In my next gear review, I will be talking about the first layers and hiking boots after reviewing the jackets in my last post. Especially for longer hikes, it is very helpful to have some good quality Merino gear for your first layers. They might be a bit more expensive, but are completely worth it and last much longer, so in the end you will probably invest the same amount of money over time.
I mainly use Icebreaker from New Zealand for my first layer Merino clothing. It is more expensive but certainly worth the extra money since they last much longer. There are many different variations of shirts and its down to your personal taste in the end. If you plan to go to some colder areas, make sure to get some thicker wool (260+) for those freezing nights as the standard 100 merino might not provide enough warmth. Next to the warming attributes, I just love how comfortable merino is on your skin and they do indeed not stink even after days and days of hardcore hiking! I have tested this many times and can speak from experience 🙂 Arcteryx is a great slightly less expensive alternative.
The same applies to the underwear. Merino is the way to go and next to Icebreaker, my favorite brand here is Smartwool. They are slightly cheaper yet still great value hiking socks and I only used those for the big treks. Very durable as well as I have used only 2 pairs in the last 3 years of hiking and just now they ended up with some holes in them and I will have to get some new ones. But still, I have done a lot of hikes in that time so its completely normal…
For the shoes I would just talk about the hiking boots as my only requirement for sneakers is lightweight and you will probably not even carry climbing shoes with you as I did. For the hiking boots however, its probably one of the most important items for me since hiking and nature photography is my absolute passion when I travel. The Meindl Bhutan were holding up for more than four years already and are probably one of your best bets if you don’t want to spend much more than 200€. They are relatively light weight, super comfortable and very durable. I will probably buy the same again when my start to fall apart completely!