Making an Informed Decision When Choosing Hiking Boots

by Donna 16. April 2012 23:35

Some Factors to Consider when Choosing Hiking Boots
Whether you are new to hiking on not, the fit and comfort of your hiking boots is a priority. So, before you go shopping for a pair of hikers, you’ll need to consider some factors, such as:
•    How much the boot will be used;
•    The cut and style of the footwear;
•    The overall fit;
•    The materials used in the boot’s construction; and
•    Durability

Light Hikers are Fine for Shorter Hikes
For example, if you regularly enjoy taking shorter hikes on well-worn paths that are around three to five miles in length, then you’ll be safe in choosing either some light hikers or athletic shoes. However, if some of the paths you plan to tread feature vegetation or rocks, then you should direct your focus on boots that are made of sturdy, protective materials, such as high-grade leather, which provide more firmness and support.

Some Styles to Consider for Longer Hikes
If you plan to tramp over more rugged trails, then you may want to choose low-cut hiking boots as they are often lighter and still offer the stability you need. Or, you may prefer mid-cut hikers, which provide better ankle support over rocky terrains.

Choosing a Boot for more Challenging Terrains
If you do plan to hike longer distances or take more challenging trails, then you’ll need to consider the stiffness of the boot as well. Actually, a boot that is less pliable acts as a good buffer against the rocks and uneven surfaces on more rugged landscapes. Check the fit by making sure the boots do not cause any friction or discomfort when they are flexed.

Water Resistance
You’ll also need to examine the water resistance of the hikers you buy. Generally, hiking boots that feature waterproofing are made with a laminate material on the inside which is used to shield the wearer from rainy conditions. Non-laminated boots though offer more breathability, which keeps your feet from becoming too sweaty or warm. Therefore, you may want to buy waterproof hikers for rainy or winter weather conditions and set aside the non-laminated hiking boots for the summer season. As moisture or perspiration can lead to blistering, it is a good idea, when taking a rest during a hike, to take off your boots to air them if the conditions are right.

Sizing your Boots and Breaking them
To make sure you are wearing the right size, allow for a space of about one-half inch at the front of the boot. You should be able to slip your finger behind the heel at the back. In addition, the lacing should be tied correctly or be snug enough to support the foot well. To break in new hiking boots, wear them at home for several days so you are accustomed to them by the time you go on a hike.



Surviving a Desert Backpacking Adventure

by Donna 9. April 2012 23:05

Adjusting yourself to the Climate
If your backcountry adventures take you to the desert, then it’s good to be prepared, particularly if you choose to hike during the warmer times of year. For example, if you travel to southern Arizona in the month of June, then you’ll need to quickly make an adjustment to the much warmer temperatures – temperatures that can soar to the higher 90s on the Fahrenheit scale or 37 degrees on the Celsius gauge. Stay well-protected even in heat you consider insufferable. Wear cotton shirts designed with long sleeves, cotton blend pants, and a protective, wide-brimmed hat.

Water is a Priority
Indeed, the desert can be a warm and unfriendly place during the day, given its lack of vegetation and the relentless heat. So, it’s important that you pack the appropriate essentials if you must trek over this kind of terrain. One of the main necessities, of course, is water as you can become dehydrated relatively fast without even realizing it. Because the body is comprised mainly of water, any moisture lost must soon be replaced.

Typically, most people require eight glasses of water per day in non-desert settings. So, in the desert, the amount of water you need is based on your height and weight. Therefore, taller and/or heavier people require more H20 to keep their thirst quenched and hydration requirements met.

Don’t Eat Anything if you are Low on Water
Generally, it’s best to hike in the very early morning hours or toward the latter part of the day. Make sure, if you don’t have enough water with you, that you resist the temptation of eating, say, that energy bar in your backpack. While eating the bar may appease any hunger pangs, it will also increase your thirst. So, if you are lost in a desert environment or veer off the beaten track, you’ll want to keep this point in mind. Usually, locating a blade of glass and placing it in your mouth will keep you from getting too thirsty if you find that your water is low and there are no other available resources.

Watch out for Snakes in your Sleeping Bag
Fortunately, most snakes, such as rattlers, rest in the daytime and stay out of the scorching heat by hiding under shelters, such as rocks. Therefore, if you are camping in the desert at night, you should be on guard as you could find a snake sharing your sleeping bag. As temperatures in the desert dip after the sun goes down, a snake will find a sleeping bag to be a warm place to retreat.

