Denver, the capital city of Colorado, is famous for its pristine mountain vistas and idyllic landscapes. Like the rest of Colorado, Denver and the surrounding area are bursting with alpine lakes, forests of evergreen trees, mountain views, and gorgeous natural beauty that makes for some of the best hiking in the continental United States. Switchbacks and out-and-back trails abound in the impressively numerous state parks, national parks, and national forests in Colorado and most of those are centered around Denver.
Favorite hikes that draw hikers from near and far again and again almost always feature a landmark somewhere along the hiking trail. Green Mountain in Chautauqua Park, Royal Arch in the Boulder Open Space, Red Rock Formations in Red Rocks Park, Bierstadt Lake and Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, and Windy Peak in Golden Gate Canyon State Park all stand out among the multitude of natural wonders Denver has to offer.
One thing hikers should know is that Denver seems to have a higher proportion of hiking trails that have been rated difficult by hikers who have managed to tackle them. There are plenty of shorter hikes as well, but to get to the best hikes with the most beautiful views, hikers will have to exert themselves much more in Denver than in other locations with less elevation gain. That certainly doesn’t mean you should run out and try to complete a hike that’s out of your ability willy-nilly, but it’s well worth the effort to build up to some of the more difficult trails in this guide to get a look at the beautiful views awarded to hikers who can complete them.
Within an hour’s drive of Denver, hikers can find some of the best hikes in Colorado. Cities like Boulder, Golden, Morrison, Colorado Springs, and some smaller townships in Jefferson county all have terrific hiking trails cached away in their dazzling green forests and hidden mountain passes. Conquering one of the many peaks in the greater Denver area Is rewarding not just for the great mountain views but also for the sense of accomplishment that comes with them.
Taking in a deep breath as you rest to enjoy the view at the top of some summit, the many beautiful views of a distant tree line, a lake couched away in a valley, or some mountain goats chewing away in a field of wildflowers are likely to move you to add Colorado, and Denver especially, to your roster of regular day hike destinations.
We’ve compiled this guide to the best day hikes near Denver because there are very few cities in the United States or in the world that can offer as many unique and wonderful hiking trails as Denver does. Most of them can be done in well under a day and some of them in just a few hours if you’re dedicated. While we always love to push it to the limits and section hike a long-distance trail like the Appalachian Trail, we also know that there are sometimes when a hiker only has a few hours but still wants to get some kind of a hike completed.
That’s not the only type of hike Denver has to offer, but it never ceases to amaze how quickly hikers can get out to a trailhead from the dead center of Denver. Give these hiking trails a once-over and prepare yourself for a trip to the Mile High City, because once you see what Denver has to offer hikers, you’ll want to try them out for yourself.
This is one of the brief but highly rewarding hiking trails characteristic of the lighter side of Denver’s hiking trails. Bierstadt, a 3.2-mile loop trail that courses near a lake in Rocky Mountain National Park very near to Estes Park, has enough elevation gain to be considered a moderately difficult trail to hike. Bierstadt is a great hike for the whole family, and, in addition to hiking, is great for horseback riding, snowshoeing, bird watching, and running.
The rocky terrain is just enough to keep Bierstadt interesting and the lake, the wildflowers, and the alpine wildlife all add to the charm of this short loop trail. While it is generally best hiked between June and October, many hikers continue to use this trail in November and sometimes later. The snow will have certainly started falling by then, but if you bring some spikes for the first 5 to 10 minutes, this hiking trail is still perfectly doable after the first snowfall.
Bierstadt has many switchbacks as it approaches the lake and these switchbacks are in full sunlight during the daylight hours, so unless it’s actively snowing or raining then they should be dry and easily passable. If you go to Bierstadt around October, you might be able to catch the Aspens at their peak in terms of color and flourishing. If you prefer mountain views to alpine lakes, then you’ll enjoy the view of Longs Peak and Hallett Peak from the Bierstadt Loop Trail.
There are rock outcroppings at the beginning of this trail and the elevation gain may be hard for irregular hikers but the views are well worth the effort. You can also continue hiking to Bear Lake after you reach the technical end of Bierstadt Lake Loop Trail. There’s a parking lot at the trailhead. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed on this trail. Overall, Bierstadt is plenty rewarding in terms of beautiful views compared to its difficulty rating and a great introduction to hiking in the Rocky Mountains.
- Challenging elevation gain
- One (possibly even two) alpine lakes
- Variety of possible activities
- Mountain views
- Parking lot at the trailhead
- No dogs allowed
- Shoe spikes recommended in colder months
Located in Red Rocks Park near Golden, Colorado, this 4.3-mile loop trail has an 839-foot elevation gain that will hold hikers’ interest for the whole duration of the hike but can still be completed on a weekday morning before starting the workday. Dogs are allowed on this trail but they must be kept on a leash.
There are some bikers on this hiking trail and it is especially crowded on Saturday afternoons when the weather is nice, but on other days you can complete this trail without running into a ton of other hikers.
There are wonderful streams that course along the side of the Morrison extended loop and the hike through Cherry Gulch is particularly nice for shade. The red rock formations are a charming sight that’s very unique, even in Colorado. This is some of the best hiking you can do if you want something just challenging enough to squeeze in to a busy schedule of other hiking trails or something else completely unrelated.
The Red Rocks and Morrison Slide Extended Loop can be a bit slippery if it’s muddy, but in general you shouldn’t even need spikes to complete it, even in snowy conditions. We recommend continuing to the Amphitheater Steps in Red Rocks if you have the time to spare!
