I created this recommendations page as a resource to easily find the recommended products that I use and have tested myself! This way you can quickly find great gear all in one place. You can save yourself hundreds of hours of work just by using this page, and take the shortcut to implementing an active travel lifestyle! On this page you will find:
- Active Travel Product Recommendations
- Rim to Rim Product Recommendations
- Referral for My Coaching Services
Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links, and I may receive commissions for purchases made through those links. These are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t thoroughly researched, tested, and use myself.
Running Gear Recs
Road Running Shoe: The most important piece of road running gear you can ever possibly own are your shoes. Road running shoes need to contain a balance of support, cushioning, and traction. I have researched and tested countless options of road running shoes, and the one that has always come out on top are: Brooks Glycerins.
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These shoes have always provided me the right amount of cushioning, without feeling clunky or heavy. They’ve supported a consistent gait through marathons and half marathons across the globe. These were the very pair that propelled me through my first half marathon in San Francisco filled almost entirely with hills, to 5,000 grueling steps at the Great Wall Marathon, and many, many miles in between.
Trail Running Shoe: Trail running shoes have to have all the same solid components of a road running shoe, including support, cushioning, and traction. But due to the nature of trail running versus road running, a superb trail running shoe has to excel at traction and grip. Trail running involves loose, uneven, and rocky trails, so a trail running shoe has to have better teeth! And because of that often uneven terrain, they have to be supportive to prevent ankle rolls and sprains. HOKAS are simply unbeatable in their running shoe reputation for performance, cushioning, and support. Their HOKA One One Speedgoat trail running shoes are no exception, and are my go to trail runner. And BONUS – these HOKA trail runners are also awesome hiking shoes, due to the cushioning and grip. In fact, they are the shoe I complete most of my hikes in, like the 21 mile long trek to the summit of Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48 states, or the 24 mile long Rim to Rim hike in the Grand Canyon!
- Synthetic network upper that offers maximum breathability
Performance Sock: The shoes you run in are only as good as the performance socks you pair them with. Go with a performance sock that is breathable and anti-blister, because nothing can derail a run quicker than blisters. I used to be very blister prone, until I discovered Hilly Twin Skin socks. The “twin skin” is what helps to prevent the friction that can cause blisters. This equates to happy feet when running. And bonus – you can also hike in these awesome socks. In fact, you can hike all day in them and not get a blister, just like when I hiked the Grand Canyon’s Rim to Rim hike!
- Hilly Women's Twin Skin Anket, Magenta/Grey Marl, Medium
Sports Bra: This used to be a never ending nightmare for me for years. It was impossible to find a sports bra that would withstand chafing during my runs. It was agonizingly bad. Bleeding bad. It affected my running routine and my running attitude. Everything changed when I discovered this supportive, unbeatable, sports bra. No more chafing, no more bleeding, and all the support I needed for long runs and high intensity workouts.
Hiking Gear Recs
Hiking Boot: Feet are a pretty critical component of any type of active travel, and that is why so often the right type of footwear is first on my list. Hiking boots:
a) have to withstand the elements
b) be supportive
Waterproof is a must, for rainy or snowy conditions, or water crossings on hikes. Supportive is a must. Uphills and downhills, and other dicey terrain, call on a good supportive structure for the feet and ankles. Reliable means you can count on those hiking boots to grip that scree filled switchback, or provide traction on those slippery surfaces, or prevent soreness as you step down on those sharp rock edges or rough tree roots. So what hiking boot seamlessly blends all of these requirements? These Vasque Breeze GTX III hiking boots.
- The breeze iii Gore-Tex is a go-to for hikers around the globe. The waterproof boot balances lightweight performance with durability and foot protection for ambitious backcountry adventures
Water Hydration Bladder: Water is a must, you must have a way to transport it on your hikes. I believe in bringing more water than you think you need. It’s that important (plus I’ve experienced being lost on a hike before, and now I always bring more water). I need a water transportation system that is easy to use, can carry the amount of water I need, and allows me to keep moving. I hate having to stop mid-hike and fish around for a water bottle. That’s why I use a water hydration bladder that holds 3 liters and can fit in my daypack for easy, on the go usage. What I love most about this Platypus 3 liter hydration bladder is that is has the large opening at the top, which makes cleaning and drying much easier (addressing the biggest downside I hear regarding water bladders).
