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As we now sit between the ending of summer and the beginning of fall, now is one of the best times to get outdoors and get active. The days are slowly starting to cool down, we're all trying to squeeze in last-minute getaways before summer ends and, as the delta variant continues to be a concern across the country, we just want to be out in the fresh air.
If you're looking to get outside and maybe even break a little bit of a sweat while doing it, heading out for a hike or a walk is a great way to get your body moving. Sometimes it's not as simple as throwing on a pair of sneakers and heading out the door, though. That's why Clint Carter, Men's Journal contributing editor and avid hiker, stopped by TODAY to share a complete fall exercise guide.
Carter is breaking down all of the items that can help you make the most of your next outdoor adventure, whether you're hitting the trails or the track. From a waterproof portable charger to a bestselling tumbler, read on for all of Carter's picks.
Outdoor exercise essentials
These ankle and wrist weights are making exercise chic. They're a great way to add a little extra intensity to your hike or walk, as they can help build strength and endurance. Carter says that they're good for walking and hiking, but using weights while you run might lead to injury.
Whatever activity you'll be doing, you'll need to keep the sun out of your face while you're doing it. Carter picked this hat from Danner for its lightweight feel and adjustable drawstring.
To take some of the pressure off of your knees and legs, consider hiking poles. They'll make your arms do some of the work and can help reduce the risk of you rolling your ankle, Carter says.
If you don't have one of these bestselling tumblers, what are you waiting for? We tried the brand's mug while working from home and loved it. What Carter loves about the tumbler is that you can swap the lids to transform the bottle in a matter of seconds; you can make it a water bottle, a travel coffee mug, a Stanley-style mug lid, a locktight thermos that won't spill in your bag and more.
Or, skip the water bottle entirely. This backpack comes with a built-in hydration pack that you can sip from as you walk. It's adjustable and features compression technology to reduce that bulky feeling, but it also has enough room to store all of your essentials for the day.
This women's-specific belt bag is a great pick for anyone that prefers to keep it light on the trails. It's lightweight and made from sustainable materials, which won't restrict your movement.
Prefer a fanny pack? Carter says this hip pack is "perfect for day hikes" and is roomier than you think. It can hold all of your snacks and navigation gear, plus two full-size water bottles.
Before you head out, make sure you have this app downloaded on your phone. While the app itself is free, it only costs $30 for a year-long membership, which grants you access to over 100,000 trail maps. It helps you prepare for the trek ahead and also offers advice and tips from hikers who have completed the trail before you.
Don't be stuck without a fully charged phone while you're outdoors. This waterproof portable charger has enough juice to bring your phone to a full charge and can even charge an iPad. The attached clip also makes it easy to keep on hand, but the charger is also drop-proof in the event that it takes a tumble.
Carter says keeping a headlight at the ready as the sun begins to set earlier with each coming day is a good idea. This way, you don't have to complete your trek in the dark.
This tee checks all of the boxes: stretch, odor control and ultrasoft. It's body-skimming, too, so you can look and feel your best as you break a sweat.
The same moisture-wicking tee comes in a sporty V-neck style with a relaxed fit. It comes in five different colors that you can wear beyond the trails this fall.
Want to keep bugs away or plan on going for walks in the evenings? This moisture-wicking sweatshirt is made from an ultrasoft brushed fabric and also features thumbholes for easy layering.
Trying to keep cool outside? You might not actually want to wear a cotton tee. Carter suggests choosing a shirt that will wick away moisture and keep you cool and comfortable. This long-sleeve top from Eddie Bauer (which also comes in a short-sleeve version) is made from polyester and is also treated with odor-control, which inhibits the growth of bacteria.
With UPF 50+ and DWR-treated fabric, these pants are great for days out in the sun where you'll be breaking a sweat. Plus, they're machine washable for easy care.
These lightweight pants offer a great amount of stretch but they can also convert into capris. They're DWR-treated, which means they'll wick away moisture and resist wrinkles as you move about.
These pants are made out of a recycled nylon, which offers a bit of stretch. They feature a total of five functional pockets and look sleek enough to wear on both active and casual days.
When you're hiking, Carter says stretch in your clothing is critical. These pants from prAna offer just that, and they also feature an exterior pocket for gear, plus a tie-waist strap. The perk about that last part? It can be more comfortable than wearing a belt.
Carter also recommends choosing a better pair of socks. He says the moisture that cotton socks trap can increase your risk of blisters and athletes foot. To avoid the potential issues with your feet, grab a pair of socks made from merino wool, which will wick away sweat and keep your feet dry. Carter says this pair from Swiftwick features extra cushion at the heel and toe, too.
Your favorite pair of sneakers might not hold up too well when it comes to rugged outdoor activities such as hiking, which is why Carter recommends investing in a solid pair of footwear. Some factors to look out for are tread and the actual feel of the shoe — if it's not comfortable, you won't want to wear it.
These hiking shoes prove that you don't need bulky footwear for a successful hike. They feature a stiff midsole plate and a deeper tread on the bottom along with reinforcement in key places, so you can step confidently over gravel and branches.
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