Choosing the Right Gear for Your Hike

by Jake Scott, GH Team Member
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One of the biggest things San Luis Obispo is known for is all of the hills and the hikes. Hiking is a great way to stay in shape and forget about the stresses of our fast-paced lives. There are, of course, a lot of things to consider before going out and blazing those trails.

If you are planning on going for a hike, make sure that you have all the right gear.  Always be aware of the time you are leaving, know the terrain you’ll be trekking, and be realistic about when you plan on returning.  A few items I always like to bring with me are as follows:

Sunscreen – You’ll want to get some sunscreen that is at least SPF 30.  I prefer to use Thinksport Safe Sunscreen, which has an SPF of 50 and one of the highest levels of sweat and water resistance.  We also have the Kinesys Spray Sunscreen and Ointment, which both offer high levels of sun protection.  The spray makes putting on sunscreen quick and easy; the ointment is tough and contains plenty of zinc, giving extra protection to those who might burn a little more easily.

Ryders Sunglasses –  We carry glasses that are polarized, photochromic, and have interchangeable lenses.  These sunglasses are specifically designed for exercise, for they’re lightweight and comfortably grip your head.

Flashlight/ Headlight – This is a must, especially for those evening hikers.  I can’t tell you how many times I have gone on a sunset hike and ended up having to use my phone as a flashlight when the sun went down.

Pepper Spray – Whether you’re hiking a mountain or just walking down the street, it’s always a good idea to carry around pepper spray.  You never know what’s coming your way and it’s always good to be prepared.  Having good pepper spray can help ensure your safety from whatever the trails may throw your way.

Drymax Trail Socks – It’s very important to get in the right sock for your hike.  Sticks and rocks are no stranger to the inside of a shoe during a hike.  The right trail sock has enough padding to protect from rocks and such while still being comfortable and moisture-wicking.  Drymax is a good option because it helps with the protection while still keeping your feet cool and blister-free.

Nathan Hydration Vest – This is a personal favorite of mine.  A good hydration vest eliminates the need to carry a water bottle and ensures that you don’t forget to hydrate.  Similar to the popular CamelBak backpacks, this hydration vest has a water bladder that holds tight against the interior of the backpack and a little spout that comes out near your mouth.  The secure bladder ensures that there will be little movement in the backpack and the spout makes taking a sip of water easy. This is a good choice for someone who wants to carry plenty of water without having to carry around huge water bottles.

Last but not least, it is absolutely crucial to stay well hydrated during your hike.  Hydrating means more than just drinking plenty of water; it also means replenishing lost electrolytes. Having a good electrolyte balance in your body allows your muscles to function properly, giving them the strength they need to keep going.  A shortage of electrolytes almost always leads to cramping and muscle fatigue.  It is important to stay safe and enhance your water with drops or tablets that will give you the extra energy you need to keep going.

Nuun – Simply drop a tablet into your water bottle and you’re good to go.  Nuun has all the electrolytes you need:  sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.  Each work to ensure that your muscles work properly during your workout.  What’s more?  It tastes great.  Nuun is my favorite electrolyte option because it gets the job done and leaves a good taste in my mouth.

Elete Hydration – Elete Hydration comes in pill form or drops. The pills and drops are extremely portable, making this a good item to have in your back pocket for when you feel those muscles starting to give out.

Hammer Endurolyte – Lastly, we have the Endurolytes.  These products come in powder or pill form and have different degrees of strength.  We have the basic Endurolyte powder that packs quite a punch, and then we have the Endurolyte Extreme pills that have even more electrolytes than the powder.  If you plan on going for extreme hikes that take all day, go for the extreme pills, but if you are only planning on being gone an hour or two, the powder will do just fine.

Make sure you have the right gear and hydration and you’ll be sure to have a fun, safe hike.  Visit our website to see the hiking goodies we carry, or pop in the store to say hi, and our staff can help get you equipped with the right gear. Happy trails.



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