How do hiking boots improve hiking?

How do hiking boots improve hiking?

Last Updated: January 29th, 2020

They leave you with cold feet, peep toe, wet and muddy. Then what is all the fuss about hiking boots? Do they really improve hiking? Or is it just another hoax? Ah! that’s a tough one. In short, hiking boots improve hiking experience…end of story. This will not satisfy your skeptic’s heart, so let’s dig deeper.

How Do Hiking Boots Improve Hiking

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate and an affiliate for some reputed brands, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost you. If you want to know more check here.

How Do Hiking Boots Improve Hiking?

Trails are what I call dangerous beauty.

They have an uncanny ability to draw you to them and then punch you right on the face with rocks, roots, mud, water and more

Only if you fall down, otherwise your feet are her target.

Not only that, like the evil queen she also has some formidable pets like poisonous snakes, spider, scorpions or mountain lions and grizzly bears.

A hiking boot will protect your against these and will help you to run with all your load in case chased by the bigger and wilder ones

Enough of drama…let’s get back to reality…

Hiking boots can provide you with a lot of support when the ground under you is unruly.

They are made of such materials which can withstand a lot of adversities and can still stay intact.

Their heels are designed to absorb the shock from feet strike. The ankles are supported by the heel cup and they reduce shock on Achilles tendon

Additionally, the soles of the boots are so thick that you have very fewer chances of getting due to a sharp object piercing its sole.

Many of them such as Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus Ii is waterproof and will keep your feet dry from rain, snow, and moisture

Which is safer Shoes Or Boots?

Boots Vs Shoes

It depends..

You can use them interchangeably. Safety will always be more in boots as they cover a larger surface area of your feet and legs

However, if you are in city, this extra protection may not necessary. So, it will be better to stick with your shoes.

On hikes though, it is better to go in boots.

 

How Many Miles Can You Get Out Of Hiking Boots?

How much effort are you willing to put to preserve them?

OK that’s not totally true. Primarily, they should be built to last. Otherwise your efforts will go in vain.

How Long Hiking Boots Last

How to spot a long lasting boot?

I’ll cover this topic in much detail later in the post. But for the impatient ones, here are some highlights.

When picking up a new boot check its durability. Companies loves to show off this feature.

So, basically look out for terms like PU, abrasion resistant, TPU weilding.

PU or Polyurethane is a versatile synthetic material which is commonly used for cushioning and insulation.

They are highly abrasion resistant and are lightweight.

Hence, they are the preferred choice for the midsole providing you that plush and comfortable feeling.

Also, select boots which have a protective layer around the toe cap and the heels.

This extra measure will go a long way.

How to take care of your boot?

Now that you have a long lasting boot, maintain it properly and it will take you to many more adventures.

Caring for it starts after your adventure.

Gently brush off the dirt and debris or clean it with a cloth and some warm water.

It will increase the longevity of the boots.

Otherwise, moisture, salt, mud and other debris will dry out the shoe much faster and it will reach its expiration day much faster.

Different materials require different type of care.

For synthetic ones, using a stiff brush will do. You can also use warm water and a clean cloth

The leather ones are more hard to please. You would need leather cleaners and conditioners like Leather Honey Leather Conditioner

It will stop the leather from developing cracks over time.


How Long Will The Boots Lasts?

It is partially dependent on the care you provide to your boots but eventually they will reach expiry.

If your boots are made from long lasting materials and you have taken care of them properly, they will lasts at-least 600-700 miles but not more than 1000 miles

On the other hand, if you have lightweight boots, they should provide you with good protection till about 400-500 miles.

How to Break in Your Hiking Boots?

 bREAK IN TIME

Your boots and your feet should blend together and work as one team. This will take some time and effort.

Some of the hiking shoes like these don’t require breaking in. However, others especially the leather ones, can take weeks (sometimes) to give a green signal.

Once you have a new pair of boots start using it little by little.

Start Slow and gradually challenge it

  • Move around in the house – Before you take them on the trails, do its first trial run or a couple of trial runs in the home. Wear them inside the house and move around. Wear them in the same way you will wear in the trials to avoid surprises. The tongues should be straight, the lacing should be proper and you are good to go.
  • Take it outside on the roads – Once you feel comfortable moving around in your boots, start wearing them outside. Walk around the blocks or to the grocery stores. Gradually, start building up the distance
  • Hit the trails – By the time you hit the trails, you will be pretty comfortable with the shoes. Now its real test begins. If you and your boot survive your first adventure together then you are in for the long haul.

However, watch out for any kind of pain. If so try changing the lacing technique. Otherwise, you will have to get a replacement.

How To Select Hiking Boots

How To Select A Hiking Boot?

Now comes the exciting part I promised earlier….

When selecting a hiking boot you need to choose it based on three main things:

  • Type of boots
  • Materials Used
  • Fit

Type

There are a lot of choices when you want to get some trail foot love. Here are some of them:

Hiking Shoes

They generally have ultralight flexible midsoles and are like normal sneakers.

They doesn’t have the neck as in boots and are excellent for day hikes.

You can use your trail running shoes instead.

Day Hikers

They are meant for day hikes and short backpacking trips.

They require minimal break-in time and are meant for light loads.

They lack the support and durability of high end boots and ranges from mid-to-high cut.

Backpacking Boots

These are your traditional multi-day hiking boots. They can carry heavier loads and are high cuts.

They wrap around the ankle and protects it from shock. They provide excellent support, are very durable and have stiffer midsoles. Perfect for on and off trails.

Material Used

There are so many different materials that are used in a boot that it can take a sepeate post altogether. If you are interested, let me know.