- Short enough for a weekday morning
- Dogs allowed
- Not overly crowded most of the time
- Challenging elevation gain
- Streams, mountain views, Cherry Gulch, Red Rock formations
- No need for spikes
- Can be slippery
- Slightly complicated to navigate
The Blodgett Peak trail doesn’t have the highest elevation gain on this list at 654 meters but it is rated as more difficult than most because that elevation gain is constant. This trail is really steep and covered in small gravel and scree that can easily cause hikers to slip, especially on the descent. If you have trekking poles, this is a great time to put them to the test. Blodgett Peak is best hiked between June and September since ice won’t make the steep incline of the trail any easier.
If you have enough time after you finish this trail, consider exploring the rest of Blodgett Peak Open Space and Pike National Forest, which both immediately surround the Blodgett Peak Trail. Flora and fauna enthusiasts will enjoy the opportunity to see Douglas firs, Scrub Oak, and ponderosa pine, as well as the possibility of seeing a peregrine falcon, an endangered species that sometimes appears there.
The parking lot has a limited amount of space so it’s best to show up there early so you can find a convenient place to park. The 360-degree mountain views at the top are breathtaking. Your legs will definitely feel sore after this hiking trail and novice hikers would do well to practice with different trails and build up the ability to complete this one. There’s a false summit so make sure you reach the true one! The views of Colorado Springs from the top of Blodgett Peak are incredible, especially at night if you have the right headlamp to safely guide you to the true summit.
- Challenging elevation gain
- Surrounded by Blodgett Park Open Space and Pike National Forest
- Variety of flora and fauna
- Parking lot
- Breathtaking 360-degree views from the summit
- Limited space in parking lot
- Loose gravel in some places
- Very steep
This 2.7-mile loop trail near Littleton, Colorado, ably demonstrates Roxborough State Park’s red rock formations less than 45 minutes’ drive from Denver. Roxborough State Park is one of the best places near Denver to see wildlife such as deer and birds. Wildflowers cover the trail in the warmer months before snow covers them up.
South Rim and Willow Creek Loop won’t be easy for novice hikers, but for the more experienced it’s the perfect level of difficulty for a day hike that won’t completely wear you out if you have other things to do later in the day. The red rock formations make this trail really stand out even though there are one or two better hiking trails for mountain views in Roxborough State Park.
It’s also less crowded than the Fountain Valley Trail, which is the hiking trail more often mentioned in Roxborough State Park. Since mountain views are so common in Denver and the surrounding area, though, we wanted to include something a bit more unique. The 465-foot elevation gain is sure to tire hikers out but it won’t exhaust hikers who are experienced. The rewards greatly outweigh the expenditures on this hiking trail and you’re sure not to forget it.
A couple of drawbacks to this trail are that hikers must stay on the hiking trails, pets are not allowed, rock climbing is prohibited, and horseback riders and bikers are not permitted to use the hiking trails for those pursuits. Since it’s a state park, willing hikers will need to purchase either a $6-day pass or pay about $60 for an annual pass.
- Red rock formations
- Less crowded than nearby trails
- Wildflowers and wildlife abound
- Available year-round
- Park restrictions apply
- No free entrance
This 5.9-mile loop trail in Golden Gate Canyon State Park has a lake, river, and beautiful views spread out over a rather staggering 1,627-foot elevation gain that will take a serious toll on the uninitiated but provide that extra challenge that always makes a hiking trail more satisfying to conquer for the hikers that are able.
Wildlife like squirrels, chipmunks, and birds like red-tailed hawks, chickadees, robins, woodpeckers, ravens, and jays give this trek to Windy Peak a characteristic difference from the other hiking trails in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. There is also the possibility that hikers could run into a moose on this trail, so be careful and maybe take precautions against hiking alone if you’re worried about a moose attack.
High mountain views are visible at the summit of this hiking trail, although you should know that the last stretch of this hiking trail is the most difficult. That just makes the views from the top even more satisfying when you get there, though. If you want to extend this hiking trail slightly but still stay well within the limits of a day hike, try hiking Mountain Lion Trail counterclockwise from Notts Creek and come down Burrow. That’ll give you 6.5 miles of great hiking and a little variation if you find yourself repeatedly doing the Windy Peak via Mountain Lion Trail run.
Try to start from the walk-in visitor’s center because this trail is not accessible without paying an $8 fee to Golden Gate Canyon State Park and it’s much easier to pay that fee at the visitor’s center. This is a great trail for a day hike or a half-day hike but beware that many hikers who go for a short couple of hours’ worth of hiking wind up staying much longer to admire the wildflowers and the beautiful views!
- Great elevation gain for a challenging hike
- Various wildlife and wildflowers
- Mountain views
- Expandable trek
- $8 fee to Golden Gate Canyon State Park
With its chart-topping 3,556-foot elevation gain spread over a length of just under 8 miles, Grays and Torrey’s Peak is a favorite hike for those who never give up. Amateur hikers might find it to be a bit overwhelming, but this is another one of those Colorado trails that is unique to mountainous areas. Many hikers use some kind of 4×4 vehicle with good ground clearance to reach the trailhead and add to their experience on this hiking trail, but there is also a parking lot on I-70 that you can use if you want to strike out on your own.
If you aren’t averse to gear, make sure you bring microspikes, trekking poles, and gaiters along. If the snowpack isn’t firm for whatever reason you could find yourself sinking up to the knee in powdery snow and you’ll definitely want to protect against moisture getting into your hiking boots.
