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7 Hiking Essentials for Beginners

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Walking is a great way to get fit, but if you're ready to add a more challenging element, go take a hike! Hiking works different muscles and burns more calories as you navigate rolling hills and uneven terrain. As an added bonus, you'll get to reconnect with nature and escape from everyday stressors.  

Whether you're exploring one of these epic U.S. hiking destinations or just trekking the trails in your own backyard, having the right gear is essential to making the most of your experience. Before lacing up and striking out on your first hike, try to gather these basic essentials.

1. Camelbak Hydration Pack ($49.95)

Image courtesy of Amazon

Water backpacks are a great way to haul your food and supplies on a hike while staying hydrated. This 50-ounce size is great for longer hikes, and there's a pocket to hold energy bars and your keys.

2. ExOfficio Women's Nomad Roll-Up Pant (starting at $34.96)

Image courtesy of Amazon

Even if the day starts off sunny, you'll likely need an extra layer or more coverage when you start your return trip. Roll-up pants are convenient and versatile, and more practical than the kind that zip off. (Who wants to risk losing a pants leg in the woods?)

3. YUOTO Outdoor Fanny Pack ($21.99)

Image courtesy of Amazon

A prepared hiker is a happy hiker. This roomy hip pack has plenty of space to stash snacks, water bottles, your cell phone and a small first aid kit.

4. Larabar Energy Bars ($20.99)

Image courtesy of Amazon

Hiking burns major calories, especially if you're hauling gear or climbing hills, so be sure to take along some fuel. Larabars are calorically dense (about 200 calories each) with a clean ingredient list--no weird chemicals or flavorings. They come in dozens of flavors, so you can pick your favorite.

5. Hammers Hiking Poles ($17.99)

Image courtesy of Amazon

To ease the uphills and gain traction on steep downhills, use hiking poles. This one comes with a built-in compass and thermometer to help keep you safe and sound.

6. White Sierra Women's Trabagon Rain Shell (starting at $31.32)

Image courtesy of Amazon

Weather forecasts aren't always the most accurate when you're in the middle of the woods or on the side of a mountain. It's important to always have an extra layer--especially if rain is possible. This lightweight, perfectly waterproof jacket is small enough to stash in a backpack, with an adjustable hood and plenty of ventilation.

7. Smartwool Hiking Socks (starting at $13.75)

Image courtesy of Amazon

Is there anything worse than cold, soggy socks? Cotton socks hold onto moisture, but wool wicks it away while insulating. Smartwool socks have arch support and plenty of cushioning, which will help keep your feet comfortable and free of blisters.

What is your "must-have" item for hiking?

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OLDSKOOL556 11/15/2020
Thanks! For sharing your article 👍 Report
REDROBIN47 9/16/2020
Thanks for the info Report
EILEENV3 9/16/2020
I liked the article with the exception of the hiking pants. I didn't see any back pockets in the picture. All my hiking pants and shorts have six pockets. And atleast one of the pockets need to be big enough for my smart phone. Pockets are important for any type of hike or walk. Almost as important as water and good shoes.
Would have like to see a hat recomdation. Report
For long hikes, I favor compression socks or compression sleeves for my calves instead of wicking socks.

And I also recommend a sturdy pair of hiking shoe, boot or sandal depending on the terrain. Love Timberland brand shoes. Report
CHERYLHURT 9/16/2020
Shoes? Report
Cool items. Report
RO2BENT 9/16/2020
Keep moving forward Report
Thanks Report
LIS193 9/16/2020
How about map, compass and tell someone where you are going! Report
KITTYHAWK1949 9/16/2020
thanks Report
LDHART81 8/27/2020
I hope people are smart enough to see this article as insufficient advise for a hiking pack list and as just a gimmicky sales pitch for products that aren’t even that great. Report
Great advice Report
KHALIA2 3/22/2020
Thanks for the ideas! Report
SPICY23 1/28/2020
Proper footwear is key. Water x 3. TP! Layers of clothing. First aid, especially moleskin and ace wrap. Extra socks. Compass and map if hiking off a well marked trail. Flashlight. Sunblock depending on the weather/conditions where you are. Report
KHALIA2 1/17/2020
Don't hike!!! Report
NEPTUNE1939 1/9/2020
ty Report
LIL-VIXEN 12/3/2019
Good advise if I was a hiker. Report
NEPTUNE1939 12/1/2019
ty Report
IMHO - you just need decent shoes, comfortable fitting clothing and bug spray. Some area have tick concerns - so know before you go. I've been hiking for 10+ years and don't have any of this stuff. Understand the route and if its flat, rugged or hilly. Start with a few miles below what you can walk on flat land already and or take into consideration the terrain. Stay on the trail. HAVE FUN! My favorite hobby/sport. I'm sure you will love it too!! Report
I also include an Ace bandage, and a PEZ (pee easy re-director when you gotta go!). Report
Thanks for the info! Report
And loads of Kleenex! Report
I carry my inhaler and a source for fire as well. If I get cought out overnight, I want to be warm. Don't appreciate the brand names. That really isn't necessary. Report
Great article! Thanks! Report
Great article! The socks, I have to sleep in them in the winter to keep my feet warm. Report
Nice essentials! Thanks! I think I buy it immediately when I have done with all the stuff in my garage. I buy here https://thecozyholic.com/best-socke
t-organizer kit organizer and I think it helps me with the mess. And it takes me more space in the garage for sports equipment. Report
socks and Tick repellant---good to know! Report
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
I much prefer a back pack to a fanny pack, if you get one that fits you well, you hardly notice them and they hold a lot more. Don't really like expensive energy bars, prefer sandwiches and fruit and boiled eggs. Also prefer water bottles to camel packs, although that is more of a personal choice. Several water bottles easily fit in a back pack and you don't feel the weight in a good one. With the article recommendations, you would have a fanny pack and a camel, may as well have a back pack that is more comfortable and can carry more.
Toe socks and a light pair of wool socks are the bomb - you will never (or extremely rarely) get blisters and moisture will wick away. An extra pair of dry socks and a loose-fitting, comfortable pair of shoes in my car to change into at the end of the hike are heavenly

