On the Trail with Danner and Friends: A Hiking Guide
For about as long as there have been cities, people have been escaping them for the peace and quiet of Mother Nature. The first large Western cities had barely sprung up before writers like John Muir and Henry David Thoreau began encouraging the nascent class of city-slickers to get outdoors and take a whiff of the fresh air. While much has changed in the intervening century-and-a-half, folks are still just as eager to flee the urban sprawl and get out on the trail.
We at Heddels, along with our friends from Danner, have teamed up to provide a comprehensive guide to all the things you’ll need out there in the wilderness. We’ve chosen only the best of the best to ensure that you’ll be the best dressed and the best-prepared among your friends at base camp and beyond.
A staff favorite at Danner, the Mountain 600 is everything you love about Danner boots—but on a sneaker sole. Let’s be clear, this isn’t just any sneaker sole, this is a Vibram sole with Megagrip, which, in tandem with the cushioning SPE (Specialized Performance Elastomer) midsole, allows your foot to spread over a greater surface area within the shoe, allowing for better grip and comfort. Minimal seams and lightweight, waterproof uppers combine with that classic lace-to-toe styling that Danner is famous for.
The Mountain 600 is available in many colorways, but the best and most classic is the suede one seen above. It’s available for the downright reasonable price of $180 and can be found on the Danner site.
Mountain 600 Weatherized
A boatload more details for an extra forty bucks, there’s also the Insulated Mountain 600, part of Danner’s new weatherized collection. It’s everything you loved about the original, just with a toasty PrimaLoft-insulated upper, fleece lining, and Danner Dry waterproof protection. It’s a great choice for those of you bold enough to go outdoors in nasty winter weather.
Available for $220 at Danner.
Another new addition to the Danner lineup is the Raptor 650. With an 8-inch shaft, it’s a much taller boot, which makes it all the better for snowy conditions and stability in rough terrain. Like the insulated Mountain 600, the Raptor features the same Primaloft insulation (400G), with a full grain leather and wool upper, and a custom Vibram outsole that will keep your footing even in wet conditions.
The Raptor 650 is like a Huskie. Sure, you could have these boots in the city or someplace warm, but you know they really want to be out playing in the snow. For your next cold-weather outing, choose the Raptor for safety, comfort, and style.
Available for $240 at Danner.
Danner Mountain Light
This is the boot that probably comes to mind when you think of a Danner boot. The Mountain Light features a one-piece leather upper that’s made from full grain leather and features those iconic big red laces. Gore-Tex liners belie the shoes’ vintage styling and keep them on the cutting edge of hiking boot technology. Their Vibram outsole has some of the best shock absorption and grip available on the market and because of their stitch down construction, they can be fully recrafted when the sole gives out.
These beautiful boots have been available since 1979 and have remained an enduring classic ever since. They’re available for $380 at Danner.
Food and Drink
Every responsible hiker knows they’ll be needing water and plenty of it. But the especially savvy hiker knows about one of the best water bottle brands in the business: Hydro Flask. Gone are the days of the Nalgene. For people who want one of the best-engineered water bottles around, look no further than this brand’s double wall vacuum insulation that keeps beverages (hot or cold) at their desired temperature. The stainless steel bottle doesn’t retain undesired flavors and the whole thing is BPA free. Don’t forget that the exterior has their signature powder coat, which makes for better grip on your bottle when the going gets rough.
The 32 oz wide mouth bottle is available for $39.95 from Hydro Flask.
Almost as important as the excursion, is the snack and drink sesh when you get back to base camp. After a day of water and trail mix, you might be ready to reward yourself with a frosty beer from a Yeti cooler. Everything about the coolers from Yeti guarantees its near-invincibility and supernatural cold-storing powers. Heavy duty latches keep the top down and a special interlocking lid and freezer-quality gasket keep the cold where it needs to be. We’ve highlighted one of the smaller coolers, the Tundra 35, which can carry 21 cans of beer… which should probably be enough.
This tough little cooler is available for $249.99, but comes in a huge variety of colors and sizes.
Filson, like Danner, is one of those essential American brands. Filson’s bread and butter are their hardcore bags, which are made from their nearly indestructible waxed canvas and engineered for comfort. This bag has largely been made from 22oz. rugged twill and Filson’s legendary waxed tin cloth. Saddle grade leather is used on the shoulder straps and the whole ensemble has been lined with cotton to keep your gear safe. One of the reviews for this backpack recounts a man’s escape from Houston during Tropical Storm Harvey, and how much to his surprise, when he got to safety, he found that Filson’s signature bag had lived up to its reputation. All his possessions stayed dry.
This legendary piece of American engineering is available from Filson for $475.
It might be hard for some to imagine the humble Fjallraven backpack in league with the above offering from Filson. But this little backpack has proven its own many times over. Built with the motto “straight backs are happy backs,” the Kanken backpack was originally designed for schoolchildren in its native Sweden, but the bag took off. Even REI endorses this little guy. Its adjustable straps and waterproof nylon make for a great option in less inclement weather. It’s no Filson, but at a lower price point, and worn by actual outdoors people at Danner. You know it’s gotta be good.
A Good Night’s Rest
Therm-a-Rest Parsec Sleeping Bag
On those multi-day excursions, you’ll be sorry if you choose the wrong sleeping bag. Luckily for you, Therm-a-Rest has made one of the lightest and most technically complex sleeping bags out there…. oh, and they’re cozy too. The Parsec mummy style sleeping bag is packed full of Nikwax hydrophobic down that keeps you warm and dries three times as fast as regular down, just in case it gets wet. Lightweight and easy to pack away in the morning, the bag also features a foot-warmer area at the bottom and a super-lined portion at the top, to retain heat in the places you’ll need it most. I don’t know how often you sleep out in subzero temperatures, but this bag will keep you protected down to -6 degrees.
The sleeping bag is available from$379 at Therm-a-Rest.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Air Mattress
Back in 1971, Therm-A-Rest actually invented the camping sleeping pad, and in so doing, improved the lives of campers and hikers the world over. They’re still on the cutting edge, as can be seen with the new NeoAir Xlite inflatable mattress, which should ensure a good night’s sleep, and compresses to roughly the size and weight of a one-liter water bottle. Cool, right? Add softer fabrics that actually feel good and the fact that this mattress sets an industry record with its warmth-to-weight ratio and you’ve got a real winner on your hands.
Available from $129 at Therm-A-Rest.
Get Out There
These autumn months—and perfect hiking weather—are fleeting. So get out there. Get out of the city and see some nature before the weather gets all nasty. But hey, even if it gets cold, you’ll have all the gear you could possibly need.
Have fun out there, friends!