Spring trekking and backpacking gear


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Spring is officially here, and that means it’s time to get outside for a season’s worth of activities that have been snowed-in for the past few months, at least in many places. Success on the trail, water, or peak depends on having proper gear, and Matador has you covered with our spring gear guide. Here you will find the best products to ramp up your outdoor adventures this spring, with a special focus on keeping dry — because you want to feel as good when you finish the trail as you did when you began.

Chrome Industries Merino Wool Cobra 3.0 (Men’s and Women’s)

chrome cobra spring gearchrome cobra spring gear

Photo: Chrome Industries

Layering is the key to successful spring recreating. The Merino Wool Cobra from Chrome Industries is the ideal Merino wool hoodie to have on when the temperature or weather looks to shift while you’re out. Because it’s made of Merino wool, the Cobra 3.0 is built to absorb sweat and moisture on the inside without soaking you out. And on the outside, the Cobra 3.0 — available in men’s and women’s versions — keeps your upper body protected from early morning and late evening chills while being flexible enough to move in. As an added bonus, this hoodie looks super stylish, so if you stop in for a pint or a bite after your workout, you know you’ll look as fresh as you did when you left home.

Price: $144

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The North Face Stormbreak 2 Tent

storm break tent spring gearstorm break tent spring gear

Photo: REI

Spring camping requires versatility. The North Face Stormbreak 2 Tent has you covered. The three-season tent features a seam-taped canopy that’s ideal for breaking spring winds and keeping you as comfortable on chilly evenings as you’d be in the heart of summer. The tent weighs fewer than six pounds all-in and comfortably sleeps two. Because it’s lightweight and can easily be packed, the Stormbreak 2 is great for those early season backpacking trips or to keep in the back of your vehicle for car camping in national and state parks, campgrounds, or that beautiful mountain overlook you came across on your last drive through the hills.

Price: $159

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YETI Rambler 36 Oz Waterbottle with Chug Cap

yeti rambler spring gearyeti rambler spring gear

Photo: YETI

The YETI Rambler is the sturdiest and most effective yet. The lid is firmly secure with no leakage possible, and it won’t break, come loose, or have issues with the mouthpiece like so many other adventure water bottles. Thirty-six ounces is enough for one person on a short to medium hike, and the insulation keeps your beverage of choice at desired temperature for far longer than other insulated bottles. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe, which means even the crustiest of adventurers can easily wash their waterbottle at least once every few months.

Price: $54.99

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Patagonia Torrentshell Rain Jacket (Men’s)

patagonia torrent shell spring gearpatagonia torrent shell spring gear

Photo: REI

Spring conditions are often wet, and unpredictably so nearly as often. Be prepared for those spring drizzles with the Patagonia Torrentshell Rain Jacket. With it, you’re protected from wind and rain without sacrificing the versatility and dexterity needed for getting after it outside. It’s built from Patagonia’s 3-layer H2No Performance Standard waterproof and breathable polyester with a microfleece-lined neck guard. If the rain no-shows, the jacket stuffs itself into its own handwarmer pocket so you can then leave it in another pocket or in the car without taking up much space. And because it’s Patagonia, the jacket is partially made from recycled materials.

Price: $149

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Outdoor Research Apollo Stretch Rain Jacket (Women’s)

apollo jacket spring gearapollo jacket spring gear

Photo: REI

Outdoor Research combines the best of women’s outdoor gear into the Apollo Stretch Rain Jacket. Vent yourself with pit zips when it’s warm but wet, or keep the vents closed when it’s cooler out. The jacket is made to stretch, meaning you can layer it easily over a hoodie or sweater, work hard, and not worry about misshaping or ruining the jacket. The stretch is built to mirror your movements, so, kind of like a Memory Foam mattress, the more you use this jacket, the better it fits you. This also gives you a reason to say “no” when your best friend asks to borrow it.

Price: $89.73

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REI Co-op Coolmax Hiking Socks

hiking socks spring gearhiking socks spring gear

Photo: REI

Stock up on these before heading out this season. REI Co-op Coolmax Hiking Socks get your feet toasty and comfortable before leaving the house and help them stay that way while you’re out on the trail. REI has mastered the art of the active sock that doesn’t slide down your ankle mid-hike, no small feat in a sport riddled with cut ankles. And the spandex yarn used in this sock helps it fit to your feet and stay snug even when moving up or down steep sections of trail. Since it’s made with recycled polyester, you can rest easy after the hike knowing your purchase kept a small bit of plastic from the landfills, at least temporarily.