No mention of appropriate foot wear here, this is one of the most important hiking essentials.

Hiking is a super exercise ( there are super foods and super exercises :) ), encompasses cardio, strength and endurance training, elevation adding to the effort, cardio work going up, impact resistance for bone and joint strength going down, being outside, breathing fresh air, enjoying the visual beauty of nature, being in the sunshine... Report
I enjoyed doing several hilkes this summer liked my thick socks the absorbed sweaty feet did use a regular back pack thankful my brothers hiking back pack had on of those water bags they make to carry and not those little bottles of water they do last long for a long hike. i carried two water bottles and was glad he could fill my bottles thinking about getting a kids bag for next summer. the hiking stick became my best friend got a good one at REI though that you adjust to the type of hiking you are doing a good stick is important . carried my snacks in a sandwich box cliff bars are good two. a camera to record the adventure is always on my check list. extra socks in the car is always helpful
sun screen sub glasses at time help kleenex a good sun hat with wide brim
we all have a must have items and water is a important thing not to forget. also i good to know is when you start along so you are back to your car before dark.two hikers we lost in Rocky Mt park stating a all day hike in the late afternnon.
The Larabars and Kind Bars are the best! Report
Forgot bear spray Report
That was a stupid list, a regular backpack does the same thing shile costing less and doesn't have any gimics. Wool sock, for when winter, a good wayto get heat stroke! It's 90° or more in the summer here, you need those sport socks with the mesh to let the heat out! The javket is an overpriced wind breaker, oh look Target has ones for $12 gee..

Lara bars huh? This article feels like a less then subtle advertisement. I'll pack sone carrot sricks peanut butter and triskets in three little containers (4 for a $1.) Get some good impact absorbing shoes, bring water with, your phone w/ charger and portable power supply. I pack all these into my mini backpack for every bike ride, so imagine the needs are close to the same as a hiker. Report
Seems like a "Hiking for the Rich and Famous" kind of list. Some of it is needed, yes, but some of it isn't and they left out other things that I would never be without living in Montana. Bear spray for one!!! Report
Nice list of essentials Report
I was expecting a list of general items (hydration pack, hiking pack, etc.), not ads for specific brand-name items. Report
Good to know Report
Great tips! Thanks! Report
an excellent list Report
I think its a good idea to get a compass / map and know how to use them. I would bring my SOG (I wanted to say "leatherman" but I don't own one- actually its a powerplay 525 but that won't mean anything to most folks). Also my old man used to bring a bear gun when we went into the deep woods years ago a better choice than being eaten. Report
Bring a compass and know how to use it. People get lost relying on their phone for GPS. Report
What a great list Report
camelback is an NRA supporter - you vote with your dollars, if that isn't a problem then ok but its a deal breaker for me Report
Great Article................Thank You. Report
Sneaky way to slip in more advertisements. Report
Thanks for the info Report
I have found walking/hiking sticks essential. Report
Good items to have on hikes. Thanks! Report
It’s my first time to visit this site & I’m really surprised to see such impressive stuff Report
Good article. love the additional product information. Thank you for providing a good reference point for gathering hiking gear; especially for someone who knows nothing about hiking! I also appreciate all the comments and suggestions left by other SparkPeople! Thank you so much!!!! Report
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