I'm a hiking and rucking convert – here are the outdoorsy Memorial Day deals I'm looking out for

(Image credit: Ryan Lomas Photography)

I love getting outdoors. As someone who lives in a big city, I find escaping the hustle and bustle and getting into hills and forest terrain incredibly invigorating. The sound of the birds! The smell of the trees! The feel of the rain soaking through my sweater, because I forgot to bring a waterproof! It’s all very idyllic. 

But sometimes, when I go for a short hike, I feel as though it’s not enough of a challenge – which is when I discovered rucking. Born out of military drills, rucking is simply hiking with a weighted backpack. There’s no minimum amount of weight and no set method of weighing down your backpack – anything from water bladders to rocks is fair game, although, of course, one of those is more comfortable than the other. 

I had a great opportunity to try rucking on a guided hike in England’s beautiful Lake District National Park, and now I’m hooked. So, although getting outdoors is technically free, I’m planning on using the Memorial Day sales to make sure I’m fully equipped to take on the great outdoors from head to toe. If you’re interested in rucking, or simply hiking for that matter, here are the deals I’m looking out for. 

Watches:  Garmin Instinct 2 / Garmin Fenix 6 / Apple Watch SE 2 

Garmin Instinct 2 with white case and band

(Image credit: Future)

I’ve made it no secret that I love the best Garmin watches for all manner of outdoor-orientated pursuits. They’re fantastic fitness watches designed to help you get the most out of hiking, running, cycling, and more, with a long battery life and advanced GPS features, such as the ability to hit “Back to Start” and follow a breadcrumb trail back to the start of your activity, should you get lost. 

The 40mm Garmin Instinct 2, which we adored and gave five stars in our review, is down to $199.99 on Amazon right now from $299.99. That’s just five dollars off its lowest price ever, so you’re unlikely to find a better deal on an outdoor watch this Memorial Day. The larger 44mm version is also discounted down to $249.99 from $349.99. The Instinct 2 has a mammoth 28-day battery life, loads of health and workout features, the advanced GPS tools we mentioned earlier, a barometer, a compass… everything you need for the great outdoors.

Well, almost everything. The thing missing here is displaying full-color GPS maps of your surroundings on your wrist, so you’re not relying on 5G signal or having to constantly check your phone – after all, you’re enjoying nature, not playing Pokemon Go. The Garmin Fenix range of outdoor watches do provide this service, although they’re a little pricier. Rather than go for the top-of-the-line Fenix 7, drop down an iteration to save a packet: the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro is currently down from $649.99 to just $519.99, its lowest price ever at this size. 

Finally, if you’d rather have a do-it-all smartwatch on the cheap than a dedicated Garmin device, iPhone users might want to consider the Apple Watch SE 2, paired with an app like AllTrails. AllTrails will use your phone’s GPS for guidance and the premium version of the app (which does require a paid subscription) will show a full-color map on your Apple Watch, connected to your phone via Bluetooth. Right now, the SE 2 is available on Amazon for $189.99 down from $249.99, saving 24%. 

Garmin Instinct 2S: was $299.99now $199.99 at Amazon

Garmin Instinct 2S: was $299.99 now $199.99 at Amazon
Garmin's Instinct 2 outdoor watch is still a spectacular tool, and a steal at this price. With tons of GPS and health monitoring credentials, it's a great gift for beginner and intermediate hikers and trail runners who don't yet have a smartwatch. 

Garmin Fenix 6X Pro: was $649.99 $519.99 at Amazon

Garmin Fenix 6X Pro: was $649.99 now $519.99 at Amazon
This is an excellent multisport smartwatch that is currently at its lowest price ever over at Amazon. This is the smartwatch that’ll service all of your fitness needs, with heart rate and pulse ox sensors, and advanced training features like PacePro. Not only that but this smartwatch has a long-lasting battery life; you can go up to 28 days without charging in smartwatch mode.

Apple Watch SE 2: was $249 now $189 at Amazon

Apple Watch SE 2: was $249 now $189 at Amazon
The Apple Watch SE (2nd gen) has been dropped in price from $249 to $189. Despite being Apple’s budget option, it still has solid GPS credentials, third party apps and a battery life that lasts beyond the listed 18 hours.