Upper

This is what protects your feet from water, mud, dust, etc. It can have variety of materials as listed below:

  • Leather – They are generally heavier than synthetic types but are waterproof. They need a lot of break-in time. They mainly comes in three variety:
    1. Full-Grain Leather – Excellent durability, abrasion resistant, very good water proofing. Heavier than others and needs a lot of break-in time. They are not as breathable as the other types but are most suited for extended trip
    2. Split-Grain Leather – They are paired with nylon or nylon mesh and creates a lighter weight boot.  It is a similar kind of leather used in cow hide work gloves and are cheaper than the full grain or top grain leather. Water proofing is less
    3.  Nuback Leather – They are full grain leather which are buffed to look like suede. Durable and waterproof. This one also need a lot of break-in time
  • Synthetic – Polyester, nylon and synthetic leather are part of this synthetic category. They are lighter, break-in more quickly and are cheaper than leather ones. However, they show signs of wear and tear early.
  • Water proof membrane – This is an additional layer provided in the upper such as Gore-Tex® or eVent®. This keeps your feet dry during wet conditions. However, in summertime your feet may sweat more.
  • Vegan – Boots made from vegan friendly materials
  • Insulation – These are mainly present in mountaineering boots. They keep your feet warm in the snow.
Midsole

This is what cushions your feet from the harshness of the terrain. It determines how much stiff a boot is.

They are mostly made up of EVA foam or PU (Polyurethane)

Although EVA is a tad more cushier than the PU but both the materials are very durable.

Other materials that provides internal support are Shanks and Plates

Shanks – They are 3-5 mm inserts which are placed in between the outsole and the midsole. This provides the weight bearing capacity to the boots

Plates – They are also another insert which is placed in between the midsole and outsole and beneath the shanks.

They protect the feet from getting bruised by roots or uneven rocks

Outsole

The outsole is made of non-abrasive rubber. The amount of carbon present in them determines the hardness of the sole.

Generally mountaineering boots have more carbon to increase their durability.

Apart from this, you need to check:

  • Lug Patterns – They are the protruded rubber formations on the outsole. They enhance the grip of the soil. Deeper and thicker lugs will give you more traction
  • Heel Brake – These are clear heel zones that enhances your grip. They reduce the chance of slipping in case of steep descent

Fit

To select the right shoe for your feet you should always try them on in the evening. At that time your feet will be at it largest

So, the boots will fit you snugly throughout the day.

Also, if you are planning to wear any kind of gear inside your boots, bring them along when trying on your new boots. Same goes for socks as-well.

Spend time with the boots. Most of the boots need a lot of break-in time.

Ensure that you don’t take them to the woods right out of the box.

You will be in a lot of discomfort in your hike.

Also, learn to tie different knots. This can release considerable amount of stress from your feet.

Conclusion

Hiking boots have the capability to improve your hiking experience. However, to keep them up and running, you have to put in some effort.

Otherwise, be prepared to deal with peek-a-boo toe sooner than later.

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Recent Hiking Posts

How To Deal With Hiking Knee Pain? [2020 Edition]

How To Deal With Hiking Knee Pain? [2020 Edition]

Last Updated: January 29th, 2020

Ouch! I cannot take it anymore. How to deal with hiking knee pain? Surprisingly, you are not the only one and there is a lot you need to take care of.

It is not simply having a better boot like  Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped Hiking Boot or a lighter backpack like OUTLIFE Hiking Lightweight Backpack It is much more than that. This post covers everything you need to deal with your hiking knee pain.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate and an affiliate for some reputed brands, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost you. If you want to know more check here.

How To Deal With Hiking Knee Pain

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Causes of Knee Pain

Knees and your legs carry your entire body weight. However, they are the ones who are most neglected and end up in pain.

There can be various reasons for hiker’s knee and here are some of them:

  • Tendonitis
  • Sprains
  • Muscle Strains
  • Bursitis
  • Cartilage Tears
  • Arthritis
  • IT Band Syndrome
  • Weak Glutes
  • Tight Hip Flexors
  • Foot Wear
  • Hiking Downhill

Of these, Muscle Strain or Sprain will go away easily after some time.

However, things like Arthritis are here to stay.

So, you have to find a way to work around this problem.

Also, some hikers get this pain when hiking downhill. They need to follow special precautions.

How To Deal With Hiking Knee Pain?

Preparing Your Knees Before The Hike

As we all know:

Prevention is better than cure – Unknown

So, let’s check a couple of ways in which we can prepare our knees for a hike.

The first thing that comes to my mind is Exercise. It makes your body strong and prepares it for the upcoming hike.

Here, our focus is to strengthen the leg muscles and the muscles around our knees.

We also, have to make our knees flexible for a better range of motion.

Here are some good resources that will get you started in the right direction:

 

Muscle GroupExercise Resource
QuadricepsThe 6 Absolute Best Quads Exercises You Can Do
Hamstrings10 Highest-Rated Hamstring Exercises
CalvesThe 15 Best Calves Exercises of All Time
IT band7 Exercises to Treat and Prevent IT Band Syndrome
GlutesHere are the 19 Best Glute Exercises and Workouts of All Time (The Definitive Guide)
Hip FlexorStrengthen and Stretch: Hip Flexor Exercises
CoreThe Best Exercises for Core Strength

It’s not enough to strengthen the leg and knee muscles. You have to make your knees flexible as well.

This video will give you step-by-step instructions on how to stretch your knees.

Tackling Knee Pain During The Hike

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1. Have a proper shoe:

The importance of having a proper shoe is underestimated. If you have a properly fitted shoe, you will save your feet from a lot of hassle which in turn will save your knees.

Choose a shoe with proper cushioning and which is lightweight.

