I spend a lot of time writing about various outdoor products and fortunate enough to test out a lot of products in the Canadian Rockies. Truth be told with a successful website on outdoor adventures I get a lot of free products. I don’t say that as a brag rather that when I do love a product and choose to regularly wear and use it this comes from having tested a dozen of its competitors.
One of the largest growing markets in recent years has been hiking clothes as more and more people hit the trail every year. The result is a crowded market with a plethora of hiking clothes for men available. I’ll do my best to update this post from time to time with my favorite men’s hiking clothes.
Hiking Clothes For Men
Best Hiking Pants for Men
Fjallraven’s Keb Trousers
Both Natasha and I have Fjallraven’s well known Keb trousers. Fjallraven’s Keb trousers are an outdoor staple for Norwegians and have treated us well on our adventures. They are heavyweight and not excellent for quick dry properties but deliver a serious ruggedness that can handle sharp rocks, crampons, or a branch.
We’ve been asked numerous times on Instagram and in person what brand my pants are, and I feel confident recommending them to anyone. They are my favorite pair of pants.
Through their weight and zippered vents they manage temperature extremely well. On the early mornings they’re cozy, but start moving uphill and you can unzip the side vents on the calves and thighs for plenty of air.
If you think it’s going to be a cold day you can easily pair these with thermals for winter adventures. They’re just a kickass pair of pants that also happen to be the most comfortable hiking pants I’ve ever worn.
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pant
If it’s not a strenuous hike or it’s warm weather I like to wear Outdoor Research’s Ferossi pants. They’re great for summer days where I’d still like the protection of a pant. The pants are really lightweight but similar to a softshell pant with great water resistance and windbreaking capabilities.
With that in mind, they keep you warm in cool weather, but the breathability of the pants keeps you cool in hot weather. They also have a lot of water resistance and are more comfortable than a pair of rain pants.
Best Hiking Shorts for Men
Arc’teryx Palisade Short
Honestly, I rarely hike in shorts. The weather is too unpredictable in the Rockies and always a little chilly. Plus, if you take a fall in shorts you can almost guarantee you’re going to get cut. We just deal with far too much scree, ice, and snow here, but on easy hikes and when we’re in more mild countries like Greece or Scotland, I love a pair of hiking shorts.
BUT I know it’s not like that everywhere, and I definitely see the need for shorts in hot weather. My personal favorite is the Arc’teryx Palisade shorts for their mobility and technical prowess. The biggest downside is the price as I have a hard time justifying $100+ on a pair of shorts. I also love a pair of shorts like Baggies from Patagonia or River Shorts from Topo Designs.
Best Hiking Shirts for Men
I alternate between four different types of shirts for hiking. The first is a lightweight synthetic t-shirt which is my most common. The next would be a long sleeve synthetic for sun protection. A wool t-shirt as it’s great for multi-day hikes due to great anti-microbial properties.
Outdoor Research Shirt Echo Series
I have a number of Outdoor Research Echo hiking shirts and rotate them on my hikes. I’ve tried a bunch of synthetic shirts and these are easily the most comfortable. I’d go so far as to say it feels like I’m not even wearing a shirt.
They are lightweight and moisture-wicking. Seriously, you don’t want to be stuck with a cotton shirt while hiking. Cotton traps all your sweat and then when you get cold it becomes a problem.
Outdoor Research shirts provide full coverage with their long sleeve collections, but you won’t get hot under the sun. These shirts are built with UPF sun protection, AirVent™ moisture management, and ActiveFresh™ odor control technology.
Arc’teryx Skyline Shirt
Arc’teryx is well known for making some tremendous technical clothing. It’s all built for being active whether that’s hiking or hanging around town. The Skyline is a lightweight shirt made from polyester fabric that resists wrinkles, dries quickly for comfort and wicks away sweat from the body.
The front breast pocket is great for a small tube of sunscreen, bug spray, or a camera lens cap. For me, it’s the cut and technical capabilities of the shirt that make it a slam dunk choice. It comes in both long and short sleeve options so take your pick.
