I created this page to share my favorite hiking, training, and travel resources with you. This way, you can easily find great products and services all in one place. I’ve also included some of my favorite online retailers to help you save time and money as you gear up.
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links, and I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please know that your trust is important to me. That’s why I only recommend products that I have verified or used personally.
HIKING AND MOUNTAINEERING
Darn Tough Socks
I used to hike in sock liners until I discovered Darn Tough. Their hiking socks are lusciously comfy and unbelievably durable. I know because I have been thrashing one pair of Micro Crew Cushions for 4 years with few visible signs of wear. Plus all Darn Tough socks are unconditionally guaranteed for life.
Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Hiking Boots
I’m now on my fourth (!) pair of Salomon Quest 4D 3’s, and they’re simply the most comfortable hiking boot I can imagine. No lie, they actually feel like slippers. I also like the lace locker, which makes them easy to tie snugly. A great choice for hikers with slightly wider feet. Note: Not to be confused with the Quest 4D 2 GTX.
Osprey Women’s Arial 65 Pack
Finally, a good technical backpack for girls! The Osprey Arial 65 features plenty of attachment points for gear, including two ice ax loops. I especially love the roomy stretch mesh compartment on the exterior, where I can stuff my extra layers for easy access. The Arial’s detachable lid is super roomy and can double as a day pack for short summit hikes. And while 65 liters isn’t quite expedition size, I’ve carried this pack on four-night trips (with a bear canister inside) and taken it winter camping with no problems.
Leki Cressida Women’s Trekking Poles
Leki Cressidas are shorter and lighter than standard trekking poles with a smaller grip designed especially for women’s hands. I’ve noticed less upper body fatigue since I switched to this lighter pole, even when I’m swinging them for 12 hours straight. I was a little worried about durability, but mine have now been to the top of Mt. Rainier and Huayna Potosi and come back alive! Also, the snow baskets (included) are like magic: great on snow but flexible enough that rocks won’t damage them.
Black Diamond Couloir (Alpine Harness)
Need a super light harness to carry on your mountaineering adventures? Check out the Black Diamond Couloir. It’s minimalist design and quick release leg loops make it easy to slip on and off while wearing crampons. You can also unclip the rear straps when you need to hit the blue bag fast (poop). A recent redesign added a speed buckle for extra safety. (Be sure to read the directions and practice before you try it in the field.)
Spot Gen3 Satellite Messenger
My SPOT Gen3 has traveled with me on extended backpacking trips, solo road trips, to 6000-meter summits — and it’s allowed my friends and family to track my progress. It gives me peace of mind to know that help is only a click away. I also added roadside assistance to my plant in the event my car ever breaks down out of cell phone range. For more details, check out my full SPOT Gen3 review.
La Sportiva G2 SM (High-Altitude Mountaineering Boot)
OK, so I about pooped my pants when I was carrying these to the cash register. But in my opinion, my La Sportiva G2s have been worth every dollar. They’re super warm, and they’re actually more comfortable than my single boots (imagine!). I love the fact that they’re laceless; the Dual Boa closure system make them easy to tighten without ripping the skin off cold fingers. I originally bought them for high altitude, but also wear them on cold days in Colorado. Note: They don’t have a women’s model, but the men’s does the trick for me. Looking for mountaineering boots? For tips on finding the right boot, check out my mountaineering boot shopping guide.
Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor
The Wahoo TICKR chest strap heart rate monitor syncs with most ANT+ and Bluetooth devices. It’s also compatible with over 50 fitness apps, including Strava, Map My Hike, and MyFitnessPal. In my experience it’s very reliable and performs well with minimal fuss and maintenance. Read my full review at The Best Heart Rate Monitor for Beginners: Wahoo TICKR Review.
Get some reading done on your long hikes and gym days! Audible lets you listen to just about any book on your phone. From nonfiction to self-improvement to trashy romances, I can’t believe how much more reading I get done since I joined. Try it out with a 30-day free trial and get two free audiobooks to keep forever
Nuun Performance Hydration Drink Mix
Power your long workouts with clean energy. Nuun Performance Hydration Drink Mix provides the perfect balance of carbs to water so you absorb your electrolytes fast. It’s gluten free, non-GMO, vegan, and the taste actually makes me excited to drink my water! Choose from two flavors: Mango Orange or Blueberry Strawberry.
Ex Officio Underwear
So I learned about this magical underwear unicorn when I backpacked through Central Asia for two months with a friend who brought ONE PAIR OF PANTIES. For serious. Every night, she’d wash them out, and every morning they’d be fresh and dry. I now own two pairs of ExOfficio Give-N-Go Bikini Briefs and can’t imagine traveling without them. And guys, don’t feel left out. There are plenty of options for you too! For more tips and an in-depth ExOfficio review, check out my blog post: How to Walk Across Asia With One Pair of Underwear.
World Nomads (Travel Insurance)
World Nomads makes travel insurance simple and flexible. You can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travelers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To learn more, visit my travel insurance page, or fill out the page below to get a quote instantly.
Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (The Mountaineers Books)
For over 50 years, Freedom of the Hills has been the Bible of the mountaineering world. I actually read it cover to cover as a mountaineering student. This 600-plus-page instructional manual covers everything from what to wear mountaineering to how to build an igloo to how to perform advanced crevasse rescue. It’s a must-have resource for every mountaineer. Plus it looks badass on your coffee table.
