Moab 2 Mid Vent Hiking Shoe
The mid-angle design and impressive ventilation make these the most rugged boots for navigating rough terrain in the hotter months. They are also available in a men’s model. Sold by Backland
ExOfficio Give-N-Go Bikini Bottoms
Comfortable and dependable with just the right amount of stretch, this two-piece set minimizes chafing and keeps everything in place on long hikes. Sold by Amazon
Vayager cotton cargo shorts
Relatively light for cargo shorts, they’re made from tough cotton that’s built to withstand the great outdoors. There are six pockets in total, in addition to 5 muted color options. Sold by Amazon
Little Donkey Andy women’s convertible pants
The stretch fabric these are made of feels a lot more premium than the price would suggest. These are the women’s cut, and the men’s version is just as worthwhile. Sold by Amazon
Columbia Bora Bora Booney
This wide brimmed hat is perfect for keeping your face in the shade. It is generously ventilated and designed to wick unpleasant sweat away from the forehead. Sold by Amazon
Camptrace bucket hat
It comes in a wide range of colors and is made from waterproof material that’s perfect for staying comfortable during sudden summer storms. Sold by Amazon
Keen Arroyo II hiking sandals
Nothing offers the same combination of ventilation, comfort and durability as these premium sandals. We highlighted the men’s version, but the Arroyo II women’s version are just as great. Sold by Amazon
Merrell Moab 2 hiking shoe
These low-top hiking shoes come from one of the most respected names in outdoor footwear. Whether you need men’s or women’s sizing, you can’t go wrong with these well-ventilated shoes. Sold by Amazon and Backland
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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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