Your shopping guide to mountain hiking apparel and equipment
Now is the time to start dreaming of the great outdoors. Travel will not be as usual for the time being, but we still can get out. Trends are showing that people will prefer staycations or driving rather than flying. You can drive from home for your holidays. We can use this time to prepare our kit for this trip. This made me think of putting together a shopping list for your next hiking trip. Here it is:
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You need shoes to be comfortable. The shoes have a denser footbed and a harder tip than normal shoes to avoid hurting your toes. Shoes need to hug your feet well and leave space for your toes to wiggle. I have bought some low ankle hiking shoes but realised afterwards that a higher boot is better. I have weak ankles that tend to twist a lot, and the high ankle boot avoids me doing that. Here are my suggestion for hiking boots for male, women and kids:
You want to have a good pair of socks when going hiking. Do not go hiking with some socks with holes- your feet will be sorry for it! I like merino socks, they are a bit more expensive but worth it in any climate. Merino is a great fabric that is very soft and lightweight, wickers moisture fast and keep your feet dry. Merino keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer and is breathable and antimicrobial. This allows your feet odours to be at bay. Here are my suggestion of hiking socks.
Hiking socks – Hiking Mountain Apparel and Equipment.
Pants need to be lightweight, breathable and of a quick-drying material. This prevents you staying wet if you cross a stream or get drench after a shower. You have the options of pants with zip that can convert into shorts. I prefer pants if walking through a wood with high grass, as you never know what you might encounter. Depending the climate, it might be snakes, ticks and all kind of bugs. You don’t want your hike to ruin your day because of this! I have learnt my lesson of long pants when growing up in Argentina and going horseback riding. When you go to ranches, you see the ‘gauchos’ always with what we call ‘bombachas de campo’. These are some sort of pantaloon that is wider at the tights and skinnier by the ankle. They allow freedom of movement when mounting horses. Plus they avoid anything creeping from the ankle up. When horseback riding, sometimes you go through tall grass. Thistles could catch and prickle your skin. This is the same concept with hiking pants, you don’t want your skin exposed!
Hiking pants: Hiking Mountain Apparel and Equipment.
Sometimes it is too hot for pants and you will walk in rocky paths, with the absence of long grass. Shorts would be a great option for those hot days. On top, while you hike you can gain a tan! The same principle applies here: to be of a light material that dries fast and wickers moisture out.
Hiking shorts: Hiking Mountain Apparel and Equipment.
If you can afford purchasing Merino, go for it! You will not stink to the rest of the group! If not get any light material that wicks moisture out and dries fast if wet!
Hiking tops: Hiking Mountain Apparel and Equipment.
It is good to take one, at least in your backpack, as you never know how weather will pan out. I like having some light fleeces. They dry if they get wet very fast.
Hiking fleeces: Hiking Mountain Apparel and Equipment.
Always take a light raincoat. You can fold it into a small pouch and take it out if it rains. Some new materials are pretty good and allow moisture to evaporate.
Hiking Jackets: Hiking Mountain Apparel and Equipment.
Always carry some water for everyone. If you are going with kids, make them carry water and snacks in a small backpack. I used to have a camelback, that was useful while skiing or hiking. It is a small backpack with a pouch of water inside and a pipe for you to sip when needed. Lots of people love it and I loved the idea and used them a lot. I only find the water has taste and nowadays I prefer to have my own water bottle. There are some nice stainless steel bottles in the market. Beware if they fall, they do squash, and even I had one that got perforated! So you need to handle with care.