Hiking can mean different things to different folks. There’s the type of hiking that requires miles of uphill trekking in forlorn, uneven terrain, and there’s the type that looks a little like your standard walk in a park. Regardless of your preference or ability, Lululemon’s new line of hiking gear promises to keep you feeling comfortable, supported and safe with its use of durable, abrasion-resistant materials and high-tech add-ons from storage to ventilation.
The roster of men’s and women’s pieces and accessories released on July 5 this year is designed to make spending time on the trail a breeze. It features 33 convertible, packable and water-resistant pieces from cargo leggings to oversized jackets and roomy backpacks. All pieces are designed to prevent chafe, keep you both cool and warm due to their thermoregulating properties and look fresh to death paired with all of your favorite athleisure. Prices range from $28 to $198.
As a lifelong Lululemon fan, I noticed nearly every detail that set this line apart from previous ones. There was a real effort to keep up with times by using trendy hues (hello lilac, light brown and multicolor), and I could immediately see the line was a departure from the brand’s previous minimalist pieces, down to the new alphabetically written logo. Each piece serves a function beyond covering your body from the elements: The Hike To Swim short and bra work double-duty as hiking shorts and a swimming outfit, which omits the need to bring a change of clothes on both land and sea outings. The set also makes for an ideal option on particularly sweaty hikes that call for impromptu dips in a lake to cool off.
Because I live in an urban jungle, I couldn’t immediately take these babies on a hike in the traditional sense. Instead, I first took them for a jaunt on my treadmill by performing a Peloton Tread Hiking Bootcamp class. This way, I could see how they fare when I generate tons of sweat (hello, uphill speed-walking), and determine if they provide enough flexibility during the cross-training components of the workout. Then, I went on a hilly and windy walk in the scorching Montreal heat.
While they did show plenty of sweat stains in the purplish-brown colorway, the Cargo Super High-Rise Hiking Short was the single most compressive bicycle-style short I’ve ever worn and kept me comfortable throughout both activities. The pockets are so deep I thought I’d lost my credit card and had to call my bank. Though they clock in at a cool $98, you’re also getting a whole fanny pack’s worth of storage. Had I gotten a size up for the wedgie-inducing Multi-Pocket Cargo HR Hiking Short, I could foresee them feeling super airy and lightweight, which is really all you can ask for when you’re traipsing through the wilderness, touring a city on foot or submitting your body to rigorous things on a treadmill.
The pieces that resonated with me most weren’t so much the tops or bottoms, but the overcoats. Brownie points go to the Convertible Ripstop Hiking Jacket for coming with a detachable and convertible purse, and removable sleeves and a hood that allow you to adjust your body temperature on the fly. If you plan to take a hiking trip any time soon, I can’t think of a more space-conscious piece for your luggage or carry-on that’s suitable for virtually any climate.
The best part about hiking is that it’s as much a summer sport as it is a fall one. I fell in love with the Grid Fleece Hiking Overshirt made with mesh ventilation, fleece material, generous pockets at the chest and arm for your phone and a longer length in the back to protect you while you sit on the ground. While it’ll certainly work well for breezy summer nights, it makes for a real winner of a top layer year-round.
Of all the items I tried from the collection, I can see the Power Stride Hiking Crew Socks getting the most mileage. Like most cardio-forward activities, our feet are the foundation of any hike, so these well-cushioned sweat-absorbing socks are certainly a step in the right direction. At $28, they’re a bit more than what most of us prefer to spend on socks, but I see them as a way to transform any old sneakers you may have lying around into more satisfactory hiking shoes that won’t leave your feet blistered or overheated. Their wool blend 3D-knit fabric creates a lovely hugged contour around the foot and arch, and it’s got extra cushioning at the heel to protect against blisters. While I wouldn’t run in them since they err on the thicker side, they did make for a super-smooth step during an hour-long power walk around my neighborhood.
Finally as someone who prefers to explore a trail or city hands-free to save my back, I appreciate that you can fit nearly a small backpack’s worth of belongings in a selection of their pieces like the Convertible High-Rise Hiking Jogger and Water-Repellent Fleece Hiking Vest.
Due to the use of thicker, more durable fabrics across the line, I noticed the sizing fit a little differently too. Whereas I’m normally a size 4 in all Lululemon leggings, I learned I’d probably need anywhere closer to a 6 or 8 in the gear with less give from this new line for ample range of motion. If you plan to buy online, you may opt to size up, especially if you hope to take advantage of all their hidden and exterior pockets for your bulkier belongings like phones or, in keeping with the theme, trail mix.
Whether you’ve got some serious hikes on the horizon or you simply plan to hike up your number of steps in a day, Lululemon’s Hike Collection has something for everyone. Its intentional use of materials and specs gives each piece a little extra value, from plenty of storage to ventilation to protection from anything unexpected you might find along your trail.
While the pieces certainly do not come cheap, I currently own dozens of Lululemon pieces that have withstood the test of time, marathons and international travels, and I can foresee most items holding up in a similar way. Lululemon’s Hike Collection seems to pay special attention to longevity and durability, so your cost per wear should decrease substantially. And if you don’t consider yourself much of a “hiker,” these pieces may just change your mind.