This will absorb the impact when your feet strike the ground. This will take away the reverse force that affects the knees.

There are a lot of extremely nice boots out there. One of our favorites is Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped Hiking Boot

2. Reduce The Weight You Are Carrying

Orthopedic Surgeons says that every 1 unit increase of weight, will put a pressure equivalent to 10 units on your knees.

Means:

1 KG increase of Weight = 10 KG pressure on your knees

So, try to make your luggage as light as possible.

This starts with your backpack and ends with your boots. If you have to invest some extra bucks for purchasing a piece of lightweight equipment, do that. 

It will be cheaper than getting your knee treated by Orthopedic Surgeons.

You should start by choosing a lightweight backpack. One of the best in the market is OUTLIFE Hiking Lightweight Backpack

Then there are jackets, pants, toiletries…you get the idea.

3. Downhill Precaution

Moving downhill puts a lot of load on your knees.

It will put a pressure equivalent to almost 8 times of your body-weight.

When you start hiking downhill, due to gravitational force, your pace is increased.

To maintain balance, you tend to hold yourself back. This puts additional stress on your knees.

Put a brake only as much required and to the minimum. If you do it too much, you will end-up injuring the knees.

4. Keep Your Leaps Minimal

When hiking, keep your leaps minimal. Landing hard on your heels will further stress out your knees.

This is especially true if you are hiking downhill. Here a well-cushioned shoe can make a lot of difference.

5. Use Trekking Poles

Many hikers think that a trekking pole is useless. However, if you want to protect your knees then, they are essential.

They help you to distribute your weight evenly between the poles and your legs.

This way, your knees have to carry less burden.

However, we do understand why many people think that the poles are useless.

They break often. To avoid this, you should ideally go for carbon fiber and aluminum mixes like Montem Ultralight Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles or something made out of Aluminum 7075 (military grade) like TrailBuddy Trekking Poles

They will share the load with your knees.

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6. Use Knee Braces

If you have weak knees then the knee braces can stabilize them.

You have a lot of options to choose from like sleeves, support and stabilizers.

Ask your doctor, which one is best for you.

Also, if you have just recovered from a knee injury, please limit the distance of your hike.

Starting small will help you get adjusted before you can go for longer hikes.

7. Turn To Mother Nature

There are a lot of herbs that can help you with the pain during your hike.

They are natural ingredients and are less harsh on your body and will have no to minimal side effects.

Let’s check them out:

Willow Tree Tea

This tree is common on the trails and has a lot of medicinal properties, along with painkilling

The bark of the tree contains acetylsalicylic acid and helps in reducing the pain.

This is also the chief ingredient of Aspirin (aka the painkiller you get in drug stores)

Don’t know how the tree looks? Here is a picture for your reference:

Willow Tree

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Once you have identified the tree, make a cut of about 2”x 3”.

You will understand if you have done it right if you can see the pink inner layer come off with the bark.

Then infuse it in hot water for 20 min and then sip it like tea.

Do it for a maximum of 3 times. You will get relief.

But don’t overdo it. Acetylsalicylic acid like Aspirin can give you a bleeding stomach

Wild Lettuce

WARNING: They are extremely bitter

Wild lettuce also known as opium lettuce is a natural pain reliever.

It doesn’t belong to the opium family but gets its name due to its pain reveling nature.

It is tall and has dandelion-like flowers. The stem secrets a milky substance once if you run your nail through it.

Wild Lettuce

You can either directly consume the latex-like substance or infuse it in hot water for 20 min and sip it.

Making a tea out of it and drinking is very hard due to its bitterness.

However, either way, it works fine.

It can quickly relieve pain and you can have it up to 3 times a day.

Burdock Root Tea

This is also very popular among the hikers. 

The flowers of this plant are like balls and they stick to your pants when you walk among them

Burdock Root

You can make tea out of its root and drink it 3 times a day.

The effect will not be as quick as above but is also effective in soothing the pain.

8. Take Some Medicines

Also, in certain situations, regular medicines will come handy.

You can use Advil, Motrin, or Aleve. However, I’m not a doctor.

Consult with your physician before purchasing any of the medicines.

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Preventing Knee Pain After The Hike

After the hike, you may face swelling and knee pain. This is what you should do.

Still In Pain? This is what you should do…

Let’s say you have taken all the above precautions and did a good job with stretching and using herbal tea.

Still, you are facing problem. Then you can use the RICE technique. Which is Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation? You can read more about it in RICE Therapy For Knee Pain from EVERYDAY HEALTH.

However, if you are still in a lot of pain, then visit a physician immediately. He will be able to help you with your knee pain.

Over To You

What techniques you use to deal with hiker’s knee pain. Let us know in the comment section below.

Like It? Share It…

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Dangers Of Hiking Alone [2019 Edition]

Dangers Of Hiking Alone [2019 Edition]

Last Updated: February 7th, 2020

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate and affiliate for some reputed brands, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost you. If you want to know more check here.

What that rustling outside? Should I go out? Is it that bear everyone was talking about?

Oh, why did I come alone? Will my FRONTIERSMAN Bear Spray work?

Hold on my friend. We know there are a lot of dangers of hiking alone. This entire post will walk you through each one of them and how to tackle.

So keep calm and enjoy…

Dangers of Hiking Alone

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Before jumping into the dangers of solo hiking, let’s check the rewards of solo hiking

Benefits Of Solo Hiking

Hiking solo is an exhilarating experience. It will

  • Improve your spiritual health
  • Sharpen your outdoor skills like reading a compass
  • Let you do the hike on your own pace
  • Your mind will get seasoned with a new challenge
  • You will come face to face with your own fears
  • An 1 on 1 with Mother Nature herself
  • You can say – “I did it alone and without any help” (A very proud moment)

Dangers Of Hiking Alone

When you are out in the woods alone, you will have to manage everything by yourself.