- Premium taste-free, leak-proof reservoir with fast flow rate offers hydration on the go for hikers, backpackers, travelers and mountain bikers
Water Filter: On many of my longer hikes, or more remote wilderness hikes, I like to also bring a backup water source in addition to my main water hydration bladder. A good backup water source should enable you to be able to filter and drink from natural water sources that are present, especially in the case of an emergency. I love the Katadyn BeFree collapsible water bottle and filter, because it is lightweight, packs easy, and the internal filter means I can fill up from a stream if I need to and keep hydrating immediately. Another good “hard shell” option is the Lifestraw water bottle with internal filter.
Hiking Daypack: It is important to have a daypack that is capable of carrying all 10 categories of hiking essentials. This daypack does just that, is water bladder compatible with a internal reservoir, and has a superb structure and cushioned shoulder straps. Everything about this compact yet roomy Camelbak Helena daypack fits snugly and in place.
- Crux delivers 20% more water per sip, with an ergonomic handle for easy refilling and an on/off lever to prevent leaks.
Backpacking gear Recs
SOL Bivy: My backpacking essentials include everything found above, plus the rest of my backpacking essentials inventory.
One of the most important pieces of my backpacking gear is this ingenious little device known as an SOL emergency bivy. This is because I place an extremely high value on shelter these days. Spending a night alone in the cold Utah wilderness without proper shelter will do that to you. This little gadget is lightweight and compact, which means it is easy to carry along on your back. It is the perfect “worst case scenario” piece of gear, if you ever find yourself lost or stranded. This emergency “sleeping bag” will keep you warm and safe from the elements.
- Emergency bivvy measures 84 x 36 inches, and weighs approximately 3.8 ounces
Lifestraw: I already touched on how important water is, but what if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to find a way to filter water to drink in order to survive? This small, personal, easy to pack gadget allows you to drink straight from any water source. It does the filtering for you. Easy.
- Removes Bacteria & Parasites: The Microfiltration Membrane Removes 99.999999% Of Waterborne Bacteria (Including E. Coli And Salmonella), And 99.999% Of Waterborne Parasites (Including Giardia And Cryptosporidium)
Tent: Again, shelter is important. It’s nice to be able to hunker down in a comfortable tent, knowing that it will keep you safe from the elements, but it will also go easy on you when you have to carry it on your own back. So lightweight and durable are key. This tent is super lightweight, which means it will keep your backpacking weight to a minimum. It is weather proof, nothing gets in this thing. It is easy to set up (because who wants to struggle with setting up a tent after a long day of backpacking). And it is durable. We have several dogs that go hiking with us, and no amount of their rough housing and scratchy nails have ever taken a toll on this tent. Here’s the perfect two person, lightweight, backpacking tent, the MSR Hubba Hubba tent.
- 3-season, 2-person backpacking tent that offers the most livable accommodations in a lightweight freestanding design
Road Cycling Gear Recs
Cycling Helmet: Safety in cycling is critical. When working with a machine, you inevitably learn to anticipate the ins and outs of what can go wrong in using that machine. If you road cycle, just know you will fall. It’s inevitable. I’ve taken plenty of good spills myself, and have the scars and ripped clothes to prove it! That’s why I don’t mess around with what helmet I use. I did plenty of research on this one, as I take it very seriously. It may be one of the most expensive items of road cycling gear I own, but it is completely worth it, because it is MIPS constructed and excels in safety standards.
- COMPREHENSIVE PERFORMANCE AND PROTECTION: Engineered in Giro’s helmet test lab.
Cycling Jersey: Not only does wearing a jersey make you more aerodynamic, but if you purchase this Izumu cycling jersey, you’ll be getting a jersey with built in pockets in the back, perfect for storing those necessities to go, like keys, Chapstick, and your phone.
Bottle Cage: Always have a way to bring along water. This easy to install bottle cage cradles my water bottles snugly, and even on those said spills and falls I have taken, it always stays in place, proving that no amount of bumpy road will dislodge this product from doing its job. Keeping me hydrated.
