One of the great secrets about hiking is that really – at least at the beginners’ level – anyone can do it. If you can walk down to the vending machine to buy a Twix, you can hike. And even if you can’t, you can still scale yourself a fourteener if you’ve got the right mindset.
Lots of people I know are reluctant to hit the trails because they think they’re going to have to buy a ton of new, sport-specific gear in order to have a good time — but most of the time you can get away with whatever athletic or active wear you’ve already got.
One place you absolutely 100% CANNOT skimp, however, is your sock choice. Outside Magazine‘s question of the day tackles this issue with several recommendations, including the nearly ubiquitous SmartWool.
I couldn’t agree more.
When I first started hiking, I used regular cotton athletic socks. Big mistake, and a direct route into Blister City. Some light wool socks were better, but SmartWool are my feet’s best friends. In the summer or on quick trips, I go with the medium. For backpacking, the heavy models provide extra cushioning … and even though it’s hot out and you’re wearing wool, your feet will rarely get sweaty.
If you’re looking for a new pair, hit up your local outdoor retailer or say hi to
my friends at Moosejaw. They’ll send you a snarky, well-written email confirmation and put you on their list for a catalog with scantily clad ladies.
… if you’re into that sort of thing.