You will face mainly two types of problem with yourself

The First one is emotional and the second one is physical.

Nagging Feeling of Being Alone

When you travel in a group or with a partner, you can share you feelings with them.

Whether you are happy, sad or overwhelmed, there is always someone you can turn to.

However, when you are travelling alone, the only person accompanying you is you.

So, no matter how, you are feeling you have to deal with it alone.

This can be a daunting feeling as this can lead to anxiety and stress.

Just don’t find this out the hard way. I would suggest that you go for a very short day-hike.

If you enjoy that, then gradually try to increase the duration.

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Stress and Anxiety

Whether you are a PRO or a beginner, the trails have a weird way of getting to you.

With a small rustling in the nearby bush, you can become extremely stressed, only to find a small squirrel pass by.

When you are stressed, you will make mistakes, which you may not have made otherwise.

If you start getting stressed, just take a couple of deep breaths until you calm down.

Physical Exertion

You are the only one who is carrying your hiking backback.

It will have at-least some kind of shelter, some kitchenware, hiking gears, first aid and navigation kit.

This can be a lot of load if you are carrying it for a long time.

With a partner around, you can share your load, but since you are alone, you will not be able to do that.

And you will getting exhausted carrying the load around.

Over Relying On Technology

Technology is a boon and a curse to the modern world.

It has simplified our life in a lot of ways but has made us less self-reliant.

If we face any problem, we head straight to Google, without giving much of a thought.

Every problem of ours has an app in our mobile.

But in the wild, you will not have access to Google and your mobile phone may not work.

What will you do?

Figure out a way to deal with your problems without technology

Learn to read a physical map and a compass.

Try to anticipate the problems that you may face and devise a plan to tackle them.

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Getting Lost

When hiking alone, you will have no one to consult with. Getting lost is a common problem among hikers.

As per the news, every year many hiker get lost in the wild.

But don’t let this deter you. Carry a good GPS system with you. Garmin eTrex 30x 010-01508-10 Handheld Navigator is one of the best in the market today.

It comes with support for multiple types of map and a pretty accurate compass.

Don’t only rely on your GPS. Learn to navigate yourself as-well.

Learn to read some basic gadgets like maps and a compass like Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Army Aluminum Alloy Compass.

They are inexpensive and can be a life saver. Compass Dude does a very good job in this matter.

The information is targeted towards the beginners and the best part it, it is FREE!

Still if you get confused in the wild, use STOP

– Stop

T – Think

O – Observe

P – Plan

Only thing is, don’t lose your nerve. That will cause blunder.

With the above preparations, you will be equipped to handle any situation. So, have faith in yourself.

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Forgetting To Carry The Essentials

This is where proper planning comes into play.

You must plan your trip well in advance.

Prepare a checklist of the items that you need

Loan or Purchase them. Match them repeatedly with your checklist.

Be sure that you are carrying everything before you start on the trip.

Humans

Human attacks are a potential threat to hikers and more so if you are a solo hiker.

This is more probable, if you a near a population.

Be polite to people but not friendly.

Also, don’t tell anyone you are travelling alone.

Carrying a pepper spay like Sabre 3-IN-1 Pepper Spray is helpful if you come across a weirdo.

Here are the types of human problems that you can face:

  • Violence
  • People acting Wierd
  • Verbal Abuse
  • Not following Trail etiquette

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Animals

Animal attacks are a big threats to any hiker.

However, they rarely attack without any reason.

They will do so if they are protecting themselves, their young or their food.

There are three big ones to look out for:

  • Bears
  • Cougars or Mountain Lions
  • Wolves

The best thing you can do is to educate yourself about them

Where they live? How they function and how they react?

These animals have a strong sense of smell and are attracted to food in general.

So, as a precaution, have your meal a mile or two ahead of your camping site.

Store the smell-able items securely.

This should solve most of your problems.

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Snakes

Rattle Snake

Venomous snakes like rattle snake, live under the rocks or logs to protect themselves from heat.

If you are venturing into their territory, be careful where you place your foot. Avoid rocks, logs or shrubs.

Keep your eyes and ears open. Before they strike, as a warning, rattle snake makes a sound like shaking a maraca.

However, snakes are scared of human and big animals. They generally will hide, even before you notice them.

If you happen to meet one on the trails, give them a lot of space. Allow them to pass before continuing.

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In case of Attack

Know the kind of snakes that are present in that hiking trail. Unfortunately, if you get bitten by a venomous one, you will still have sometime to react.

The place of bite will get swelled and you will start feeling a burn. Depending on the strength of venom, you will start feeling nauseous.

Take off any tight cloth covering that area and wash it properly with water and soap.

Keep the wound lower than your heart

Try to get medical attention within 30 min of the bite. If not, tie a piece of cloth few inches above the wound tightly for slowing down the blood flow.

Don’t try to suck out the poison or make an incision. This will cause you more harm than good. 

Insects

Insects bites are common when you are hiking. Being a little careful can prevent you from getting bitten

You should lookout for insects like:

  • Mosquitoes
  • Ticks
  • Spiders
  • Scorpions
  • Bees

You can deal effectively with Tick and mosquitoes using repellent containing 20-30% DEET.

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Wear long sleeve clothes and  avoid tall grass areas.

Also, check yourself thoroughly frequently. Ticks generally prefer warmer areas of your body.

So check armpits, behind the knees, ears, waist and hairs.

 

Also, be careful with Spiders. They seem to be non-harming and small.

