Frequently Asked Hiking Questions

For day hikes you just need comfortable footwear, clothing, and a small backpack to carry water, extra layers, and sun protection. For longer hikes and backpacking, you’ll want to invest in a large backpack and sleeping gear.

A solid base layer and comfortable hiking pants are necessary in all conditions. Merino wool and synthetic fabrics are popular base layer options. It’s important to dress in layers for hiking — with a thermal layer around your core. Your core layer should be followed by a mid layer in cooler conditions. In rainy weather, you should have rain pants and a rain jacket on hand. Different season require different options as well so you will want . Check out our recent article on what to wear hiking in the fall to learn exactly what you will need to enjoy one of the best times to be hiking.

Everyone starts somewhere — and while a moderate level of physical fitness is required for strenuous trails and mountainous ascents, almost anyone can go on an easy day hike. The best way to determine what kind of hiking you’re fit enough for is to get out there and give it a try.

For a day hike, you’ll need minimal supplies. Be sure to bring along enough water for you and your companions. Bring a rain jacket or a warmer layer if the temperature is going to drop or the forecast looks like rain. Pay attention to elevation changes: a higher elevation means colder temperatures. Bring snacks and a first aid kit if you plan on being out for a good portion of the day. If you’re just getting into hiking, it’s always recommended that you bring along blister bandaids and mole skin. Until your boots are broken in, your feet will be prone to hot spots and blisters, and the best solution is prevention. Since this is such a popular question we decided to dedicate a whole article to complete your day hike checklist.

There’s no set rule on how many day hikes you should take before setting out on an overnighter. It all depends on your comfort level and how quickly you gain the necessary knowledge and proper equipment. You should overnight your first time with someone who has experience. Overnight trips require an advanced set of skills that can only be gained through practice.

This depends on personal preference and what type of hiking you will be doing. For day hikes, trail runners and lightweight shoes or boots will suffice, whereas for longer hikes you’re going to want boots with more support and stability.

While not necessary for every hike or hiker, many people find hiking poles help you keep your balance and serve as essential tools for navigating the backcountry. They also help support your joints while ascending or descending hills. While they’re not the first piece of equipment you should buy, they can help enhance the hiking experience.

Although hiking is a relatively safe activity, nature can be an unpredictable place and it’s best to always be prepared. A few tips for safe hiking: Pay attention to weather forecasts, take trail precautions seriously, and research what kind of wildlife live in the area through which you will be hiking. For example, if you’re hiking through a bear-infested area, it might be wise to invest in bear spray. Do some research on what to do when you come in contact with different types of wildlife. You could even consider joining a hiking group.

Trail mix, chocolate, and granola bars are popular hiking snacks. Some hikers often opt for jerky, cheese and crackers, or dried fruit. The best trail snacks are easy to carry, fit conveniently into a pack or pocket, and require no refrigeration.

If you’re going to drink from a natural water source, it’s highly recommended that you treat the water, unless a park ranger or reputable source states that it’s safe. There are a few ways to treat water. Boiling is the easiest and least costly method. There are also water purification tablets and pump filters that serve to clean or filter bacteria and protozoa from water sources. If you’re setting out on anything longer than a day, it’s recommended you bring a hiking water filtration method so you can refill your hydration reservoir as needed.

Why Having the Right Hiking Clothes and Gear is Key

You can’t just go walk outside your door and start hiking. Hiking is a sport that just like any other activity requires proper gear and clothing, designed to withstand the outdoor elements.

Having the right items can make or break your expedition — and will definitely affect whether you fall in love with hiking or decide that it’s not the right kind of pursuit for you.

Proper hiking clothes and gear ensures you will have a comfortable day out on the trail and that you’ll be protected from the elements — in case you run into inclement weather.

For example, you’ll want a rain coat if you plan on hiking in wet conditions. For this same reason, you might also want to invest in a pair of waterproof hiking boots.

When you’re out in nature, you have to be prepared for unexpected weather conditions, such as wind, rain, and snow.

Trails can be frozen, muddy, slippery and occasionally scattered with large rocks and boulders. There will often be puddles or shallow stream crossings.

Depending on where you’re hiking, you might need to be prepared for high gains and losses in elevation.

Consider your experience, level of preparation, and the kind of gear you will need before setting out on your first hiking trip.

Do you plan on hiking beginner, moderate, or strenuous trails?

Deciding on your ideal type of trail pursuit is a good first step in picking out the hiking clothes and hiking gear that will be appropriate for you.

Hiking can be enjoyed by people of all ages, lifestyles, and backgrounds.

It’s a fabulous solo activity but also a great way to spend time with friends or family. Getting people that are close to you into hiking can make for a healthier lifestyle, shared hobby, and memories that will last a lifetime.

The important thing is to get out there and have a positive experience so that you want to come back and do it again.

Hiking is one of the best ways to encourage people to appreciate the beauty of nature and help protect our world’s remaining natural resources and having the right hiking gear completes the experience.

It’s time to get off the couch and get hiking…

The trails are calling!