Has any summer been as widely anticipated as this one? We would wager not. Now is the time for epic bike rides, leisurely picnics with friends, and long days on the river. Here’s the gear Outside editors are using to take full advantage of the season.
40 oz Wide Mouth Hydroflask ($50) and Half-Gallon Hydrojug ($20)
It was heinously hot here in Santa Fe during June, and it was also party time, thanks to the lifting of pandemic restrictions. Two things have gotten me through: my giant insulated 40 oz Wide Mouth Hydro Flask and my even bigger half-gallon Hydrojug. The Hydroflask stays cool even in my hot car while I’m riding or hiking thanks to the vacuum insulation, and the straw lid ($10) means I can drink from bed when I wake up groggy and half-hungover in the middle of the night. The Hydrojug isn’t insulated, but it holds enough water to tide me over on long car rides and makes it easy to drink a gallon (or more) of water a day. —Abigail Barronian, associate editor
Skida Bucket Hat ($54)
My stylish friends tell me that bucket hats are cool again. But I would wear Skida’s newest lid even if that weren’t the case. It’s made out of the same lightweight, DWR-coated polyester as the brand’s popular flat-brims, with an elastic band that hugs your head so you don’t have to worry about rogue wind gusts. In other words, it’s exactly what I want on scorching midsummer days, offering practical sun protection in a breathable, stylish design that I actually want to wear. Of course, the brand’s cute prints (I went with Wild Thing) will have you dreaming up outfits just to give yourself an excuse to wear yours more often. In a true testament to this hat’s awesomeness, I wore mine for several hours of gardening and simply forgot to take it off for the rest of the day. I’ve already decided to buy another one. —Ariella Gintzler, senior editor
Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack ($300)
Bringing a backpack fishing is always a tough call to make. More often than not, it ends up just getting in the way even though it carries essentials like a water bottle, lunch, and camera. Thankfully, with this backpack from Fishpond, you don’t have to decide between being unencumbered and having everything you need on the river. It’s lightweight and features chest and sternum straps that make it very possible to fish with it on your back all day even if you’re actively chasing fish. If you’re like me and don’t like the extra weight when casting, you can put this fully submersible and super rugged pack anywhere in the river you’d like—just make sure you secure it so it doesn’t float away. —Evan Grainger, assistant video producer
Allied Echo Bike ($10,665 as tested)
If I could only own one bike for the next decade, it would be the Allied Echo. That’s because the brand found a way to squeeze two different bikes into one frame—and each configuration is damn nice. Thanks to flip chips in the front and rear dropouts, you can quickly (the brand claims under ten minutes) change the geometry to make it either a lively, long-haul road bike or a steady-but-fast gravel whip. On the road side, I’m running 28 millimeter tires and a shorter effective chainstay and fork length. The steeper headtube angle also creates a more sprightly ride. When I flip the chips to switch to a gravel setup, I swap my wheels and all of a sudden have space for 40 millimeter tires, I get a longer effective fork and a chainstay length, plus a slacker headtube angle for a more stable ride on the dirt. The top-shelf build I tested is more bike than most people need, though. If you’re going to purchase this ride, go for Allied’s middle-tier offering, which is significantly more affordable at $7,930, but just as much fun. —Jakob Schiller, contributing writer
Ciele GOCap SC Running Hat ($40)
The New Mexico sun will burn my face red if I don’t run with a hat. My new favorite is this cap from Ciele built with wicking recycled fabric on the sides and back and breathable mesh up top. I still sweat plenty during summer runs but never feel overheated. And I like that the big, curved brim stretches far enough out to cover my extra-large nose. Reflective hits on the front and back help keep me safe during night runs, and it’s machine-washable so I can keep it smelling relatively fresh. —J.S.
