Gear Guide: 5 Hiking & Camping Must-Haves

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Taking the great outdoors by storm this summer? Whether you’re pitching a tent close to home or going backpacking deep in the wilderness, deciding what to bring is half the adventure. Below, find a few of VT‘s favorite eco-friendly hiking and camping supplies—all of which I’ll be stowing in my backpack when I hit the Eastern Sierra’s John Muir Trail this August!

1. Mosquitos and ticks can get pretty pesky on the trail, but don’t reach for chemical-laden insect repellents. Buzz Away Extreme is entirely natural, lasts for several hours, and smells downright delightful (think citronella candles and peppermint patties).

2. You can bathe, brush your teeth, scrub your clothes, and wash your hair with the organic, biodegradable Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Liquid Soap, which comes in a small container made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles. Multipurpose magic!

3. Forget about eating prepackaged freeze-dried foods in the backcountry. In her new book, Another Fork in the Trail, seasoned backpacker Laurie Ann March offers more than 160 vegan and vegetarian recipes and easy-to-follow tips for supping in style from a backpack. Hint: it helps to own a dehydrator.

4. For a protein-packed, no-cooking-required snack, grab Justin’s Organic Classic Peanut Butter. It comes in mini, hiker-friendly squeezable packets, so you don’t have to lug a whole jar of peanut butter with you. Also try Justin’s other yummy flavors like maple almond butter.

5. Plastic-phobic? There’s not a smidge of the stuff in Klean Kanteen’s new BPA-free Reflect water bottle, which holds 27 ounces and fits easily into the side pocket of your backpack. The bamboo cap and stainless-steel bottle look superspiffy too. If you want something bigger (but not plastic-free), Klean Kanteen’s got a rare-in-water-bottle-world 64-ouncer that’ll keep you extra-hydrated on the go.