Columbine, by D•CURVE Optics

We’re fortunate to live in a small mountain town that boasts awesome hiking trails out our back door, and a 7-mile paved trail along the river that’s perfect for a mellow bike ride. So it’s not unusual for my husband and me to spend time in both places — on the same day.

I’m somewhat of a minimalist, so I look for outdoor gear that can take me seamlessly from one activity to the next. The good (and bad) news is that there’s a lot to choose from these days. To make it easier, I’ve come up with 3 cross-over essentials, whether I’m in my hiking boots or on my bicycle. Here they are:

1. Healthy snacks

OK, you’re probably thinking, “Healthy snacks aren’t gear.” But if you’re prone to low-blood sugar like I am, you don’t underestimate the importance of having some noshing goodies on hand. There are a lot of energy food and drinks branded separately for cyclists and for hikers. But I’ve found that my essential healthy snacks for both activities can be broken down into to what I like to eat, what’s easy to carry in my pack (see #2), and what won’t melt in the hot sun. My current go-to snacks include raw almonds, dried apricots, and BoBo’s oat bars.

2. Hydration pack

In addition to being preoccupied by food, I am a water-drinking junkie. So it’s super important to make sure I have enough of the precious liquid close at hand during all my outdoor activities. Although my bicycle is equipped with a couple of water bottle cages, I prefer using a small backpack with a bladder. It’s much easier to drink from, plus it gives me a place to store the ever-important snacks (see #1). As for the cross-over piece, a good hydration pack will work just as well for a short day hike. I really love my small hydration pack from Osprey.

3. Sunglasses

No matter the activity, you can’t beat a good pair of shades. It can be hard to choose the right ones because there are so many options, but I have a checklist here, too. First, I prefer polarized sunglasses because of the reduced glare and enhanced visibility they provide. Next, I look for a style that will sit comfortably below my brimmed bicycle helmet and the various ball caps I wear hiking. And finally, I like a pair that is stylish enough to wear post-hiking or biking. My current faves are the Columbine from D·CURVE Optics because they fit all three criteria.

What outdoor activities do you participate in and what’s your favorite cross-over gear? We’d love to know. Please share your thoughts and comments below.