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Hiking Basics
Image Gear up for an exhilarating day in the great outdoors. Whether you're a beginner or a veteran hiker, being prepared and following a few hiking basics can help make your adventure as safe as it is sensational.

You don't have to be a professional hiker to completely enjoy a hiking adventure. Hiking basics begin with a good sense of the outdoors and a willingness to get connected with the wilderness. The right equipment and supplies can help ensure a successful outdoor adventure.

Hiking Boots
Can you safely say, "These boots are made for hiking"? If not, it's time to go shopping. Hiking basics start from the ground up, so make sure you've got a good foundation. There are all sorts of different styles of hiking boots to choose from. Choose your boots and wear them for a few days before your hiking trip. If your boots are nicely broken in, blisters and sore feet won't spoil your hike. Remember, your feet will be your only source of transportation on the trail, so you've got to keep them comfortable.

Clothes and Accessories
There are no fashion runways in the forest, but it's still important to choose the right clothing and accessories. You want to be comfortable, but you need protection. Layering your clothes is always best. Start with a light shirt or tank, and then wear flannel or fleece over top. If the hike heats up, you can tie the top shirt around your waist; if the air gets chilly, you've got an extra layer of warmth available. Zip-off and roll-up cargo pants are also great for offering flexibility and comfort. Remember to bring a hat and sunglasses, just in case your hike takes you to a sunny spot.

Food and Water
It's important to keep your energy and hydration levels on track while you're on the trail, so pack plenty of snacks and fresh water. It's great to pack light, but more important to have enough water and food when you get hungry or need an energy boost. Fruit, trail mix and protein bars are all easy to pack, and packed with energy. Just be sure to take any food wrappings with you. Avoid sugary snacks and drinks that give you an initial boost, and then cause you to crash. Sugar doesn't replenish energy, so leave it at home. Drink lots of water along the trail to keep from being dehydrated, particularly on hot summer hikes.

Survival Supplies
Don't underestimate nature, or overestimate your navigational skills. Accidents can happen and you may become lost, so be prepared for anything. Pack a first aid kit for unexpected cuts and mishaps, and bring anything you might need in the event you get stuck or lost. Chances are, you'll never need your survival kit, but in this case, it's better to bring what you don't need, than it is to need what you don't have.

Respect Nature
Leave nothing behind, and take only your memories. These are important hiking basics for all adventurers. Nature is a gift that must be respected as well as enjoyed. Take a break every now and again to appreciate your gorgeous surroundings. Bring a camera to capture your memories. Smell the flowers and breathe in the fresh air. A few quiet moments can create memories that last a lifetime.

A few hiking basics are all you need to hit the trail for a great day outdoors. If you have kids that can safely hike the trails, bring them along to let them experience natural wonders they don't get to see everyday. You'll all see the world in a whole new way.
 
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