This hiking trail is also a handy option to have if you want a full day hike. It can take 7 hours to complete if you run into some kind of inconvenience with the mud or snow. If you can only pick one of these trails to do, we recommend Torrey’s Peak because of its superior mountain views. But the most optimal is to tackle both of them in one outing. Make sure everyone in your hiking party has prepared themselves adequately for possible altitude sickness because that’s a common occurrence on this trail.
- Among the highest elevation gains
- 4×4 option or parking lot available
- Worthy off a full day hike
- Beautiful views
- Possibility of altitude sickness
- Specialized winter gear may be needed
Similar to Grays and Torrey’s Peak, the Keyhole and Longs Peak via Longs Peak Trail is super difficult but short enough to qualify as a day hike for hikers who can hack it but also have other things on their schedule. Stretching out 7.4 miles, this hiking trail is shorter but with its elevation gain of 4,911 feet, it goes to a much higher elevation than the previous trail on this list.
It makes for great cross country skiing, horseback riding, snowshoeing, and backpacking all with the added benefits of great wildlife and wildflowers. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on this hiking trail. Traversing the boulder field on this trail is remarkably difficult but the view from the Keyhole rock formation is really, really special.
If you’re hiking this trail during the summertime, make sure to back be back beneath the tree line by about 2 PM because the weather can be unpredictable at that time of year. If you start early enough you can have breakfast at the Keyhole rock formation and then continue on to the summit with a wholesome meal in your belly. Bring something to cover your mouth if you are hiking in winter since the tundra winds can really whip hiker’s heads about in the cold months.
While we are usually understanding of people who are seeking some solitude on the hiking trail, in the case of the Keyhole and Longs Peak via Longs Peak Trail we have to say hikers will have to either put up with seeing some level of crowds or find another hiking trail because all the beautiful features of this hiking trail ensure that many people will continue to try and seek it out.
- Long and challenging day hike
- Variety of purposes
- Keyhole rock formation offers beautiful views
- No dogs allowed
- More crowded than other hiking trails
- Unpredictable weather in summer, lashing winds
In contrast to the much more difficult trails we’ve mentioned, this combination hiking trail offers a wide variety of features such as meadows, woods, and rock formations. There is much more to see on this trail than you might expect since it’s only about 2.5-miles long and has an elevation gain of about 735 feet. That means it’s much better for novice hikers or hikers who want to bring a family or a dog along on the hiking trail. You’ll have to keep the dog on a leash, though, as per the rules of the Boulder Open Space where this combination hiking trail is located.
Beautiful views of Boulder and the Flatirons, which is the current name given to the most well-known rock formations in Boulder, Colorado, because they look like clothes irons or a Flatiron building, are the reward for hikers who reach the summit of this trail. Hikers will also briefly pass through Chautauqua Park as they progress along the Royal Arch section of this trail, so-named for a rock formation that was given the name Royal Arch because it is shaped like an arch.
There is a parking lot for this trail that costs $2.50/hour but is free after 5 P.M. Hikers can get a ton of variety out of this hiking trail and pair it with other hiking trails in either Chautauqua Park or Boulder Open Space if they decide that they have time for a full day hike while already out on the trail.
- Easygoing hiking trail
- Wide variety of scenery
- Dog-friendly (on a leash)
- Mountain views of Flatirons and Royal Arch
- Small fee for parking
Denver, Colorado is almost unmatched in the United States for the sheer number of hiking trails it offers within less than an hour’s drive. Some of the most beautiful views are in Denver itself or in nearby Boulder at one of the many state parks, open spaces, and wilderness areas. It’s hard to nail down exactly which hiking trails near Denver are the best because there’s something attractive about nearly every single one of them. Wildflowers, wild animals, and amazing rock formations such as the Flatirons or the Royal Arch are just a few of the kinds of things hikers can expect to be enthralled by in Colorado’s capital city.
Located exactly one mile above sea level, Denver’s fame as the Mile High City could also refer to the nearly unlimited number of places hikers can reach a high elevation to take in unparalleled mountain views. Each trail has its specific circumstances and difficulties, and you might find yourself preferring one trail in summer but a different one in the wintertime.
The best thing about Denver is that it can offer hikers both, and just about anything else they could want in a Rocky Mountain environment. Not all the day hikes in Denver are for inexperienced hikers, but there’s no better place to take your hiking to the next level than in Denver itself. Get out there and build your experience with one of the many, many day hikes near Denver.
Bonus tip: You can see Denver’s Rocky Mountain National Park for yourself in this video!
The Top 5 Best Hiking Belts
A quality hiking belt is an essential accessory for every outdoor-enthusiast. Whether you use it during day hikes, or for activities such as fishing or hunting, an outdoor belt will keep your clothing and gear safely secured at all times!
In this best hiking belt overview, we’re highlighting the top-rated, best-reviewed options.
We’ve ensured there’s a lightweight match for every preference, and budget, in our best hiking belt review.
From affordable canvas options that offer basic functionality to high-end designs with quick-release buckles, made of premium nylon. Discover the pros and cons of each style and find your ideal waist belt in our overview below:
Best Hiking Belts – Overview
- Best Overall: Arc’teryx Belt
- Best Stretch Belt: Jelt X Adjustable Elastic Belt
- Best High End: Cobra 2-Ply Quick Release Belt
- Best Heavy Duty: Arcade Heavy Duty Elastic Belt
- Best Budget Option: Hoanan Tactical Nylon Belt
And here’s an overview of the best hiking belts on the market today:
Best Overall Hiking Belt
The Arc’teryx Conveyor Belt is a lightweight choice in hiking apparel, and will keep your pants up without weighing you down! The belt is 1.5 inches wide, and comes in 3 lengths: small, medium, and large. Which means there is no cutting down or trimming length required to find a great fit!
