Apr 15, 2024 - Newcomers Guide

Top outdoor gear for Seattle's summers

Illustration of a seagull in sunglasses wearing a bucket hat and backpack, and carrying a water bottle

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With summer just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about the basics you may need to make the most of our warmer weather.

Why it matters: With so much gear out there, making choices can feel overwhelming to Seattle newcomers or even old-timers who've been hibernating too long.

We talked to a few local outdoor experts to get their thoughts on the essentials they recommend.

What to try: Polarized sunglasses, hats and quality water bottles top the list for Kentucky Costellow, the assistant store manager for REI's flagship store in Seattle.

Add good walking shoes or hiking boots, a water-resistant backpack or rope sling and a lightweight waterproof poncho and you will be ready for most urban adventures and day trips.

  • Light, flowy pants that work whether it's sunny or overcast, a quick-dry sun hoodie and a bike to get around the city "in fashionable style" round out Miller's top choices for Seattle.
  • Sales of bike helmets, bright-colored wicking jerseys and goggles go up this time of year, sales representative Afton Mann of Fremont-based evo told Axios.

What they're saying: "Having comfortable shoes that can put in some miles would be a must-have for me," Miller told Axios. "I have tried casual shoes and they end up in the closet."

Yes, but: Always prepare if you're going further afield by packing the hiking essentials, including snacks, extra layers of clothing, a first aid kit and a map, according to the Washington Trails Association.

Good news for novices: The Seattle area has loads of places to rent camping gear and sporting gear. Borrowing from friends may also be an option.

  • It's a cost-effective way to try different kinds of high-quality gear while figuring out how often you'll go and how much you want to spend.
  • Two practical items worth buying, REI's Costellow told Axios, are headlamps and camp chairs that are easy to carry and equally useful in parks, backyards and campsites.

What's next: Have fun! It isn't an "extra," according to Mike Rucker, the author of "The Fun Habit: How the Pursuit of Joy and Wonder Can Change Your Life."

  • Having fun is an act of "radical self-care," he told CNN, and wellbeing relies on it.
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