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Take advantage of longer days and better weather with fresh air in your lungs and epic trails at your feet. It’s time to take a hike, pal. But hiking isn’t as easy as putting on a pair of shoes. You'll need hike-appropriate footwear, a pack with some snacks, and other must-haves when you’re out in the wild. Good thing we have our own resident hiking expert Meredith Fife to recommend what’s crucial to your hiking comfort. When Meredith isn’t helping Fresh Chalk members and businesses as our Customer Support Specialist, she stays busy out on the trails with her family. Last summer, the lifelong hiker reached ten of Washington State’s fire lookouts, where she enjoyed unobstructed 360 degree views of the mountains. Use this guide as a checklist for many trekking adventures ahead.... more
When you are beginning to hike, comfortable footwear plays a very important role. Comfortable feet makes for a pleasant hiking experience. A simple trailrunner is all you really need. Shoes can be subjective so try on several different pairs before picking one. I am on my 5th pair of Peregrine’s and they continue to be my favorites. They drain easily and have a rockplate that will keep your feet protected from sharp rocks. The lugs also help grip on all those uphills and downhills. I usually buy last year's model around Christmas time every year on sale to keep the cost down.
I love these socks. I have several different versions of these socks and it still doesn’t feel like enough. Having happy feet on the trail is important. These socks have never given me blisters and have always kept my feet warm. Make sure to choose socks that aren’t ankle socks. The crew size is perfect and will keep unwanted debris out of your socks (like pine needles) while hiking.
A first aid kit is a must when hiking. You never know what could happen out on the trail. It doesn’t need to be big but just make sure you have bandaids, a blister kit, and something for headaches. This one from Amazon is a perfect size and easy to toss in any backpack.
I love this app. It’s a great tool to have and helps you plan and track your adventures. You do need to plan it on a desktop, but once you have saved it to your phone, it can do all the tracking for you. There are lots of trails out there and you never know when you will find yourself on the wrong one. It’s always nice to know which way you are heading and that you are headed in the right direction.
I have an older version of this bag, but it has held up and well worth the money. I have three kids and I need a lot of space and I need to be able to access pockets quickly when the time comes for tissues, snacks and drinks. It has a spot to hold your hydration system and extra pockets for water bottles. This is a great bag.
Snacks are important on a hike, especially if you are hiking with kids. We are a hiking family but we have had plenty of bad days on the trail. Jolly Ranchers are our secret weapon. When a kid gets cranky we let them pick one out of a bag and that keeps them happy for a good 15-20 minutes. They are hard to chew through and keeps them focused on something else while walking. I have a friend who will give his kids a whole bag of chips and let them just walk along with it. Hey, when you are a parent you gotta do what you gotta do.
I hate carrying binoculars in my backpack, but I am always glad I have them. They are bulky and a bit heavy, but I can’t even describe the excitement I have when I see a herd of elk moving up a ridge or a mountain goat sunning itself on a cliff. They really do add to the adventure and I can’t recommend them enough. This pair isn’t too heavy and reasonably priced.
On hot days you can go through a lot of water, especially when there are a lot of you in your group. This mini filtration system has saved our skin on multiple occasions. When you run out of water, as long as you can find a water source, you can get water from any creek and just screw the filter onto any standard disposable water or soda bottle. We never leave home without it.
We have found ourselves without bug spray and it’s never a good experience. We now just leave it in our bag to make sure we won't forget it. This stuff is great. It is easy to wipe on and doesn’t leave a residue in eyes or mouth like a spray does. It’s also great for the kids because they can apply it themselves. They are packaged like baby wipes so make sure you seal them up. They can leak or dry out if you don’t secure them properly. We carry them in a zip-lock bag.
When I bought this the woman at the counter said, “if you end up using it, it would be well worth the $49.99.” Thankfully I haven’t needed it but it doesn’t keep me from bringing it along on all my adventures. It’s worth the weight.
Some might consider this a nice "luxury" item but I have found it to be necessary, especially living in such a wet climate. You never know when you are going to need a dry place to sit and take a break. It works great for snowy hikes as well. Added bonus is that it’s made from recycled materials, so no need to feel guilty!