Many hiking-enthusiasts swear by the durability, performance, and lightweight comfort of the Arc’teryx Conveyor Belt. It is slightly more expensive than other options on this Best Hiking Belt list, but we think it’s worth the investment. Its excellent quality construction means this belt should last you for many years, even when used for daily wear.
The Arc’teryx Conveyor Belt is made of quality nylon webbing with contrasting stitching for a stylish touch. This synthetic, heavy-duty textured nylon webbing is engineered to withstand all kinds of challenging outdoor conditions. Whether you encounter rain, dust, or even have to wade through a river: this belt can handle it all. As the basic, metal webbing buckle on the belt doesn’t contain any moving or separate parts, it’s also less prone to wear and tear, or damage.
The Arc’teryx Conveyor Belt is a lightweight favorite amongst hikers, backpackers, and campers; as confirmed by the hundreds of positive customer reviews. Reviews praise the design’s longevity and staying power. Confirming it will hold up your trousers even when your pockets are loaded full, or if you’re wearing heavy-duty, ‘weightier’ fabrics.
A minor con is that some reviewers mention the belt is quite ‘stiff’ at first. And that it may take a few weeks to get it fully broken in, flexible enough for a comfy fit.
- Nylon webbing
- Great support
- A renowned brand in outdoor gear
- Can feel a bit ‘stiff’ at first
- Slightly more pricey
Best Stretch Hiking Belt
Belts are an integral part of our everyday lives. Whether you are going to the office and need to look presentable or are planning on hiking and need that extra level of support, a good and quality belt can come in very handy.
Upon concluding our research, we came across this adjustable belt for hiking by Jelt X, which we believe is amongst the best not only because of its comfortable and low-profile but also because of its ease of use thanks to the magnetic closure mechanism.
Having been made from double elastic with a grippy inner gel, rest assured that your pants will stay in place no matter how intense your hiking gets. The strong, adjustable elastic can fit any individual up to a 40-inch waist (max: men’s 36 pant size and women’s 32/14 pant size).
If you aren’t a particularly big fan of the black, you can also find this hiking belt in navy blue.
- Made out of durable and stretchy material
- Only comes in two colors.
Best High-End Hiking Belt
The Cobra 2-Ply Quick Release Klik Belt is always ready for action and offers outstanding performance, safety, and support in every kind of outdoor situation. The design adheres to the highest quality standards and uses only top-end materials. The result is an outstanding tactical belt with military-grade durability. Yes, it is by far the most expensive option on this Best Hiking Belt list. But if you only want the very best in outdoor gear, this belt ticks all the right boxes.
Lightweight aluminum buckle
The Cobra 2-Ply Quick Release Klik Belt also comes with a buckle closure made of ultralight 7075 aluminum. As one of the strongest metals available, this aluminum buckle offers all the required support and grip, without weighing you down. This patented Cobra buckle is also super easy to disengage in emergency scenarios, by simply pressing the special side-release buttons for instant opening.
Also good to know: The brand behind this quality product, Klik Belt, is regarded as one of the top choices for tactical-style belts. Its customers include those active in Law Enforcement, Military, SWAT, and even Special Ops. Which serves as a testimony of the brand’s authenticity, quality standard, and reliability. After all, if it’s good enough for our soldiers on challenging missions, it should be good enough for your hiking trips.
Worth the splurge
With hundreds of 5-star reviews, the Cobra 2-Ply Quick Release Klik Belt is the highest-rated options on this Best Hiking Belts list. Hiking fans say the belt strikes the perfect balance between being a rigid, supportive belt, and also a comfortable one. Many customer reviews user superlatives to describe how this belt truly lives up and exceeds, expectation. It is a pricey choice in outdoor gear, but according to the glowing ratings, this will be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.
Are there any cons? Of course, no product is perfect, though this belt comes close. Some hikers report that the aluminum buckle is too large to fit through certain belt loops. Meaning that if you want to wear it with your favorite pair of hiking shorts, you might have to unthread the belt from the buckle first to weave it through, then reattach the buckle. However, mentions of this are rare, so don’t consider it a big risk, but it is something to be aware of.
- Military-grade materials
- Corrosion-resistant aluminum buckle
- 2-ply construction for extra support
- Might not thread through smaller belt loops
Best Heavy-Duty Hiking Belt
The Arcade Heavy Duty Elastic Webbing Belt scores high marks on performance, comfort, and style. And certainly classifies as one of the best-looking hiking belts available. This makes the belt both suited for active outdoor usage, as well as casual wear, adding to its appeal as a versatile addition to any wardrobe.
Metal-free buckle closure
The belt’s clamp closure buckle is low profile and metal-free. This means the non-metal buckle won’t set off airport security when walking through metal detectors, ideal for those who often travel.
Another big perk of the Arcade Heavy Duty Elastic Web Belt is that this product is fully machine washable. It can even withstand a clothing dryer, making clean-up a breeze. Simply chuck it in with your other laundry and voila: your belt is once again free of dust, dirt, or other residues.
Multiple fun colors and styles
With nearly all 5-star reviews, the Arcade Heavy Duty Elastic Webbing Belt is a firm, or should we say: elasticated, favorite amongst hikers. The design is praised for its outstanding comfort, size adjustability, trendy aesthetics, and value. Minor cons mentioned is that the belt material does seem to attract cat/dogs hairs, and might ‘fuzz’ a bit with repeated wear.
Overall, the Arcade Heavy Duty Elastic Web Belt is a stylish and affordable choice to keep your pants, any hiking accessories, firmly in place. It’s not the most heavy-duty belt on this list, but for the average day hiker, it should offer more than sufficient support.
