10 Fastpacking Gear Items to Take with You this Summer

The following fastpacking gear items are what I love to take with me when I go fastpacking in the Shawnee National Forest.

Fastpacking is a term coined for fast hiking or fast backpacking. You can fast pack in a day by doing day hikes or backpacking over multiple days. Fasting is hiking but with exercise and fitness in mind.

It’s important to have durable, quality, and lightweight gear with you when fastpacking so that you can move faster than you normally would during a hike.

The fastpacking gear items listed below are what I use to enjoy a fast hike through the woods during the warmer months.

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What Fast Packing Gear Items Do I Wear?

These items are what I wear when doing fastpack hiking or trail running.


1 – REI Coop Swiftland 9″ Running Short Tights – Men’s

I wear these short tights when fast packing, trail running, or even on hotter regular day hiking trips.

Because of how much I sweat (a lot), tighter-fitting clothing helps me prevent painful chafing.

These shorts are extremely comfortable, not revealing, and can be worn alone or under baggy shorts. There are two side pockets big enough for any phone (in any case) and smaller pockets on the waistband.

The shorts have reflective details, making them great for running in areas where vehicles may be.

I own the gray and the black version. They are true to size. They fit tight as any bike shorts do, but not too tight.

They have a drawstring and a comfortable waistband.

You can buy these short tights from REI for under $60.00.


2 – Osprey Talon 6 Waist Pack – Men’s

I wear this waist pack from Osprey when I do fastpacking because it is smaller and lighter than my heavier day hiking packs.

You typically don’t take a lot of fastpacking gear items with you for a trip. So, you don’t need a large backpack. This waist pack is perfect for fastpacking or shorter-day hiking needs.

It’s larger than a fanny pack but fits like one. You can adjust the tightness of the pack if you need to.

It has two large waist pockets, two adjustable water bottle holders, and two pockets on the actual pack. One pocket is larger than the other, with an inside pocket and a key clip.

It weighs about 15 ounces empty and can hold up to 6 liters of fastpacking gear items.

It comes in one size and is blue in color.

You can get this waist pack from REI for under $100.00.


3 – Baleaf Men’s Running Quick-Dry Tank Top

I am 6’5″ tall, and it’s hard to find exercise clothing tops that fit right to my larger frame.

I picked up this running quick-dry tank top from Baleaf, which fit perfectly. It’s not too tight, and it’s long enough to cover my belly up.

It dries very quickly, which is great since I sweat more than the average person. I also notice it doesn’t start to stink after I sweat quite a bit, as much athletic clothing does.

I got a black shirt in XXL, which I typically wear for a shirt. It comes in many different colors and sizes.

You can purchase this shirt on Amazon for under $20.00.


4 – Adidas Men’s Athletic Cushioned Low Cut Socks with Arch Compression

I’ve worn these socks for fastpacking, trail running, summer hiking, and biking for many years.

They typically last a few years of heavy use. They are comfortable with some padding. I wear socks that fit right above the ankle to wear them with my hiking boots.

They typically dry quickly when wet but tend to start stinking afterward.

I get XL and black in color. I like these socks because you can get them in a six-pack without spending too much money.

You can buy these socks in a six-pack on Amazon for under $15.00.


5 – Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots – Men’s

I’ve purchased Oboz boots for a few years in a row now.

This is a waterproof boot, and it weighs more than trail runners do. Keep that in mind. I’m not a big fan of trail runners. I want to keep as much moisture from my feet as possible.

While these are boots and they are waterproof, they’re very easy to wear in the summer. I don’t find them hot at all. I also feel like they weigh less than most waterproof boots.

They run a little smaller than most boots. I get one size up, and it fits great both in the summer with my thin socks and in the winter with my very thick alpaca wool socks.

You can buy these boots from REI for under $200.00.

Fastpacking Gear Items

What Fastpacking Gear Items Do I Take with Me?

The following fastpacking gear items are what I take with me on my quick hikes or trail runs.


6 – GU Hydration Drink Tabs

I’ve tried many different electrolyte solutions in the past and found GU to be the best.

I drop two of these in one bottle of water and use plain water in the other bottle. I’ll make sure to drink a mixture of both bottles to keep myself hydrated, with an electrolyte serving here and there.

I prefer the Lemon-Lime flavor as I think it goes down best when it’s hot and humid outside.

Staying hydrated when fastpacking or trail running in the summer heat is essential.

You can buy these GU tabs from REI for less than $10.00 for a tube of them.


7 – Nature Valley Chewy Fruit and Nut Granola Bars

We take these with us for every hike, bike ride, or outdoor recreation trip we take.

They taste great. They’re easy to chew and get down your throat with a few drinks of water. They’re also loaded with ingredients that help to fuel your outdoor adventure.

I can usually eat one or two a trip, and I’m fine.

They’re easy to carry, making them great fastpacking gear for refueling with a snack.

You can buy a box of 15 from Amazon for less than $8.00.


8 – Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

I initially spray myself down with DEET anti-tick spray and permethrin on my boots, clothing, and gear.

But when fastpacking, I sweat most of it off my skin pretty quickly.

I use this lemon-grass spray because it’s the best I’ve found to work with buffalo gnats or black flies. When they bite me, I have an allergic reaction that makes the bite area swell as big as a golf ball and hurt for a few days.

These bottles are compact, easy to carry, and it doesn’t take much to work. It also feels comfortable on the skin, which is important to me.

You can get a two-pack on Amazon for about $20.00.


9 – Survivewear First Aid Kit

This is the main first aid kit I carry in all my packs.

However, when I fastpack, I just take a few items from this kit and put them in a Ziploc bag.

I take some bandages, alcohol prep pads, sting wipes, medical tape, antihistamines, and anti-diarrhea pills. You might take more or less. That’s up to you.

I got sent this kit to try and make a review, and it’s been the best kit I’ve ever used, so I stick with that particular company.

You can buy the same 100-piece kit that I have on Amazon for about $50.00.


10 – Coast PX1R 1000 Lumen Rechargeable Focusing LED Flashlight

I bought this flashlight a few years ago, and it’s been the best smaller light I’ve ever used.

It was relatively cheap. It recharges fairly quickly and lasts for a while. I typically charge it a few times a month and have used mine for over three years.

I bought it because it has 1,000 lumens, and I can see in the cracks of bluffs when looking for snakes on Snake Road.

I’ve added it to my essential fastpacking gear items list because you never know when you’ll need a light, just in case you don’t leave the forest until after dark.

I’ve seen enough open wells in the forest to know that light in the dark is essential.

You can buy this light on Amazon for a little over $50.00.


And that concludes my top 10 fastpacking gear items that I take with me on every fastpack or trail running trip in the summer. I do take other things like my phone for navigation, a charging cord, and a power brick. I also take a little bit of toilet paper, just in case.

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Shawn Gossman

Shawn Gossman

Founder, Hiking with Shawn

Howdy folks! My name is Shawn Gossman and I founded Hiking with Shawn. I’m an avid hiker, cyclist and outdoorsman here in the Shawnee National Forest. I was born and raised in Southern Illinois and never want to leave. Click here to learn more about Shawn Gossman

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