The Lady Dirtbag’s Guide to Freedom: A Wilderness Manual for Women (Meg Sheff-Atteberry and Sarah Maurer)
OK, Freedom of the Hills is awesome, but as a chick, I feel like there are a few subjects it left out. That’s why I teamed up with my outdoor BFF Meg to write a wilderness manual especially for women. To show you the ropes, we walk you through an entire trip, from driving your badass Jeep to the trailhead to defending your camp from bears to the joys of pooping in the wilderness. Funny, irreverent, and packed with practical tips and tricks, this book will delight the dirtbag in you. Sold as a PDF download.
Training for the New Alpinism (Steve House and Scott Johnston)
Let Steve House (who regularly sets speed records and puts up new routes on 8000-meter peaks) get your ass in shape! In Training for the New Alpinism, Steve and his coach Scott advocate for lots of long, moderate-intensity cardio workouts and sport-specific strength training. I especially love their weight-lifting program; it made me the strongest I’ve ever been this year. In addition to solid training advice, the book contains tons of entertaining stories (Steve losing his boot in the middle of a big wall, etc.).
The Outdoor Athlete (Courtney and Doug Schurman)
The Outdoor Athlete is the training manual that got me to the top of Mount Rainier. It’s packed with evidence-based info on nutrition, cardiorespiratory conditioning and strength training, including a useful library of weight-lifting exercises. The authors outline training plans for a variety of sports and skill levels, including cross-country skiing, general hiking and backpacking, mountain biking, and mountaineering. Highly recommended for hikers, backpackers, mountaineers, and multi-sport athletes.
Miss Adventure Pants Beginner’s Training Plan (Sarah Maurer)
Build a solid base of hiking fitness in just 8 weeks! My Beginner’s Training Plan walks you day by day through workouts designed to improve full-body strength, speed, and aerobic endurance. Ideal for hikers who are currently working out 0–3 times a week. Delivered as a PDF download and comes with some awesome bonuses, including a training log and wall calendar.
Miss Adventure Pants Mount Rainier Training Pack (Sarah Maurer)
While getting ready for Mount Rainier, I felt like none of the training plans I consulted really nailed the exact workout I needed. So I decided to write my own! My 21-week Mount Rainier training plan takes you step by step through the cardio and strength workouts you need to climb 10,000 feet with a pack. Get in the best shape of your life while working out as little as 5–12 hours a week. Delivered as a PDF download and comes with some awesome bonuses, including an ebook, training log, wall calendar, gear list, and trip planner.
Colorado Scrambles Book (Dave Cooper)
Tired of the 14er crowds? Get off the beaten path with these interesting scrambling routes from around Colorado. Colorado Scrambles covers classics like The Sawtooth and Kelso Ridge, plus many rarely climbed routes. Difficulty level ranges from moderate to expert. The book also includes important safety information. Note: Dave Cooper is clearly a superhuman beast. Add 50–100 percent to the expected trip duration listed.
Colorado Snow Climbs Book (Dave Cooper)
This helpful guide will keep you in crampons year-round. Colorado Snow Climbs covers winter ridge runs, spring and summer couloir climbs, and even a few routes that can be climbed in late summer and fall. You’ll find info on classics like North Star Mountain, Cristo Couloir, and Dead Dog Couloir, plus less-climbed routes around the state. Difficulty ranges from moderate to expert, including some routes that require a rope.
Online Outdoor Retailers
Mountaineering made me an Amazon Prime member, and now I seriously can’t remember life before. The free 2-day shipping is a lifesaver when you’re packing madly for a big overseas trip and suddenly realize you’re out of paracord! These days, I usually do a Prime order about a week out from my departure day, which saves me hours of errands. Register for a free 30-day trial to try it out.
Moosejaw’s rewards program has won my loyalty and made it one of my fav online outdoor retailers. You automatically get 10% back on full-price purchases and 2.5% on sale items. You can then apply your credits any time you shop on the site. Moosejaw also offers free shipping on orders over $49 and has a great return policy. Oh, and they’re funny, and they send you little presents in your packages.
Backcountry.com is another outdoor retailer that’s great for more specialized mountaineering gear. One thing I really like about Backcountry.com is that you can chat with “gear nerds” 24-7 if you have a shopping question. For example, I wasn’t sure what size to buy in a belay glove, and the nerd actually had me message him my hand measurements! (He was right). They also have a great return policy.
REI.com carries a full line of outdoor gear and also offers educational programs and adventure travel trips. Become an REI member for a one-time payment of $20 and earn 10% back on full-price purchases (paid in the form of an annual dividend every spring). If you really want to supercharge your dividend, consider getting the REI credit card, which gives you an additional 5% back on REI purchases plus 1% back on all purchases. REI has an excellent return policy that allows you to return purchases (excluding closeouts) for any reason for up to one year.
The Clymb runs flash sales on selected items from top brands. Get up to 70 percent off retail on gear from Mountain Hardware, Outdoor Research, Keen, Black Diamond, and more. To see the latest deals, you have to be a member of the site, but you can use my affiliate link to look around as a guest.
Looking for even more gear recommendations?
Here are some places to look:
- Check out my blog post on the 10 Essentials of Hiking Gear
- Jump in my Facebook Group to chat gear with our helpful community
- Follow my Hiking Gear Pinterest Board for gear reviews and tips from around the web