- Elastic Nylon Webbing
- Stylish design
- Machine washable and dryer-proof
- The material might ‘fuzz’ with repeated wear
- Not the most heavy-duty belt
Best Budget Hiking Belt
You simply can’t beat the value of the Hoanan Tactical Nylon Belt 2-Pack. Though this set of 2 tactical-style hiking belts is super affordable, it doesn’t compromise on quality: making it simply a steal at the price listed.
YKK Plastic Belt Buckle
Each belt in the Hoanan Tactical Nylon Belt 2-Pack also comes with a non-metal, YKK clip plastic buckle. This makes the design extra attractively for those with metal allergies, or hikers that zip through airports a lot: as the plastic will not trigger any security devices. The YKK branding on this non-metallic buckle also ensures a high-quality standard of production.
A Fantastic Budget-Buy
The Hoanan Tactical Nylon Belt 2-Pack also has great user reviews to back up its quality, comfort, and value. Other hikers say they were surprised at the sturdiness and great grip of the lightweight plastic buckle. Confirming that for a budget-buy, this belt set certainly exceeds expectations. With literally no negative reviews at the moment of writing, it’s hard to fault this outstanding value-for-money set.
- Metal-free buckle
- Nylon webbing
- Not the highest-quality, heavy-duty support and construction
We guarantee: each product on this Best Hiking Belt overview will hold up your hiking trousers with ease! However, some offer slightly more performance than others. Which product is best for you, completely depends on where and when you plan to wear the belt. For die-hard hikers who want maximum performance, grip, support, and durability, the Cobra 2-Ply Quick Release Klik Belt is a heavy-duty match.
Considering functionality, price, durability, and performance, the Arc’teryx Conveyor Belt is our winner.
The product’s quality is backed up by lots of glowing customer reviews, confirming it lives up to the quality standard Arc’teryx is known and respected for. The design is lightweight enough so it won’t weigh you down on the go, yet durable enough to keep everything firmly strapped in place, which is a winning combo for us.
Best Hiking Belts FAQ
To help you better understand the different factors to consider when buying a hiking belt, we’re answering the most frequently asked questions on this topic. Learn what to look out for when shopping for hiking and trekking belts, and discover more about what kind of belt will suit your needs best:
What is the best type of hiking belt material?
Though there are some exceptions, most hiking belts are made of canvas, polyester, nylon. Each material has its specific characteristics:
Canvas Hiking Belts
Canvas is often affordable, making canvas hiking belts ideal for those on a tight budget. Though this material is durable and easy to clean, it also tends to absorb water. Meaning that when you’re caught in a downpour, it might ‘soak up’ rain, without the ability to dry quickly. This is why it’s not the most preferred material of choice by experts, but it nevertheless will get the job done and hold your shorts up in style.
Polyester Hiking Belts
Polyester is one of the most common materials used in hiking belts by outdoor brands. It’s lightweight, durable, water-repellant, and sturdy enough for daily wear. Water-resistant polyester webbed belts are comparable to the types of straps you’d find on a backpack, only thicker and more durable. If comfort is a main priority, look for a polyester belt with elastic webbing, as often this material can feel a bit ‘stiff’ until broken in.
Nylon Hiking Belts
Nylon is quite similar in characteristics compared to polyester. Nylon is affordable, water-repellent, and very durable. Though an added benefit of nylon is its flexibility: with stretchy webbing that doesn’t require a break-in period to make it “fit your body” comfortably. Another perk of (elastic) nylon is that this belt material can be easily disinfected (unlike canvas or leather), making it a preferred choice for hunting and fishing enthusiasts.
What is the best type of belt buckle?
Hiking belts can come with a variety of buckle types. The most common options are:
This is the most common type of closure used in luxury leather belts, dress belts, and casual belts. This classic buckle closure is sometimes also used for hiking gear. The design is simple and features a frame, bar, and prongs. There are single-side tongue buckles (the most basic style), and double-sided tongue buckles (with two prongs for extra grip and hold).
But if we’re being completely frank, we think this type of closure is more suited for leisurely use than intensive, heavy-duty hiking. It simply lacks the durability and performance of other types of belt buckles and is more prone to wear and tear with repeated usage. Therefore, we wouldn’t recommend you to select a hiking belt with this buckle style for your outdoor activities.
Clamp Closure Buckle
A clamp closure is a style of buckle that features two parts attached to a belt. One part is larger, the other smaller: allowing them to ‘latch’ together to provide a secure hold. Easy to use, solid in grip, and durable, this buckle is great for hiking belts.
Quick Release Buckle
This style of buckle is all about safety. A hiking belt with a quick-release belt buckle usually doesn’t contain any holes. Instead, the buckle consists of two parts that ‘click’ together to create a durable hold. To unfasten, simply press the release pins and the buckle will instantly spring open.
Flip Closure Buckle
This buckle uses a special ‘flip flop mechanism’. Hiking belts with flip closures don’t have any holes. Instead, the flip closure buckle uses special teeth at the underside to grip the fabric when you ‘flip’ the top part. Which securely holds the belt in place. This type of buckle is mostly used in fabric and canvas belts. Though a convenient, easy-to-use style, a flip closure can be prone to a bit of wear and tear. And also may damage the canvas or fabric of your belt after extensive usage.
A webbing buckle belt features a simple loop at one end. To secure the belt in place, simply put the non-buckle end of the belt through the buckle loop, and cross it back. It’s simple, yet effective.
