Hiking Tips: Walking

download– Take a five to ten minute break every hour, eating and drinking during each break. When resting, lay down and elevate your feet above your heart. Take off your shoes and change your socks.
– When leaving a campsite or a rest stop, walk a few yards away from the site, then stop and look back for items that you may have left behind.
– Use alligator clips to hang wet socks from your pack as you hike. They will dry out so you can change into dry socks a couple of times during your hiking day. Attach these clips to a shower curtain clip and attach it to your pack. Now those alligator clips are always handy.
– Walk at a leisurely pace that you know you can keep up all day. Relax and stay in tune with nature as you walk. Remember you are doing this for the journey, not the destination.
– On ascents, lace your boots loosely around the ankles to allow plenty of movement. On downhills, avoid toe jams by seating heels in the backs of the boots and tying laces tightly around the ankles but loosely at the toes.
– Gaiters keep debris and rain out of your boots, but the commercial kind retail moisture. Try making your own by cutting a slit along the center and bottom of nylon socks from just behind the toe to just in front of the heal. Punch small holes along the sides of the socks and attach a line that runs across the sole of your boot at the instep. The socks will stretch enough to slide this line off your boot when removing the gaiters. Put the socks on and pull them up your leg a bit. Put your boots on, slide the socks down over them and attach the line at your instep.The front of the sock will fit over your boot’s toe or you can cut off the front section.
– Try Trekking Poles: they reduce the wear and tear on your knees and enable your upper body to participate in the hike.
– To save internal water breath through your nose instead of your mouth. Walk at a pace that allows you to not sweat profusely.
– If you are 100% certain of your next water supply, carry just enough water to get you there.
– Water weighs 2 lbs./quart and is much more important to your survival than food. So plan your water supply carefully.
– Filter all water on the trail unless it is coming directly out of a natural spring.
– A one liter nalgene container weighs up to 6 oz. before you add water. A one liter Platypus bladder weighs about 3/4 oz. which is why I carry my water in them. One liter soda bottles are also lightweight.
– Use a drinking tube clipped to a shoulder strap to drink from while hiking. You will be more inclined to drink enough during the day.
– Carry a mixture of baking powder and baby powder and apply it to appropriate places a couple of times a day. Some people experience chafing, in their arm pits as they swing their arms all day, and in the crotch. This will help prevent the problem.
– To prevent leaving behind gear always leave a pocket open until all items taken from it are returned.
– Bugs: I don’t like to use Deet (it dissolves plastic so what is it doing to my body). Try other things first; wearing light colored clothing, taking a head net, putting on long pants and shirt, selecting campsites that are high, dry, and breezy. On the other hand Deet does have a good safety record and millions of people die every year from mosquito carried diseases. Check out this link for definitive info. about Deet and other mosquito related news.
Spray your clothing with Permethrin (available at REI and other stores). This stuff repels and kills ticks and mosquitoes. Follow the directions on the container for application and use.

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