Hiking 101: Everything You Need to Head for the Hills

There is a vast, beautiful world out there. Don't let your phone's wallpaper be all that you see. Hiking is one the most accessible and easiest outdoor activities. To get out on a hike, you don't have to buy a mountain bike or bulky climbing gear.
Even if your home is in a large city, you can still find woods that are easily accessible within an hour's drive or train ride. It might seem daunting to figure out what you need to take, especially if you have never done this before. However, it is possible to keep safe, dry, warm, hydrated and comfortable. You will find everything you need right here. You might also want to consult our buying guides for the Best Tents and Best Camping Stoves or Best Portable Coffee Makers. Get out there and be the hiker that you always dreamed to be.

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Table of Contents

Socks, shoes, and base layers

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Let's start with something obvious. You won't have fun hiking for any length if your feet are swollen or chafed. You may need to take time to find the right shoes for you. Layer your clothes so that you can change them as needed. For more information, see our guides to the Best Trail Running Shoes & How to Layer.

Bottles, Bladders and Snacks

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The biggest mistake beginners make is not bringing water and food with them, even if they are short hikes. You may feel thirsty depending on how hot it is and how exerted you are. Salty snacks can help you keep the water you drink. A liter of water should suffice for a day's hike. You should pack more if you plan on going out for the whole day, or if it is particularly hot or dry.