Hiking is a great way to explore the outdoors and challenge yourself mentally and physically. Having the right gear and equipment ensures a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are six items I recommend for people starting out hiking and wanting a pleasant attitude while doing it.  

1. Proper Footwear- (I am brand biased to Salomons. This is NOT an affiliate plug, although I am open to having one! Wink, wink!)

A good pair of hiking boots is one of the most important items for any hiker. The terrain can be rocky and uneven, and the weather can be unpredictable. Therefore, you’ll need boots or trail shoes that offer excellent traction and support and protect you from the elements. Look for shoes that are good for what season you are in. Breathable and flexible for warmer, wet, muddy seasons. Waterproof and sturdy for the colder months, where you will attach traction devices like spikes, crampons, and snowshoes and will want a stiffer soul. 

hiking boots

Salomon Hiking Boots

2. Navigation Tools (THIS is an affiliate plug. I make a percentage off purchases should you join Alltrails. If you want to save 30% off an Alltrails membership, follow here!)

The mountains can be challenging, especially if you’re new to an area. A map and compass are essential tools for any hiker, as they can help you stay on course and avoid getting lost. Bring a detailed map of the trails you plan to hike, and be familiar with the map and landmarks ahead of time. (This is what everyone will tell you, and it’s excellent advice.) In the modern day, I am an Alltrails girl. I use an Apple iPhone. Sign up for a membership, search for your trail, press “download map,” and boom! Navigation modern style. I have lots of tips about this. (That will have to be its own blog.)

3. Proper Clothing

The weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, and temperatures can vary widely depending on the time of day and elevation. Just because it’s 50 degrees at the trailhead doesn’t mean it is at the summit. Dressing in layers is essential so you can adjust your clothing as needed throughout the day. Bring a waterproof jacket (I pack a shell with me on every hike) and warm layers like a fleece or down jacket. Wear synthetic clothes, polyester, and spandex, and avoid wearing cotton. Once you sweat, you will get chilled to the bone. In cooler weather, have proper gear like hats and gloves. (We are just lightly touching on winter gear. Make sure to study up more before going in the winter.) There is a lot of great advice for what to wear in the winter, and I recommend listening to this podcast

4. Water and Snacks 

Staying hydrated and fueled is essential when hiking, especially when the trails are challenging and longer. Bring plenty of water and a hydration system like a water bladder or hydration pack. Pack snacks easy to eat on the go, like trail mix, energy bars, or dried fruit. It’s also a good idea to bring a water filter or purification tablets in case you need to refill your water supply from a natural source. In the winter, you will tend to drink/eat less that is especially the time to be aware of having adequate hydration and calorie consumption. Remember! Bring it in, bring it out. Leave no trace

5. Trekking Poles

Having support while you are ascending and descending trails is very helpful. Carrying trekking poles gives you two extra points of contact on the ground. This is especially helpful if you are someone like myself who tends to lose their balance. You don’t have to break the bank on these. I have had expensive ones, and I have had ones from Amazon for $20. 

6. First Aid Kit 

It’s important to be prepared for emergencies. Pack a first aid kit with basic supplies like bandages, gauze, antiseptic, and any needed medications (like an inhaler or pain killers.) Bring a headlamp or flashlight and extra batteries in case you end up hiking in the dark. (Don’t rely on your phone battery!) Most hiking bags have a whistle built into the top chest strap, which can be used to call out to other hikers in the area in case you are hurt or need help.

This blog is a simple starting point for those wanting to get into the mountains. You will need different gear and preparation for those hikes when hiking in more challenging conditions. Before you go, make sure that someone knows what trail you are going on. Service can be bad in the mountains, so let them know you will check in when you have service.