However some of them like brown recluse and the black widow are very poisonous.

Avoid going near bright flowers or wearing bright clothes.

Also, avoid sweet smelling lotions or perfumes.

That way you will be able to avoid unwanted attention from bees and spiders.

In case of attack, follow same precautions as snake bites and get medical attention immediately.

Natural Events

You may have prepared well and planned your hike during a calm and stable weather.

But mother nature can play spoil sport anytime.

She may test you with

  • Rain
  • Hail
  • Snow
  • Flood
  • Earthquake
  • Lightning
  • Falling Rocks
  • Falling Trees
  • Wildfire

You can do very little when you face a natural disaster.

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However, being prepared can make the impact lesser.

Setup camps in safer areas.

Avoid high places, open places, close to cliffs, under large tree branches, or close to creeks

Injuries

Bee Sting

Injuries are a part of the trails. No matter how careful you are, injuries are always a possibility.

If the trail is well groomed, chances of sustaining an injury is minimal but still it can happen anytime.

Severe Sun Burn

If you continuously forget to apply sunscreen you will end up with a bad sun burn.

Your skin will start getting blisters and you can get headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, and dehydration.

Have lots of fluid, avoid sun and apply Aloe Vera gel. Also, take some medicine from the paracetamol family.

Bug Bites/Animal Attack

See above.

If needed get medical help immediately

Blisters

The most frequent injury from hiking is blisters. Avoid getting them by keeping you feet dry.

Also, wear a properly fitted shoe and anti-blister socks like Balega Blister Resist No Show Socks

If you still get them, let them breathe as often as possible. Or, put some sort of band-aid or tape on it.

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Chafing

Avoid wearing cotton undergarments. Synthetic ones are fine.

Also, before you start your hike, apply some body glide like Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm.

It is a mixture of anti-antiperspirant and zinc oxide. This will help you avoid chafing.

Altitude Sickness

Yes! they are a thing and you may get it if you are hiking above 8000 ft.

This is caused by less amount of oxygen in the air and reduced air pressure.

Symptoms include vomiting, headaches, insomnia, and a lack of coordination.

Only prevention for you is to hike slowly.

This way you will give a lot of time to your body to get adjusted to the change in atmosphere.

If your body cannot take it and the discomfort becomes unbearable, hike down to a lower altitude

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Muscle Cramp

You can get muscle cramps for a lot of reasons like lack of electrolytes in the muscle, dehydration or strain.

Take lot of fluids and fruits. Also, before starting the hike, do some stretching.

Tips For Safety

We have seen most of the dangers that you will face on a trail.

However, to maximize your safety, you need to follow these guidelines:

  • Know the area
  • Tell someone of your whereabouts
  • Check in at the ranger station
  • Read the weather report
  • Choose a busy trail
  • Know your limitations
  • Stick to the path
  • Bring supplies
  • Make sure your vehicle is serviced and suitable for the trail
  • Listen to that nagging voice in the back of your head

Conclusion

Solo Hiking can be a liberating experience. However, it brings with it, its own set of challenges.

Plan properly and stay safe. No matter what, enjoy the experience.

What is your experience with solo hiking?

What did we miss? Let us know in the comment section below.

And remember, sharing is caring.

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How To Insulate A Tent For Winter Camping [2020 Edition]

How To Insulate A Tent For Winter Camping [2020 Edition]

Last Updated: February 7th, 2020

Exhaling smoke, inhaling air…Fuming coffee and snow-covered trail. Tarp-ed Tents and CampfireIs this your idea of winter adventure? Oh! we love it.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. If you want to know more check here.

Make sure you protect yourself with Mr. Heater

Also, learn to insulate your tent, which in any case you will learn here

So, without further ado, let’s find out How To Insulate A Tent For Winter Camping

How To Insulate A Tent For Winter Camping

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Plan Your Trip

This is the most essential step in having a successful trip.

Without a plan you will set yourself up for failure.

Since you will be under prepared to handle the situations you will go through a lot of heart burns.

Winter camping is challenging but has its own perks like you will not have to deal with bears or flies.

Spend some time in planning the camping and you will have the most rewarding experience.

First try to come up with a general plan, then you can go for a more specific one for insulation and all.

Find out details from friends and Family

Once you have decided on where to hike, it is time for finding out the specifics of that place.

What you are trying to find out is

  • What to Expect
  • Any special requirement

Start asking people questions who already have been to that area.

If your direct acquaintances cannot help you, then there are many online forums which can guide you.

You can check in Facebook Groups or Can post a question in Quora.

Collecting these details will make it much easier for you to come up with an accurate plan.

Study and Understand the Map

Learn the maps. Rather than going in the wild and struggling to understand it, its better to understand it beforehand.

You will be less stressed and will be able to understand it much easily.

If you don’t like a physical map, go for Google Maps or Bing Maps.

There are plenty of other online options as well.

However, I would still suggest that you get one physical map and on it mark the route of your hike.

You may not have access to Google when you are hiking in some remote mountain.

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Read the Weather Report

Failing to do this can be a fatal mistake.

Find out, how the weather will be during the time of your hike.

Most smartphones have this feature inbuilt.

However, if you want something more fancy, you can check out other apps that are available online.

Whatever, it is, prepare your backpack accordingly.

Also, if there is a prediction of a bad weather at that time, refrain from taking the hike.

What to Pack?

Winter hiking is a lot different than summer hiking. You need to be much more prepared.

Other than the regular stuffs, you would need:

  • Warm clothes
  • Heater
  • Insulation Materials, etc.

Inform others to watch your back

You may have prepared well, but you still need to be prepared for worst situation

Inform your friends and family about the trip and when they should expect you back.

