by Christine Reed - Division Manager - iConquer Adventures
Hiking, especially long distances, is a gear reliant sport. Sure, anyone with a pair of tennies and a plastic water bottle can hit a nature trail and log a few miles, but as the trails get more challenging, the gear makes more of a difference. Maybe you can walk for hours around the city in a pair of Chuck Taylor’s but try that on an all-day hike in Grand Canyon, and I’m sure you’ll have regrets.
I have spent so much time with this backpack on that I know I can trust it anywhere.
Just as important as having good and appropriate gear is having gear that is right for you! And the best way to find what works for you is putting it to use. Even a well-fitted boot might give you blisters if you try to hike 10 miles on your first outing. And a shiny new backpack is bound to leave you sore if you strap it on for a full day.
Testing my daypack out in Colorado, Ohio and Maine
You aren’t just training your body to walk up and down hills, you are training it to walk up and down hills with a specific set of accoutrements. As they say in the running community— “nothing new on race day.” The same goes for hiking. That’s why it is absolutely critical to train with the same gear you plan to use for “hike day.” This may seem obvious for things like boots, but it is equally as important for backpacks and trekking poles, even for shirts and socks. Clothing items may feel and act differently as you sweat, or they could become irritating and chafe throughout hours of repetitive motion from walking. Trekking poles are only helpful if you are practiced at using them and an ill-fitting backpack can be just as torturous as a brand-new boot.
So, my advice for training season is to go full-out from the start. Hike in the clothes you plan to hike in, use the poles and backpack you plan to hike with, AND pack your backpack with the amount of snacks, water and extra layers you plan to carry on your big day.