Walking is one of the best ways to get in touch with nature and see the world. When walking you’re at the mercy of nature and the changing weather but that’s half the thrill of choosing to walk/hike rather than watching as the world goes through the window of a bus, car or train. But the clothes you wear and the gear you take really makes a difference as to whether your walking trip is comfortable and enjoyable or uncomfortable and miserable.
So to help you out we’ve compiled a list of 5 Essential Items for a Comfortable Walking Trip that you might not have thought about.
1. eVent® Waterproof Jacket
In certain parts of the world or at certain times of the year the weather can change quickly and without warning. In many places it can go from dry and sunny to cold, windy and rainy in a mater of hours. If you’ve experienced this firsthand and have been unprepared, I’m sure you recall it not exactly being a walk in the park. But here’s where an eVent® Waterproof Jacket comes in to save the day.
The eVent® Waterproof Jacket is highly lightweight, breathable, waterproof and windproof. They are pricey but well worth the investment and will make your walking trip a lot more comfortable when the weather does take a turn for the worst. Far more breathable than a GORE-TEX® jacket, if you do a lot of travelling in humid areas you will be thankful for this jacket as you won’t find yourself boiling and sweating nearly as much as you would wearing lower grade jackets or just wearing a plastic poncho. In addition it’s lightweight and rolls up nicely fitting easily into your day pack.
2. Trekking Poles
You might think trekking poles are just for handcore treks, for the unfit or those with niggling knee issues but that’s simply not the case. No matter how old you are or what your fitness level is, a trekking pole is an invaluable addition to you walking gear. A sturdy trekking pole will help you navigate difficult terrain with greater ease, it will reduce stress on your knees, ankles, hips, and spine particularly on downhill stretches. It will also improve your waking posture. Overall it will give you a much more comfortable walk.
The kind of poles to lookout for are lightweight, optimally made from aluminium, with anti-shock systems, adjustable to your height also making it more compact when packing. Of course two poles are better than one however one will suffice if you don’t want to pack 2 in your luggage. You can purchase trekking poles at most camping stores.
3. Hydration Bladder
There’s nothing more annoying when walking then having to constantly stop to reach for your water bottle to get a little bit of hydration, especially when walking in hot humid countries where you seem to sweat out as soon and you drink. The solution for this annoyance, a hydration bladder. A hydration bladder is essentially a strong bag that is filled up with water and put in you pack and has a long malleable straw that can be clipped to the front of you pack so that you can sip water with ease all day while your walking. The convenience of this is undeniable.
Hydration packs come in various sizes but a 2-3L is optimal for a walking trip. The most well known hydration packs are CamelBacks however there are many cheaper yet still high quality alternatives that can be found at camping/adventure stores, sports shops and even stores like Big W and Kmart. Many hiking packs now even come with hydration bladders and built in clip for the straw.
4. Zip-off Pants
While ideally when walking it is best to wear long pants, it not only keeps you warm when it’s a bit chilli but it protects your legs from bug bites and scratches from grass and bushes along the trail. However there are just some times when the weather calls for shorts and that’s where Zip-offs are your best option for hiking pants.
Zip-offs are long pants that have a zip about knee length allowing you to zip off the bottom half of your pants and turn them into shorts. This is great if you start hiking early in the morning when it’s cold but then heats up substantially in the afternoon. They’re also great value for money and great for conserving space in your pack as you don’t need to pack a variety of long pants and shorts as they’re a 2-in-1. You can find Zip-off pants at most adventure and camping stores and sometimes even at Kmart and Big W for a cheaper alternative.
5. Blister Blocks and Hikers Wool
A burning feeling on your ankles is a walker’s worst nightmare, it’s a sign that a blister is imminent and with your feet being your mode of transport it’s the last place you want to be in pain! No matter how well worn in your shoes or how many layers of socks you wear, a change in terrain can quickly turn into a nightmare if your feet are sweating and slipping around in your shoes. Well, we have two tried and tested solutions for you: Band-Aid blister blocks and a more natural solution Hikers Wool.
Band-Aid blister blocks are the answer to preventing full blown blisters. Once you start feeling the slightest bit of friction, put on one of these blister blocks with its gel cushioning and it will immediately ease the discomfort caused by the friction and pressure. They even ease the pain of open blisters and promote faster healing. On top of that they’re waterproof and the elastic fit perfectly contours to your feet.
Hikers Wool is exactly what it sounds like, it’s pure wool that like the Blister Block you apply to the area of friction before it becomes a full blown blister. The wool provides cushioning and the natural lanolin is soft and soothing. Watch the video below for more details on how to use it.
Whether its Band-Aid blister blocks or Hikers Wool, either is an absolute essential in any hiking first aid kit. Band-Aid blister blocks can be purchased at chemists and some supermarkets and Hikers Wool can be purchased online at http://www.hikerswool.co.nz/.