My Top 3 Hiking Essentials

Summer is just around the corner so if you're planning ahead for upcoming travels you want to start thinking about the gear you will need for hiking! Most of our travels center around this favorite activity of ours!  My husband and I also love to pack light when we hike, carrying just the essentials! This allows us to enjoy the scenery and experience without feeling weighed down with tons of gear.  This is pretty doable with day hiking and that's why I've only listed 3 items!

My 3 essential items:

1. Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Pole

Foldable and super light weight (thank you, carbon), these trekking poles are my new must-have for hiking.  I never used trekking poles until last year and they have proven to be a game changer.  I used them hiking in Yosemite, but I really wish I had them in Cinque Terre last spring! If you're going to be dealing with technical terrain, I highly recommend investing in quality trekking poles.  They help alleviate impact on your knees and give you extra stability when navigating through some difficult terrain.  The best part is you can quickly fold these up and store them when you're done and they are very compact when folded!  *Note* you select your size based on your height, I used the 120cm, and I'm 5'8".  Here's a helpful size chart, from Black Diamond.

Trekking poles - A great aid to hiking in the Sierra Nevadas.

2. Saloman X Ultra 2 GTX Hiking Shoes

If you are a serious hiker, you know that quality shoes with good traction make a huge difference.  I was not this person until about a year ago.  I didn't like the look of hiking boots and just thought they would be too heavy and bulky for me. I always preferred hiking in regular running shoes.  

Well, about 3 days into our Italy trip, I was slipping and falling all over the place.  The grip on my running shoes was totally gone and my knees and ankles were really sore from having such poor traction. 

Enter the Saloman X Ultra.  This was the perfect balance for me.  Lighter than a traditional hiking boot, while still giving me that extra grip I really needed!  I could finally grip the terrain and not slip! It changed everything and I was no longer slipping and sliding. The extra stability took away from the fatigue in my ankles and calves so I could actually hike even longer! These shoes have great arch support and they also have Gortex material which makes them completely water proof!   Another great bonus?  They were comfortable to hike in immediately!  No painful breaking in process and I wore them for many hours to hike entire length of the 5 villages.  Another one of my favorite gear purchases in 2016.  

The Saloman's are nice and low like a running shoe which is why I like them so much.  

The Saloman's are nice and low like a running shoe which is why I like them so much.  

Good grip is essential for the steep steps and dusty trails of Cinque Terre!

Good grip is essential for the steep steps and dusty trails of Cinque Terre!

Hiking in Kauai with my trusty bag!

What's the perfect bag for a hiker and photographer?

This one! It fits a mirrorless a camera with one extra (small) lens.  I love the side pocket for quick access to your camera.  I usually only carry one lens while hiking, so this is perfect.  It also has a hip strap, a compartment for a camelbak, and a small compartment for extra gear/or clothes in the top, plus a water bottle pouch on the side opposite the camera pouch.  I usually carry as little as possible, so this bag is perfect if you want to be really light.  It's actually pretty comfortable to wear all day.  It also comes with a rain cover!  This has become my favorite active camera bag!

There is a slightly larger one available (the 300 AW) if you are a DSLR user.

More of a casual photographer?  Try the Marmot Kompressor Backpack which is made of super lightweight material and folds into a tiny pack to store in your suitcase!  I have this one and used it on many hikes. It great for just storing extra layers and a few snacks!

Let me know if you have questions about this gear!  

* This post now contains affiliate links which I receive a small commission from the sale of these products*

Happy Hiking!  


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