God forbid, if they don’t hear back from you on time, they can take appropriate measure

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How to insulate a tent for winter camping?

Now that we have covered most of the basics, here comes the fun part.

You have to insulate your tent from winter.

Little planning can go a long way

Initially when you planned, you have already prepared the list of things that you need to carry.

Now, comes the hard part.

You have to plan about insulating the tent as well.

This starts with selecting a appropriate site for your tent.

With a proper selection, you can insulate a tent without much of a hassle.

Though the topic of selecting a winter tent site needs a seperate post in itself, here are some pointers:

How to Select A Winter Tent Site?

When selecting a tent site and setting up a tent in winter, follow these guidelines:

  • Avoid Avalanche Zones
  • Avoid snow covered branches
  • Do not camp in Valley Floors Or Canyons as cold air flows downhill
  • Try to find natural wind breakers
  • Find a spot near running water
  • Check if your site gets morning sun
  • Can you flatten the snow at the tent site?
  • Point your tent door towards the downhill

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What you need to insulate?

Once you have selected the spot, you need to start insulating your tent.

For this, start by building your tent on a tarp. This will give the tent floor effective insulation against the cold.

Alternatively you can also use cardboard boxes as a cheap, yet effective solution.

You need to make sure that the Tarp stays in place by tucking it around the tent.

Use some sticks or snow if you need to.

Next, you need to prepare for sleep. Here an air-mattress is the best solution.

It will give you an effective insulation against the ground, as air is a bad conductor of heat.

Along with that, you should have a good sleeping pad/bag.

Another thing you need to consider is the buildup of condensation inside the tent.

This will turn into moisture and will eventually make you cold.

Hence, see to it that you have proper ventilation for the tent.

Get some kind of heater

Outside of the tent will be very cold. You somehow need to maintain a warm temperature inside the tent.

There are a lot of options for that.

Firstly, you can get some kind of a tent heater. But first check the tent specifications from the manufaturer.

If your tent allows that, you can go for tent heaters like Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy.

This is the best tent heater in the market and is the top choice of customers .

Second option will be to setup a campfire.

This can also effectively keep the tent warm. However, be careful about the placement.

Too close, and risk burning down the whole tent, too far, the temperature maintenance won’t be good.

Some of the people also say that heating up some water bottle also works, but I’ve never tried that. So, I cannot tell its effectiveness.

Learn to build a thermal shield

If you cannot find a camping spot as was outlined previously, you need to build some kind of thermal shield.

One way is to pack up some snow against the tent walls. They will provide effective insulation against the cold.

Just keep in mind not to overload as the tent may collapse due to weight.

In-case you don’t have snow to utilize as insulation, hang some waterproof tarp like Hanjet Tent Tarp to sheild the tent.

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Learn to deal with moist or wet items

By nature, wet or moist clothes will need more heat. This compromises the temperature inside the tent.

Hence, you should immediately remove any kind of wet clothes or items from the tent.

Also, make sure that they are completely dry before you reuse them

Remove the snow build up from the tent walls, time to time. This will ensure that the tent remains intact, throughout your trip.

Carry multiple set of clothes (Warm and Normal)

This is kind of obvious. With a lot of snow and damp weather, chances of getting wet is more.

Also, your clothes will retain moisture for a longer period of time and will not dry easily.

It is wise to carry multiple set of clothes and will help you to avoid such situations.

If not anything, carry at least multiple sets of warm clothes.

If the temperature you suspected falls below your expectation, you can always add additional layer of clothing to protect yourself.

Conclusion

If you follow the above guidelines, you will be in a good shape and will not have to worry much about “How To Insulate A Tent For Winter Camping”.

Other than that follow some of these guidelines:

  • Keep some extra poles, in-case some breaks
  • Keep a broom handy, to keep snow or other debris outside of your tent
  • Never cook in the tent. You will either burn the tent down, or will chock yourself
  • Always dress in layers
  • The gears you are using should be compatible with the climate you are hiking/camping in
  • Take ample light and batteries. Carry a solar battery also. If sun is bright, then you can utilize that
  • Carry a First-aid kit

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How do you insulate your tent in winter?

Let us know in the comment section below.

Also, share these tips and tricks with your adventuros friends. They will surely love you for that

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Hiking For Beginners On A Budget [The No Fluff Guide]

Hiking For Beginners On A Budget [The No Fluff Guide]

Last Updated: January 29th, 2020

At last! The H-Bug has bitten you. H-Bug? Ah! Hiking Bug. You don’t know where and how to begin. Everything is so damn expensive. You don’t know if you will continue your hiking expeditions.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. If you want to know more check here.

Don’t worry. We got you covered. Our guide on “Hiking For Beginners On A Budget” is exactly what you need.

Essential Hiking Tips

Hiking for beginners on a budget

Before we jump into the essential gears that you will need, let’s go through some basics.

Benefits of Hiking

Hiking has it’s own perks. The clean air, sound, smells and the freshness of nature.

Along with all these, it is a great form of workout. Here are some couple of them:

  • Lowers the risk of heart discease
  • Improves your blood pressure
  • Improves your sugar level
  • Your bone density becomes more as walking is a weight-bearing exercise
  • Works on all your leg muscles and add definition to them
  • Strengthens your core
  • Improves balance and coordination
  • Helps in weight loss
  • Mood booster
  • Gives you confidence
  • Enhances you spiritually
  • Makes you adaptable
  • Enhances your survival skills

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Don’s And Don’ts

For a hike, you must follow some guidelines. Other than that you will be more prone to injury and failure.

Do’s 

Stretch – Hiking is a demanding sport. If you want to be successful in your first hiking adventure, then be in a top notch condition.

