Up, out, and on the trail before dawn.  Nope, I’m not driving dogies; I’m hiking with my photog husband.  This morning was especially nice…for taking pictures.  It was cloudy, with a fine misty rain.  “Photo hiking” is very stop and go.  We trek for a bit, then stop for as long as it takes to get the pictures.  Today we spent 5.5 hours covering 4+ miles.  Over the last few days, and especially today, I have fallen in love with some of my hiking equipment.


Before embarking on this trip to Great Smoky Mountain National Park, I invested in a daypack.  A Camelbak, to be precise.  The big selling points of this pack were the reservoir (although I realize that other brands have reservoirs as well) and the great fit.  It’s a women’s pack, so it’s the perfect length for me, and the weight distribution is heavenly.  I’m always amazed at how heavy the pack is when I take it off, because I can haul it around for hours and it feels like nothing.  I was able to carry rain gear, notebooks and pens, guidebooks, breakfast, my hiking pole, full-size binoculars, a camp stool, and more, easily.  I love my Camelbak.


I wouldn’t normally pay this much for a hat.  I’m cheap, I admit it!  I must have been so burned out on shopping–not my favorite thing–that the price escaped my notice, and I’m kind of glad it did because I love The North Face’s Hyvent Hiker Hat.  Comfortable, crushable, adjustable, and you can put the brim sides up.  It even has a chin strap for people like me who are afraid their hat will blow away in an unexpected gust.  Hey, I live in tornado country.  This can be a real concern.


GSMNP gets a lot of rain.  In preparation for this, I bought a pair of rain pants.  Admittedly, I haven’t used a lot of rain gear and have not done much comparison shopping, but these were reasonably priced and worked well.  It was nice not to have to worry about sitting on a wet log or slipping in a puddle even after the rain had passed.  As you can see by the mud on them, they served me well.  These are Toadz by FroggToggs.  How could you not trust a name like that?


I’m throwing in some non-clothing gear here that I came to feel kissy toward today: my lightweight Trail Stool from REI and my (husband’s) Black Diamond hiking pole.  I don’t actually have a pic of the pole because I left it in the car, and after 8 hours hiking around GSMNP, I’m just going to sit here and be lazy for a few minutes, okay?  Neither the stool nor the pole were essential, I suppose, but both came in handy, and I was glad I had them.


I’ve not done a whole lot of hiking over the years, and what I have done was fairly light, so I’ve never bought hiking socks.  I knew I’d be doing a lot of hiking over a very few days on this trip, and I decided to invest in something appropriate for the occasion–Fox River Merino Hikers.  Another revelation from this trip!  I actually bought another pair of Merino wool socks, but they were not hikers and therefore did not have the extra padding on the sole.  What a difference!  I love these socks so much I’d kiss them…if they hadn’t been so recently on my feet inside my boots.  And speaking of boots…


I can’t do a post on hiking equipment without sharing The Essential item!  These are my Merrell Moab Ventilators.  I’ve had them for a couple of months, bought them when my old boots wore out.  I love them.  The only drawback is that they are not waterproof.  But, since most of my hiking is not done in wet conditions, I thought the ventilation would be more important.  The damp/wet conditions on this trip have not been a problem, so I think for overall use, I made the right decision.  I plan on wearing these out much faster than my old Raichles.

I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a look at some of my favorite hiking equipment.  I’ve had my little midday rest. Now it’s time to get geared up and head out to catch the late afternoon/evening light.  Happy Hiking!

  1. Stacy says:

    I’m not much of a hiker, but I do enjoy going outdoors – so much better than observing from behind the window pane. ❤

    • keliwright says:

      I haven’t done a lot of hiking–hence my excitement at finding there are packs sized especially for women! Trying to get out more. Thanks for stoppng by.

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