Proper Equipment for Hiking
1. A small backpack, a.k.a. daypack. A messenger bag or one of those drawstring bags is not the best thing to use. I recommend a backpack with a hip belt (which takes the weight of your shoulders), but it is not required. Or you could invest in a “Camelbak” which combines your water supply with a small backpack. I would recommend one that holds at least 70 ounces of water.
2. Hiking pants made from hi-tech polyester. (This is not your mother’s polyester we’re talking about LOL) Many people enjoy the ones that allow you to remove part of the pant legs with a zipper. Jeans are not good as they will stay wet once they get wet.
3. A good sports shirt. – Anything other than cotton
4. Hiking shoes with good tread. (If buying new they should feel comfortable right out of the box!)
5. Good socks. Again, NO cotton! – Definitely wool for cooler weather hiking.
6. Always at least half a gallon = 2 liters = 2 quarts of water. 3 liters for long hikes or warm days.
7. Food. (e.g. sandwich, power bar, banana, other fruit, trail-mix, can of tuna, etc.)
8. Rain gear. A poncho or raincoat is usually sufficient.
9. Bug repellent. For both ticks and mosquitos.
3. sock-liners help to prevent blisters
4. hiking map of the area in case you get lost or want to split off from the group OPTIONAL:
5. trekking poles add training for your arms, make you burn more calories and give you more stability or you could use a walking stick too
MORE DETAILS ON EQUIPMENT MENTIONED ABOVE
Ad 1) Of almost equal importance is a comfortable backpack. Keep in mind that you will be carrying it for a few hours. Once you know you want to continue hiking, you should invest in a backpack with a decent hip belt / waist belt. The effect of such a belt is that you will carry your backpack on your hips instead of your shoulders, taking strain of you back, shoulders, and arms and making you a lot more mobile.
Ad 2 and 3) Your pants and shirt should be made from a high-tec fiber like polyester or nylon. Clothing made from cotton (jeans, for example) are not a good idea, because once they get wet they never dry, which is particularly unpleasant after getting soaked in the rain.
Ad 4) One of the most important pieces of equipment is a decent pair of shoes. A good tread is of utmost importance. Specialized hiking shoes are much better (and safer) than sneakers as they have thicker soles to cushion you from rocks and thicker sides to protect you from branches. Sandals are an absolute no-no.
Ad 6) Staying hydrated is of vital importance, so you need water bottles or a 'camelbak'. A camelbak is basically a high-tec plastic bag that you insert into your backpack and it has a tube from which you can drink without having to stop walking. Of course you should always have lunch with you and a couple of snacks. If you require medication or might require medication, you need to bring that of course.. for example: asthma spray, insulin, or an epipen if you are allergic to bees. Our hike leaders also carry aspirin and a first-aid kit.
Ad 8) Every hiker should own a poncho. They cost almost nothing and you can get them not just in outdoor stores, but in almost every department store as well. Their $1-5.00 at Target. So there is no excuse for not owning one. If you don’t have one, buy one tomorrow.
Edited by Mike Trygstad on Sep 12, 2012 11:31 PM