When I put together my last post with Backcountry, I ordered quite the haul. It’s been awhile since I’ve renewed my hiking gear, and since I tend to hang onto the same beloved gear for years (oh ok, decades), I wanted to get it just right — the hiking boots, in particular. So below, I’m sharing details on quite a few other pieces that made, or nearly made, the cut — just not the original photoshoot.
Even better? All but one of the pieces below are on sale. And in some cases, our discount code THEMOMEDIT will even save you 15% on top of sale prices. Worth it to play around with your cart a little.
Just like the gear highlighted in my last post, all of the hiking gear in this round up fits the following criteria:
- It’s genuinely comfortable. Obviously a primary concern, especially for the hiking boots — more on those in a minute.
- Performs as advertised. Duh. This whole post is more or less about performance apparel, and in some cases, it’s priced at such. It should, to some degree, perform.
- Travels well! This isn’t a must, but we do a fair amount of hiking and adventuring when we travel, and I think this is where getting what you pay for often comes into play. A technical top or a pair of boots that can double-duty as streetwear and adventurewear pays for itself when packing space is at a premium.
- Oh, and, yeah…it needs to actually look good on.
Sizing notes: I’m 5’5″ with a pretty strong booty and thighs and not a lot of definition going on in my waist (where I carry my weight). Bust is a 34C. I typically wear a 0-2 (or a 25) in pants and an XS-S in tops, though recently I’ve been leaning more toward the top end of those ranges in any style that’s not intended to be truly fitted. In shoes I am usually a solid 8. Fit notes provided for everything below.
Here we go!
On sale! First up, these “hiking” pants, because really, they’re more than just an honorable mention. I wanted to wear these for the excursion we photographed for this post, but the size I initially ordered was too small. That said, these are maybe the third pair of dedicated hiking pants I have ever owned, and now that I have the correct size in hand, they are likely the last ones I will need to buy, because they are exceptional. Thin and comfortable, with just enough stretch and a not-too-slim, jogger-like fit that could actually be dressed up if the occasion called for it. (The travel potential!) You can scrunch them up a bit, too, to show more ankle. And there are really thoughtful details, like a thin, soft lining in the pockets, which is cozy for hands, but also feels like it’d be kind to phone screens and sunglasses. Flattering on the bum. Wearing the black here. I’m typically between an XS-S (leaning S these days) and am definitely more comfortable in the S.
On sale! Dang, I really love what Cotopaxi has going on. I picked up an apologetically colorful windbreaker for my last post, but this half-zip jacket is equally eye-catching, with those same kinda late ’80s vibes — but it’s even lighter weight, with a hood and a couple more technical features (like both a pouch pocket that the jacket stows easily into, and kangaroo pockets). True story, I have this sitting in a return box behind me that I can’t bring myself to tape up because I’m having serious second thoughts. I probably could have gone for either the XS or the S in this one, but I typically err on the larger side when I’m planning to layer things. Super cute, and a great buy at $56.
On sale! I threw this easy activewear tee in my cart at the last-minute because I need a new long-sleeved running shirt and figured one that could double-duty for hiking would more than earn its place in my closet. I didn’t even notice the stealthy little pocket sewn into the side seam when I ordered it, nor did I fully appreciate the quiet allure of the space-dyed pattern. Stretchy, soft and super comfortable. A new favorite activewear piece. Wearing a S.
On sale! I like a little monochromatic look, so I admittedly threw these Prana Arch Shorts into the mix, too, because I liked the blue. (Really trying to break away from black here, friends — it…is somewhat working.) The only reason these didn’t make the initial post is because the lower rise and the shorter inseam make them feel more like a running short; that said, they’re super comfortable, light and easy to move in, so I’m thinking of hanging onto them regardless. And the flat stretchy waistband doesn’t pinch. Would be great to pullover a bathing suit almost as an alternative to board shorts, too. And in addition to the slash pockets, there’s a stealthy little zipper pocket perfect for securely stashing an ID or key, too. Wearing a S.
Women’s Hiking Boots Under $300
(ok, well two are well under $300, and one is…$305)
I’m detouring a little from the format of this post here and including not just two solid women’s hiking boots that narrowly missed the cut but a recap of the hiking boots that I did choose to keep, too: the Danner Mountain Light. S has raved about these before, and even though I’ve long admired the classic look and the all-leather construction, I genuinely attempted to find an alternative that I could recommend. Something either a little more affordable (the Mountain Lights are typically around $350 — though with the 15% off using code THEMOMEDIT they’re $305) — or perhaps a little lighter in appearance realizing that not everyone wants or needs an all-leather mountaineering boot. Or, most ideally, both. In the end, though, the Danner Mountain Lights were still the boot for me, so I’m sharing a bit more on those below — as well as two more boots that I heavily contemplated before hitting the trail.