Top 7 Best Microspikes for Hiking – 2023 Review
Microspikes make hiking easier.
Hiking is a wonderful activity. It allows us to see beautiful highs and exhilarating lows. From canyon valleys to high-altitude peaks, it’s a great way to see the world and give your body a superb workout. Not to mention a rewarding palate cleanse for your eyeballs. But when the leaves start to fall, and the snow soon after it, most of us turn indoors, find a good book, and wait for the inevitable thaw. Those people are called quitters.
When stepping outside in the frozen months, the slick icy surfaces below can make it dangerous to rove around. Fortunately there are additional devices we can equip to our boots to better combat the conditions. Crampons and microspikes are something you can add to your boots for that added traction when the trails get slick and it’s you want to keep pressing onwards and outwards on the slopes.
Related post: The best dinnerware items for camping
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
Best Microspikes for Hiking – Overview
And here’s an overview of the best microspikes for hiking on the market today:
To be a 4-season outdoorsman extraordinaire, it’s a necessary pair of equipment to keep you safe and upright. But before we expand beyond what the product is and how it keeps you moving, let’s break down all the essential characteristics of their pointy exoskeleton: from frame construction and points to the bindings, materials, as well as the size and weight and the boot compatibility questions you’re probably holding inside.
Best Overall Microspikes
Kahtoola microspikes are a great option because they offer super stability and fantastic spike positioning. The material these are made with a heat-treated stainless steel, and the harness holding them together is a superb elastomer as well. The steel chain which connects the spikes provides some awesome durability and reliability to boot. The eyelets are reinforced so you don’t need to worry about them giving out on you mid-trail. Each shoe is strapped up with 12 spikes that are 3/8ths of an inch long.
We also like the variation in weight and size, ranging from extra small to extra large with corresponding weight from 11 ounces to 13.5. Also, you won’t have to worry about these undersides slashing your bag, because they come with a convenient carrying bag. It’s a compact 5x3x2 inch box, so it won’t take up too much time. Additionally, you’re provided a 2-year warranty, so it’s a good way to invest appropriately in a pair of microspikes.
- The two-year warranty guarantees the product’s quality
- Heat-treated stainless steel means the spikes stay sharp for longer
- A bit more expensive than some of the other options listed
- Considering the competitors, they are a bit heavier as well
Best Budget Microspikes
If you are on the lookout for added stability to your shoes while hiking, then these traction steel spikes by Cimkiz were explicitly made for providing you with an excellent level of grip and support in your adventures.
Each pair features 19 stainless steel spikes alongside a firm chain system, which is excellent for providing you with excellent traction on a vast range of terrain to keep you safe and injury-free.
Having being made out of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), you can expect a solid performance in temperatures under -49°F without the risk of damaging, over-stretching, freezing, or flat-out snapping during your expeditions.
If you aren’t planning on hiking, it is also worth mentioning that you can use this product when you go fishing, hunting, running, want to safely walk on icy and frozen roads, mud, and wet terrain.
This particular product comes in 2 different colors – black and orange and three different sizes – medium, large, and X-large, making it suitable for children, adults, and the elderly.
- It can be used under icy weather conditions
- You can use the spikes for a range of outdoor activities
- Very durable and long-lasting
- No small size available
- Quite pricey
When winter hiking through the backcountry, you’re sure to come across some icy trails. And the last thing you want to do is slip and fall, making it handy to have one of these winter traction devices. And to stay upright on slippery surfaces, the Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra is one of the best options providing great traction.
Winter trails will feel like a snowless summer walk in the park thanks to the 18 stainless steel spikes that are strapped below you. And with the elastomer harness providing a secure fit, you have no worries beyond what’s for dinner that evening after a lovely day outside. It also comes with a convenient carry bag and a two-year warranty. So it’s not going anywhere, and you can bring it anywhere.
- Reliable two-ear warranty and 18 stainless steel spikes
- The convenient bag helps you bring it to the campsite
- A bit more expensive than the other options
- Sizing can be a bit tricky, we recommend sizing up
We love these crampons for their reliability, as emphasized by the two-year warranty they come with. The ergonomic plate system the spikes come with is impeccably designed, and each boot is draped with 11 spikes for superior stability. Also, the front plate is divided into two parts connected by a couple of hinges, which improves flexibility across the front foot.
The harness is designed from an elastomer material, while all the spikes are of stainless steel. The spikes here are long, around 2/3 of an inch, so you’ll get a good grip on any surface. Though with that length comes added weight, and the 16.3 ounces means they’ll be a bit heavier and more costly than competing products. However, all that plus the two-year warranty means you pay for what you get, and this is a reliable product.
- The flexible front plate for added stability
- Two-year warranty for super reliability
- A bit heavier than other options at 16.3 ounces
- A bit more expensive as well
Hikers looking for something to strap to the bottom side of their hiking boots should look no further than this fantastic option from the folks at ICETrekkers. From backpacking through the woods or trekking up icy slopes, the stainless steel spikes on these guys will keep you upright and chugging along.
The spikes can strap onto a pair of winter boots or hiking shoes with the same degree of comfort, thanks to the ingenious sling design that holds the spikes doing together. When you need good traction on those winter hikes, the grippers on these microspikes will keep you safe and secure. We also love that the grip moves in all directions, so they can handle any slush or mud you may come across as well.
- Steel alloy beads move in each direction for maximum stability
- Tough rubber sling keeps them intact regardless of frigid temperatures
- Doesn’t come with a warranty
- The steel spikes can wear down quickly on concrete
Bonus Budget-Friendly Option: Yaktrax Pro Traction Cleats Crampon
These are a cool option because they have been made with a different design than the other products listed. Instead of a few specific points digging into the earth below, they are designed with coils for improving traction. The coils are 1.4mm thick steel and positioned in all directions to maximize 360-degree stability.
