Cold, etiquette and poop [etiquette].
No, seriously. Those are the top trends at About Hiking this week. I'm not sure what that really says about this website, but I'd like to think it's something good. See for yourself with this week's trending articles:
- As I said on Twitter, hiking politely really isn't that hard! It pretty much means avoiding these seven taboos.
- How to poop while hiking (Yes, there's a right way and a wrong way.)
- Layer your extremities -- but don't overdo it.
- And, of course, advice on how not to get lost (or how to handle it if you do) is appropriate in any season.
Who doesn't love hiking (or snowshoeing) over a clean, white blanket of fresh snow? But there's so much more to winter hiking than that oft-used image. Read More...
Anyone else out there a member of the "monstrously high arches" club? If so, you might like #3 in Wendy Bumgardner's list of lacing tricks for a good fit.
If you have trouble finding hiking shoes and boots with enough potential to merit those lacing tricks, remember you can (and should) loosen the laces all the way down to the front of the boot/shoe before stepping into it. You can also remove the insoles to create more volume (odds are that your instep never touches down on them, anyway); make up the difference in cushioning with padded socks or a lower-volume insole.
What do hikers love best? Hiking, of course... and I'd put hiking gear as a close second after that. Coming in not far behind those two is having a chance to talk hiking with people who love it just as much. We've all got plenty of opinions, too, which is why I'm enjoying the #hikerchat discussions on Twitter so much.
Hosted by @TETONsports and @BackcountryTees every Friday at noon EST, #hikerchat is loosely based around a series of questions any hiker is guaranteed to have opinions about -- but it's the side conversations that spin off as a result of those questions that can be so much fun. Just follow the hashtag #hikerchat or set up a #hikerchat search in your Twitter client, and you're ready to do. Check it out!
Christmas is coming -- but you've already read that on just about every website for the last week, haven't you? I've pulled together a collection of gifts that should make even the pickiest of hikers happy. Click the link and check it out! But before you go, I'd like to remind you of what really makes the best gift for any hiker in your life: Read More...
If I had one pet peeve, it'd be... wait, I already wrote about that. It's hiking poles in my face.
Okay, if I had a second pet peeve -- even bigger than the first -- it'd be people who trek off into the wilderness with the blithe assumption that if they get into trouble, someone else will show up and rescue them. Read More...
I will admit that sometimes, hiking boots are required (or at least prudent) footwear. But whenever I can get away with it, I prefer to hike in light shoes -- probably because I spent a good chunk of my formative years doing martial arts or rock climbing, both of which involve spending a lot of time going barefoot or wearing tiny, sticky-rubber shoes that forced me to develop strong feet.
So when I started hiking, wearing something that gave a barefoot-ish feel just seemed like a natural choice. Some people prefer boots for ankle support -- but unless I'm carrying heavy loads, I actually feel like a relatively soft, flexible sole gives me a better chance of avoiding an ankle sprain. (Your mileage may vary!) I also find light shoes more comfortable, and you know what they say -- one pound off your feet is equivalent to five pounds off your back.
The inevitable downside to light hiking shoes is that they have a limited lifespan; but I still have my favorites that I feel are worth replacing every year or two. Here's the list.
It's no secret that I prefer to hike in light shoes whenever possible -- but even I give in and wear boots when hiking in winter (for the warmth and support), in the desert (one good-size cactus thorn to the ankle is all it took to convince me), or when carrying heavy loads (as much for the sturdy soles as the ankle support).
You had your say about the best hiking boots in this year's Reader's Choice Awards, and I'm looking forward to your nominations for the next round in 2014. But for now, I figured I'd chime in with my picks for the best hiking boots. Are your boots on the list?
Quality hiking gear can cost an arm and a leg -- at least. But if you're on a budget, you can still find gifts that will make the hiker in your life very happy. It just tells a little more thought, and sometimes some sneaky asking around to find out which expendable items (snacks, fuel, etc.) he or she prefers.
Stuck for ideas? Check out this year's budget gift guide. Almost everything in it costs $20 or less, yet remains 100 percent useful on the trail.
If you take a poll of hikers, I imagine the camps would be pretty evenly split between puffy jackets (usually insulated with down or a synthetic alternative) or shell jackets with little or not insulation. Read More...