Best Men’s Hiking Mid-layers
Mid-layers are a tremendous way to provide insulation in a lightweight manner. These range a lot by activity and the season and can include everything from down jackets, synthetic, fleeces, flannels, softshell jackets, and even hoodies.
Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody
The Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody is easily one of my favorites pieces of clothing I’ve owned. Its versatility is really surprising and I’ve logged hundreds of miles and a ton of elevation in the jacket.
It’s a lightweight and breathable mid-layer that has great mobility. One of those can do anything articles of clothing whether that’s backpacking, scrambling, hiking, skiing, running errands in town, and even lounging on the couch. I’m a little mixed on the exposed Polartec insulation on the inside, but it does result in a comfy and lightweight jacket.
Altogether, a solid jacket for when you’re putting in work on the trail or in the mountains.
One of my favorite mid layers is the Arc’teryx Nuclei synthetic down jacket. I’ve spent a lot of time in the jacket and have put it through the paces.
The synthetic material helps retain heat even in wet conditions and manages perspiration really well. Most notably I’ve been using it for split-boarding and as an extra layer for hikes while we travel around the world.
It’s been designed to be incredibly lightweight and windproof in order to protect you against the elements. For that, it does a tremendous job the photo taken here was on a -14C (7F) day and I stayed warm while active with only a thermal underneath. I look forward to keeping it in my pack this summer.
Best Hiking Down Jacket for Men
Feather Friends EOS Jacket
If you need a warm jacket it’s not possible to do better in terms of weight vs warmth than Feathered Friends EOS Down Jacket. This down jacket features 2.8 ounces of 900-fill down with a down hood and an insulated draft tube behind the zipper.
While it may not be best for climates with a light chill, it is perfect for cold weather. These are our favorite down hiking jackets on the market and we both have one. Our only gripe with the jacket is the slightly bulky fit.
When it comes down to packability it comes with a nylon stuff sack that is about the size of a large water bottle. The stuff sack is great for packing attaching the bag to the outside of a hiking backpack, harness, or just slip it in your luggage.
Best Men’s Hiking Shell
Arc’teryx Zeta LT Jacket
When it comes to hiking clothes the best investment you can make is in a quality shell jacket. They’re tremendous at protection from the elements like rain, wind, sleet, and even snow.
I have several shell jacket that I cycle throughout the year, but the one I reach for the most is my Arc’teryx Zeta LT Jacket. The LT line from Arc’teryx is the lightweight line and it packs down well in my backpack.
The Arc’teryx is waterproof, windproof, and breathable and made with Goretex Pro. It’s not just good for traveling and rainstorms but is a protective shell against all levels of weather. I can even wear it in the winter as a waterproof shell over my down jacket.
Outdoor Research Whirlwind Hoody
I love to carry a softshell jacket in my backpack as it’s comfortable, lightweight, and performs well in the mountains. The Whirlwind Hoody is a bit of a different softshell jacket as it is super lightweight and feels more like a long sleeve shirt.
It has some simple features like a front pocket, an elastic hood, waist cinch, and elastic cuffs. The front zipper is great as it’s effective for temperature management or throwing on over a helmet. It all together forms a jacket that doesn’t leave a lot of desires.
I love that I can pack the jacket down into its own pocket and for an easy fit in a small trail running pack or hung off a climbing harness.
The jacket has amazing mobility, breathability, wind-resistance, and durability that make it a standout for hiking. This softshell is great for lightweight hikers who demand a durable piece of clothing.
Best Hiking Thermals for Men
We’ve tried a few different brands but recently settled on Kora as our favorite pair of thermals. It may be best for us as we need something technical when we snowboard or climb mountains to wick away moisture from our bodies.
Kora makes high-performance technical clothing out of quality Yak Wool from the Himalayas — warning they are high priced. However, their technical abilities have far outpassed traditional wool or synthetic materials we’ve used. It’s a kick-ass pair of thermals and they’ve managed to hold up tremendously for over 100+ days of use.
Best Hiking Underwear for Men
Hiking underwear isn’t the most exciting thing to talk about in terms of men’s hiking clothes. However, they’re an important part of your wardrobe and a poor pair of underwear can ruin a hike, especially a multiday trek.