Price: From $10.93

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Keen Midweight Waterproof Hiking Boots (Women’s)

women's boots spring gearwomen's boots spring gear

Photo: REI

If you’re sensing a theme with all the gear in this list, you’re spot on — waterproof is absolutely necessary for spring outdoor gear. The Keen Midweight Waterproof Hiking Boots are the best women’s hiking boots on the market for spring treks because, in addition to Keen’s already stellar reputation for producing top-notch boots, these are made with KEEN.DRY membranes designed to seal out moisture and a water-repellent surface. If you sweat, don’t sweat your foot odor as these boots also contain anti-odor footbeds. Soft trails on hot afternoons? Carry on.

Price: $119.73

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Salomon OUTLine GTX Hiking Boots (Men’s)

men's boots spring gearmen's boots spring gear

Photo: REI

On the men’s hiking boot side, the Salomon OUTline has GORE-TEX waterproof liners to keep your feet dry in spring and thick toe caps in case you run up against rocky stairs, roots in the trail, or the back heel of the person hiking in front of you. The boots’ Contagrip bottom is designed to stick to nearly any trail surface, a necessity during this time of year when trail conditions change rapidly. These boots lend themselves to versatility in that you can move quickly on the trail if necessary without worrying about losing your footing.

Price: $150

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Black Diamond Distance II Trekking Poles

trekking poles spring geartrekking poles spring gear

Photo: REI

Trekking poles should be firm but adjustable, sturdy but easy to grip. The Distance Z poles from Black Diamond epitomize these characteristics, with one-pull deployment that brings them from collapsed size (a third of active size) to ready for use in a split second, much like a good snow probe. Another thing that separates these trekking poles from others is the interchangeable rubber and carbide tips, so you can optimize them for the weather and trail conditions ahead.

Price: $99.95

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REI Co-op Sahara Convertible Pants (Men’s and Women’s)

sahara pants spring gearsahara pants spring gear

Photo: REI

To stay dry and flexible on the trail in spring requires a good pair of hiking pants, and the REI Co-op Sahara Convertible Pant, available in men’s and women’s versions, does the trick perfectly without breaking the bank. The pants feature UPF 50+ rating to protect against the sun; have plenty of storage for your phone, keys, pen and small notepad, compass, or any other pocketwares you carry on the trail; and the lightweight stretch fabric is impressively breathable.

Price: $69.95

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CamelBak Sequoia 22 Hydration Pack (Women’s)

sequoia backpack spring gearsequoia backpack spring gear

Photo: REI

CamelBak has long been the pioneer in hydration backpacks, mastering the oft-overlooked skill of helping adventurers stay hydrated while also carrying their tools for the trade. The ventilated back panel keeps you breathing and moving easily whether you’re at the base or the summit of the journey. What makes the CamelBak Sequoia 22 the best women’s spring pack are the stretch overflow pockets — big enough to store an entire layer of clothing — and the trekking pole loop that actually secures the poles to the pack and prevents them from whacking your side repeatedly or coming loose.

Price: $99.73

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REI Co-op Trail 40 Pack (Men’s)

spring gear backpackspring gear backpack

Photo: REI

A backpack can make or break an adventure any time of year, even more so in spring when you have to pack for a variety of weather conditions and temperatures. This pack, made from recycled material, steps up the typical trail pack by making it more accessible via four-zippered entrances. The water bottle holders on the sides actually fit a water bottle large enough for a solid day hike, and the mesh-covered straps stay cool while hugging tight to your body (everyone hates a slouch pack, right?). But the best feature of the Trail 40 is that the hip belt fastens securely without pressuring your abdomen — whether ascending or descending, you’re sure to appreciate the dexterity.

Price: $129

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Billabong x Chris Burkard Collab Surftrek Perf Dune Lines Board Shorts

billabong board shorts spring gearbillabong board shorts spring gear

Photo: Billabong

Surf may peak around much of the world in winter, but spring still sees solid swells along with warming temps. This new collaboration from Billabong and renowned adventure photographer Chris Burkard puts you on the beach in style, in a pair of surf shorts that function as well as appeal. If you’re hiking in warm or humid weather but there’s a chance of rain, board shorts can be a great option for staying flexible and dry. The elastic waistband keeps them tight but feeling loose, and they look good enough to lounge in at the beachside bar after your session.

Price: $59.95

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