Now that you are motivated and ready to take you fitness activities to the outdoors, it is important to consider the basic gear needed for those fun, new adventures that await you! Hiking is a wonderful outdoor fitness activity that most people can do just about anywhere.
10 Essentials: In the greater Pacific NW, although we have some wonderful trails very close in that are easy to get to and start hiking, don’t let that proximity lead you to not being prepared. Getting lost late in the evening on one of the trails can mean an overnight and you need to be prepared.
A pack: If you are not planning on hiking the back country, you don’t need to invest in a highly technical overnight pack. A decent day pack that can hold your ten essentials, some extra food and water, and your water repellant clothing is all you need. Many day packs on the market have “camelback” style water bladders engineered into the pack and help you to hike hands-free.
Water: Carrying a water bottle is fine for short hikes, but you will soon appreciate a water bladder incorporated into your pack to not only keep your hands free, but allow you to carry up to 3 liters for those longer and overnight hikes.
Base Layer clothing: In warm weather, synthetic t-shirt and shorts are all you need. An extra shirt to change into at the summit or when it turns dark is a welcome addition for your comfort against chills. No cotton
Warm, insulating layer: fleece jackets or pullovers or a light wool sweater for warmth. Again, no cotton.
Water repellant jacket and pants: These are a lifesaver when caught out on the trail and it starts to rain. Avoid getting the chills by staying dry
Hiking socks: Choose socks for cushioning and breathability, avoiding cotton tube socks.
Hiking boots or Sturdy Trail shoes: Although you can find trails that are smooth forest floors, you will still encounter plenty of rocks and roots embedded in the trails. When descending trails with significant elevation gain, your feet will thank you for investing in the appropriate, supportive footwear.
Keep in mind, this is just a basic list of the necessities you will need to start some hiking. As you get more serious about hiking, you will likely need to invest in more gear to keep you not only comfortable, but safe.
Featured photo source: Pixabay.com.