Spending time in the great outdoors is one of life's best pastimes, and one of the things that makes it so great is that it's an activity that's completely free. Unfortunately, to do some of the most popular outdoor recreational activities, you often need to spend money purchasing the right equipment. This holds true for everything where equipment is obvious—like skiing and snowboarding—to things that less obviously require equipment but actually do call for some specialized gear, like hiking or stargazing.
If you are ready to spend more time outside, read our guide to the best outdoor gear below. Then, when you've decided how you want to spend your time outside, you can find the items that fit the bill—then purchase them and get to having fun!
Hiking is one of the most fun, free outdoor activities. But, because it can be rough out there in the wilderness, it requires a slew of supplies to do it well, safely, and comfortably. Most people know you need the right boots and emergency gear to go out on a hike safely. But did you realize there are more elements that can make hiking an even safer and more comfortable experience? One of those items is the hiking gaiter—which is a cover that goes over your ankle and boot.
Gaiters serve multiple purposes—they keep you warm and protect you from getting debris in your shoes. This is important because depending on where you're hiking, getting debris in your hiking boots can be not only uncomfortable but also dangerous. For example, snow and ice can cause the risk of frostbite, while a rocky, pebbly surface can cause sharp, jagged rocks or pebbles to get in your shoe and cause cuts or blisters. Get hiking gaiters for good, affordable hiking protection—and you'll keep yourself safe and warm no matter the hiking season you're in. (You can also protect your shoes to keep them intact for longer, which will save you money on hiking boots in the long run!)
Gaiters aren't the only things you should use to protect your feet when you hike, or when you participate in any kind of outdoor recreation. Waterproof socks are also essential for the best hikes possible. Waterproof socks ensure that your feet stay blister-free if they start sweating while you're on a hike that tests your endurance.
Waterproof socks don't just stop you from getting blisters. They can also reduce the risk of frostbite if you're hiking in the cold and you get snow or ice in your sock. That snow or ice might melt, but your whole sock and foot will not get cold because of it. Waterproof socks come in a variety of thicknesses and lengths. Choose the ones that you like best with the boots that you wear on your hikes.
If you're planning to camp out under the stars (which we highly recommend you do), make sure you bring your sleeping bag with you to sleep cozily and comfortably in your tent or whatever structure you camp in. However, there's an important item for camping that even the most experienced campers can forget when they go out on a long hike: the sleeping bag liner.
The sleeping bag liner goes inside of a sleeping bag and is waterproof. This ensures your sleeping bag will not get wet. It will also help you make sure that you don't get cold while you're chilling out and relaxing. It also helps absorb sweat when you're camping in the heat, similarly helping regulate your temperature so you stay comfortable in the warmer weather.
When you are going to spend time outside, it is essential that you stay hydrated and that you bring water with you. You never know when or if you'll encounter any safe potable water source while you're out. If you want to ensure your water stays drinkable and thirst-quenching, bring it in an insulated, temperature-controlled water container. Consider a water pouch within a backpack that has a straw, so you can keep your hands free but still have access to water as you go.
If you want to buy some outdoor gear so you can spend more time outside, one great resource is Pike Trail. Pike Trail sells well-researched and tested, high-quality products that will help ensure that you not only stay safe when you're on-the-go but also stay comfortable and have a great time. Make your gear purchase at Pike Trail, and you won't have to stress about spending more than is in your budget—but you'll get the best quality stuff available.