First things first…

IMG_2696If you are thinking about taking Hiking as your hobby, there are two things I recommend you get of good quality: hiking boots and a backpack. Your feet and your back will thank you.

Yes, both items are expensive when you look at price alone, but, if you buy good quality stuff, it will last. Plus, some brands and stores will give you a lifetime warranty on your pack/gear.

My hiking boots are roughly 5 years old, they count a few hundred miles on them and they are still extremely comfortable. Sure, they are scuffed, dirty, and starting to “break” but that’s exactly how they are supposed to be 🙂 Mine are Merrell, waterproof and I love them (can’t find them on the website… like I said, they are 5 years old, an old model at this point). Make sure you pick a comfortable pair (account for somewhat thicker socks), breathable and waterproof – you never know  when you’ll have to cross a brook or when the rain decides to make an appearance!

Looking for a pack can be overwhelming…so many brands, models… We started with High Sierra multi-day packs and North Face small packs for just a day hike. They were fine and served the purpose until my husband had us try Osprey packs…. So far, that is my favorite brand. We upgraded our big packs to Osprey in 2013 and what a difference! W. has a Aether 70 and I have a Ariel 55. This summer we retired the North Face packs and got some awesome Osprey ones – W. has  a Kestrel 38 and I have a Kyte 36.  (Both models are pretty much the same pack, but in men/women version)

Regardless of the brand or model you choose, the important thing is to make sure you pick the right size for you – keep in mind that size (Extra-Small, Small, Medium, Large) and capacity (how much you can fit in it) are two different things!! Most stores have associates that will be able to help you with that. And, if you are a woman, YES, a pack that is specifically designed for women makes a huge difference (in my opinion)!

Happy trails!

A.

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