Five Must Haves for the Novice Hiker

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You guys, am I posting about hiking?  I don’t know.  That whole Montana trip must have me in a fog.  That is why I am doing it.  If you are getting inspired at all by my mumbo jumbo on visiting all 50 states and experiencing some adventure, let me just help you out.  Don’t get all mesmerized by the photos in my last blog post and tell your friend, partner, or spouse that you’re ready to quit your job and hike the Appalachian Trail and all you have are a couple pair of pants from LuLuLemon and a bag you got for free at a half marathon you did once that has strings for straps (been there!).

If you’re crazy enough to start hiking then you’re going to want to buy everything I’ve listed below.  You can thank me when you make it to the top of the mountain.

Boots:  I hiked in Arizona, Utah, Washington, Oregon, and Maine in tennis shoes.  Hiking boots didn’t even cross my mind.  But, I laugh in the face of those Sauconys now.  I’m telling you, if you read no further and listen to nothing else I say . . . get hiking boots if you’re going to hike.  I purchased the Ahnu Sugarpine Waterproof Hiking Boots from REI ($140) and love them.  I bought the same size I wear in all my shoes and they worked perfect.

Socks:  I mean, if you splurge for the boots you better just splurge for the socks too.  No, I’m telling you, just splurge for the socks.  I bought the Darn Tough socks from REI, which I believe have a lifetime warranty (though it seems odd to mail in old socks, but whatever) and between the socks and boots — you’ll feel super official ($21).

Pack:  Oh what pack to get?!  Do you get the camelback that allows you to drink a ton of water and have to pee a lot?  Do you get a bag that you can put stuff in?  What size do you get?  Do you get a huge one for overnight trips?  I don’t know what you’re plannin’ on doin’ out there in the woods, but if you go out to hike all day and want to take water, a lunch, and a few other diddies with you then I highly recommend the Osprey Sirrus 24 Backpack.  That link takes you to their online garage sale, so if you’re reading this blog way after I’ve posted it and the link breaks — sorry — I think it must be an older style (originally $130 but now $89).  It was the perfect size and it came with a little jacket/cover for it that I did in fact use in the snow to keep my bag from getting wet.  I really had no idea how much thought went into the way those bags are made so that all the weight isn’t on your shoulders.

Hiking Pants:  I wore yoga pants on all those hikes referenced above when I wore tennis shoes.  Hiking pants, especially in colder weather, are a must.  If I’m being real with you, I actually wore LuLaRoe leggings underneath them.  Ha!  It was snowing in Montana and I didn’t have any long underwear.  I’m not trying to brag or anything, but I believe I’m very fashion-forward and somewhat innovative because hiking in LuLaRoe while having the protection of the hiking pants over them is kind of genius if I do say so myself.  Anyway, you want to get the prAna Halle Pants from REI ($85).  You can roll them up to make them capris in warmer weather too.

 

Shirt:  It’s not an official hiking shirt, but I like it for hikes.  It’s the With Ease V-Neck Tee from Athleta ($54).  Kind of pricey.  And I don’t dry it for fear it will shrink.  But I bought a couple and they’re good for casual wear with jeans or for active days like hiking.

Best of luck on the trails.  If nothing else . . . you’ll at least look and feel official!