Additional Reading: Hiking Boots
When hiking, each of your feet comes down and momentarily bears your weight about a thousand times each mile. Your feet deserve maximum care and attention. Blisters result from friction between your shoes and skin, and are much easier to prevent than to cure.
Your hiking footwear
should always be gradually broken in on shorter hikes before starting on a long
Avoid wearing darned
socks and ill-fitting or new shoes or boots.
Apply a piece of moleskin
to absorb the friction at the first sign of redness or soreness.
Wear clean socks and
change them several times if necessary.
Prevent a buildup of
perspiration on the feet by wearing a sock liner that wicks away moisture and
then an outer sock.
TYPES OF FOOTWEAR
One of the myths we
have been led to believe is that hiking boots must be heavy in order to be of
any good. As a general rule, the
more rugged the travel conditions, the sturdier the boot should be, but choose
the lightest shoe that will do the job. It
is estimated that each pound carried on your foot is equivalent to 5 pounds
carried on your back.
Boots made of lightweight
synthetic materials – good for day hikes and light backpacking.
Trail boots – good for
longer trails or cross-country travel, better support, can be made water
repellent, have vibram soles.
Mountaineer boots –
good for expeditions into heavy brush encountering rocks, ice, or snow; very
heavy and stiff with vibram soles.
Heat is probably the
worst enemy of boots.
Never place them on a
radiator, in the oven, or near a campfire to dry.
Never leave them in the
trunk of a car on a hot summer day.
When wet, wipe clean,
stuff with crumpled newspaper, then let dry gradually.
New leather boots need to
be conditioned and made water repellent with a silicone dressing (Snow Seal).
LOADING AND CARRYING A PACK
A common rule of
thumb is to carry no more than one-third of your body weight if you are in good
physical condition, and no more than one-fourth if you are not.
GENERAL HIKING HINTS AND ETIQUETTE
It is usually best to
start on the cool side where clothing is concerned for within a few minutes your
body will heat up.
Wear clothing in layers
so adjustments can be made accordingly.
Avoid perspiration soaked
clothing....hypothermia doesn’t only happen in rainy weather.
Do not make a hike a
speed contest, what you do and see along the way is as important as how far you
When hiking with campers,
one counselor should take the lead and another the sweep position.
Each person should always
carry their own water supply unless there are safe sources along the way.
It is a good idea to take
along a trail snack since hiking burns alot of energy.
Respect no trespassing
Close gates behind you if
they were found that way.
When meeting others along
the trail, those coming downhill have the right of way.
Faster hiking groups or
individuals should always be allowed to pass.
When coming up on
horseback riders or pack animals always move to the downhill side, facing them,
without making any sudden movements that might spook the animals.
CAMPSITE SELECTION AND SETUP
Try to stop hiking
early enough in the day to complete all necessary tasks before dark.
There are a number of points to consider in choosing a campsite:
Choose a spot that has
good drainage and is well above any visible high water mark.
Avoid pitching tents
directly under trees and inspect any near by.
Try to select a level
area free of sharp rocks, twigs or other rough objects that might damage your
tent floor or keep you from sleeping comfortably.
AND CAMPING TECHNIQUES
It is important for
camp counselors and trip leaders to adopt and then demonstrate a low-impact
camping ethic that is based on proper ecological attitudes toward the natural
It should be the goal
of every hiker or backpacker to practice minimum-impact camping by leaving the
fewest traces of his or her presence as possible, no matter how far or where the
hiker travels. The following are
additional environmental practices that should be considered:
Camp at least 100 feet
from water source.
No trenching or permanent
structures should be built.
Keep campsites as
primitive and natural as possible.
Use established campsites
when possible but avoid overused areas.
Look for rocky or sandy
areas and avoid delicate lush meadows and streamsides.
Cook with backpacking
stoves when possible and be sure to break up fire rings if using a fire.
Use only fallen timber if
building a fire and keep as small as possible.
Garbage should be carried
out or burned, not buried.
Do not pick flowers in
timberline or alpine tundra areas.
Stay on existing trails
and avoid cutting across switchbacks, which causes erosion.
Pick up any litter along
When traveling off the
trail, groups should spread out rather than follow one another to avoid crushing
Limit your group size to
ten or less in order to minimize your impact.
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