The Best Lightweight Backpacking Gear From Nike

Buying Guide

Balancing comfort and pack weight is easy with these Nike tops, jackets, shorts and trail shoes.

Last updated: 1 February 2023
6 min read
The Best Lightweight Backpacking Gear From Nike

To have a memorable and an enjoyable adventure in the wild, a little bit of planning—and investing in the right gear—can go a long way. The best apparel and gear for on-foot exploring should keep you dry, comfortable and add as little weight to your pack as possible.

From T-shirts and base layers to rain coats and beanies, check out these recommendations for the best lightweight backpacking gear by Nike.

(Related: The Benefits of Hiking, According to Experts)

The Best Lightweight Backpacking Gear and Apparel by Nike

1. Tops

Nike Dri-FIT T-Shirts

When climbing hilly trails with a backpack, staying cool and dry is a must. Nike Dri-FIT materials work to wick sweat away from the body, while providing a soft feel underneath pack straps.

A relaxed fit will move with you without bunching around the pack's waist strap. Nike Dri-FIT T-shirts are lightweight and easy to layer—you can easily throw on a sweatshirt or jacket if the weather conditions change.

(Related: Hiking Outfit Ideas for Every Season)

Nike Long-Sleeve Tops

For chilly mornings, before getting on the trail, a Nike long-sleeve top makes for the optimal midlayer. Half-zip options help wearers adjust airflow on the go, while tops featuring Nike Therma-FIT technology work well on cold hikes.

Nike Therma-FIT technology retains the body's natural heat while wicking away sweat to prevent overheating. Some options have thumb loops and water-repellent properties, too.

2. Bottoms

Nike Running Shorts

The shorts you wear when backpacking should feel effortless—avoid anything that feels overly tight or that could lead to chafing. Brief-lined running shorts for men and women are a lightweight option to prevent any unwanted rubbing as you log miles thanks to Nike Dri-FIT Technology.

(Related: The 7 Best Nike Skirts for Hiking)

Nike Base-Layer Tights and Leggings

If you want additional warmth or coverage from brush and branches while you hike, a pair of base-layer tights or leggings are worth the room they take up in your backpack. Most are made from Nike Dri-FIT fabrics for breathability and stretchy materials for full range of motion.

(Related: The Best Nike High-Waisted Leggings for Every Activity)

Nike Rain Trousers

When hiking through a variety of locations, the weather can change in moments. Stashing a pair of Nike Storm-FIT trousers in your pack won't add much weight and will keep you moving through a downpour. Nike Storm-FIT ADV technology combines waterproof and windproof fabrics, and sealed seams keep out the cold.

(Related: The Best Nike Waterproof Trousers to Shop Now)

3. Jackets

Nike Lightweight Rain Jackets

Just like rain trousers, rain jackets can help travellers prepare for inclement weather on a backpacking trip. Opt for a lightweight running jacket to stay dry, and when you no longer need it, it can be packed into its own pocket to save space.

Tip: Store your packed rain jacket in an easily accessible place in your backpack, such as an outer pocket or the top lid, to quickly cover up when needed and keep the rest of your backpacking gear dry.

(Related: 7 Nike Rain Jackets for Drizzly Day Activities)

Nike Insulated Gilets

For additional warmth—without sacrificing valuable backpack space—choose an insulated running gilet. Most are made with Nike Therma-FIT technology to harness the body's natural heat. Synthetic fill keeps these gilets lightweight and packable.

4. Accessories

Nike Running Gloves

A pair of thin, lightweight gloves will take up almost no space in your pack and keep your hands warm. With the sleek, minimalist design of Nike running gloves, backpackers can easily slip them on when it gets chilly on the trail.

(Related: Hiking Checklist: Essentials to Bring on the Trail)

Nike Beanies

The best beanies for backpacking balance warmth with minimal bulk. Nike Dri-FIT beanies feature soft, stretchy yarn that won't take up a tonne of space in your backpack, but they'll keep the head and ears warm.

Plus, sweat-wicking technology means you can work hard on your hike without overheating. Some Nike Trail beanies come in prints and colourways inspired by nature.

(Related: The Best Nike Beanies to Shop Now)

5. Socks

Nike Dri-FIT Socks

Socks can make or break a backpacking trip. The wrong pair of socks can lead to blisters, potentially causing a painful distraction. Nike Everyday Plus Cushioned socks give padding under the forefoot and heel to soften the impact of each step, while the heel and toe are reinforced for durability.

A band around the arch feels snug and supportive, and a breathable knit pattern on top adds ventilation. Nike Dri-FIT Technology also keeps feet dry as the miles pile up. Opt for crew-length socks to protect the ankles along the trail.

(Related: How to Choose the Right Pair of Hiking Socks for You)

6. Footwear

Nike All Conditions Gear (ACG) Shoes

Gone are the days of hiking in clunky hiking boots, especially if you are a backpacker looking to minimise as much carried weight as possible.

Trail sneakers provide grippy traction underfoot, while keeping hikers light on their feet. Nike ACG models, such as the Lowcate, feature a plastic shank plate that provides support on the trail, plus a rubber outsole with lugs.

(Related: The 8 Best Nike Sneakers to Wear on a Hike)

Nike Trail-Running Shoes

Thanks to their flexibility and lightweight feel, trail-running shoes make for a practical footwear choice on a backpacking trip.

Opt for a Nike Pegasus trail shoe with a waterproof GORE-TEX lining to keep feet dry through streams, rain storms, high-elevation snow or anything else you may encounter. A short gaiter around the ankle keeps out moisture and debris.

Or, consider the Nike Wildhorse for extra traction and grippy, high-abrasion rubber soles.

(Related: The Best Nike Shoes to Wear Hiking)

Nike Slides

Pulling off hiking shoes and slipping into a pair of plush slides or slippers can be a welcome reprieve after a long day of hiking. Nike slides are lightweight, and they'll be worth the space they take up in the backpack when it's time to kick off your shoes and set up camp.

(Related: What Are Nike's Most Comfortable Slippers and Slides?)

7. Backpack

Nike ACG 36

For an overnight trip or for minimalist long-distance hikers, the Nike All Conditions Gear 36 backpack has 44 litres of storage to carry all your essentials. Ergonomic shoulder straps, moulded back panels and a sternum strap will keep the load as comfortable as possible while you trek.

The removable rain cover will keep gear dry if stormy weather strikes. Plus, a separate cross-body bag can hold quick-access favourites, like lip balm and granola bars.

Tip: For a top-loading backpack like the Nike ACG 36, pack the heaviest items closest to your back to maintain your centre of gravity. This weight distribution helps keep backpackers stable and balanced while carrying their pack.

(Related: The Best Way to Wash a Backpack, Whatever the Material)

The Best Lightweight Backpacking Gear From Nike

Words by Jessica Murri

Originally published: 12 December 2022

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