Hey there! My name is Andy, and my wife Sadie and I run a company called Hikrlife.
Hiking, like many others, has shaped me to be the person I am today. Some of my greatest moments of growth and happiness come from being among the trees of Southeast Alaska, scrambling on the bald peaks of Northern Utah, and rappelling in the slot canyons of Zion National Park. I have grown to love and appreciate those moments where I learned life lessons of patience, diligence, and love.
We believe this so much that we do our best to inspire others to spend more time in nature and give them the knowledge to do so safely and comfortably. Here are a few concepts that we have come to live by when hiking and exploring:
Know your limits
The first rule of hiking is to only go on the hikes that are within your physical abilities. Just like working out your body, if you over-do it when hiking, you will most likely experience lots of pain, and potential injuries. If you are new to hiking, start with easy hikes and slowly work your way up. Just remember, short easy hikes can be just as enjoyable as long hikes.
As you explore your limits as a hiker, do so with someone you know and trust. Support each other, and be sure that you have mutual expectations on what your hike is going to be like. In fact, I can confidently say that some of the worst hikes I have been on were the ones that were more difficult than what I expected.
Have the right gear
We frequently get questions about gear. What should you wear? How much water should you carry? What kind of backpack should I take?
Here are some quick answers to satisfy some of these basic questions:
- In hot weather, wear breathable clothes with sweat wicking properties. Workout clothes are a great option.
- In mild temperatures, dress comfortably according to how hard the hike is. Bring a jacket just in case it gets cold.
- When it’s cold, try not to overdress. Getting hot and sweaty in cold temperatures can be very dangerous. Dress in layers, so that you can take layers of clothes off to maintain body temperature.
- Get a pack that suits your needs and is comfortable. Unless you are big into backpacking, you don’t need the latest and greatest backpack. I recommend borrowing other’s packs to determine what you like and what you don’t like, then find a pack accordingly no matter if it’s name brand or not.
- Bring a basic first aid kit. One with standard bandaids and moleskin (for blisters).
- Plan to carry a liter of water for every two miles of hiking. Just remember, too much water is dead weight that you have to carry, and too little water puts you at risk of dehydration.
- NEVER drink water from the lakes and streams without water purifiers or iodine tablets.
Again, these are the basics. If you have further questions, ask google, siri, or just message us on instagram @hikrlife :)
Wear the right shoes
Yes, shoes are also gear, but your shoes will make or break your hiking experience, no matter how prepared you are for your adventure. Protecting feet should be one of your top priorities. Here are some ways to do so:
Pick your shoe type
There are a few different type of footwear for outdoor activities. There are sneakers or running shoes, which are your basic shoes that you would wear to the gym or playing sports. Sneakers are good for non-technical hikes. There are trail running shoes which are more sturdy and have more traction than your typical sneaker, and the shoes still allow your ankles room to move and flex like a runner. Boots, on the other hand, have more ankle support, and are good for those that are more prone to rolling ankles. Sandals are also an option, but lack the same protection that shoes and boots have.
Wear the right size shoe
Have you ever hiked up and down a mountain, realizing halfway down that your toenails felt like they were about to fall off? Well that is because your hiking shoes are too small. When you are walking down hill, your feet slide forward, which puts unnecessary pressure on the top of your toes. Some people have damaged their toenails doing this, and it is NOT FUN! When shopping for hiking shoes or boots, consider buying a pair with a little more room for your toes “roam free”. Some people say to try a size bigger than your street shoes; I say to try both sizes. What ever you do, make sure your laces are tied tight enough to anchor your ankle in place, but without cutting off your circulation. Then walk around as if you were walking down hill. If your toes feel extra cramped, consider getting a different size, or a different style shoe.
Sturdy soles make happy hikers
There is nothing worse than hiking in shoes with flat flimsy soles. Bad soles cause foot and back pain, which in turn make it harder to recover from your longer hikes. This is exactly why we love our FitMyFoots so much! The first thing that we did when we bought our most recent pair of shoes is rip out the sole, and replace it with our custom FitMyFoot insoles. Of course, you will want to take a little time breaking them in, but in the long run, your body will totally thank you!
FitMyFoot has partnered with The American Hiking Society to create a limited edition insole design, and a portion from every sale goes towards preserving and protecting Americas trails.
Check them out HERE
Thanks for reading our article, feel free to comment below! Thanks to FitMyFoot for allowing us to be guest on today’s blog post! Hikrlife is a non-exclusive hiking community that inspires everyone everywhere to get outside and hike. We love the outdoors, and love sharing it with others. Check us out on Facebook, Instagram, or at www.hikrlife.com