I’ve always opted for a nice compression short or lightweight underwear from ExOfficio. However, I recently tried out Saxx underwear and can officially say I’m a convert. I was a little skeptical that the “new tech” would really make an impact on my underwear.
If you’re unfamiliar with Saxx the underwear has a small pouch for your business. After, extended use I can say it’s a phenomenal feature that works perfectly. There is no need for adjustments when putting them on and off. The result is exceptional comfort that does an effective job of pulling away moisture and heat.
Best Men’s Hiking Shoes and Boots
Vasque St. Elias GTX Hiking Boot
I love my Vasque St Elias Hiking boots as they’re some of the most robust hiking boots and they look pretty damn good too. They’re stiff, stable underfoot, and have great traction. I love a well-protected toe box for digging into the mountain
I love a pair of hiking boots when dealing with scree as it protects the ankle and allows for kick steps. The heavy soles are great for carrying a heavy backpack and I feel comfortable on long days.
Salomon men’s X Ultra 3 GTX
Often voted one of the top hiking shoes on the market, these are built with only the rocky trail in mind. Salomon has strong name recognition and there is a good reason for that.
From their waterproof but breathable design, down to their grippy and rugged bottom soles; these shoes will support you through every trail hike on your trip. I use these as my go-to hikers in the Canadian Rockies for dry day ascents.
Teva Hiking Sandals
Hiking sandals can be so incredibly nice for freeing your feet. Whether it’s an easy hike or you’re just walking around camp it’s great to walk around in a pair of Teva’s or Chacos. They’re also great for letting your feet dry out or if you need to make a river/stream crossing.
We’ve learned to love our feet with a good pair of merino wool hiking socks. You will want to keep your feet nice and dry while you walk around. Most importantly wool socks stay fresh for several days as they have natural antimicrobial properties.
We hike with a couple of pairs of the Darn Tough Merino socks and our feet have never felt cold or wet. As a bonus, they’re produced in Vermont! Smartwool also makes hiking specific socks that are perfect for long days in the mountains. I rotate both on my hikes, but have a slight preference for the Darn Tough socks.
Hiking Gear and Accessories for Men
A few of my hiking pants come with a built-in belt which is great for traveling light. However, whenever I am in need for a belt I go for my Jelt Belt. Jelt is a women-owned social enterprise that produces belts made from 100% recycled plastic bottles with an innovative patented flat buckle that lies flat against your body.
Both Natasha and I have a few of these bad boys and they are SO much better than regularly clunky belts.
I have a pair of Outdoor Research Splitter work gloves in my hiking pack at all times. They are great for when you are scrambling or bushwacking and I always end up using them at some point on my hike. I never want to come back with bloody hands and they protect against that.
This isn’t anything special, but I always carry a hiking hat in my bag. It’s great for reducing sun exposure when you’re hiking. It’s super important when you’re on trails that have little to no tree cover like the desert or the alpine. I love to use “trucker hats” as the mesh panels keep my head cool.
Smith Guide Sunglasses
Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun since you’ll likely spend a lot of time hiking in the sun at elevation. There are a lot of options for sunglasses and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes. Sunglasses are particularly important if you plan to visit any glacier or high alpine passes as sun reflection from the snow is damaging to your eyes.
I love more technical sunglasses for hiking like the Smith Guide’s Choice sunglasses. A wide side frame protects your eyes from the side and the lens provides an exceptional field of view. They have Polarized glasses that are great at enhancing vision in bright environments and removing glare from windshields and the water. Perfect for a wide range of activities such as fishing, kayaking, running errands in town, travel, or the beach.
On multiday treks, I love to carry a buff headwear. We have a collection of buff headbands and bring them everywhere. They’re great for a multitude of reasons such as sun/wind protection, a scarf, headband, or an ear warmer.
We always have one in our suitcase or backpack no matter the destination and consider it one top travel and hiking accessories. I imagine most people have one or two of these by now, but if you don’t it’s time to invest in at least one good one.