The harness holding the coils to the bottom of your boot is made with a similarly designed heavy-duty rubber with additional straps. This means it can withstand the same punishment you’re placing on your boots, and the additional straps ensure it won’t wither away under duress. The harness only comes in four available sizes, but the harness is pretty elastic so you can fit it onto your boot easily. Plus the adjustable straps mean even with all the gloves and protective coating you wear, you can adjust accordingly to ensure a safe fit.
- Steel coils to keep you stable
- Interesting design with adjustable straps
- Only four sizes available
Bonus Ultralight Option. Kahtoola NANOspikes
When moving through deep snow in Colorado or ice fishing in Michigan, it’s helpful to have something additional on the underside of your boots. The low-profile of these nano spikes makes them a great choice along the hiking trails when the snow has turned to ice but you still want to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Mountaineering enthusiasts among us will appreciate the lightweight design, as each only runs from 7.2 ounces to 9, depending on the size you select.
Plus a one year warranty means you can bring them on a backpacking trip without worry. While they’re mostly designed for trail running, they are a great option for anyone looking for some extra protection on the trails without so much burdensome weight. So place them on your trail running shoes and get out there today!
- Minimal and lightweight design
- One year warranty ensures premier craftsmanship and safety concerns
- Doesn’t come with a tote sack
We love the PECO MICROspikes Crampon because it’s always been one of the more popular products, and with good reason. The superior stability they require as well as the two-year warranty they guarantee means they know their product isn’t going to wear down after just a few uses. Knowing how harsh winter can be, it provides great comfort knowing these guys believe in their product this much.
We also love that it comes with a carry bag so you can lug your stuff around without fear of it puncturing your tent or backpack. For the backpacker eager to set foot in winter, it’s a much welcome benefit they provide.
All in all, adding a pair of microspikes to your winter collection is a great way to stay safe and ensure you can stay outdoors in the coldest months of the year.
Bonus tip: Check out this great video explaining the differences between crampons, microspikes and snowshoes!
Microspikes Buyer’s Guide
What do microspikes do?
Within the microspikes umbrella term, there are several options that you can strap to your boots’ underside. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can either focus on something that improves grip but still allows a normal stepping motion, or something needed to climb steep surfaces with deep indentations. Essentially, microspikes are so helpful for two reasons: they increase traction and surface area.
Of course, the most important characteristic of their ability to stab into icy surfaces with the spikes stopped on them. They’re great for slick surfaces like hiking on icy slick surfaces or scaling alpine ice-covered boulders. And the wider surface area some provide will also be different between staying above the layers of snow and sinking right through them.
What are the different kinds of microspikes constructions?
When talking about frame constructions, there are three main formats. The spike harness can either be fully flexible, semi-flexible or rigid. Because the best option for walking is a fully flexible frame, this is the option that all microspikes first come with. Usually, there is also a hinged bar that connects the front and backplates.
These plates and the hinged bar is great for preventing the accumulation of snow beneath your boot. This snow collection throws off your natural gait and it a helpful way to normalize your motion in challenging terrain. Plus, they work for conventional climbing methods as well.
A semi-rigid frame
A semi-rigid frame combines the two options, that are popular for its versatility. They can come with an adjustable bar to choose how rigid or flexible you want the device to be. And then the most rigid frames offer the best precision. They sit really tight on your boot and offer great support and maneuverability when climbing. Not such a good choice for walking, though.Within the microspikes community, build, fit, traction are the most important considerations of the item’s function. However, we want to start our focus on how easy it is to put them on and take them off.
It’s actually more difficult than you may think, especially when you have numb fingers and the wind is blowing something fierce. It’s just the last thing you want to worry about, and the hassle can become potentially dangerous if you need to get inside quickly. This is something we hope to highlight as we move onto the reviews of the microspikes and something you should keep in mind.
However, one aspect we won’t have to remind you of its importance is the traction of your spikes. You’ll obviously want something that provides the additional traction you need to move around. If you’re just hoping to get to the bus stop on a particularly blustery day, obviously you don’t need something with aggressive spikes. Beyond the spikes and the traction of the product, you also want to consider the build. Even if it’s not such an expensive addition, you still want your microspikes to be able to last you a few winters.
The most important thing is the match the microspikes stiffness with your boots. If your boots bend, don’t get a stiff traction device. It will wear down and eventually break the thing that’s supposed to keep you safe in the blustery winter. Not ideal. What is ideal is to have a good fit between the spikes and your boots. If they wrap too tightly around your boots, they could leave with you with some uncomfortable pressure points on your feet, and something that’s too loose won’t be able to help you as you would like. If anything this will hamper your motion and inhibit your exhibition into the outdoors.
Something also to consider with your microspikes is how and where are you going to use them. If you purchase aggressive spikes, just know that they wear out quickly on cement, pavement, and other unforgiving man-made surfaces. That leads us to our next consideration, which is where you are going to use them. If it’s just to make sure you’ll stay upright under particularly slick evenings where there could be black ice around, there’s no need to invest in heavy aggressive traction. Minimalist stuff or chains can get you moving with confidence and poise at lighter weights.
If you’re stepping over a frozen pond or stream, you want something that will keep you grounded on the icy surface. These styles will be heavier and clunkier, but obviously worth the unfortunate risk of falling and slipping. Both painful and dangerous, it’s best to keep your butt off the ground and your eyes on ahead, moving forward.
