Do you really need a special gear if you are about to start hiking? Of course not. Hiking can be done in your comfortable shoes, well seating trousers and breathable t-shirt. If it is a bit chillier you can just throw a warm jumper on and you are all ready to go. This is basically how I have started but more and more I was getting into this sport I started observing and reading what other people are wearing and how it improves the quality of hiking. Because this is what it is all about. About a quality of walking, not about showing off, not about buying new stuff every year and not about having the newest model.
I have started with a good hiking shoes. Shortly I have discovered how much the quality of my walking improved especially on uneven surfaces. For me important was that my shoes were waterproof and breathable. After checking several types and models I chose Salomon. I have a model Salomon X Ultra GTX hiking shoes. They are really light but still quite sturdy. Due to antigrip system they are really comfortable to walk on asphalt as well as more difficult rocky trails. Due to gortex fabric they are waterproof but at the same time they breath well without leaving my feet sweaty. And they have this great lacing system. I hate laces as they are constantly getting lose and I need to bend in order to tight them again. This innovatory system really stole my heart and tithing my shoes has never been as easy before. And they have a little purple accent. I know that they have to be useful and do they do not have to be pretty but as a girl I really like when there is a little colour added.
Shortly I have realized that my next purchase should be a good quality coat. Something water and wind-proof – considering that I live in the Netherlands. Surprisingly in the outlet of one of the biggest outdoor shops I have found a perfect model. The North Face double jacket. Outside shell is very light and it is made from water and wind-proof fabric. It has great adjustable hood which stays on its place even with a strong wind. Several zipped pockets are making it very handy when hiking around without necessity of caring rucksack during short distances. Ventilation zips are reassuring that I will not cook inside on warmer days. There is also a second layer for the colder days. Inside fleece which can be easily zipped in through the system of locks and zips making it into a one coat. Inside fleece can be replaced by any other fleece made by the North Face.
Jeans are fine to hike. Until the first rain. Or really hot weather when you get sweaty. It took me some time to get convinced that I should buy a special hiking pants but once I have tried I do not want to go back to walking in jeans. Or any other trousers other than special hiking designed ones. During my hikes I am wearing trousers made by Maier, model Lulaka in colour Taupe. They are very light, and breathable but they protect very well from the wind and in case of rain they get dry in no time. Producers reassure UV protection and special design for extra ventilation. They are a little bit stretchy which makes me move very comfortable and in case of a very warm weather I can roll them up and make a fashionable capri with a help of little buttons on the side. When I was trying various types of pants I was trying ones with a possibility of making them shorter by unzipping lower part of a pant leg but it did not feel very comfortable. One of my friends really likes this type of trousers but for me it was a bit disturbing.
During longer hikes backpack is very handy to carry water or extra jumper in case of change of a weather. Since my partner has a pretty big one I needed a small one just to take some of the weight of his shoulders. I have decided for a backpack which is especially designed for women. I am carrying Osprey Tempest 9. It is a very small backpack with a 9 litres capacity. It is especially designed for women which means that it shape and locks adjust to women bodies better and feel more comfortable. Locks around breast and waist are positioned a bit differently than usual rucksacks and do not put pressure on the breast but it is placed nicely above it.
All of my gear above I managed to buy for a discounted price. I have checked several types of shoes, read about various prices and benefits they could bring to my hiking experience. I was also checking what types were on sale and from various options I have chosen the best one for the best price. Coat I have found in outlet store. It was from last years collection but it met all my requirements and I do not necessary need the newest model as long as it is useful and does what it should do. Trousers I have found in the store but they were ridiculously expensive. I tried them on and bought it as I really wanted a pair and my hiking holidays were approaching really quickly. After arriving home I started searching around the Internet and I have found out the same store online offered exactly the same model just in different colour, but discounted more than sixty percent. I was able to return purchased pair and I have replaced them with a cheaper version just in different shade. Backpack I found in the outdoor store as well. I fell in love with it from the first moment. Beautiful colour blue was also in my favourite shade. Only the price was a bit high. After searching around the Internet I found exactly the same model just in a pink / purple colour. On the picture colour looked a bit intense but it was much cheaper. After delivery it looked quite nice and I thought that such a bright colour might be an advantage while hiking in darker areas as I will definitely be well visible.
Sometimes it is worth to look around before making a purchase. Check out all sales and make sure to buy necessary gear well before your planned hiking tours. So far I was very lucky, maybe because of compromising with colour or model but in the end I did not regret any of my buys.
There are many more gadgets and gears which might be handy while walking or hiking but for me the above four are essential. Maybe in the future I will go for more advanced stuff but right now I am happy with all I have. Those four pieces of hiking gear made my walking more fun and pleasure. I can focus on the nature around me and reaching another walking goals.
And what kind of gear do you wear when walking around or hiking in high mountains? Maybe you have some useful tips which might improve my joy of hiking. Don’t forget to share in comments below.