Club Ride New West Shirt ($80)
I want my mountain bike apparel to do two things: work well when I’m riding and look good once I’m done. Club Ride’s New West shirt effortlessly checks both boxes. It features mesh underarm vents, five percent spandex for stretch, and UPF 50 fabric that keeps me cool and comfortable no matter how hot it gets. And despite the technical chops, it looks like some of my favorite thrift-store Western shirts with pearl-snap buttons, an oversized collar, and, on mine, a longhorn skull print. I often wear it to start the day, go for a ride at lunch, then rush back for a Zoom call without changing. I’ve found that Club Ride’s shirt sizing can vary, so pay attention to their product notes while ordering online, or better yet, try it on at your local dealer. —Will Taylor, gear director
Lemnos Riki Alarm Clock ($104)
This alarm clock helps me sleep better. I’m a light and erratic snoozer, a fact not helped by the fact that I have two young children. As such, I do everything I can to make sure I get a good night’s sleep. One of the most helpful things has been keeping my phone out of the bedroom—even thinking I might hear the buzz from a text can keep me up in anticipation. This classically styled mechanical clock makes that a non-issue. It’s completely silent and super simple, with a light that’s activated by the same button you snooze the alarm with and two knobs on the back: one to set the alarm, and one to set the time. Its small size, flat bottom, and single AAA battery power source let you move it around the room if you need to keep it away from toddlers or don’t want to look at it all the time. —W.T.
Rollerblade Zetrablade W ($100)
June might be my favorite month. June means Pride, my birthday, and the start of summer all rolled into one. And nothing brings me that summertime joy like pulling on my knee pads and wrist guards, cranking up my tunes, and strapping on my Zetrablade Ws. I originally got into inline skating during quarantine as a way to get out of the house and train for ski season—and maybe it had something to do with wanting to look cool. The experts at Rollerblade recommended these skates for those who are just starting out. They’re stiff enough to support beginners’ ankles but feel like sneakers on your feet, allowing you to focus on staying upright rather than on fit. Plus, you can upgrade the starter-level wheels as you improve. (Don’t worry sk8er bois—there’s a men’s version too.) —Maren Larsen, associate editor
Vuori Performance Jogger ($84)
In May I came across the softest, most comfortable workout pants I’ve ever owned in my life: these joggers by Vuori, a Southern California company that has perfected the laid-back look of casual sportswear (and offsets 100 percent of its carbon footprint through Carbon Neutral so you can feel good about your purchases). I was on the hunt for a pair of summer-weight bottoms that I could slip on to head to the pool in the cool mornings, wear for Pilates or yoga, and use on easy walks or for lounging around the house. These are perfect for all of those activities, and they’re so comfortable that they’ve replaced my PJs on many a night, too. I prefer their loose silhouette to skin-tight leggings, especially on crampy period days when I want to exercise but loathe restrictive elastic waistbands. Constructed of 89 percent recycled polyester and 11 percent elastane, these are eco-friendly, stretchy, and so, so buttery. They come in nearly a dozen colors and a longer inseam. I should have bought two. —Tasha Zemke, copy editor
Coral and Tusk Pillows ($91 and up)
This next pick isn’t so much functional as it is a beautiful, high-end gift any outdoor lover is going to appreciate: the pillows of Coral and Tusk. Over the winter I saw them in a store and was immediately smitten with this one—a group of animals tucked into their sleeping bags around a campfire—and this one, with a rabbit, an owl, and a chipmunk seated in a canoe. Stuffed and stitched figures pop out of their bags and boat, respectively, a clever idea which takes me back to being a kid. This embroidery brand, which began in Brooklyn in 2007 and has since expanded to an office in Wyoming, creates designs that demonstrate a love of wildlife and outdoor fun. There are scenes of beasts hiking through the woods, downhill skiing, and riding a gondola, among others, as well as a new spring-summer collection that features songbirds and flowers. While these aren’t inexpensive, and are too pretty to simply serve as a place to rest your head, they bring the outdoors inside in a cheery way, and you’ll undoubtedly have guests gushing over them the next time they visit. —T.Z.
Lead Photo: rez-art/iStock