Essentials for hiking and backpacking

Hiking is a great way to explore the beautiful geography around Seattle, and with a few tips and the correct gear, it’s a great way to stay active.

Hiking boots can enable you to have a successful and injury free hike if you have a pair that fits well and matches the rigor of your trek. For a day hike of a couple of miles you may be able to wear a light weight hiking boot which will give you a little extra foot and ankle support. If you are backpacking with a 40 pound pack, you are going to want a stiffer sole and a higher cut boot to help give you more stability and balance. Hiking boots that fit well can prevent blisters, foot fatigue, and toe injuries.

Trekking poles are a great tool for hikers to reduce the amount of force going through their knees by up to 28%. The lower forces through the hiker’s legs can help decrease your likeliness to have a knee or ankle injury when hiking, or allow you to go further without symptoms or pain.
A well packed and well fitting backpack can make any hike feel easier. Most of the weight of the pack should be carried on the hips through a properly adjusted hip belt and pack. Make sure heavy items are packed close to your body and centered up between the shoulder blades. Try to limit the amount of gear you attach to the outside of your pack. Gear lashed to your pack can affect your balance. When lifting a full pack, be sure to keep the weight close to your body. A friend or an appropriately sized rock or log can be used to hold the pack in a good position while you put it on. Always tighten your hip belt first. Then snug up the shoulder straps and the compression straps on your pack. Remember that the hip belt should be carrying the weight of the pack

Rest breaks and pacing are important while hiking. Keep a steady pace which allows you to maintain a conversation without becoming out of breath. Step over simple objects (instead of up and down) when possible to conserve energy. Take rest breaks and remove your pack or rest it on a rock, tree, or log when possible.

Remember to keep up your overall fitness for hiking. Aerobic fitness can enable you to hike longer and farther. Lower body and core exercises are important to keep you strong and ready to tackle any hike safely.

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