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Hiking Equipment

Hiking boots and more

After a long week filing reports, working overtime and fighting rush-hour traffic, there are few more relaxing or rewarding activities than taking a hike along a quiet trail in the woods. For centuries, people have ventured into the wild to relieve stress and recuperate (both physically and mentally). However, you can't challenge Mother Nature with just a pair of khakis and dress shoes – exploring the wild requires much more rugged hiking apparel.

Boots: Essential Hiking Gear

One of the first things you'll need to look for before hitting the trail is a durable pair of men's hiking boots or women's hiking boots. While hiking is perhaps not as demanding as extreme sports, without proper support you could risk severe foot, ankle or leg strain or injury. When you're buying a new pair of hiking boots, remember to wear the same socks in which you do most of your hiking. If possible, be consistent with the style and brand of sock so that you can properly test the fit of the boots.

Also, gauge how much walking you plan to be doing. If it's a lot, then the hiking boots you purchase should blend a light weight with durability – you don't want to get tired and have to cut your outdoor cardio workout short, but at the same time you don't want the boots to fall to shreds on your first trek. Many hikers swear by leather boots. Wear the boots around the house or to the mall and other places before you hit the trail, since new footwear is sometimes uncomfortable until it's broken in.

Hiking Backpack

There are few pieces of hiking equipment more important than the backpack. Since there's a good chance you'll be on the trail for hours (or even days) at a time, it's worth wearing one in order to store some food, beverages and a medical kit in case of emergency. When purchasing a hiking backpack, you should choose one with adjustable straps made of smooth, comfortable material to prevent chafing or muscle strain.