Nah! that’s a lie. But you should be decently fit, to make it through the hike.

Start your hike with a proper stretch, especially your leg muscles.

Your hike will be much easier and will your knees will be less pressurized.

Start Slowly – Trying to do, too much too soon will make you lose steam.

Completing the hike will be next to impossible. Start slowly and enjoy every step.

Choose the hike wisely – Let’s be honest. You are just a beginner. You need to take baby steps.

So, choose an easy hike. This will encourage you to continue.

Wear layers – Shed or Add more layers to keep sweating to the minimum. This is completely dependent on the hiking season.

Research the trail – This is very important. Some trails will have dangerous wild animals. Knowing them will help to avoid them.

However, if they are ‘Grizzly Bears’ kinds, then better stay away from the trails.

Also, some insects can be very poisonous. Be prepared for them as well.

Don’ts

Don’t Litter – Leave the trail the way you found it. Animals and your fellow hikers will be thankful to you.

As, an alternative, some garbage bags with you. Dump your waste in them and dispose of it in the right place.

Don’t Forget Emergency – Emergency can strike anytime. You need to be prepared.

Get extra batteries for your flashlight, first aid kit, extra water bottle, poncho, matches, lighters and mobile phone.

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Don’t go alone – This is your first hike. Things can go a bit crazy. You will not have the necessary skill or knowledge to manage them.

Hence, someone experienced to come with you. This can save you a lot of heartburn.

Now let’s look into the gears that are absolutely essential for a hike. 

Essential Hiking Gears

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1. Hiking Boots

Trails are unforgiving. There will be uneven surface, buried stone, tree roots and underground animals.

A good pair of boots will ensure that your feet remain safe when you stumble upon rocks and pebbles.

Also, you will remain blister free, for longer period of time.

More than 8000 people think that Timberland White Ledge Men’s Waterproof Boots are the best. 

However you can choose something that fits in your budget.

 

Timberland Men's White Ledge Mid Waterproof Ankle Boot
Here are some simple ways you can pick up the perfect pair of shoes for you:

What to look for in a hiking shoe?

Grip – This is primary. The sole should be able to grip the ground quite firmly. Even under wet conditions.

You should be looking for aggressive lugging. This will ensure that you will not slip on the uneven ground.

Ankle and Heel Support – A good hiking boot will provide extra support to your ankles.

This will minimize the chances of getting it twisted.

Also, the extra padding will ensure that you don’t end up with bruised skin.

Comfort – You must be comfortable wearing your boots for a long time.

They should be well cushioned and must have good shock absorption capability.

Without that, it will be useless.

Test it out. Wear the shoe for more than three hours, during your regular activities.

If you are still comfortable, then good, else get a new pair.

Toe protection – The boot should protect your feet well. For this, most of them comes with an additional protective layer near the toe region.

This ensure that your toes remain safe in those unfamiliar terrain.

Alternative

If you have a trail running shoe, use it. They provide similar protection.

But if you have to purchase one, then price wise, you will not have much leverage.

For your knowledge, the best one out there is Salomon Speedcross Trail Runner.

However, they are more expensive than the Timberland White Ledge Men’s Waterproof Boots.

Decide based on our preference.

2. Backpacks / Hydration Pack

For hiking, you need to carry some basic stuffs with you.

First aid kit, Dry food, Spare clothes, etc. are bare minimum.

carry them comfortably, in a backpack or a Hydration Pack.

Back Pack Vs Hydration Pack

Both can carry all your hiking essentials.

However, a hydration pack comes with a bladder (made of rubber or flexible plastic) and an attached tube.

You can store some kind of liquid in it and you don’t need to tag along a water bottle.

Now comes the fun part. Research for purchasing.

MOUNTAINTOP 28L/40L Hiking Backpack for Outdoor Camping
Or you can go for the affordable Mountaintop Hiking Backpack with Rain Cover

What should you look for in your hiking backpack?

Breathability – Not for the backpack, but for you. Just to make it clear, in-case you are wondering.

Backpack will cover your back and the portion under the straps.

If the backpack lacks ventilation, then you will end up extremely sweaty in a very short amount of time.

Build Quality – What you are looking for is a rugged bag. It should be tear resistant and the zippers should take a lot of stretching.

Also, this applies for the stitches. Otherwise you are in trouble.

Pockets and Compartments – In short there should be a lot of them. This will help your to keep all the essentials organized.

If not, then you will have to go through a lot of struggle, when you need some thing.

Then you have to put in additional efforts to repack them back. And believe me, this is very frustrating.

Ergonomic design – Yes, you read it right. If your backpack, doesn’t fit your back or support its contour, it will be troublesome to lug it around.

So look for something, that fits comfortably on your back.

Weight – Once you fill in a backpack with your hiking stuffs, it will become heavy.

On top of that, if the weight of the bag itself is too much, then, it will unnecessarily put a lot of stress on your back.

Try to find something which is lightweight and fits your budget.

Mountaintop Hiking Backpack with Rain Cover fits this profile perfectly.

Alternatives

Hydration packs like Vibrelli are nice to have, however, they are not essential.

If you have a normal backpack to stuff your essentials is more than enough for your first hiking trip.

Just see to it that it is light weight and has a lot of pockets.

3. Global Positioning System (a.k.a GPS)

End goal of a hike. To return to civilization unscathed.

If you cannot do that, then the entire hike will go in vain.

Also, it can be become a fatal mistake.

Trails can have lots of forks and branches and some may lead to some unsafe territory.

If you don’t have a GPS and your hiking trail is not marked properly, you will be in real danger.

You can use Google Maps, but most of the time they need internet.