30L Hiking Backpack
Any serious hike needs a backpack to carry extra food, water, GPS, first aid kit, and extra clothing. My latest pack is a revamped Gregory Alpinisto Backpack that is designed for alpine ascents, climbing, and backcountry ski. The original versions of this pack came with some quirks, but the latest version for 2020 seems to have nailed it.
It’s packed with a lot of features for alpinism like ski carry, ice ax attachment, and snow shedding back panel. While not everyone needs an alpine pack the key to take away here is to opt for the right size pack. I love a versatile size around the 30L mark. 30L gives enough room for gear heavy days, but it’s light enough for light short treks.
If you have plans to take part in a long day or multi-day hikes a pair of hiking poles are a great way to save your knees and prevent injuries. If you’re on a full day of hiking in the mountains you’ll gain and descend a lot of elevation. Although I don’t always need hiking poles, they are always in my pack. I almost ALWAYS end up using at least once while I’m descending a mountain.
Black Diamond is a company dedicated to mountain sports and has worked hard to craft wonderful products. I personally use the Black Diamond FLZ Hiking Poles, but there are some other great poles out there produced by companies like REI and MSR. “Z” poles are fantastic as they’re lightweight and can be stashed inside a backpack should you not need them.
In regards to hiking poles, unless you’re hiking along a flat well-trodden trail never use the wrist straps. If you take a fall and the pole hangs upon a root or rock the wrist strap could break your wrist.
You shouldn’t hike without a headlamp, even on a dayhike. We rarely do sunrise hikes, but a headlamp is always in our bag just in case we get caught on the mountain after dark. They are small and light so there is no reason not to have one in your pack. This is another hiking accessory that could save your life.
We have several headlamps, but one of our new favorites is the Biolite 200. It took several recommendations online before settling on this one because of its affordable price and durability. It delivers 200 lumens, costs $40, and will likely last a decade or longer sweet deal if you like to spend time outdoors. Most importantly it’s rechargeable so no more of those pesky batteries in the trash — eco-friendly product win!
While I like having a water bottle on my hikes I like having a water bladder even more. A bladder keeps me drinking regularly since I never have to stop hiking and take out my bottle. It’s always readily available when you need it.
You should consume at least two liters a water a day while hiking in the mountains, often this means you either carry two bottles of water. The better option for carrying that much water on your treks is to carry a water bladder. A water bladder additionally allows you to carry extra water if needed.
Most hiking backpacks and even daypacks designed for hiking have a sleeve for carrying your extra water.
Grayl Lightweight Water Bottle
If a water bladder is not your thing at the very least get a good water bottle. Don’t go hiking with a plastic water bottle! This is a waste of money and plastic.
I love the design of this water bottle! Like the Lifestraw Go this bottle also features a filter. However, the filter design is entirely different than the Lifestraw. Most important is that this water bottle system purifies water vs. filters which removes viruses and virtually removes all threat of waterborne illnesses.
A knife or multitool is really helpful for just about anything, and could really get you out a pickle in the wilderness if need be.
We can’t hike into the mountains with a box of tools, but a Leatherman makes for a good substitute. Ever since I developed the habit of carrying one in the film industry it has stuck. I’ve tried out a few brands but always come back to a Leatherman. Just remember to always take it out of your hiking backpack when flying as it won’t make it past security.
After using about a half dozen different versions of the Leatherman I still love one of their cheapest models. The Wingman has all of the basic necessities and spring-loaded pliers that feel great in the hand.
We spend a lot of time in the backcountry which means we are disconnected and far from a cell phone signal. This brings a lot of risk in case of an emergency. The Garmin Inreach allows for us to have a GPS for navigation which keeps us safely on the trail.
Then should the worst ever happen we have an emergency button through Inreach that notifies search and rescue should we ping the satellite. It’s a lifesaving device, that also does nifty features like send short messages and even allow for friends and family to track your whereabouts when you’re on the trail.
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit should ALWAYS be in your backpacking checklist. It is important backpacking essential and could save your life in an emergency. We go on every hike with an emergency first aid kit in our bag.
Here is what we recommend you pack in a basic first aid kit for day or multi-day hiking trips.
