Hiking is one of the most popular activities today used to describe long, vigorous walks usually on trails and foothills in the countryside. The young, and even the not too old, individuals go in groups usually during weekends and holidays to enjoy the sceneries they don’t usually see in their busy urban life. It is a form of relaxation that also has health benefits.
However, when one goes on hiking, he should not only be prepared physically, one should have the right kind of equipment to help him enjoy and finish the planned trail without getting too exhausted. Thus, hiking and gears go hand in hand to ensure one’s safety and enjoyment.
This article will be helpful to beginners who are just about to try hiking, especially those who want to explore the challenging trails.
Photo source: http://hikeontario.com
A daypack, which can contain about 30-35L, is already sufficient for those who are just headed for shorter distances. However, if you are headed for a longer distance, one must take into consideration that you will inevitably sleep out in the field. A rucksack, which usually has a 50L capacity, is needed to pack the following things: a tent, a sleeping bag or a roll mat, cooking materials and water and food. The best tactical flashlight that you can find in town is also a must. The flashlight should have a luminosity bright enough to light the path when walking during twilight and at night.
Clothing is also an important consideration. Regardless of the distance and the trail that you plan to take, comfortable and breathable clothing is a must. Your baselayer must be able to wick away the sweat; wool would make an excellent choice. Next, a midlayer, which serves as the insulating layer, is also needed to trap the body heat especially for those who are hiking in colder areas. A good choice would be fleece fabric, as it is light, quick drying and easy to store and care for. Lastly, waterproof jackets are needed to keep you protected from the wind and rain. Jackets with roll away hoods and useful internal pockets to store maps and snacks would be a better choice.
Lightweight trousers and overtrousers are also essential for added protection against unpredictable gusty wind and strong rain. Spare clothing is also needed if you think you will spend about 2 days to complete the hiking trail. This will also be needed especially if you are hiking on an incline.
Comfortable and sturdy walking boots are also a must. They should have high ankle cuffs to protect the ankle from sprains and twists. The sole should be thick and rugged to provide traction, grip and balance on uneven surfaces.
Photo source: http://blog.codyapp.com
Two walking or trekking poles, one on each hand, are also needed to alleviate pressure and discomfort especially if you are go on hiking on unstable trails. The proper way to hold the trekking poles is to put your forearm parallel to the ground to enhance balance and stability and put less pressure on the back and on the knees. There are different kinds of poles. There is the telescopic pole that can be shortened for walking uphill or extended during descent. There is also the antishock pole that has an embedded spring, which has a shock absorbing mechanism, useful especially on walking downhill. Furthermore, if you are walking on flat land or not so inclined slopes, the best walking pole to use are the right angle handled trekking poles, which are shaped just like a walking stick. This puts the pressure on the wrist and is thus not suitable for inclined trails. On the other hand, ski-type handled walking poles are best used in hilly terrains. It has a webbed wrist strap that cradles the hands for added support on walking uphill.
To have a memorable and enjoyable hiking with ensured safety, the right kind of gadgets and equipment should be brought. These include a durable high capacity backpack, tents and sleeping mats, the best tactical flashlight available, the right kind of clothing and walking boots and walking or trekking poles.