Microspikes, crampons, and snowshoes: what’s the difference?
Just know that just because we’re emphasizing microspikes in this article, that doesn’t mean there is the only option on the table. Microspikes are most effective on slick packed snow or ice. You’re really looking for that extra traction that can keep you on top, but microspikes are nothing compared to crampons.
Crampons are heavier than microspikes because of their larger steel teeth on the toes and base of the boot. Due to their weight, they’re a bit more difficult to maneuver with, and you’ll be stepping slower and getting more tired with them on. They’re helpful when climbing up an ice-covered slope and some equally challenging icy conditions.
And when the ice is still copious amounts of snow, the best options are that with the widest plates of stability: snowshoes. They’re designed to keep you above dry soft snow that otherwise you have you sinking to your knees. If you’re inching along a downward sloping surface, the grippy set of teeth on the undersides can help.
Essential Things Hikers Should Bring For A Multi-Day Hiking Trip
This article is for anyone who wants to know what to pack for their upcoming hike and how to efficiently pack their gear to travel light and get more out of their hiking or camping trip.
An unforgettable adventure to have at least once in a lifetime is a multi-day hike. Maybe you’re thinking about one, or you’ve got plans. Allow us to assist you in selecting everything you’ll need for your upcoming adventure.
Finding the ideal weight-to-equipment ratio when packing a backpack for a multi-day hike entails choosing a few valuable items. In fact, during the hike, anything can happen, so you must be prepared for anything. Because of this, choosing clothing and equipment is a deliberate process.
We’ve put together a guide on what to bring for a multi-day hike that lists all the gear you might need and explains why you need it. Since each experience is distinct and extraordinary, you can modify the list to fit your particular hike, your routines, and your specific needs.
The more frequently you must stop and rest, the slower you walk, and the sooner you are likely to stop and set up camp, the more carefully you must choose your gear and pack it. You’ll typically feel more comfortable on the trail the lighter your pack is.
Before getting to the hiking packing list with all the necessary equipment, let’s review some fundamental concepts. They deal with organizing and planning your trip as well as the items in your backpack:
- Carefully plan and organize your hike; although it takes time and effort to do so, the planning stage can be critical to the overall success of the hike.
- Travel light and avoid carrying extra baggage. Only venture too far if tough enough to endure the barest comfort in a tent during bad weather.
- There are wide price variations, especially in clothing, where higher prices frequently only signify the newest design, color, or fabric rather than improved quality. The best designs are often the cheapest, lightest, and most straightforward.
- Remember to inform someone of your destination and route.
Here Are Essential Hikers Should Bring For A Multi-Day Hiking Trip:
Having to endure darkness at camp and possibly on the trails is a drawback of multi-day hikes. Packing light is almost necessary if you want to safely navigate to your campsite in the dark, cook at night, or take bathroom breaks at night.
Many different flashlights and camping lights are available, from hand-free head torches to lanterns that can light up your entire camp.
It is essential to make sure your artificial lighting will have power. Investing in a solar-powered or hand-crank model may be wise for longer journeys, as battery-operated flashlights can have a limited lifespan.
Never undervalue the significance of sun protection. Prolonged sun exposure carries several dangers, such as dehydration, sunburns and blisters, and heat exhaustion that can develop into heat stroke. Sunburns, heat stroke, and severe dehydration frequently require medical attention.
On your hike, remember to pack sunscreen, hats, and eyewear. Without adequate sun protection, you risk sunburns that could lead to melanoma skin cancer and cataracts in your eyes.
To shield your head from the sun, put on a hat. Put on long-sleeved clothing with an ultraviolet protective factor, including pants (UPF). To protect exposed skin, use sunscreen with an SPF of 30. Apply once every two hours. Drink more water on hot days.
You’ll need a few things to maintain good personal hygiene while hiking. They include:
- Hand sanitizer and toilet paper
- Moist wipes
- Toothpaste and a toothbrush
- A towel that dries quickly
You should have these in your wash bag as a minimum, but you are free to include anything else you deem necessary.
A Mini Repair And Multi-Tool Kit
You can fix unforeseen problems like a broken strap, a loose trekking pole, a tear in your backpack, and other things with a mini repair kit while you’re out exploring.
It’s always a good idea to carry multi-purpose tools like a pocket knife, EDC Blot action pen, repair patches, safety pins, or strips of the always-useful duct tape with you, even though the contents of repair kits can vary between products.
Wrapping a lighter in duct tape will keep it close at hand in case you suddenly need it.
Snacks For Energy
Bring enough food for the entire day to keep you satisfied and energized. Take granola bars, nuts, trail mix, or dehydrated meals if you’re on a long hike. Like apples or carrots, solid fruits and vegetables that won’t get squashed in your bag are excellent choices. Or you can always pack a good ol’ peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
While it’s essential to always have enough food on hand, having extra is only helpful in an emergency. Refrain from skimping snacks and nutrition because you’ll burn more calories than usual.
Glock For Any Unwanted Danger
No matter how much research you do or how cautious you are, things can still go wrong. The equipment you brought and your planning before the hike may come in handy.
Utilize your tools to stay as warm, hydrated, fed, and visible as you can. Turn on the locator beacon if you selected it. Use your Glock if necessary, but make sure it’s clean and loaded with bullets to prevent common Glock malfunctions.
See also: How to Plan a Multi-day Backpacking Trip
You should use the whistle you brought. Your location will be made possible by the information you left with a friend or relative.
Make sure to make sure your next hike’s packing is smooth. Even though there are six items on this list that are the best for day hikes, you only need the necessities.
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