The best gear for summertime outdoor activities
Long days, powerful sunshine and dry weather make summer the most popular season for a wide range of outdoor activities. Hiking, camping and backpacking are especially fun when the weather’s great, since you can go longer distances with less gear — plus, the scenery usually looks better in full sunlight.
Although you don’t need bulky sleeping bags or thermal clothing during the summer, there are some types of gear that are essential for staying comfortable and safe when the temperatures go up. Lightweight, breathable clothing and footwear that doesn’t suffocate your feet will make a huge difference during long trips in hot weather.
Best clothes for summer hiking and camping
Since they’re relatively thin and made entirely from cotton, these basic t-shirts offer the best evaporation properties and give your body the best chance of fighting the heat. There are several sizes and a wide variety of colors to choose from. Sold by Amazon
These have the same effective, minimalist design and low price as the men’s version. Be aware, though, that they run nearly two sizes small, so order accordingly. Sold by Amazon
Plenty of ventilation, a baggy fit, multiple front pockets and adjustable sleeves make this one of the most versatile hiking shirts available. It’s 100% cotton, too, so it helps make the most of sweat and other moisture on hot days. Sold by Amazon
Not only are they great at keeping you from overheating, but they’re also moderately water-resistant in case you get caught in a downpour. They sport convenient zippered pockets and come in light gray, dark gray and tan. Sold by Amazon
They come in either 10 or 12 inches long and a selection of muted colors, but the most important parts of these versatile shorts are their lightweight, rugged construction and low cost. They also include a belt made from ultralight nylon webbing. Sold by Amazon
Men’s underwear doesn’t get much lighter or better at wicking away moisture while also offering this much support. While they’re not cheap, these are some of the best boxer briefs around. Sold by Amazon
This stylish long sleeve shirt comes in two plaid patterns and is made from a cotton and polyester blend that’s great for keeping you cool and comfortable. There are two pockets on the front, and it uses convenient snaps instead of traditional buttons, making it easy to put on in a hurry. Sold by Backcountry
This simple, modest and cute top delivers comfort and durability at a low price. It’s perfect for staying cool in direct sun while also preventing your upper back from chafing due to your backpack. Sold by Backcountry
This full-length tank top is about as lightweight as a shirt can get. It’s great at minimizing heat buildup because although it’s so thin, it’s made of a breathable polyester fabric that’s more durable than cotton. Sold by Backcountry
While cotton does an excellent job at maximizing the effectiveness of sweat, an ultra-thin polyester shirt offers better airflow and lets you feel the wind directly on your skin. This synthetic men’s t-shirt fits that bill and comes in several colors and sizes. Sold by Backcountry
At dawn and dusk, they’re effective polyester pants that regulate temperature and protect you from mosquitoes and thorns. When the sun is overhead, 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 they also come in a men’s cut. Sold by Backcountry
These are some of the lightest hiking shorts you can buy. While they’re made of polyester, which isn’t always very comfortable against the skin, they’re actually quite soft. Sold by Amazon
Comfortable and dependable with just the right amount of stretch, this two-piece set minimizes chafing and keeps everything in the right place during long hikes. Sold by Amazon
They’re relatively lightweight for cargo shorts, plus they’re made of tough cotton that can stand up to the great outdoors. There are six pockets altogether, in addition to 5 muted color options. Sold by Amazon
This wide-brimmed hat is perfect for keeping your face in the shade. It’s generously ventilated and designed to pull uncomfortable sweat away from your forehead. Sold by Amazon
It comes in a wide selection of colors and is made from waterproof material that’s perfect for staying comfortable in sudden summer storms. Sold by Amazon
Nothing else offers the same combination of ventilation, comfort and durability as these premium sandals. We’ve highlighted the men’s version, but the Arroyo II Women’s are just as great. Sold by Amazon
These low-top hiking shoes come from one of the most respected names in outdoor footwear. Whether you need men’s or women’s sizes, it’s hard to go wrong with these well-ventilated kicks. Sold by Amazon and Backcountry
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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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