A Day Hikers Top 5 Trail Snacks

English: A common variety of gorp (trail mix) ...

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When I first began hiking I would hit the trail with little more than the lint in my pockets and then find myself losing steam halfway through my hike.

In fact most times I would reach the end of an outing drained of both energy and patience

Afterall a hungry hiker is a cranky hiker!

Needless to say, I soon realized the importance of bringing along some essentials, including snacks. The truth is you don’t need to be a long distance back-packer to bring food on your hike, even a day hiker needs sustenance!

So I’ve put together a list of the five best snacks to take with you on the trail, not only to keep hunger at bay, but to help you stay energized.

GORP: (Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts) Also known as trail mix, is far and away my favorite snack on the trail. GORP is tasty, economical and available anywhere, in a multitude of varieties and flavors. Whether you buy it or make it, in whatever flavor you prefer, with whatever ingredients you prefer GORP is as close to the the perfect food you’re going to find when you’re out on the trail.

Snickers: “Snickers really satisfies!” is not just a product slogan, it is gospel out on the trail. The Snickers bar is the OG (Original Gangsta) of energy bars, and is far and away superior to all of the overpriced, over-hyped new age energy bars. They are cheaper, available everywhere and best of all… They don’t taste like sawdust!

Hard Cheese & Crackers: Hard cheeses are one of my favorites out on the trail. Granted it takes a little preparation before hand, you’ll want to cut the cheese before you hit the trail (no pun intended); but the small amount of effort required is definitely worth the rewards. Nothing beats a few wedges of Asiago, Coverdale or cheddar cheese on a cracker halfway through a hike.

Granola: Granola like GORP is tasty, economical and available anywhere, in a multitude of varieties and flavors. It is easy to find, easy to pack and tasty to eat!

Beef Jerky: Beef jerky, real beef jerky is a fantastic trail snack. It’s tasty, lightweight and offers a great balance of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. It is readily available at most stores and keeps really well in a backpack or pocket.

That’s my list, although far from comprehensive these snacks always seem to find their way into my pack. How about you? What trail snacks do you recommend? Do you have any favorites that didn’t make my list? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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A Day Hikers Guide to Choosing the Right Hiking Socks

Image of a new pair of socks, created while ex...

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We’ve talked before about choosing the right hiking boots, but just as important to any hiker is choosing the right hiking socks.  Although socks are often overlooked, especially by beginners, choosing the wrong socks can lead to blisters and fungal infections.

Trust me when I tell you…  The right hiking sock is just as important as choosing the right hiking boot.

When choosing a pair of socks for hiking cotton socks should be avoided at all costs.  I know, I know…  Cotton socks are comfortable and easy to find but cotton keeps moisture in, which leads to blisters and fungal infections…  Neither of which are very fun on the trail.  So do yourself a favor and stick to synthetic fibers such as acrylic and polyester.  These types of fibers help keep feet dry and free from painful blisters by allowing your feet to breath while still providing the insulation that you will need while hiking.

In terms of fit you’re going to want to be sure that the fit is snug, but not too snug.  If your socks are too tight they will be uncomfortable and binding.  They should be a decent weight, not too thick as to be bulky but not too thin as you want them to help cushion your feet and keep them warm.  If you’re not sure of the thickness it’s always better to err on the side of thinner as you can double up later and wear two pair.

Speaking of that it’s always a good idea to bring a spare pair of fresh, clean, dry hiking socks with you on every hike, this way you can change them if your feet get wet.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again!  You’d be surprised at just how amazing a pair of fresh, clean, dry socks feel half way through a hike!

Choosing the right hiking socks can mean the difference between a fantastic hike and a wet, cold, miserable one that ends in blistered itchy feet.  So follow the tips above, put as much thought and care into choosing your socks as you do in choosing the rest of your hiking gear, and above all include an extra pair of hiking socks in your ten essentials! If you’re worried about cost , like me you can Get The Outdoor Gear You Need At Up To 70% Below Retail At The Clymb.com

How do you choose your hiking socks?  Do you have a favorite style or brand?  Let me know, leave a comment below!

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A Day Hikers Tips on Gear for Beginners

Gadget

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I was having a conversation with @hikingthetrail via twitter recently about the high-tech devices, gizmos and gadgets that we as hikers love to bring with us while hiking.  The thing is although I am definitely a gadget guy off the trail, when it comes to hiking I tend to be much more of a purist.  So while I’m sure there are valid arguments to be made for carrying the latest and greatest gadget…

You don’t really need it? Do you?

Being well equipped for a hike, especially for a day hike doesn’t necessarily mean a big shopping spree, at least…  It shouldn’t.  I mean, of course it could if you want it to.  But it’s not necessary.  So if you are a beginner, a novice, if you are just becoming interested in hiking don’t become overwhelmed by extensive lists of equipment, must haves and essentials for hiking.

Honestly as @hikingthetrail and I were discussing what we bring, I realized just how little you actually need to get started, how little I actually use.

Really all you need is:

Although a permanent re-usable water bottle in your choice of material is preferred it’s not necessary.  A pre-filled plastic water bottle which can be purchased anywhere will suffice. The thing to remember is that proper hydration is a must.  Even on the shortest of hikes always, ALWAYS bring water.

  • A cell phone

Bringing a cell phone is not just a good idea, it’s a safety essential.  Never go on a hike without a fully charged cell phone, especially if you’re heading out alone.  Chances are you will never need it but if it did, you would be glad to have a life line to the rest of the world.

Hiking shoes are probably the best option for most novice hikers as you are most likely doing relatively short, easy hikes on well marked trails in decent weather.  They are my footwear of choice for most of my adventures and if you try a pair I’m sure you’ll see why.

  • A good pair of socks

Often over looked (especially by beginners) a decent pair of socks can be the difference between an enjoyable and fun filled outing and a painful, blistering forced march.  A good pair of hiking socks will be wick moisture, keep your feet at a good temperature, promote circulation, absorb shock, and be comfortable.

And that’s really it!  Of course I strongly recommend that you bring the ten essentials on every hike the bottom line is this…  These four items are all you really need to begin hiking!  Everything else is convenience.

With these four items you can do just about any nature walk, hiking loop or short and easy out and back in your area.  Granted…  It’s not as sexy as having all the latest hiking gadgets, gear and devices, and you certainly shouldn’t be doing any long distance hiking or backpacking so ill-equipped, but for the novice hiker they are all you really need to get started hiking.

What do you bring with you while hiking? What do you actually need? Leave me a comment and let me know!

P.S.  If you don’t already, I would highly recommend following @hikingthetrail on twitter and facebook and checking out his blog about the journey of one mans dream to hike the Appalachian trail.

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