May is something of a transition period for hikers: it’s the last gasp of spring, when the lukewarm temperatures of this season give way to the unabashed heat of summer. The mud is starting to dry out and the snowy high country trails are starting to open up, but avid backcountry skiers can still find hiding places to practice their craft.
Last month, we embarked on a variety of adventures, from running in Vermont to sea kayaking on the Florida coast. These three products helped us do it in style.
I have traveled more in the past month than since the start of the pandemic. With all that packing and unpacking work, staying organized has been a challenge, which is why I’ve enjoyed Hillsound’s handy Packstacks so much. They’re packing cubes but designed for the outdoors, with a curved form factor that allows them to fit neatly into multi-day packs and a handle that makes them easy to carry. My favorite feature, however, is their water resistance: the waterproof version comes with taped seams and a waterproof zipper. I may not trust them for full immersion, but I’ve strapped them to the bow of kayaks in the Wisconsin backcountry and Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and so far, they kept my electronics dry and working despite the pouring rain and white heads. waves. You do not believe me ? He won a Editors’ Choice Award in our summer gift guide. —Adam Roy, Senior Digital Editor
It’s been exceptionally warm in New England this year, with spring temperatures reaching the 90s and humidity reaching 80%. As a result, my usual assembly of lightweight polyester shirts struggles to keep up, feeling sticky (and smelly) on day hikes and trail runs. Icebreaker’s Sphere II t-shirt, made from a blend of merino wool and “Cool-Lite” lyocell, has been my go-to top. Thanks to the cellulosic lyocell fiber, it cools when soaked in sweat, wicks away moisture and breathes on sweltering days. It’s also one of the softest t-shirts I’ve ever worn: I didn’t feel any chafing during my long trail runs. I’m excited to test its durability on long hiking trips this summer. —Benjamin Tepler, Associate Editor
It may be warming up all over the country, but where I live in Southern California, I’ve spent most of this month with May Grey. (At one point the temperatures dropped to 55 degrees. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.) Because the sun has been a little shy lately, I’ve always looked for my layers as my Outdoor Trainer Shell . . It wicked sweat and kept me warm as I propelled the hills and flats on a windy, cloudy hike overlooking the Pacific. The material is sturdy too: this shell stayed strong when my impromptu mid-hike bouldering attempt accidentally turned into a slide. As a bonus, Vuori claims to offset 100% of its carbon footprint and provide safe and healthy working conditions for its factory staff. —Emma Veidt, Associate Skills Editor