- Water Bottles Fit: 23/24/25/26/27/28 OZ water bottles can fit snugly, other bottles like 30 oz, If the bottle is tall, then yes. accurately, it is decided on the bottle diameter, min bottle diameter is 2.75inch(68.9mm), max bottle diameter is 3inch(76.2mm). The cage designed to flex enough to insert and hold standard water bottle securely, you can collapse to snug up bottle.
Emergency Kit: Unless you are planning to just cycle in loops in your cul de sac, odds are your road cycling takes you miles from home. Which is why it is important to not get stranded. This nifty little cycling kit is easy to install on your bike frame, and will help keep you going in a bike emergency.
- "SUPER-FIT" Clever Valve - No adaptors needed. Automatically locks onto both Schrader and Presta valves, no leaks, no valve changing needed. IMPORTANT: doesn’t come with separate valve adaptors because it locks onto both Presta and Schrader valves automatically.
Safety Lights: Such a good investment in bike safety, for such a low price! These waterproof bike safety lights are one of the simplest, yet best things, you can do to help ensure a safe ride. In dimming light, or even when it is light outside, these blinking head and tail lights help to alert other drivers of your presence.
- SUPER BRIGHT LEDS & FOUR MODES - Your new bike light 🚴 set features extremely bright LEDs which illuminate the entire road. Featuring four different modes of lighting which you can switch with the click of a button. Say goodbye to bulky bike lights with excessive wiring.
Kayaking Gear Recs
Waterproof Dry Bags: These simple, waterproof dry bags bags are great at keeping your important necessities safe from sprays or capsizes!
- Durable and Compact: Made from ripstop tarpaulin with sturdy welded seam which is designed for years usage, tear, rip and puncture proof. Perfect for almost any extreme adventure you can imagine.
Active Clothing Recs
What clothes you wear is one of those understated factors that can make or break your active travel ventures more than anything else. Ever tried hiking in a pair of socks that kept giving you blisters? Or tried running in a cotton shirt that got clammy from sweat and weighed you down? Or tried taking on the elements in a jacket that was not waterproof or windproof? Being inadequately prepared can not only lower your confidence from taking on active travels, but they can often pose a serious safety concern as well. You can avoid all of these pitfalls in one easy answer: WOOL. It’s breathable, quick drying, wicks moisture, resists odor, and is comfy.
Wool Tank: I live in this lightweight, wool, IceBreaker tank top. On hikes, runs, Netflix binge watches, you name it. It feels as comfortable while lounging on the couch, as it does working up a sweat.
- WOOL HIKING TANK: A sleek, stylish & versatile layering piece for any day of the year from hiking during warm weather to the slopes. Corespun fabric combined with stretchy material for added strength & durability.
Wool Jacket: I love my wool lined, breathable, weather defensible jacket from IceBreaker. This soft shell structured jacket is responsive, and allows full flexibility for active adventures. It’s not stiff and restrictive like some shell jackets can be. This jacket molds and melds with you, and will never get in your way or slow you down. Even better, it is water resistant and wind resistant.
Outer Shell: A fully waterproof and windproof outer shell is a must have for your active travel inventory. The right outer shell can be important for all outdoor activities in which you need protection from the elements. It is tricky to perfect the right balance between a lightweight, compressible, and fully waterproof and windproof shell, but this Outdoor Research Helium II jacket achieves the perfect balance.
- ULTRALIGHT RAINCOAT: Weighing a mere 5.5 ounces, this hooded jacket offers supreme protection. Whether you are cycling, running, camping, hiking, fishing, or just in need of incredible weather protection, choose the Helium II Jacket.
Wool Beanie: Nothing beats wool. Smartwool makes the best, most comfortable, wool beanie on the market.
Fleece Leggings: these water resistant, fleece lined, pocketed leggings are a favorite of mine for winter active pursuits.
Specialty Gear Recs
Spikes: Do your active travels involve traversing ice or hard packed snow? If you are going to check out the best of arctic environments like Greenland or Iceland any time soon, these little grippers will not let you down. Ice is no match for them. I ran the Polar Circle Half Marathon on the world’s 2nd largest ice cap in this same pair of Kahtoola spikes, and never missed a beat!