You can use your phone, but it will get discharged soon

Also, on trails, there will not be any charger or internet 

Garmin eTrex 30x

So, you can go for something like Garmin eTrex 30x.

 

Alternative

These devices are fantastic and as you have guessed, expensive.

So, you can use your smart phones maps.

They are generally pretty accurate. Don’t rely on Google Maps as you may not have cell reception.

Also, you can install some custom hiking apps like MapmyHike

But, do a trial run, several days before the hike day.

Get familiar with it. You should not get any last minute surprises.

Also, get a spare fully charged mobile if you are following this.

However, rather than going through all these uncertainties,  go for a GPS device. 

Your life depends on it. Literally! 

4. Poncho

Hail and Rain are Part of Trails! And now I’m a poet. 😛

Anyways, you get the point.

You are going out and there can be a rain. You need something to protect you.

And you will not have a shed to protect you from the rains.

So, rather than, buying a Raincoat, go for a poncho.

Why?

You don’t need anything additional to protect yourself and your gears.

Also, once the rain is over, you can use it as a seat on the wet surface.

This looks like a ghost or is it just me? 

Rain Poncho Jacket Coat Hooded for Adults with Pockets

 

What to look for in a poncho?

You are buying the poncho for one and only reason.

To protect yourself from the unexpected rain. Hence get a decent poncho like LINENLUX Rain Poncho

Water Proof – This is obvious. 

Material – I prefer fabric, instead of plastic. So, for me polyester is better. Also, it should be quick drying.

Tear Resistant – This is another reason to go for a polyester poncho. They are tear resistant, unlike their plastic counterparts.

Portable And Compact –  Most of them are. But just in case.

Breathability – If a poncho is not breathable, it will suffocate you. Hence, it is an essential factor when selecting a poncho. Yet! Another reason to go for a fabric poncho.

Alternative

Don’t want to spend money on a poncho?

No worries!

You will just need some garbage bags. 1 Medium, 1 Small and 2 Big.

Cover your Backpack with the Medium Garbage bag and Your Head with the small one.

Cut out a hole at the closed end of one of the big garbage bags.

This is your poncho. Slip it on and over your head during rain.

The 2nd Big one is optional. It will protect your trousers. Cot off the closed end.

So, you will have a bag open from both ends. Slip it on and tuck it in your trouser. This will cover your legs

5. First Aid Kit and Safety Equipment

Accidents can happen anytime. Unfortunate, but true.

And you need to survive that before help arrives.

Your survival kit should contain the below bare minimum.

 

  • Lighter – This will be the fire starter
  • Ear Plugs – If you sleep on ground, insects can crawl in. You need this close the ear holes.
  • Vitamins – This will help you to deal with added stress from hike.
  • Ready made soup cubes – At-least you will not starve.
  • Sanitation – Wet wipes (Leaves are not helpful. Trust me ;))
  • Medicines – Basics like for diarrhea, vomiting, fever, cold, etc.
  • Knife – This will save you in a lot of ways
  • Antiseptic, Bandage, Gauge and Cream for cuts and injuries.
Aootek Upgraded first aid survival Kit

Or, go for Aootek first aid survival Kit

Alternative

There are certain things where I don’t suggest alternatives. Safety and security is one of them.

They can sometimes cause you more damage than good.

You will definitely find people suggesting super glue and stuffs for fresh wounds. (Obviously with disclaimer)

But that is extremely unhealthy and can cause a lot of problems after wards.

If you still want, alternatives, please Google.

I cannot provide you with that. Sorry!

6. Sleeping Bags

Guess What!

You need to sleep.

Mostly, your hike will be for multi days.

So, at night you need something to sleep on.

Nothing fancy, but a sleeping bag is a minimal requirement.

It will provide you with the much needed comfort at the end of a tiring day.

In-fact there are couple of very good ones like Envelope Sleeping bags that come at a very affordable price

 

 

Abco Tech Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Bags: What to look for?

This will be your bed, for the next couple of days. So, it should be as comfortable as possible.

These are the qualities to look for:

Waterproof – Water proofing is essential. Otherwise you may not be able to spread it on ground after a rain.

Comfort – The inner lining should be comfortable. Most of the times they are soft. But check before you buy

Lightweight – You have to carry it on your back. If it is heavy, you will just get buried under its weigh

Portable – It should not take up too much space and should be compressible.

Temperature Support – Your sleeping bag should be able to keep you warm, even if the temperature drops a couple of degrees.

Alternative

Envelope Sleeping bags is one of the best and the cheapest option available. 

However, if you don’t want to spend, you can take some rugs with you.

Your garbage bags will come in handy.

Why?

You should spread them on the ground first, and then put the rug on it.

This will serve two purpose.

You will be able to water proof your rug and if you use multiple layers of garbage bag, it will serve as a insulation against cold. 

Some Additional Tips

Food

When going on a hike, you don’t know what kind of situation you will face. You will be far away from civilization and there will be no-one to help.

Carry some food with you:

Nuts – Peanut, almond, cashew, raisins are good option

Bread and butter – Bread stay fresh for at-least three days and butter for longer.

Fruits – Like apple, banana, oranges

Energy bars – Like RXBAR Whole Food Protein Bar. They come in a pack of 12

Bouillon Cubes – This will be your ready made soup. Boiling water doesn’t taste that good.

And at-last! I’m..

Calling in the PRO hikers

Do you have any tips for our beginner friends? Let us know.

Also, I encourage our beginner friends to ask any questions

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Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate and affiliate for some reputed brands, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost you. If you want to know more check here.What that rustling outside? Should I go out? Is it that bear everyone was talking about? Oh, why did I...