How to dress and what to put in your backpack
Getting ready for your mountain experience
The question I get asked most is “Can I hike with my running shoes?” As our hikes take place on dirt roads, scree, mule trails, Alpine meadows and rough terrain, shoes play a key role for our safety. That’s why my answer can only be negative.
There are a lot of hiking shoes on the market for specific activities and terrain. A slip-resistant sole giving grip and wrapping your feet is what good hiking shoes have in common.
High or low hiking shoes? Low hiking shoes are recommended on beaten tracks, dirt roads and meadows of easy/medium difficulty level. Hiking boots are recommended on more challenging tracks like unbeaten tracks, sharp slopes and rocky terrain where a firmer sole gives you more grip. Moreover, hiking boots wrap and protect your ankle.
Another question I get asked most is “What should I wear?”. There are many variables affecting the choice of the clothes that you should wear while hiking.
Weather suddenly changes and clothing plays a key role to keep a constant body temperature. Wearing several levels of clothing helps you hiking, putting light technical clothes in your backpack. A technical shirt, a pile or a wind screen jacket and a light down jacket allow you to stay warm and dry throughout your hike. Technical or cotton pants/shorts? Shorts are recommended for hot days. You should not wear them if you are going to hike in an environment where you can injure yourself like forests, rocky terrain and scree. Pants should be light and well performing without restricting your movements. They should provide safety due to their wind and rain screen.
Furthermore, there are several types of socks with strengthening stitching on the most sensitive points of your feet, avoiding uncomfortable blisters that could negatively affect your hike. A hat can play a key role in hot days preventing sunstrokes, protecting your face skin and your eyes from sunlight, and sweating. On the contrary, it can protect your head and ears from the winter wind. Sunglasses play a major role in protecting your eyes from sunlight and reflection.
The best hiker’s travelling companion is his backpack. There are several types of backpack for every activity among walks, one-day or several-days trips.
A light backpack with a sufficient capacity is the ideal backpack if you are planning to have a walk. The best backpack for a daily trip should have 20/30 litres capacity. It should be comfortable and have side strengthening and an antiperspirant membrane for your back, shoulder straps and a waistline and breast belt. The side pockets are useful to store what we use more. The best backpack for a several-days trip is similar to the latest one but it should have 30/40 litres capacity.
Last but not least: “What should I put in my backpack?” You should take water, hiking maps, sun cream, technical clothes, rain screen pants, first aid kit, mineral salts and backpack cover.
Do not put unnecessary stuff in your backpack overloading your back and shoulders undergoing to pointless strains while facing a physical activity.