Now that the snow has finally melted off of those hilltops, it’s officially hiking season. You can tie up your trusty boots and get ready to hit the trails to take in the fresh air and the breathtaking views far away from the city. Before you get in your car to drive to the nearest national park, you should make sure that you get these fantastic accessories to make your trip as easy and pain-free as possible.
A Grippy Smartphone Case
First things first, you shouldn’t leave your smartphone at home. One of the best reasons to use your smartphone for hiking trips is that you can quickly call for help during an emergency like getting seriously injured, ill or lost from the trail. It’s the best back-up plan that you could have sitting in your jacket pocket.
Here are some other reasons for bringing your smartphone along for the hike:
- GPS apps
- Sharing location
- Weather updates
- PDFs of maps and guidebooks
- Emergency flashlight
Since you’re bringing your smartphone with you, you want to make sure that it’s protected. You don’t want to accidentally drop it onto a hard, rocky path or lose it down a steep hillside. You should get the grippiest case for your phone so that it stays glued to your hands every time you take it out of your pocket to check the time or to snap a picture of an adorable woodland creature.
Pair it with a high-quality screen protector, in case you slip or trip over a protruding root. It’s wiser to take the extra precaution than to pay for repairs when you come back home.
You should never put a pair of everyday cotton socks on if you’re planning on going for a hike. There is a popular saying with hikers and backpackers that cotton kills because the fabric is terrible at insulation, raising your chances of getting hypothermia and dying.
Ignoring that doom and gloom, cotton is an undesirable hiking fabric because it absorbs and retains moisture. This feature isn’t just a problem when it starts raining on the trail or when you step in a puddle. Cotton socks will soak in all of your sweat and cling to your feet.
Wet socks make for unpleasant hiking. They also heighten your risk of developing blisters, which could turn your breezy trip into a painful slog.
A fabric like merino wool will be much better for your outdoorsy adventure. It is breathable, antimicrobial and quick-drying so that it won’t hold in moisture. If you’re worried that a wool sock will be scratchy or irritating to the skin, you should know that this type of wool is soft-to-the-touch. The best hiking socks will have a combination of merino wool and human-made materials like nylon or spandex for elasticity, durability and water-wicking capabilities.
If you’re going for a long journey, you can put an extra pair of these socks in your backpack. At the very least, you’ll appreciate a clean and fresh pair when you’re done the trail and driving back home.
The right pair of socks will make sure your feet can “breathe” and don’t get soaked in sweat, but other factors will leave your feet blistered and swollen like wearing too-tight shoes or walking long-distances without resting.
If you don’t want to regret your hike when your half-way through the trail, you should pack a box foot soothers in your bag to stop painful blisters from forming. When you feel a hot spot on your foot, you wrap the natural wool around the area and then cover it with your sock. The application will give extra cushioning against friction and keep the problem at bay. It will be much nicer than slapping bandages on blisters after they’ve popped.
Your gear could make or break your hiking trip. You don’t want to step off the trail with a cracked smartphone and feet covered in fiery blisters. You want to feel refreshed by the cool air and invigorated by the exercise. When you pick the right accessories ahead of time, you’ll guarantee that your time in the outdoors is completely stress-free.