8 Pro Hiking Tips to Know Before You Go 

Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years that can make your long distance hike go as smooth as possible.

1. Take a picture of the trail map at the trailhead before you go. This can help even if your GPS or intenet fail for your own personal safety- both physically and psychologically.

2. Hiking boots are fine for trips under 5 miles (more durable), but I like the support of tennis shoes for hikes over 5 miles, even if that means sacrificing durability. Being fresh socks if you plan on traveling though wet areas.

3. Bring “second skin” or bandaids to repair inevitable blisters.

4. Buy a shoe a half size longer than your usual size. (Cheryl Strayed in her book, Wild, learned this the hard way). Your foot swells as you walk long distances. This causes friction if your shoe is too small. Also, trim your toenails the night before a long hike- you may lose some toenails if you don’t!

5. Record your hike on your smart watch that pairs with your iPhone fitness app. This does 2 awesome things: 1. If you’re lost, you can end the workout, save it to your phone, and then check your exact location on the map in the app. (I use this tip a lot!) 2. It records all your metrics of distance, heart rate, and elevation which is just really cool to know.

6. Bring goldbond powder. This can help for chaffing in the groin area (ouch!)

7. Don’t wear cotton if you plan to sweat a lot! When cotton gets wet, it gets heavy and rubs against your body- particularly your nipples. Save your yourself from copious amounts of post-hike Vaseline and wear a breathable fabric!

8. Bring energy goos. Goos are packets of high density energy, well, goo, that can give you a short term (half hour or so) boost to push through periods of fatigue.

Hikes are challenging enough physically without unexpected issues. Review these tips before your next hike and I hope they help you have a safe and enjoyable hike.

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