What up Road Trip Warriors!? A lot has happened since the last time I posted a blog….most of the events have been unfortunate. The United States has been put in a lockdown due to the COVID19 crisis and New York State just extended the quarantine to May 15th. That being said, I have not been able to get any hikes in. I have been refraining from hiking in an effort to keep myself and others safe.
I highly recommend you do the same. This is a worldwide effort in reducing the spread of this infectious virus so do your part and do it well. If you do hike and you get hurt, you are likely distracting a medical professional from helping someone with the virus and opening yourself up to getting infected. It is a tough situation, I know, but it is the situation we must deal with. Be kind, be safe, and maintain the Road Trip Warrior mindset. I’ll be blogging much more, probably with a wide range of topics (I’m not hiking so bear with me). Anyways, let’s get to the point of this blog…MY TOP FIVE HIKING GEAR PURCHASES!
1) Men’s Mount Maddsen Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots $115
I purchased these hiking boots over two years ago when I first was introduced to hiking. I had a coupon and they cost me $80. I still use them to this day! I have summited over thirty mountains with these boots across the United States including the High Peaks in the Adirondacks, the Black Hills of South Dakota, and the Rockies of Montana. If you take care of these boots, they will last and you will not be disappointed!
Some features that I have really enjoyed in regard to these boots are that:
- They are waterproof
- They provide good ankle support
- They have good grip (especially on dry terrain)
- They aren’t heavy on my feet
I have hiked with these boots in the snow a few times. Unless you are doing a short winter hike, I wouldn’t recommend them for the winter. What happens is snow accumulates on the boots and despite being waterproof, they absorb the moisture and inevitably leave your feet wet after about three to four hours. I suggest having a designated pair of winter hiking boots (I have a pair I really like that I will share in a future post).
2) Bandana $8 – $12
This one might come as a surprise to you all, but my lucky bandana, in my opinion, was one of my best purchases. I bought it at Cumberland Transit in Nashville, TN while I was on my first road trip. I don’t remember the exact cost (hence the range I listed above), but it wasn’t expensive. I have brought it on every hike I have been on since and have used it countless times. See the reasons why this made it on the list below.
- I have used it as a headband during the summer to keep sweat out of my eyes
- I have used it as a towel when necessary
- I have used it as a face-mask during the winter. It contains heat and protects most of my face from the wind.
- In a worst-case scenario, a bandana could be used as a tourniquet. I have never had to do this, and I hope I never have to, but a bandana could be used in such a situation.
- It is machine-washable
For those reasons, I will always have a bandana with me when I go hiking.
3) Outdoor Research Gaiters $40 – $50
For the longest time I would get mud or snow in my boots and I finally made the jump to purchase gaiters. I highly recommend them as I haven’t had an issue with getting snow, dirt, or mud in my boots since I started using them. The Outdoor Research ones that I bought have done their job for over a year and are still in good condition. I haven’t had any issues with them sliding down my legs and I see myself using them in the future.
4) First-Aid Kit $20 – $75 (depending on size)
This is probably self-explanatory, but you should always have a first-aid kit with you when hiking in the mountains. First-Aid kits come in a variety of sizes and mine is a pretty small one. I think it cost me about $20 – $25 and it holds the basics such as:
- Burn Cream
- Triple Antibiotic Ointment
- Sting Relief Pads
- BZK Towelettes (for cleansing a wound)
- Bandages of different sizes
I’ll probably be upgrading my first aid kit pretty soon to one that has items such as tweezers, scissors, disposable sterile gloves, and eye wash. I luckily haven’t had to use my kit often. The only time I had to use it was when I stepped on an underground wasp nest and got tagged a couple times. Those little suckers hurt like hell.
5) Bear Spray $45
I live on the East Coast so the only bears we have are black bears. I haven’t run into one while hiking and don’t expect to. Most black bears can be scared away by standing and facing the bear directly and making yourself known to the bear. Either way, it is a good habit to carry bear spray with you when you’re out in the wilderness. It was a must-have when I was in the Rockies and I even encountered a brown bear at Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park. There was a group of people on the beach of the lake with me as we watched the brown bear examine a man’s backpack. It then left the area with no incidents occurring.
The point of that short story is that you don’t know what you’ll run into while hiking in the woods and mountains. During a study it was shown that using bear spray had a 90% success rate in stopping a bear attack. To see where I pulled that percentage, check out this “Shoot or Spray” article published by Outside Online. There are other articles that support the use of bear spray if you feel inclined to research some more.
Well Road Trip Warriors, I hope you found this list helpful. These are just my opinions and I wanted to share what items have worked particularly well for me. If you liked this post, SMASH the follow button, give this post a like, and leave a comment on what gear has worked well for you! I hope you continue to stay safe and healthy during these trying times. Wishing everyone the best!