Hiking is a demanding activity from the physical point of view, but fun for who love to be in direct contact with nature.
You must take into account that, for a short walk, we don´t need any preparation more than comfortable shoes. However, if we want to go to a higher level and practice trekking (longer and complicated routes) or mountain (including climbing), we need some items essential for hiking.
To have it or not, will mark the level of satisfaction of our experience. So from Walkaholic we invite you to you review our check list before throwing yourself to the adventure.
What must you have for hiking?
The essence of hiking in any of its variants is walking. Therefore it is mandatory that our first concern be having appropriate footwear, for comfort and protection of our feet.
Due to the advance of technologies in the sport industry, at present we have footwear manufactured with light, flexible, comfortable and breathable materials. Material more seen in the body of hiking footwear is skin, which transpire well.
You must take into account other essential things as the sole, which must be half rigid and have a drawing or footprint adequate to avoid slipping.
It is also important that the footwear protect and set to the ankle, which reduces the possibility to suffer sprains when you walk on unstable roads.
An important task is choosing the appropriate footwear for your journey: it must be a boot with high or half wedge, or a running shoe.
A shoe with low wedge leaves the ankle unprotected, but is a suitable choice for easy terrains or short excursions.
Boots with medium or high wedges are ideal for long walks, cold or moisture, mountain rough terrain, several-days trips or a backpack with weight.
To complete the functionality of footwear, it is important that this also be waterproof, especially if our path comprises creeks, wetlands or we are travelling in a rainy season.
Our recommended hiking and trekking boots
Here a couple of tall hiking boots for long treks or mountain hikes on Amazon. The first is supposed to be for men, and the second for women:
And here we have another couple of low hiking boots, both for short and middle distance hikes. We won’t recommend them for long distance and/or when carrying a lot of weight, specially when in a long trek in the mountains. On the left, we have the low hiking boots for men, and on the right side the model for women:
Either to use one or two, hiking sticks offers an extra support point during the route when the trial is unstable, in addition to be useful in difficult situations. The best are the folding ones, which can be stored when not need them.
Also consider the protection for the tips of sticks: these are very useful to extend the life of the tip, when field is very rocky or paved.
In addition, these protections provide more grip. Some routes will need to use equipment to walk on ice, as crampons and piolets.
Our recommended hiking poles, with removable rubber ferrule to protect them:
Here is more space to personal tastes, as long as they are comfortable to walk and transpire. Design and materials highly dependent on the trial and the season of the year: it is important that before making the backpack you get good reports of the expected weather conditions in the trail that you are about to visit.
Then, it can be lighter if you will walk in a warm region, heavier if our trip is planned for routes in autumn or winter, short or long sleeve in dependence of vegetation and insects, among other things.
It is important also pay attention to our hands and feet, for those who escapes most of the heat of our body: technical socks to take care of your feet and gloves (depends on the climate) to protect our hands are in order.
Of course, is never bad idea carry on the backpack a raincoat or jacket, depending on the station and / or weather, and a head protection (cap hat or other) in case we have to walk in the sun.
Our recommended waterproof autumn/winter jackets are these ones:
And a combination of men/women waterproof and windproof trousers too:
This should be of good quality, wider to accommodate your entire luggage and waterproof to the conditions that you are about to face in the route.
On the market there is a wide range of capabilities, from 40 to 80 liters. The 15-20 are perfect for a one day trip, where it should be water, a jersey / raincoat and some food. Must close by zip and have adjustable tapes to fit your back and chest.
For a short hike / day trip, we recommend a 30L hiking bag, which will allow us to carry food, water and some extra layers without worrying about the capacity of our bags:
And for a more intense hike, or a long trek, we go definitely for a bigger option with a 60L and 70L options, depending on your will. These capacities will enable us to carry a sleeping bag, a couple of bottles of water, electronics, many layers of cloths, underwear, food. Since we never know what the weather might be in a long trek, specially while in the mountains, it’s always great to have a waterproof hiking bag like these ones:
Which is the best? That depends on what bring in it, and that is based on the length and conditions of the route. You have to take it on your back, so you have to achieve a balance between what you need and what is superfluous. The solution is to plan your trip in advance. Keep in mind, that you can only take approximately a fifth of your weight in your back without become excessively tired.
If your route is planned to go in several days and there is no shelters and hostels, you’ll need materials to sleep. Depending on the conditions of the route, you can choose the tent, a comfortable and light hammock or to make bivouac using a sleeping bag.
Just be sure that whatever you choose, you will get a good rest.
Our sleeping bag recommendations
Extra thin sleeping bag liner more suitable for warm weather and a 3-4 seasons sleeping bag, capable of resisting extreme temperatures down to -10ºC, although it’s comfort temperature is +10ºC to 0ºC:
Location and guidance
Up to few decades ago, map and compass were essential in the hiker´s pocket. Due to progress in mobile technology, these analog materials have lost popularity… although they can save you of a tie spot, so it is a good idea to take them with you.
Smartphone is now the hiker´s best friend. It not only allows knowing your exact location thanks to GPS, but also provides a means to get urgent help if something goes wrong, and thanks to apps such as Walkaholic you can get a lot of useful information for your trip.
However, you must take into account that on route there are not many opportunities to replenish battery charge. Be sure to start your trip fully charged and not waste battery. Take advantage of the chances that will be offered in shelters, towns and camping areas to reload, and take with you a solar charger and external batteries for long trips.
There is also a dedicated GPS that consumes less energy, but it doesn´t have the rest of the capabilities that gives you the mobile.
This portable battery will allow you to recharge your smartphone 2-3 times:
If there is an aspect that you may not neglect during the journey, is to drink enough water. Therefore, water or isotonic drinks are fundamental parts of your luggage. Hiking is a physical activity that will spend your fluids quickly, so you should make sure replenish steadily.
Although the route to choose may seem full of this resource, never drink water you’re not 100% sure you is drinkable and fresh.
Using the Walkaholic app you can identify the trail spots where you can refill your canteen, but if the path you choose is poor in water reserves you must include in your luggage a mean to make water drinkable. Use always an aluminum bottle: it is reusable, don´t transfer to water plastic taste, helps preserving the environment and keep water cool longer.
In addition, if you use pills to make water drinkable in plastic bottles, the chemical reaction could be harmful for your health.
Stove, kitchen appliances and food
Again, that depends on the path. If you will go through lot of towns or shelters, you can get your supplies there, but it’s always a good option bring some food for face any contingency and replenish energies.
To reload energy quickly, it is recommended consume nuts, that in addition to have a great caloric contribution, have little weigh.
Other materials essential for hiking
It is important also include a basic first-aid kit containing bandages, strips, antihistamines, analgesic and anti-inflammatory pills; sun blocker and some kind of lamp. You must also carry a small personal hygiene kit and a good multi-purpose knife.
And that´s it … you are ready for the adventure.
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