Desert Clothing
To ensure that you are equipped for any desert adventure, you’ll need to be outfitted with a frame backpack that contains outdoor clothing such as fleece jacket and hat (for the cooler temperatures at night), a waterproof jacket (yes, even in the desert), pants made of a cotton blend or synthetic materials, long johns, thermal top, cotton shirt with long sleeves, wool or synthetic socks, and a bandanna.

Suggested Desert Camping Gear
In addition to the backpack, gear should include:

  • A screen tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Trekking poles
  • Canister stove and cookware set,
  • Eating utensils
  • Waterproof matches
  • Water bottles (32 oz.)
  • Tablets for treating water
  • Pocket knife
  • Sunglasses
  • First-aid kit
  • Toilet paper
  • Sunscreen (at least SPF 15)
  • A towel
  • Wide brimmed hat
  • Light colored clothes that breathe well

Tags: ,

Backpacking | Hiking

A Guide to Buying Hiking Boots

by Kade 22. November 2011 18:50

Feet are complex and therefore expert guidance is advisable when buying walking boots. There is a lot to consider when buying hiking boots because everybody’s feet are different and one person’s feet might not fit an average shaped pair of shoes.  It is good to consult with specialists in footwear when buying boots as they can direct you to personalized boots with custom molded footbeds, heel lifts and volume reducers.

This is good to know when it comes to buying hiking boots, as they are probably the most important part of your hiking gear.  If you can’t walk comfortably, you’re not going very far! Good footwear can also prevent injury and improve your performance, keeping your mind on the scenery rather than sore feet!

Here are some tips to consider when buying walking boots:

  • Make sure your footwear will provide secure footing on rough ground. Consider the terrain where you’re going and the type of activity you’ll be doing.
  • Your boots need to be durable.  Pay attention to materials which will survive climbing and gripping rough terrain.
  • Comfort is important. After walking for long periods you don’t want your boots to rub or cause sweating.
  • Often when hiking you could be up and down hills and near water and so your footwear needs to be able to adapt.
  • On easier terrain fabric and suede are suited.
  • Plastic boots are good waterproof shoes and help keep your feet warm in cold climates.
  • Your footwear should be supportive.
  • Make sure the material and size fit well and allow for movement.
  • Pay attention to features of the materials such as breathability, waterproof, etc.

There are many different types of men and women’s hiking boots available.  By applying these points, you should be able to find the perfect pair for your next outdoor adventure.

Tags: , ,

Gear | Hiking

Cress Creek Nature Trail Hike

by Kade 5. July 2010 21:10

Today I took my family for a little hike to the Cress Creek Nature Trail just east of Idaho Falls, Idaho (Directions to Cress Creek Nature Trail). The temperature was perfect and the views of the valley were great. The Cress Creek Nature Trail is handicap accessible about a third of the way up the trail. It is paved and has small switch backs for wheelchairs. At the end of the pavement the trail turns to gravel for a large loop up the side of the hill with several stations to stop and read information.

The trail is a self-guided lesson about the history of the area, as well as the types of plants that grow in the region. At the beginning of the trail there is a sign that warns hikers of the possibility of meeting a rattlesnake along the trail. I have never seen one from the trail, but do know they are in the area.

Cress Creek gets its name from the watercress that grows in the creek. The creek is fed by some warm springs so the water stays warm enough year round for the watercress to grow and attracts deer, moose, and other animals to the area.

From the top of Cress Creek Nature Trail one can look out over the Snake River valley and see Idaho Falls, Ririe, the Snake River, the Arco Buttes and mountain ranges in the distance if visibility is good.



Cave Falls Yellowstone Caved In

by Kade 7. June 2010 21:50

I took a trip with my Father and two sons this weekend to Cave Falls in Yellowstone.  The weather wasn't the best, but the waterfall was awesome.  There was a TON of water flowing over the falls. 

Cave Falls gets it's name from the cave that used to be next to the falls.  The cave is thought to have caved in sometime around February 2008.  The area where the cave used to be is now just a huge pile of rocks and there is a small outcropping in the cliff.  However, the trail is closed off so you can no longer get over to the area.

Tags: ,

Hiking | Waterfalls

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