Reversible Buff: I can’t say enough about this item. It’s a neck warmer, head covering, baklava, hair scrunchy, breathable lifesaver! Completely multi-functional, I adore my own colorful, reversible Buff.
Gore Windstopper Headband: I’ve always had an issue with sensitive ears. When it is cold or windy outside, I can get instant earaches if I do not properly protect my ears. I have gone through a multitude of flimsy headbands, beanies, and bands, all in an attempt to keep the wind and/or cold out of my ears. As soon as I tried this Gore Windstopper headband (a brand made famous among cyclists who are constantly combating gusts), I was hooked forever. Nothing permeates this amazing product. No cold wind at all. My comfort level was instantly boosted with this discovery, and I will forever be a believer in this product!
Rim to Rim Gear Recs
The Rim to Rim hike in the Grand Canyon is a whole other type of beast, which is why I created this section on gear recommendations specifically targeted at the Rim to Rim hike. Considering that the Grand Canyon is a potentially lethal place to hike, these are more than just recommendations, these gear items are what you NEED to have a safe and responsible Rim to Rim hike in the Grand Canyon!
Hydration System: always have a primary main hydration system that allows for on the go hydration, and a backup filtration system for emergencies
- Platypus Wide Mouthed 3 Liter Hydration Bladder
- Lifestraw Water Bottle with Internal Filter
- Katadyn BeFree Collapsible Bottle with Filter
Headlamp: for the early morning start and potentially for late night finishes. Don’t hike unaided in the dark in the Grand Canyon!
Clothes: up your comfort level with the right layers
Footwear: the right footwear makes ALL the difference. Don’t skimp on this one!
Emergency Gear: you can’t always predict what is going to happen in the Grand Canyon!
- Squeezable Peanut Butter packets
- Tuna Packets
- RX Bars
- Applesauce Pouches
- NUUN Tablets
- GU Energy Gels
Active Travel Training
I offer several training plans for those out there who are looking for a different kind of vacation. This is the first stepping stone to learning how to successfully implement an active travel lifestyle, and it starts with creating a blueprint for success.
Rim to Rim 1:1 Coaching Services
So you got your eyes set on the Rim to Rim hike, but what is the next step in actually preparing for a Rim to Rim hike? I hear questions like these a lot:
- What do I do for crosstraining?
- What workouts can I do to help prepare for the distance and elevation gain?
- Where can I go to hike around me?
- What gear do I need?
- What do the Rim to Rim trails look like?
- How do I get ready for the heat?
- I don’t have challenging trails to train on, what can I do to prepare?
- What snacks are best for a Rim to Rim hike?
Are you ready to take on the Rim to Rim hike and join the elite 1%, but you need answers to these questions, plus accountability and support from a straightforward, realistic, and non-judgmental perspective?
Did you know that I offer 1:1 Coaching Plans for the R2R hike?
You can choose from 2 personalized plan options below, but either way, you will have 1:1 coaching and on call support throughout the training process. That’s 16 weeks of coaching support and accountability individualized for you! Plus we will develop an individualized training calendar together that is customized to fit your needs exactly where you are today!
If you are ready to take the leap, and ready to get serious about conquering the Rim to Rim hike, then check out my coaching plans offered, and click the link below to fill out my coaching interest form and get started!
Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon: If you are looking for a different twist on National Parks, check out this fascinatingly suspenseful book about the Grand Canyon! It may sound dark, but after reading this book, I gained a lot of respect for nature in general, and in particular, some of our most stunning and recognizable National landmarks!
I am an Amazon Prime fanatic, and for good reason. I just don’t think you can beat the availability of products, and the prompt delivery. If you have ever lost or had a product break, you know just how important it is to be able to replace that product promptly. Nothing beats Amazon Prime delivery. Everything I have ever needed for my hikes, runs, rides, and active travel adventures in general has always arrived on my doorstep in the blink of an eye! I also appreciate being able to read over the plethora of user reviews and pictures, and instantly compare with other items if I need.
Last update on 2023-08-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API