A hiker with a backpack and walking sticks stops to look at the view
The Best And Safest Gear To Pack For Your Next Hiking Adventure
Eric Hanson of Backpacking TV says to consider where you'll be hiking when choosing footwear, and if you're unsure or it's shoulder season, "err on the side of Gore-Tex."
Hanson says Gore-Tex is excellent for keeping feet dry if hiking in rain, mud, or snow, but in a hot or dry climate, the breathability of a running or trail shoe is more important.
Merino wool and polyester are good choices for moisture-wicking socks. Experienced hikers swear by wearing thin liner socks under hiking socks.
Moisture-Wicking Socks
A good hiking jacket will be water-repellant enough to keep out light rain while protecting you from the chilly winds you might encounter.
If the weather is reasonably warm, a windbreaker is lightweight and relatively compact when packed. For colder temps, you'll need to add some layers and insulation.
The size and comfort of your hiking pack is an important decision. What you like to bring will determine the type of pack you need to suit your preferences.
A Pack
Consider your torso length when choosing a pack. Some packs are better for women or younger hikers, and you may need a smaller hip belt than the one that comes with your pack.
A reliable compass is essential if you get turned around or lose track of the sun or other navigational landmarks, but their capabilities and quality levels can vary.
For beginners, an orienteering compass with a base plate makes it easy to find and set points on a map. One with a cover helps keep a set bearing and allows for triangulation.
An experienced user may prefer a military-style compass with a sighted lens and luminous details for nighttime navigation.