Mountaineering

15 kit essentials for your next summer hike

© Olivier Laugero/Red Bull Content Pool
Written by Will Gray
Don’t head off on your next hike without checking out this essential kit guide – with all the best clothing, footwear, gadgets and sleeping gear to take into the mountains this summer.
Picking the right kit is crucial for a winter trekking trip, but if you think your gear choice doesn’t matter in the summer, think again.
Summer sunshine can make life just as tough as winter snow if you don’t make the best choices when you’re filling your backpack. In summer it’s all about travelling light, staying fresh and being flexible.
Here’s some of our top kit picks for a summer adventure, from stylish socks to trek or lounge in, to face-hugging sunglasses that optimise your vision on the brightest of days. Don’t leave home without checking this list of essentials.

Clothing

Stylish socks
Stance socks product shot.
Stance socks
Slip on these stylish socks and you’ll be the centre of attention as you stroll around the mountain hut. They’re functional for trekking, with a breathable mesh, cushioning and reinforced areas, but cool and cosy at night too.
Trekking tank
Arc’Teryx Kadem vest top product shot.
Arc’Teryx Kadem
Summer hiking temperatures change all the time so you need to be able to layer – and the base needs to be lightweight, breathable, quick drying and comfortable. These men’s and women’s tops tick all those boxes.
Shower shell
Helly Hansen Loke Anorak product shot.
Helly Hansen Loke Anorak
Being prepared for showers and wind without carrying full-on rain gear is a key part of planning for a summer hike. This super-lightweight shell jacket is the ideal thing to pull out of the pack when conditions change.
Stretchy shorts
Mountain Hardwear AP shorts product shot.
Mountain Hardwear AP shorts
Mountain clothing has to be versatile and these shorts suit just about everything. They’re durable on rock and stretch to flex in all the right places, whether you’re hiking and scrambling or full-on climbing.
Alpine shades
Salomon Kangtega Glacier Black sunglasses product shot.
Salomon Kangtega Glacier Black sunglasses
Clear vision is crucial in the mountains and these unisex shades are designed specifically for high alpine environments. Their wrap-around shape gives great peripheral vision while side inserts and mirrored lenses limit glare.

Footwear

Supergrip Runners
On Running Cloudventure trail shoes seen on model running over rocks.
On Running Cloudventure trail shoes
Trails offer all sorts of terrain but the rugged ‘Missiongrip’ on these running shoes can handle it all. There are multiple grip patterns for different conditions and a two-part sole designed to cushion the way down.
Trail hikers
KEEN waterproof hiking shoes product shot.
KEEN waterproof hiking shoes
This high-performance shoe is light but solid on the trail, with a wrap-around rubber outsole and multi-directional grip to maximise traction and a lightweight upper with heel-capture system to provide a locked-in fit.
Summit boots
Hanwag Alverstone II GTX mountain boots product shot.
Hanwag Alverstone II GTX mountain boots
These big solid boots, with their unique 3D prismbase patterned soles, will get you through any challenge, from fording through rivers to crossing snow on the way to lofty alpine summits.

Equipment

Power panel
BioLite SolarPanel 5+ product shot.
BioLite SolarPanel 5+
If you keep running out of power on the trail, slip one of these super-thin solar panels in your backpack. Its integrated sundial and 360º stand optimise charging and a built-in battery even stores power for later use.
Water straw
LifeStraw product shot.
LifeStraw
Slip this in your pocket and wherever there's water, you can drink. It filters out bacteria, parasites and microplastics, and reduces chemicals. For every one bought, Lifestraw provide a child with one year of clean water.
Tracking watch
Suunto 9 Baro watch product shot.
Suunto 9 Baro
This watch has an intelligent battery that can track you in the mountains for up to 120 hours. It combines GPS with motion sensors to reduce power use while keeping it accurate. It also has a barometer and a storm alarm.
Tube of essentials
VSSL Adventure System seen deconstructed for product shot.
VSSL Adventure System
This clever customisable system stores a bunch of hiking essentials in a compact metal tube. You can fit an LED and compass to the ends and slot tins inside containing everything from fishing tackle to dice games.
Hand-squeezed coffee
Wacaco Nanopresso coffee maker product shot.
Wacaco Nanopresso
This hand-powered espresso maker brings proper coffee to the trail. It contains a ground coffee store, a compactor and a pump to squeeze out the brew. If you’re lazy, there’s even one that works with coffee capsules.

Sleeping

Inflatable tent
Heimplanet Fistral 1-2 man tent shot
The classic Fistral 1-2 man tent
It takes less than a minute to put up this tent after a long day on the trail. It packs down small and weighs 2.5kg, but its airframe is super stable and the polyester fly with nylon inner will keep you warm and dry.
Season-edge sack
Marmot Never Summer sleeping bag shot.
Marmot Never Summer sleeping bag
Sometimes summer nights are not as warm as you might hope – but this steps up when temperatures drop. It’s a comfortable summer bag, but its water-resistant down is rated right down to -18ºC.