So, you want to start hiking?

Excellent choice!

The outdoors offer so many possibilities.  Besides the exercise, you’ll gain valuable knowledge of self reliance, see amazing views and come to appreciate the everyday amenities you expect living in the city.

But where to start?

It can be a bit daunting..What shoes do I wear? water? backpack? Emergency provisions and leave no trace. These are real  and will all be covered.

First off!

Footwear.

Yes, you will need something besides your converse or vans when you hit the trail. Trail runners such as the Merrell MQM flex are great and lightweight. They fit well for larger footed hikers and give enough traction for summer hiking. If you need some ankle support, try the higher Merrell Moab mids, they come up past the ankle for extra support.

Water

Most new hikers underestimate the amount of water they drink when they first start hiking. For most day hikes I will bring about 2 liters from home with a backup water filter if I run out. My filter of choice is the Sawyer squeeze and a platypus 2 liter bladder. The bladder is small enough to go into my pocket and can easily be filled in streams and the best part!?.. the filter connects to the bladder for easy filtering, AMAZING!

Backpack

To start, any backpack that can hold all your stuff will suffice. Try to aim for around a 20l backpack. This will have enough volume for your water, snacks, spare clothes/rain gear and emergency provisions.

Emergency provisions

Yes! this is serious. The biggest mistake from new hikers is lack of preparation. It is vital you understand that in any wilderness situation, accidents do happen. So make sure you bring along the basic items below.

  • Emergency blanket
  • First aid kit (band-aids, Advil)
  • Flashlight
  • Warm mid layer (think fleece pull over or light down jacket)
  • high calorie food (extra nuts/wraps/chocolate)
  • battery bank (more folks rely on phones, best to have a power back up)
  • small knife
  • Flint and steel
  • Compass

These items take up little space in your pack, but can be the difference if you get lost or injured.

The last bit of advice, USE THE HIKER REGISTRY. Or make sure friends you trust know where you are going, what time you left and the time you expect to be back. Do not deviate from these plans without telling someone.

Leave no trace

Means exactly what is says. If you brought it with you, take it with you. So often our trails are littered with tissue and garbage. If you do see garbage and have the capacity to carry it out, go for it! Trail Karma points for you!

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