The great outdoors is fun to explore. You are wandering on trails among the trees, plants, and wildlife, while taking in the beauty of nature. You could come across waterfalls and babbling brooks.
Does this sound nice to you? If so, hiking might be a great activity to try (or get back into).
Hiking is for all types of people; you don’t have to have a certain body type or level of activity.
“I think I really just had this idea that hiking had to be done in a certain way … I didn’t know I could just go at my own pace, and I could just take my time. I didn’t know that I didn’t have to finish a hike, that I could just go as far as I wanted.” How Fat Girls Hiking brought more women into the outdoors
Where to Hike:
There are many levels to hiking and many trails to explore. Start by visiting the National Park Service website (or download the app): https://www.nps.gov/index.htm. You can use the site to find parks in your area and search the site by activity.
More apps available: 15 Hiking Apps That’ll Help You Find Your New Favorite Trail
Looking to try a more challenging hike? 10 Brutally Challenging Hiking Trails That are Totally Worth the Effort. “Regardless of whether you’re a technical hiker who wants to try challenging routes or a day hiker who enjoys some time outdoors, there are plenty of trails for all experience levels across the United States. Hiking is a great affordable way to experience nature that can fit within a tight budget. Do some research to find the best hikes for you and make sure you prepare yourself with water, food, gear, and anything else you may need during your next trip into the wilderness.“
What to Wear Hiking:
The two brands I think of when it comes to outdoor gear are The North Face and Patagonia (Honorable mention to LL Bean). Of course, the best place to buy gear and clothes is REI.
These are The North Face pants I used on my most recent hikes:
More brands are creating a collection of hiking clothes:
Lululemon Just Dropped a Whole Hiking Line. Here’s My Trail-Tested Review
My favorite item featured in the article: “Lightweight abrasion-resistant parachute material and a wide waistband make these comfy, the pockets make them utilitarian (without adding bulk to your fit) and the way the legs zip off above the knees to become shorts make these so versatile. Seriously, the side contrast pockets make these cute enough to wear in a proper Instagram-ready outfit. Sure, they are pricey, but since they are actually two looks in one, we think these are an investment you’ll benefit from for years to come.“
All the hiking choices available for women: https://shop.lululemon.com/c/women/hiking/_/N-7vfZ1z0xotq and men: https://shop.lululemon.com/c/men/hiking/_/N-7tuZ1z0xotq
Athleta also has a hiking collection: https://athleta.gap.com/browse/search.do?searchText=hiking
You can shop for lots of hiking gear and clothes on Amazon:
These Popular Hiking Pants Are Lightweight, Quick-drying, and Water-resistant — and They’re Only $33
Proper hiking footwear is essential when you are on moderate to challenging trails.
The Best Hiking Shoes and Boots, According To Real Hikers
On Heads Into Nature With Cloudtrax Hiking Shoe More details from On: Discover the first On hiking boot: the Cloudrock Waterproof
Shop more options at Zappos: https://www.zappos.com/hiking
Don’t forget to buy some good hiking socks to go with your footwear: https://www.rei.com/c/hiking-socks
I bought this set from Amazon:
After the hike: On a recent hike in Wyoming, I overheard a woman say to her boyfriend, “I just want to put on my sandals and enjoy a glass of wine.” At that point in my hike, I was ready for the same, except I was nowhere near the end of the hike. Nevertheless, that quote stuck with me, and I’m going to share some comfortable after-hike slides to put on:
Option 1: These $50 Sandals Are Just as Comfy as Crocs (But a Whole Lot Cuter)
What to Bring on Your Hike:
From Switchback Travel: Best Backpacking Backpacks of 2022: For minimalist overnights to extended treks, our top picks excel in carrying comfort, organization, and weight
I have a Patagonia backpack that’s several years old. Here’s a link to some of the current selections: https://www.patagonia.com/shop/luggage-backpacks
In the backpack: a refillable water bottle, sunscreen, buy spray (or wipes), snacks, tissues, wipes, a first aid kit, and maybe a map.
Top ten list of items to bring on a hike from the National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/articles/10essentials.htm
Sporty sunglasses: I love this brand for walking, running, and biking, but it’s also great for hiking, and they have a national parks collection: https://goodr.com/collections/national-park-foundation
Optional but useful items:
binoculars – The Best Binoculars For Bird Watching, According To Birders
walking sticks https://www.rei.com/c/trekking-poles-hiking-staffs
Hike Smart – https://www.nps.gov/articles/hiking-safety.htm; this article about hiking safety from the National Park Service is very informative.
You shouldn’t need a lot of safety gear for short local hikes, but if you take long hikes with dangerous wildlife, you might need some protection.
Speaking of bears, from the NPS, “Storing your food and disposing of garbage properly can mean life or death to a bear. Bears learn quickly and will return to areas where they find food. Not only can this be dangerous for people, but it is also harmful to bears.”
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