Hiking First Aid Kit Example
- Ibuprofen — NSAID. Treats pain, fever, swelling.
- Tylenol — Pain reliever that does not thin blood in case of a concussion or open wound.
- Benedryl — Bites, stings, allergies, and a sleep aid.
- Pepto Bismol — Antimicrobial that helps treat stomach issues.
- Imodium — This is is used to prevent dehydration in the event of diarrhea, but should be avoided as it does cause constipation. Not necessary on a day trip.
- Antifungal Cream — Not necessary on a day trip, but it’s good for your hiking first aid kit to prevent rashes. Of course, this is best minimized with proper clothing and moisture management.
- Bandaids/Gauze — Great for cuts, blisters, or scrapes.
- Medical Tape — This is great for compression to reduce swelling, building a splint, or stabilizing a rolled ankle.
- Antibiotic Ointment — Use the disposable packets as it helps save weight with only one or two in your bag.
This is where preparation for spending a night out in the wilderness comes into effect. If you’re on a short loop around town it’s probably not necessary, but any significant hike in a national park or wilderness area presents the risk of spending the night outside. When temperatures drop at night it presents the very dangerous threat of hypothermia or frostbite. An emergency blanket is a light and small item to keep in your pack.
Multi-Day Backpacking Gear for Men
MSR Hubba Hubba Tent
You’ll need a tent if you’re camping in the wilderness. We have our MSR Hubba Hubba 2 backpacking person tent for comfort when backpacking and doing multi-day hikes.
The Hubba Hubba is a top seller for MSR. It’s ultralight and has a super-fast setup system. This tent is waterproof and ultra-durable for any mountain adventure. It’s a great size for two people and there is even extra space to move around. The double entry with an overhang makes the logistics of two people possible as well.
NeoAir Uber Lite
You’ll want a sleeping pad under you while you sleep. Not only is it more comfortable, but it provides insulation from the ground in order to stay warm. The cold ground can pull the heat away from your body so it’s important to have some separation.
We travel with the new NeoAir Uber Lite. It’s good for backpacking since it only weighs 8oz and you can blow it up in under two minutes. It’s alson super comfortable, but if you’re a side sleeper the Klimat is a better option.
A pillow is essential for a good night’s sleep in the mountains. Therm-A-Rest makes durable pillows from upcycled foam. These pillows are soft and expand large enough for a comfortable rest.
Therm-A-Rest Sleeping Bag
Don’t go into the mountains without a sleeping bag if you’re staying overnight. Even in the summer, it gets cold at night and you’ll need a proper sleeping bag to provide you with the warmth you need.
We personally have the new Vesper 20F/-6C Quilt. This is an awesome comfortable sleeping bag featuring 900-fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down. It’s ultralight and good for overnight backpacking trips. It’s important to match your sleeping bag to your climate, in the Rockies we often see temps below freezing even in the summer.
MSR PocketRocket Deluxe
This is the latest burner from MSR who have been designing these burners for ages, and the Deluxe is their best one yet. It’s not the lightest burner on the market, but at only three ounces, it’s pretty close. It’s a significant update to the old RocketPocket 2 with new recessed burner holes, regulator, a piezoelectric lighter, and pot supports. The result is a burner that is easier to light, burns consistently, and handles wind very well that feels nothing like its predecessor.
In use the burner is exceptional, and it’s easy to deliver a consistent temperature whether boiling water or simmering to cook food on a pan. Most impressive it the sheer amount of heat the burner throws our boiling water faster than any other cooker we’ve used. It also comes with a small stuff sack that fits well inside your cook kit.
Other than the typical drawbacks to canister burners, the PocketRocket Deluxe didn’t always light on the first ignition click (nit-picking here) and could stand to be a little more fuel efficient. Altogether, it’s likely the best backpacking stove, and I love it to use it when we’re hiking in the mountains as it handles wind surprisingly well.
I hope this backpacking gear and hiking guide was useful to you! These are my favorite men’s hiking clothes items as you can see by the photos and I stand by each and every one of them. I’m sure you will love all these products as much as I do!
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