5280 Summer Guide 2015Summer in Colorado is nothing short of idyllic, especially when you can enjoy breathtaking day hikes on any number of trails statewide. From the Flatirons of Boulder to the Weminuche Wilderness in the San Juan National Forest, hikers can trek on trails that lead to high alpine lakes, flower-filled meadows, or jaw-dropping views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. To prepare for a daytime hike, rain or shine, here’s a list of must-have summer gear to stock up on:


La Sportiva, Chaco

Whether you’re strolling on a simple trail in Rocky Mountain National Park or tackling Mt. Elbert’s 14,000-plus feet of elevation, Boulder-based La Sportiva’s Primer Low GTX, available for men (pictured) and women, keeps feet dry in and out of creek crossings. These hikers feature Gore-Tex Surround Technology, which makes the shoe completely breathable, while mesh side panels allow for proper ventilation.

For trails with water crossings, slide on Chaco’s OutCross Evo 3, which debuted in March for men, women, and kids. This is the brand’s first-ever completely enclosed, lightweight, and breathable shoe, dual-oriented for both hiking and water adventures.



Headquartered in Steamboat Springs, Point6 debuted two new, colorful merino-wool designs for summer 2015: the Mixed Stripe medium-weight crew (pictured), and the CDT, a lightweight crew. With each CDT purchase, 25 percent of the proceeds are donated to the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC), a nonprofit that helps to protect and preserve the 3,100 miles of the Continental Divide Trail, for which the sock is named.

Rain and wind wear

Sierra Designs

If recent weather is an indication, it looks like we won’t be escaping the rain showers this summer. New from Colorado’s Sierra Designs, the Elite Cagoule rain jacket extends well past the hip to provide extra protection from wind and rain. The cover-up includes vents in both the hip area and underarms, and easily packs up to a 6.5-ounce pouch for portability. Bonus: The Cagoule pairs with the brand’s Elite Rain Chaps, which is designed to slip over pants or shorts to provide full leg coverage.


Black Diamond

Who says one pair of shorts can’t do it all? New from Black Diamond, the Stretch Font Shorts for both men and women (pictured), and Creek Shorts (also for men and women) are durable and flexible bottoms perfect for day hiking, rock climbing, and city bike rides. Both designs feature gusset stitching, which allows for easy movement.

(Check out 5280‘s guide to hiking Colorado’s fourteeners)

Base layer


Even on the hottest summer days, it feels cool among the shady pines. Pull on the Thermal II Base layer (for men and women) from the Pagosa Springs-based technical apparel company, Voormi. Made with the brand’s trademarked Rocky Mountain Highcountry Merino wool, this athletic long-sleeve features an interior wicking layer that draws perspiration off the body and an exterior layer that disperses the moisture to keep hikers dry.


Zeal Optics

Boulder’s own Zeal Optics recently released four functional new pairs of shades: Tracker, Cascade, Carson and Idyllwild. These sunglasses feature plant-based e-llume lenses for clarity, spring hinges to prevent hair hang-ups, and integrated rubber so the glasses stay put.

Midweight layer

Topo Designs

Topo Designs achieves another simple throwback piece with the brand’s Fleece Jacket. The outerlayer’s trim fit is accented with a stylish snap chest pocket and reinforced elbows to prevent snags and rips.



Show your state pride by topping your look with a hat from Denver-based Aksels. The hat and apparel company offers a lineup of mesh-style—ergo breathable—caps that celebrate the Centennial State. The brand’s Colorado Mountain hat (pictured) has an unstructured curved bill so it can be tucked into a bag without being harmed.


Osprey Packs, MHM Gear

Osprey launched the 2015 Escapist Series packs for day hiking and mountain biking. The versatile packs—which come in three sizes, 18-, 25- and 32-liter—are lightweight, ventilated, and outfitted with a built-in rain cover. Each pack also offers two optional torso sizes to ensure an accurate fit.

A second supreme daypack is the Switch 24, designed by MHM Gear in Denver. This backpack includes MHM’s one-of-a-kind Snake-Loader design, an s-shaped zipper with three toggles, which allows easy access to every panel. The unique zip also enables the pack to open up and lie flat for gear organizing, climbing ropes, changing a baby, picnicking—the possibilities are endless.

Water bottle

Eco Vessel

Enjoy your cool-down with the 20-ounce Boulder Triple-Insulated Water Bottle (pictured). Made by Boulder’s Eco Vessel, the stainless steel bottle is manufactured with three layers of insulation to help keep liquids cold for 36 hours (or hot for 8 hours). The BPA-free design has a built-in strainer for tea, fruit, or ice plus a leak-proof top and interchangeable flip-spout lid.


Pat’s Backcountry Beverages

Not only can you sip beer in the backcountry—you can brew it yourself. Pat’s Backcountry Beverages, headquartered in Golden, allows explorers to tote a small package of brew concentrate into the wilderness, add water and carbonation, and indulge via their Hybrid Brewing Technology. This summer, look forward to enjoying PBC’s all-new American Lager (coming soon).


Bobo’s Oat Bars

Don’t forget to pack a snack for the summit. Bobo’s Oat Bars, based in Boulder, provide a boost of nutrition. Organic, kosher-certified, and non-GMO, the baked bars have gluten-free options and super yummy flavors. Our favorites include Original and Maple Pecan—two Colorado bestsellers.

—Photos courtesy of the brands.

(Ready to hit the trails? Check out hikes we like.)