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7 Tips for a Day Hike
By Jason Chartrand   View more articles by this author
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October 14

The best scenic overlooks are the ones that take time and energy to reach. The "overlook" exits on the interstate really don’t compare to what you get for going on a little hike of your own.


Quite often, I see the first time hiker with a gigantic backpack, those knee-high socks from the 70’s, a bucket hat, and enough clipped-on Nalgenes to explain the clapping noise I heard for the last half mile.


There’s no need to go overboard with equipment to go on a hike. Most hikers, myself included, find the most benefits out of a day hike, or even just a short jaunt to eat lunch and return to civilization. Below are some basics for you to enjoy a day hike:


  1. Know where you’re going. Sounds like common sense right? Every year you hear about the lost group of hikers and then some made for TV movie over-dramatizes their experiences. Staying on a marked trail can be the difference between an hour walk and being the next headline.
  2. Bring a friend along. The best things in life are better when shared. Having two people on the trail makes for great conversation and can provide a safety system should one of you twist an ankle.
  3. Water. There are no mini-marts or other stores along the trail (yet), so you’ll need to bring water with you. Some people like Nalgenes to carry their water, I like my Sigg.
  4. Food. You don’t need to pack for the apocalypse, just some snacks and lunch.
  5. Clothing. When you go hiking, you will probably break a sweat. Dressing in layers gives you the option of shedding a layer if you get too hot or adding another if you get too cold. I’m a hat wearer; I love my baseball cap, and it keeps the sun out of my eyes and hides my bed head. As for footwear., choose something comfortable that can handle varying terrain with ease --no Crocs. Crocs have their place, just not on the trail.
  6. Bag of Tricks. I carry this little bag inside my backpack; it has little things that have come in handy over the years. Inside there is a lighter, Band-Aids, duct tape, TP, a knife, a Ziploc bag and some dryer sheets.  A lighter is $0.99 and can light a fire quick, if you need one. Band-Aids are handy for a little nick. Duct tape, I’m convinced, can solve any problem in the world; including fixing your hiking shoes. TP is much nicer than leaves (especially if you misidentify a plant species) and it can also be used as a fire starter. A knife is a handy tool to have that can be used for anything, including opening your granola bar. A Ziploc bag is the perfect size to act as a mini garbage bag to pack out what you brought in; it can also serve as a sock if they get wet. Dryer Sheets aren’t just for your clothes anymore. Dryer Sheets are the alternative to bug spray, which smells bad, tastes even worse and can damage clothing. Dryer Sheets smell nice and repel bugs instantly away from your face.
  7. Camera. You will want to take an awesome panoramic shot and then create a stickK (and perhaps Facebook) Photo Album to document your new found hobby.


Quite simply, if you know where you are going, dress appropriately, and bring the right supplies- your first hike will be a true joy!

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