And because I’m shamelessly concerned with how they actually look on, I tried them all on with both pants and shorts.
I tried, friends. I put valiant effort into finding a pair of hiking boots that haven’t already been recommended on The Mom Edit — and/or that were a hair more affordable. And I came close. (More on those below.) But when it came down to it, I wanted a mountaineering-style boot with a classic look (I already have a pair of Vasques with higher ankle support that have served me well for years of hiking and even a little backpacking), and the Danner Mountain Lights were pretty close to perfect right out of the box.
As the name suggests, they’re lighter than they look but still rugged as hell. They have a Vibram sole that just won’t quit. And you cannot beat the quality of construction. I used heel lock lacing to decrease the amount of heel lift/rubbing for the first few hikes, and it definitely takes an extra minute of patience, but it’s worth the time; not sure if I’ll default back to standard lacing once the leather breaks in and they conform to my feet a bit more. Yes, they’re an investment — but even after just a few hikes, I know these will be the boots I default to when I can only choose to pack one pair of footwear for hiking AND urban trekking. And at the end of the day, they’re cute enough to pass as streetwear, too. Oh, and I can totally vouch for the fact that you can save 15% with code THEMOMEDIT, which takes off more than $50, bringing them down to $305. Not…as bad?
Re: sizing — I’m a really solid 8, and following both the reviews and Danner’s size calculator, I sized down a 7.5.
On sale! I’ve hiked in Vasques for years (unfortunately my favorite pair is no longer available), so I had really high hopes for their popular Sundowner mountaineering boot. It’s received some stellar reviews, and the look is old school, in the best way. (I feel like they also make my feet look smallish, which isn’t something I’d expect from a hiking boot.)
Pros: The construction is great, the sole is substantial, and they didn’t feel stiff through the toe or the vamp. Great ankle support. And they’re stylish, too — really classic vibes. (Note: they come with both brown and red laces.)
Cons: As soon as I slipped them on, I could tell they’d rub my heel (even though they felt like the right length, and I used heel lock lacing) — and that’s one part of a boot I just don’t have the patience — or pain tolerance — to break in. If it were just general stiffness throughout the boot or even something rubbing in the toe box, I’d have more confidence that it’d improve with wear, but the heel made them a hard pass for me.
That said, everyone’s feet are different, and based on the reviews, some people clearly LOVE them, so I think they’re worth a shot if you’re looking for a mountaineering-style boot under $200. If you’re like me, you’d know almost immediately if the heel thing would be a problem for you — I could feel it even walking around my house. Per the size guide and reviews, I sized up from my usual 8 to an 8.5 for these and it felt like the right choice.
On sale! These Danner Jags caught my eye right away. Throwback vibes, just like the other boots, but from a different genre. Really classic look, with the same nutty brown + orangey-red colorway going on as the Danner Mountain Lights, but since the construction isn’t all-leather, they have a lighter look about them. And that’s genuinely how they were initially designed: to be a lighter-weight, more urban alternative to Danner’s mountaineering boots.
Pros: Price point is great — and on sale, they’re even better. I love the look, and they were immediately comfortable when I laced them up. (That is to say, I had no bones to pick — they could still benefit from some general breaking in.) Waterproof lining. And they’re lower profile all around, so if you were looking to travel with them, they’d take up substantially less space. Available in a few colors, too, if you’re looking to coordinate with the rest of your gear.
Cons: Actually, not many, if any, real cons. They hit lower on the foot, so while they would be more than adequate for the majority of the hiking I do around here, they don’t offer quite as much ankle support. And since I already have a pair of hiking boots similar to these, I was really gravitating toward both the look and function of an all-leather style.
Ultimately, these are great boots — especially for the price. If you don’t need the ankle support, they seem like they’d be a safe place to start for a high quality boot that’s not a huge investment. As with the other Danner boots, I sized down one from my usual 8 to a 7.5 in these.
Shop My Fav Hiking Essentials At Backcountry
Everything in this post — all of which is on sale (or discounted with code THEMOMEDIT). And in case you missed it, I ran down all the summer hiking essentials that I kept in my first round of edits in this post. Really good stuff all around.
In sum? No bad choices here. And if you’re in the market for hiking gear, I can’t think of a better time to grab it on sale.
Have fun out there, gang.
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