There is lots of layering that goes into being properly dressed for the trail. Having several layers and options all the time in your pack is a must for safety in different weather and situations that occur in alpine territory. I talk about the basics of layering, what the layers are and what counts for each layer here.
My top brands that I respect and trust when buying outdoor gear is REI, Patagonia, North Face, Columbia, and Eddie Bauer. When buying outdoor gear this is a place not to try to cheap out for your own comfort and safety. The gear lasts a long time and can be used again and again once you have invested. This is a good investment to make for the long haul if you are interested in hiking, camping and backpacking. This is a list below of my top used and rated brands and products that I use every single weekend when I go outdoors weather it is hiking, camping, backpacking or heading to a national park.
My top used backpacking clothes:
1. Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket (shell)
This is the best shell outer layer that keeps you really warm in the cold. This can be layered with mid layer fleeces under or used in warmer weather without a mid layer. This has been my staple go to outer layer for years and I have never been disappointed in the quality or warmth.
2. North Face Womens Bond girl shorts
These are my absolute favorite women’s outdoor shorts! This fabric is quick dry and wicks sweat from the body. They are a flattering fit and the perfect length not too short or too long. Any outdoor activity I wear these and even just around town as well. I always hated women’s outdoor pants and shorts so I mostly stuck to wearing my running shorts and pants for hiking until I found these. They are so comfortable and practical all while still being cute.
3. North Face Rain Shell Layer (Women’s Resolve 2 )
This coat is my favorite! I have it in a coral pink and grey and it has served me so well. It is very rain resistant and has a great hood as well. The rain jacket is thicker than most and provides a bit of real warmth as well which is a better rain outer layer than many. The zipper cover is nice because water can also get through there.
4. Patagonia P6 trucker hat (sun)
This is my go to hat for the beach or trails I have been wearing for years. I buy the mens because the women’s ones I just don’t like. This is a breathable hat with the mesh panel that really helps keep your head cooler in the sun.
5. Columbia women’s cabled cute Beanie
The cable knitted beanies by Columbia are awesome. Columbia is one of the brands I have been wearing and using for years. I am currently using one of their hiking boots as well for lighter mileage hikes and love them. These hats I like because they can be worn for outdoor activities as well as with street clothes and outfits because of the cable knit look and color scheme.
6. Columbia sportswear thermometer headring
Ever since I started running in middle school these have honestly been a life saver for me. I have always been a cold person and even in hats or hoods my ears get cold. This is nice because it can be added as an extra layer under a hat or hood as well if it’s really cold. They are nice for wearing when it is not cold enough for a hat but the air is chilly and your ears get cold. They are great for runs, hikes and being outside in the cold.
7. Columbia women’s trail summit running gloves
These are my go to gloves since I have been a runner for years. They are small and form fitting so you can practically still do a lot with them on. They are also very breathable and great for cold walks, running, hikes and camping.
8. Nike Women’s essential dry fit tights or pro cool training tights
Until I found Pranna hiking pants for women that were fitted and nice I have used my Nike running tights for years. I still use and wear these often even bringing them as a base layer to always have on hand that you can put under your rain pants or trekking pants depending on the weather and temperature. They work as a good thermal underwear at night as well.
9. Smart wool socks
These is one of my favorite sock brands I have found over the last several years for hiking and backpacking. They wick away moisture really well and are padded and comfy. They are good quality and even after washing a lot they last for quite some time before getting too worn. They come in different lengths and colors which is nice.
10. North face womens puffy vest (Aconcagua vest 2)
If you are a person that runs more warm vests are a great option to have a layer that breathes more and has more openness to the air. I have one of these vests in their pink color and really love it. I mostly am too cold to wear a vest that much on its own. They can be layered with long-sleeve base layers for more warmth. Or in cold situations i have put this on over my outer layer to add an extra layer of warmth on my chest.
11. Patagonia Torrentshell Rainproof Pants
These are great rain pants to protect from the elements. These remind me of the track suits I used to wear as a kid and the pants noise they make is the same when you walk. Relish in the good memories of old school childhood wearing these bad boys as you avoid getting wet and win at staying dry and having a good time later at the camp site.
12. prAna Women’s Halle Convertible Pant
These are my favorite women’s hiking pants I have ever found and worn. They are so comfortable material that wicks away all moisture as well as keep you dry from the rain too. They are form fitting and flattering. They are easy to move in and breathe. prAna for hiking pants president!
13. Patagonia women’s (better sweater 1/4 zip fleece)
This is a piece that is a great mid layer for holding in warmth under your top layer. This fleece is so warm and I run cold so this is perfect. I even sometimes get to hot when I wear this layer so I know it is quality and does the job. I will wear this by itself around the campsite because it keeps you so warm. This is a nice layer at night to wear if its still too cold with your long underwear.
14. Patagonia Girls’ Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Pullover
I have had this fleece for years and was the first one I bought from Patagonia. I really like this lighter one because it is not quite as hot as the other Patagonia fleece. This is a better option for you if you get hot easily but still want some good coverage. The snaps help bring in air and this is a very comfy and soft coat.
15. Columbia Women’s Benton Springs Full Zip Jacket, Soft Fleece with Classic Fit
These fleeces have been my basic since I was a kid. My parents raised me buying these and even now as an adult back I go to get my Columbia fleeces that are a staple in my outdoor wardrobe. They are comfy, soft and come in every color. I like that they zip up instead of pullover because that is annoying and with zip open options you can always leave a layer on but breathe a bit more. These are great mid layers for under your outer shell.
16. Under Armour Women’s Base 2.0 Crew
This is a great base layer for warmer seasons and helping wick sweat on the hike. This is a great hiking shirt on a sunny day in heat or in cold keeping in warmth as a base layer.
17. Nike Spandex Nike Women’s Pro Five-inch Short
I use these for running and hiking. They are great for warmer weather and wicking moisture and sweat away from your body. They are a good base layer as well and adding warmth.
18. Under Armour Women’s HeatGear CoolSwitch Short Sleeve
This is a great base layer for when its hot out and hiking in by itself. This wicks away moisture and Under Armour has been my go to layering tool since middle school cross country and it has served me well.
19. Nike Women’s Breathe Dri-Fit Training Tank Top Shirt AA4405
I like to hike in tank tops when its the summer and warm. These are the best base layer. I normally use a tank top base layer more than a t-shirt.
20. Nike Women’s Victory Compression Sports Bra
I have been using these to run and hike for years. They are my favorite because they have great support and wick away sweat really well.
21. New Balance Womens Breathe Thong Panty 3-Pack
New Balance knows how to make underwear to wick the sweat for running and hiking. These are amazing and definitely don’t wear cotton underwear and torture yourself with the rubbing and wet feeling.
22. New Balance Womens Breathe Hipster Panty 3-Pack
23. The North Face Warm Tight
These are also a warm base layer I have been using for years mostly as night thermal underwear around camp and the tent. They can be used for a layering tool under rain paints or trekking pants as well.