New to Hiking? Top 10 Must Haves

Hiker With a Backpack

Hiking an impressive trail for the first time is no easy task. Some may be drawn to the trail because of its beauty and at this time of the year as the leaves are turning colors the sites along the trail will be spectacular. Think about standing on an overlook that is miles high in the clouds and all you see as you look out over the valleys below is spectacular colors everywhere. The beauty can be breathtaking.

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But as a new hiker venturing out on the big one for the first time, there are some items that cannot be overlooked. Here is a top 10 list of must-have items for first-time hikers:

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10. Duct Tape. You have no idea how handy this comes in on the trail.

9. Polar Pure water purifier. Drinking water is usually easy to find but always purify to be safe.

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8. Hiking poles, also called trekking poles. In the event you slip these poles could save your life.

7. Writing journal and pen. Believe me; your first big hike will give you much to write about. You won't want to forget certain people's names you meet and certain notes you want to keep about places along the trail. If that isn't enough many hikers report that they could have written a book about their hike, why not take notes and keep a journal about your days and nights for that future book?

6. First aid kit. If you think you won't need a first aid kit then you have already failed.

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5. Complete water suit. Hikers who have taken just rain gear that was nothing but a poncho or rain jacket have kicked themselves in the rear after experiencing their first rain storm. The mountains are no joke.

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4. Wind-up weather band radio. You will be so much better prepared if you know what the next day and night has in store for you.

3. Forty degree down sleeping bag. No matter what anyone says, a 40 degree down bag in light weight, comfortable in all conditions and is a perfect temperature setting for just about any time of the year on the trail. Besides if it is too hot you won't sleep in ANY sleeping bag, but just lying on a down bag is comfortable.

2. Comfortable and not a cheap pair of hiking boots. Whatever you do, do not skimp on the boots! You can buy some Ozark Train hiking boots from Wal-Mart for a very affordable price. But half way down the trail when your feet are wet, hurting and the boot seams are busting on you you'll hate yourself for not springing for that better pair of boots from a trusted source such as Spend some money on a good pair of boots because the trail is a very unforgiving terrain.

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10. Inner frame, light weight backpack. Make sure that your pack comes with a rain cover, make sure your pack is rated for long distance hikes, and make sure your pack is made for your gender. It may not sound important but if you are a female get a female pack. If you ever hike with a pack made for a man or a unisex pack and then one made specifically for a female's body you will see a big difference.

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<a href="">Appalachian Trail Hiking Examiner Merlyn Seeley</a> is a hiking and outdoor enthusiast.

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