Many articles concern those who take hiking quite seriously. They are not “pros,” not after every piece of info about “optimizing” their hiking equipment. However, a vast majority of hikes because they like to do so during some weekends.
They want to walk through a forest, a canyon, or simply by a dirt road. These are called “the industry” soft hikers or soft adventurers. Usually, most start like that anyway before getting fanatic with equipment and such.
This article is for those hikers. The ones seeking soft adventurers or/are “newborns” at hiking. The tips and info mentioned in this article come from our experience in hiking and our mistakes.
This is just an outlined list to guide you on the basics of soft hiking. Visit a specialized outdoor store and DO WEAR and move around with the equipment you are about to purchase.
1. Boots and trekking shoes
Most of you have heard that the top thing you need for hiking is the proper shoe. That is a must indeed. You will soon discover that you can’t have just an all-weather all-terrain shoe. Depending on the terrain and weather, you will need a simple trekking show to special boots.
If you wear the wrong shoes, you will get blisters, your feet will hurt, and you may dislike hiking altogether. Getting to a proper outdoor store to buy appropriate shoes would be best.
Do not hide that you are a novice, and decide what kind of terrains you will walk through mostly. Seek advice from climbers or trail runners. When you begin walking, shoes are the first thing that impacts your experience.
Shoes used for hiking, trekking, or climbing must be taken care of. Take care of your boots, and they will last for long. After your hiking finishes, clean them up. Let the mud dry and use a brush to remove it. There are even special coatings for boots used in mountaineering.
By the way, if you like to run, you must wear different shoes.
When you purchase your shoes, wear sports socks or ask the store to provide the proper socks used with the boots.
Finally, avoid sandals or the “open” kind of shoes in any case. You don’t want small stones jumping through your toes or under your sole skin.
2. How to tie your shoes
You may find this funny, but many walk-ins are uncomfortable because they do not tie their shoes correctly. When you tie the shoes properly, the shoe stays firm on your foot without causing pain at/over the ankle area. There are specific holes, especially at the top, and particular ways to tie shoelaces to avoid loose.
Some tie their shoes very tight, which causes pain. Depending on how hard the shoe is, it needs a proper way to tie that. Additionally, it would be best to break into” your shoes before using them on hiking.
Tie your shoes as much as you feel; they stay firm, without pain and lack of flexibility. When your shoes are new, especially with boots- you will need to tie them not too tight and slowly tie them a bit more.
Your shoelaces may seem to loosen up sometimes, but that is because shoes get softer as you use them. This is not an absolute rule for specialized mountaineering and snow boots.
2. The socks
Something neglected by many, while they dare to wear regular socks with sports shoes. Soon they find out they get slippery, and their toes hurt significantly. Preferably choose seamless socks. Depending on the nature of the hiking routes, you may have to seek more profound into the materials and fabric.
Do not choose something that will get your feet “boiling.” Feet, up to the level of your crouch, get very hot during any walking, while -for example- the upper body is more exposed. Have a 2nd pair of socks, so to change when you finish. Thus, you will avoid fungus cultivation or discomfort when hiking on a cold day.
3. Clip your toenails
That, of course, doesn’t apply to hiking only. It would be best to clip your nails to avoid toe injuries properly. Remember that stress is laid on your toes during hiking, especially when you cope with rugged terrain. This gets more tricky when you go downhill as the foot slides forward. Anything that extends from the foot will stress and bend. Even on easy terrain, the same thing will happen on a long walk.
Do that, and you will not get pain in the middle of the hiking. You will also avoid the “black nail” case.
4. Use spats if necessary
Everything is muddy and wet if you get out on a rainy day or after rain. By using spats, you avoid:
- Ending up with dirty trousers, having the “misses” nagging about it
- Getting wet on calves, socks, and ankles. On a cold day, you don’t want that.
- Getting your shoes wet
5. The trouser
Many discussions happen around the “trousers” thing. In general, avoid shorts. Avoid shorts if you plan to hike through plantations, forests, or places with lots of sunshine or cold.
Avoid sweat pants and any long trousers for the gym or sitting on your couch watching TV. You will get sweat in them, and they will double their weight.
Avoid jeans for the same reason, and ladies… need to avoid skirts of any length, of course.
Using long trousers may seem uncomfortable on a hot sunny day, but the trousers will protect you from the sun. As with not using sandals, long trousers protect you from bites from almost everything that bites or scratches. That alone is a reason to wear them.
Temperature, terrain, and having lots of uphill or not play a significant role in choosing trousers. Many make the mistake of thinking that they need to wear warm trousers in cold weather. That is far from the truth. As feet move and support your body, much heat is generated in that area.
You will get sweat. If you wear warm trousers that are not suitable for soft hiking but are best for mountaineering or snow conditions, you will suffer and lose lots of water from sweating. So you need to find out some details about the hiking route. For example, the nature of the terrain, the altitude differences & how many stops you will make. You don’t want to stay still with your lower body wholly or partially wet. If you do so, you will feel the slightest breeze freezing you.
There is a variety of fabrics to choose from. We found out that depending on the weather, there are options with materials that, even if they get wet, dry swift.
There are elastic trousers which are very comfortable if in the root you need to do lots of leg raising and in general if you need and want to be delighted as you move. They are not “lycra pants” or such.
You will want them to be waterproof. There are different materials and combinations for such too.
There are convertible pants where you can unzip half of them, transforming them into shorts.
It is good to have trousers with more pockets but remember that you also don’t want to fill your pockets with lots of things as walking feels terrible then. You also don’t want trousers with big wide pockets when you walk through the plantation as you get tangled.
Finally, when it comes to the color of your pants, the rule is simple. Light colors repel light and thus heat; dark colors attract it. Choose accordingly.
6. Holding the trouser up
Walking for many hours, you sweat, and your feet get more firm. You also tend to lose a bit from your waist as the whole movement and exercise make it thinner. That is a detail we have encountered and discussed with many.
Then, you may notice that your trousers are getting a bit loose. It would be best if you held them up. To avoid picking your pants/trousers up all the time (which gets uglier when you carry even a small backpack), wear a belt with a pin.
If you find them, wear suspenders. That will hold your trousers up without putting extra pressure on your waist (a belt does that).
It may sound a bit “extreme,” but, trust us, the case is to enjoy long hiking and not nag yourself.
We are talking about the ones that keep your “jewels” in place, either a man or a woman. After some hours of walking, the only thing you DON’T want is sweaty underwear twisting at places it was not before you started.
Avoid thermal underwear unless you plan to hike on snow under extreme cold; otherwise, you will suffer from sweating and extreme heat.
You need to wear a shorts elastic type of underwear that stays in place while walking for long. Women are more flexible in this area, but the rule is valid for women too. They must avoid the “thong/string” type, or hiking will become very uncomfortable and painful.
Better to have a pair to change after completing the hiking, especially if you have a long trip back home.
Proper underwear will allow you to hike comfortably and avoid many “redness” and irritations “down there.” OK, we think you got it.
Conclusion on what a soft adventurer needs
We will continue with a post for the upper body needs. The thing is to enjoy your hiking trips without suffering or risking catching a cold or having an injury.
Some basic things to have in mind, whether a soft adventurer, moderate or hardcore one, affect comfort. Comfort often affects your mood; therefore, you tend to lack attention if you get nasty. The latter can lead to injuries.
So, the thing is to have fun. We hope we have helped you a bit through our experience. Stand by for part 2 regarding the upper body things a soft adventurer needs to know.
Have fun, people!
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