Summer is a great time for hiking with more predictable and warmer weather making it safer and generally more enjoyable. But summer has its own challenges with heat discomfort, dehydration and it’s still easy to be unprepared.
This is the best summer hiking gear list collated over several years of hiking in the UK. Although this list could be applicable to many similar hiking environments around the world with warm summers but weather that can change quickly or be unpredictable – which we all know the UK weather can be at the best of times!
So without further ado, here’s my summary of the best hiking gear UK retailers have to offer and the stuff I actually use – men’s and women’s versions are both included where applicable.
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The best hiking equipment: UK summer edition
Best summer hiking jacket
It is tempting not to pack a jacket for the summer and maybe sometimes you don’t need one.
But with the changeable weather in the UK and with the wind picking up on some trails, it’s a great idea to have a compact, packable jacket that’s small enough to easily squeeze into your bag but lightweight and breathable enough that you won’t overheat if you find yourself having to pull it out.
These Mountain Warehouse packable jackets are a great option.
Best summer hiking shorts
Summer is shorts weather, right?!
If you prefer to wear shorts for your summer walking adventures, I prefer ones that are quite minimal rather than clunky with too many tips and fastenings.
These Mammut shorts are perfect for the walk and the pub stop afterwards!
I love Revolution Race gear, it fits really well and comes in lots of great colours, so if you’re looking for colours, check out these women’s shorts.
For women’s hiking shorts, if you prefer shorter shorts, these Columbia shorts are a great option.
Best summer hiking trousers
If the weather is looking challenging or you prefer to have full coverage (good if you’re prone to mosquito bites!) then these are some great hiking trouser options.
Again, I love Revolution Race trousers and shorts – they fit great, are lightweight but still durable and don’t feel cumbersome.
If you are unlucky enough to find yourself on a rainy summer hike, some breathable waterproof trousers are a great option. I use these men’s ones as they’re pretty unisex looking.
Best summer hiking boot
An essential item to get right on any summer hiking gear list, I personally prefer a hiking boot over a hiking shoe just because I prefer the ankle support (weak ankles over here!)
However these Salomon boots are a low rise boot, so they’re the perfect compromise between a boot and a shoe.
If you’re looking for the best summer hiking shoes in the UK, I also really recommend trying on a few pairs at Decathlon or Cotswold Outdoors to find a fit that’s right for you.
Best summer hiking socks
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that socks aren’t important!
Cheap or regular socks will often slip down in your shoe and cause chaffing – which is especially painful if your feet are warm, sweaty and swollen as they likely will be if you’re hiking in the summer!
I love Smartwool hiking socks, they’re crew style so they come up high (often above your boot to avoid the slipping!)
Smartwool using a wool technology that makes their socks breathable, durable, well fitting and perfect for hiking. They also have durability zones which are reinforced areas around high impact points like the toes and heel.
Best Summer Hiking Backpack
Summer hiking means you can get away with some ultralight outdoor gear and a more lightweight hiking backpack than one you’d perhaps use in the winter.
Summer hiking still requires plenty of supplies and space for your water, food, accessories and sunscreen (see my recommendations below!)
I personally use Osprey Backpacks because they’re lightweight hiking backpacks, they’re durable and importantly, they come with a lifetime guarantee.
This 22 litre backpack is the perfect size, has side pockets, an attachment for stowing your hiking pole, a secure zip fastening and adjustable straps and hip belt.
It’s available in 4 colours and is the perfect size for summer hiking adventures.
Osprey do slightly different styles and fits for both men and women to fit different body types, so I’ve linked the most similar styles for each below, plus a more minimal unisex option.
Psst… if you’re in the market for a larger rucksack, I have been using my Osprey Fairpoint 40L backpack for round the world travel since 2018. I love it because it complies with most airline’s hand luggage sizes so it means I can pack everything I need and not pay for checking a bag.
It’s been one of my best travel investments and you can find it here:
Best lightweight day bag
My partner swears by this bag, it comes with us everywhere because it’s packable and absolutely tiny but really durable once it’s unfolded.
Sea to Summit do great travel day bags which are perfect for short walks, wandering around a city or grabbing some bits from the shop.
It’s an essential travel item for us and you can find it here.
Summer Hiking Gear: What’s in my backpack?
We’re talking about the best men’s hiking gear and the best women’s hiking gear so far, but the correct accessories are just as important in the summer months as the winter months.
Here’s the rundown of what else on my summer hiking gear list for every hike.
Best hiking water bottle
I am obsessed with Hydroflasks because I love the colours, I love that they do so many different shapes depending on what you prefer and I love that you can swap out the lids to have the top that you prefer – an attachment loop, screw top, drinking straw etc
Miraculously they keep cold drinks cold for 24 hours and hot drinks warm for 12 hours.
Choose from 20 colours – buy Hydroflask here.
If you need extra water supplies but don’t want to carry the weight of a vacuum flask, the Nalgene bottles won’t keep your drink cool but they are lightweight and carry a litre of water.
Best summer hiking hat
Growing up I thought hats were dorky but now I rarely leave the house without a wooly hat in winter or a cap in summer. And that goes for hiking too.
Hats are vital to protect your head from the sun, keep your head and face cool and protected from the sun and stop sweat dripping into your eyes too.
However, my mistake was to wear a cap which obviously protects my face but not my neck. A wider brim is best and these lightweight fishing hat styles are perfect and their machine washable.
Best sunscreen for hiking
There is no ‘best sunscreen for hiking’ – any sunscreen is better than none and it should always be worn even on cloudy days.
However, high SPF and water resistant are so important for me, as is finding a sunscreen without chemicals, cruelty free and safe for the environment.
ThinkSport 50+ SPF sunscreen is a great option.
Don’t forget your SPF lipbalm too – I use Burt’s Bees SPF or SunBum SPF 30
Best hiking dry bag
I never realised how much I would use a dry sack until I got one!.
Dry sacks are great if you’re planning any wild swimming, river crossings or to protect your belongings inside your bag from any unexpected downpours.
Earth Pak do great large dry packs that come with a waterproof phone case and come in loads of colours (again, mind is yellow)
But if you’re after something smaller to fit a few things in your backpack, these smaller HydroLock sacks are a great alternative.
Best hiking watch
Maybe I’m old school but I don’t think you should be relying on your phone to keep track of time while you’re hiking! What if your phone dies and you have no concept of how long you’ve been gone?!
I’m personally a fan of a super cheap, waterproof, durable watch and I love that Casio do these watches in a range of colours for under £20, the black version is even cheaper!
If you’re in the market for some of the best budget hiking gear but still good quality, a Casio watch is a great option and it will last for ages!
Buy Casio watch here in colours – (I have it in yellow!)
Best hiking fitness tracker
I’m honestly a big fan of the minimalist design and don’t really enjoy the large watch faces of a lot of the fitness trackers out there.
I prefer to keep my fitness band minimal with the slim design of the Fitbit Inspire. I also love their app interface and how easy it is to track workouts, hikes, sleep, heart rate and other key health indicators.
Summary: Best Summer Hiking Gear and Outdoor Gear UK
Whether you’re planning a summer hike in the UK or abroad this year, hopefully this has given you plenty of options to help you plan your summer hiking gear list and packing list.
There are so many great outdoor clothes stores in the UK but I know not all are as accessible for people so providing online versions is a great place to start and Amazon thankfully stocks so many great brands to delivery to your door in one order.
If you are hiking this summer, remember to tell people where you’re going, stay safe and take plenty of water and supplies.
Pin this image for later to help you plan your future trip!