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Confidence on the Trails: Outdoor Hiking Essentials for the San Juan Mountains

Calla In Motion

Confidence on the Trails: Outdoor Hiking Essentials for the San Juan Mountains

Lindsey Calla


I mentioned briefly in my last post that my husband and I relocated to Colorado for the next few months.  We needed an escape from the oppressive heat and wanted to have more opportunities to spend time outside.  So we landed in Pagosa Springs, a place completely overlooked by most tourists, but a place that is brimming with nature opportunities.   Aside from their hot springs, which are the deepest in the world, there are tons of trails and lakes along the San Juan Mountain Range.   We spent our Sunday hanging by a lake that presses right up against some gorgeous peaks.  There are trails to run, lakes to paddle and fresh air to be explored and we took full advantage. 

Spending time in remote places outside means preparation is everything.  My wardrobe is now full of pieces that are super versatile for all weather and all terrain.  Backcountry has been an absolute one-stop shop for anything adventure driven and we’ve used the site for years to stock up.  Super excited to work with them on this trip and supply our whole day with pieces that seamlessly fit into this lifestyle. 

If you’re a seasoned hiker than I hope you find some new gear that you haven’t tried before and if you’re a hiking/outdoor novice then make sure to take notes.  A good foundation of gear means everything out here.   Some key favorites:


Dry Bag It


A dry bag is key to pretty much any outdoor activity.  It could rain suddenly, you could decide to kayak or raft to your next trail or maybe you want to take your camera out on a paddle board.  The wet bag protects gear and any other valuables from being damaged.   This Watershed bag gets amazing reviews and it lived up to its reputation.  I love the minimalist camel color and it fits everything.  I put shoes, a camera and a jacket in this one and took it out for a paddle. 

All-Terrain Shoes


I’ve been an adidas Terrex shoe fan for while but this time I tried out Salomon Outline.  They look more like a sneaker than a hiking shoe, which I love, plus they are waterproof and high-traction.  Can’t resist blue on blue for me either.

Paddle Prep


I am a rashguard freak.  I love sporty swimwear and find any reason to look for water whether I’m on the coast or in the mountains.  For the summer I prefer a short-sleeve rashguard so I gravitated towards this Patagonia Swell top with reversible bottoms .  I can bring this with me to the Caribbean as well and fit right in.  Versatility makes purchases that much more enjoyable when I really get good wear out of something. 


The Coziest Comfort


Is there anything better than a cozy sweatshirt on a mountain morning?  Especially after it rains!  The smell is intoxicating.  It’s like a sweet grass mixed with mountain dew, not the soda of course!  Patagonia again comes through with the chicest quilted sweatshirt that I could also throw on with jeans and be quite content.  So happy to not wake up and it already be 100 percent humidity.  Very happy to have this piece for years to come.


If you’re looking for a hiking pant that isn’t dorky looking then I highly suggest these Utility Skinny Pants from The North Face.   There are loads of pockets for keys and chapstick but way stretchy enough to feel non-existent on the body.  They don’t look like a typical cargo pant to me.  I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into because I couldn’t feel the fabric when I bought them but I am super impressed.

Picking the Right Paddle Board


For the place that I’m at in life, a bit mobile and non-committal to just one place, an inflatable paddleboard is ideal.  They are so easy to transport and they take only 10 minutes to blow up.   The inflatable boards also tend to be a little wider which adds more stability for yoga.  They hook up to a roof rack super easily.  We used only two straps to keep ours on the car.  So easy!  If you want speed go with a narrow version and if you don’t mind lugging a beauty around then there are some gorgeous multi-water use wood boards that are killer.  They make the solid construction ones pretty light these days but it’s harder to travel long distance with these!

Literally Backcountry has EVERYTHING.  If you remember I brought some running/yoga gear with me to Greece and I wear those super cozy Beyond Yoga tights everywhere.  I just actually hiked with them up to a local waterfall then practiced yoga in them on our deck.  Versatility is everything!  Can't wait to see what Colorado brings for us the next few months!