The Best Outdoor Gear to Invest In, According to a Professional Hiker

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The Expert Edit features interviews with specialists about the products they swear by in their chosen field. For the latest installment, we spoke to Evelynn Escobar, social activist, professional explorer, and founder of the Hike Clerb, about her recommendations for the best hiking gear and new collection with The North Face.

Hot-girl walks be damned, Evelynn Escobar would like to introduce you to the hot-girl hike — aka your new favorite summer activity. Through her intersectional outdoor collective and nonprofit organization, the Hike Clerb, Escobar has translated her love for hitting the trails into a full-time career, with a goal of making hiking feel more accessible for Black, Indigenous, and women of color.

“When we think about inclusion or when we think about accessibility, you can never go wrong when you put the most marginalized communities at the forefront. If you work to improve them, then by default, everyone else will be included. And there’s so much work to be done in the outdoor space to really see all communities and to center those who are most impacted,” Escobar tells PS. “We’re in a time right now where people are desperately craving community and I think what’s been so special and moving about this [organization], is that we’re really at the helm of a cultural movement of community — ours just happens be in the outdoors.”

“We’re in a time right now where people are desperately craving community and I think what’s been so special and moving about this [organization], is that we’re really at the helm of a cultural movement of community — ours just happens be in the outdoors.”

The Hike Clerb’s greater mission isn’t just to help women redefine their relationship with nature, but to ensure they also feel comfortable and confident for any trek. These ethos inspired the brand’s newest collaboration with The North Face, which includes a capsule of specially designed hiking gear — from camp sandals and utility vests to hiking boots and stylish T-shirts.

“Designing [the capsule] was really a collaborative experience and my DNA is very much infused in this collection. I love unique pieces that you wouldn’t typically find in a traditional outdoor retail setting, and it was just so much fun to be able to truly make things in a way that speaks to us, sees us, and serves as a conversation piece on the trail or even in the streets.”

In conversation with PS, Escobar spoke with us about the Hike Clerb’s new collection with The North Face, how her relationship with the outdoors has evolved, and what hiking essentials you’ll find in her travel backpack. Keep reading for her breakdown of the best hiking gear, best hiking boots, and more.

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