There’s a big, beautiful world out there: Don’t let the only wild naturescape you see be the wallpaper on your phone’s lock screen. Hiking is one of the easiest and most accessible outdoor sports. You don’t need a spendy mountain bike or a big bundle of climbing gear to lace up your shoes and walk around looking for birds or basking under the trees.

Even if you live in a big city, there are probably accessible woods within a few hours’ drive or train trip that are worth checking out. If you’ve never done it before, figuring out what to bring might seem like a daunting task, but it’s easier than you might think to stay dry, warm, hydrated, and safe. We have everything you need here. If you’re a little more experienced, you might want to check our buying guides for the Best Tents, Best Camping Stoves, or Best Portable Coffee Makers. Now head outside and become the hiker you’ve always wanted to be.

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Table of Contents

Shoes, Socks, and Base Layers

Photograph: Salomon

Let’s start with the obvious: You won’t have any fun on a hike—of any length—if you have bloody blisters on your feet or uncomfortable chafing under your armpits. It may take some time to experiment with which shoes you like best. When it comes to clothes, wear layers so you can put on or remove them before you start to sweat. Check out our guides to the Best Trail Running Shoes and How to Layer for more info.

  • A Good Pair of Shoes for $120: For moderate temperatures, we prefer low-top, non-Gore-Tex mesh trail shoes, such as the Salomon X Ultra 3 ($120) or the Merrell Moab Ventilator ($100). As we head into winter, the Lowa Renegade GTX ($240) boot is more stable, and the leather keeps wet snow from soaking through …….


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