There is not alot you need to get out on the Trails and enjoy some of the wonderful places in Michigan. Mostly it gets down to YOUR personal critter comforts. The things that help make a Hike more enjoyable, a bit easier and of course more comfortable for YOU.
There are a couple of things that every Hiker should have though. The big one is a good pair of Hiking Boots. The kind you select will again, be fitted for your personal needs and feet. Some people like a very lightweight, low-cut boot. Others like myself, need the ankle support and I wear a boot that extends over my ankle bone to give me the extra support I need on the Trails.
The best way to find what you like, is to wear a pair of running or Sports shoe and observe what would be need for YOU, out on the Trails. Join in on one of Hiking Michigan’s Hikes and you will also get a good idea of many different types of Hiking boots. The other Hikers will share their experiences with you, on what works best for them. You then can better select a boot just for you. Check out a Blog posting we have done on selecting the right Hiking boot for you. Waterproof boots? heavy treaded soles? Low-cut? High-cut? What works best for you and the kind of Hiking you will be doing.
I stress a good Hiking boot, because nothing will make your Hike more enjoyable then a good boot. It also will be something you will be Thankful for after the Hike. Your feet will not be hurting……No blisters or sore spots……and the Hike itself will be a better one with boots that give you good traction, keeps your feet dry and help in supporting your feet in irregular terrain. Do not forget to purchase a good pair of Socks too. Padded heal and Toes, and quality material will make the good pair of boots even better.
Water would be the other necessity for every Hiker, after those quality pair of boots. Being hydrated is very, very important. Even during the winter months, or Springtime, when just because you may not be sweating, does not mean you do not need to be drinking water. Lack of hydration will tire you out much quicker and can also lead to other problems that you just do not need to deal with while having a good time out in the Forest.
Again…..how you carry that water will be up to what works best for you. Some of us just carry a water bottle. Others like a Hydration Pack. This Pack carries water in a “Bladder”, and allows easy access to a constant flow of water. The small Hydration Pack also doubles as a place to carry any other items you find necessary for a quality outdoor afternoon.
For a day Hike, that is about it. Those two items are the main things needed for an enjoyable and comfortable Hike. Then you get into what else would suite YOUR personal comforts. Some people like a snack for the Trails. Others feel the need to have a small supply of survival items. Like a Flashlight, Whistle, extra Insect repellent, change pair of Socks, Hat, gloves. All those little things that add to the enjoyment of YOUR Hike. Mark put together a nice Blog posting on how to stock a Day Pack. Check out that posting here.
Dating back to the 1930s, a list called the “10 Essentials” have been developed, to help people with what are the most important things to bring along on a Hike. You can download the sheet of “10 Essentials” here:
We have also put together our own Essential sheet with what we call……What do I need to go Hiking. You can download that Info sheet here:
The best thing to do is to take what you have, and head out on the Trails fro some short Hikes and observe YOUR personal needs while Hiking. After the good boots and water supply, the rest will be for YOU and what best pleases your needs and comforts while out on the Trails. remember that it is worth spending the extra money on quality gear and boots. They will last you forever and the difference in comfort and how they serve your needs are tremendous and worth any extra costs.
A big TIP for Hiking is……..do not wear Jeans while doing anything outdoors. The jeans are made from cotton, which absorbs moisture, making the pants uncomfortable, heavier and less accommodating to your movements. A pair of Synthetic material Pants will be worth the investment. There are many kinds of these style of Pants. Some have lower legs that Zip-off. Others have all types of pockets for carrying all those critter comforts you may want. The important point here is……No Jeans while out on the Trails. It will only take one try of a Synthetic material pair of Pants for you to see the HUGE difference in comfort you will experience.
So get a pair of boots & Socks, grab some water and any of those critter comforts you may need, and head out to your local Park and get started. Whether you are Hiking for health, Bird watching, Geocaching, Mushroom Hunting, or to just experience the Natural world and the relaxation you will find there, just GO GET OUTDOORS. We will see you all out on the Trails. 🙂