Backpack: Cotopaxi & Modgear 


(Image credit: Ryan Lomas Photography)

In order to hike with a weighted backpack, you’ll need a backpack and some weight. I was provided a Cotopaxi backpack to test, and was really pleased with the volume and comfort it provided on several hikes around the Lakes. 

Named after an Ecuadorian volcano, Cotopaxi is a brand with roots in Latin America, and it creates backpacks entirely out of recycled ripstop nylon and polyurethane as part of a “gear for good” mission statement. Its hefty 25L hiking hydration pack, with two cross-body clips for better weight distribution, is down from $160 to $120 right now in the Cotopaxi store, while the smaller 15L version is discounted from $145 to $108.75.

Now for the weight. While rocks, books and general hiking gear will weigh you down, you don’t want to load up on anything you can’t discard in a hurry if you find yourself running out of steam on the trail. With that in mind, water is your friend here: you can either drink it or pour it out with no repercussions. The Modgear Water Weight 2 is a custom-designed rucking water bladder, and although it’s not on sale right now, we’ll be keeping an eye on the deals.  

Cotopaxi Lagos 25L hydration pack: was $160 now $120 at Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi Lagos 25L hydration pack: was $160 now $120 at Cotopaxi
Save $40 on the Cotopaxi Lagos 25L hydration backpack, comprised out of recycled nylon and PLU. With two cross-body straps for weight distribution, one at the chest and one at the waist, it's an ideal hiking bag. I did not test this exact version (mine was similar, with a drawstring upper) but I rated the design

Modgear Water Weight 2: now $25 at Amazon

Modgear Water Weight 2: now $25 at Amazon
A 20lbs bag of water, the Water Weight 2 by Modgear comes with removable handles and handy markers in 5lbs increments, so you can adjust the weight to suit your workout. Overfill at the start? Just pour it out. Simple. 

Shoes: Merrell and North Face

Finally, the Memorial Day sales are the perfect opportunity to grab yourself a solid set of hiking shoes. Even the best running shoes aren’t going to take much punishment on steep hills, over sharp rocks, in mud, puddles and occasionally submerged in shallow rivers. You’ll need some dedicated hiking shoes for the job. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of deals about this Memorial Day in sports outlet stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods. The North Face Women's VECTIV Taraval hiking shoes were rated four stars out of five by our sibling site Advnture, and they’re down from $125.99 to just $99.99 at Dick’s right now. 

For men’s shoes, Merrell is a popular, trusted brand, and these Moab Speed men’s hiking shoes are designed to be lightweight while hardy enough to guard your feet with its protective toe cap. It’s also made with plenty of recycled materials too, from laces to its Vibram Ecostep sole, which is made from 30% reused rubber. It’s down from $129.99 to $99.99, a $30 discount.  

North Face Women's VECTIV Taraval women's hiking shoes:was $125.99now $99.99 at Dick’s Sporting Goods

North Face Women's VECTIV Taraval women's hiking shoes: was $125.99 now $99.99 at Dick’s Sporting Goods
A runner-style design with outdoor credentials, the VECTIV Taravals combines synthetic leather and breathable mesh for an upper ideal for hot, dry hiking.


Merrell Moab Speed men’s hiking shoes: was $129.99 now $99.99 ar Dick's Sporting Goods
Save $30 at Dick's on these men's lightweight hiking shoes made with lots of recycled materials. Merrell's Vibram Traction Lug outsole is reportedly designed for added traction and stability on the trails.

Matt Evans
Fitness, Wellness, and Wearables Editor

Matt is TechRadar's expert on all things fitness, wellness and wearable tech. A former staffer at Men's Health, he holds a Master's Degree in journalism from Cardiff and has written for brands like Runner's World, Women's Health, Men's Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well on everything fitness tech, exercise, nutrition and mental wellbeing.

Matt's a keen runner, ex-kickboxer, not averse to the odd yoga flow, and insists everyone should stretch every morning. When he’s not training or writing about health and fitness, he can be found reading doorstop-thick fantasy books with lots of fictional maps in them.