Since spring of 2008, Kaden and I have spent as many weekends as possible hiking in Washington's wilderness areas. We have seen some AMAZING THINGS. In Washington we are having this phenomenal Indian Summer right now and have been so lucky to go to two of the most beautiful places which ended up being my two favorite hikes ever in the past two weeks: Summerland Meadow at Mt. Rainier and Gothic Basin in the North Cascades.
I started out my hiking career in jeans & t-shirts & running shoes, but my hiking style & gear have improved greatly since then. I have become a stickler for moisture-wicking fabrics. Under Armour is my preferred brand (I'm a sucker!!!), though Champion has great cheap stuff at Target. I recently invested in a pair of $50 spandex pants. There is something I NEVER imagined I would do in my life! Since I wear them jogging, to yoga class, and hiking, they are totally worth it. I'm in love.
Shoes: Bear Paw (Big 5). I had a pair of cheap boots that had more ankle support, but they literally felt like shackles, I couldn't wear them. I got these for only $20 and they have lasted me through 3 years of hiking. They are so comfortable, they feel like slippers. But, they aren't waterproof, and my fear of getting my feet wet caused me to sprain my foot trying to jump over a stream last January! I just purchased Merrell Siren Sport GORE-TEX boots from zappos, and I am really excited to try them out.
Shirt: Under Armour (REI). Love the color; love the collar. Wicks moisture! I consider $30 expensive, but totally worth it!
Backpack: North Face (North Face Outlet, Wisconsin). It's kind of a stupid size, a little too big for a day pack and a little too small for overnight backpacking. Plus it doesn't have padded hip straps. I need a new backpack.
Jacket: New Balance (Fred Meyer). I love this white track jacket. Wicks moisture! Really sturdy; I've worn it for over 2 years. Zips up to "turtleneck" for cooler weather. I always take many extra layers hiking because I tend to get cold easily & can't have a good time if I'm cold!
Leggings: Under Armour (Sports Authority). These are the best pants I've ever owned. They have a "yoga pants" type waistband that is soooooooo comfortable. They are tight around my knees which I love, since baggy knees are a problem I always have with leggings. They're a little long, but I like it that way.
Socks: Columbia (Fred Meyer). I wear these with a thin pair of "dress socks" underneath (Kaden read a recommendation to do this in one of his hiking guides & I love it!). I think it would look cooler if I left them inside my pant legs, but wearing them outside I get mud from my boots on the socks instead of the pants, and if I don't have to wash the pants after every hike they'll last longer.
I also always wear a bandana to keep my bangs out of my eyes - I cannot stand that when I'm outdoors. Not pictured, obviously, is my sports bra, but I stand by Champion brand from Target - totally comfortable, reasonably priced ($16.99 instead of $40 like Under Armour).
This great ensemble, with a rain coat & water proof pants stuffed in my bag, allows me to be ready for anything in the wilderness. I also feel really athletic & sexy in it, and that's an improvement on the cargo pants & muscle-t style moisture-wicking shirts I used to wear hiking. I highly recommend & endorse all of these items for ladies who enjoy outdoor excursions!
PARTY BONUS! A most excellent post on women's hiking attire by Mary Van Note, i heart vintage hiking!!