• Melanie Adair

Hiking for Beginners: 5 Basic Gear Recommendations

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

So you finally decide to take the jump and try out hiking?! From the breathtaking views, the surrealness of the quietness, and that feeling you can only get when you're outside, you will not be disappointed. But are you feeling a little overwhelmed by all these ‘hiking gear’ options and aren't even sure where to start?

You don't need all the gear, just a few basics to get you on your way. And the best part, you might even have some of these at home. Here are my 5 basic gear recommendations, regardless of where you hike or the season, you will always use them:

Girl standing on hiking trail with trees and mountains behind
Taking in the stunning fall views on Eva Lake Trail, Mount Revelstoke National Park, BC

1. Hiking backpack

Invest in one that has a hip belt, fits your back nicely, and is able to fit everything you will need for a day hike in your area (snacks, water, extra clothes). Sore shoulders and back can make for a long hike.

Budget Option: purchase one that is can be used for different occasions (mine is a hiking bag, overnight bag, weekend trip bag).

2. Hiking footwear

This will be a personal choice and you should really try on any footwear before you buy it. The type of footwear you buy (waterproof, boot, shoe, etc) will depend on the terrain and climate. When I lived in Hong Kong, I chose non-waterproof, breathable shoes with a bit of grip on the outsole (bottom of the shoe) as most trails were either on pavement or really well-worn paths and the humidity made your feet sweat. Look for ones that are sturdy, give support, and are comfortable on your feet.

Budget Option: purchase shoes instead of boots that can be worn for other occasions and upgrade once you become more involved in hiking.

3. Insoles:

Probably not a hiking gear item you would have thought of but most insoles that come with your shoes aren’t always the greatest and more or less to give it the finished look. Take a look at what your feet need (high arch, shock absorbant) and pick one that’s suitable for you.

4. Non-cotton clothing (athletic clothing)

If you go to the gym or do any type of exercise, you probably own some of these already. These will usually be that is wick-away and fast drying, making the hike more enjoyable.

Budget Option: lots of hiking stores have clearance sections in the store or online or offer sales during long weekends. Keep an eye out and order your gear then.

5. Reusable 1L water bottle

Another item you may already have and something that can be reused over and over (I’ve had mine for over 3 years). Why 1L? That is what is recommended for you to take on hikes.

*It is highly recommended to test/wear all gear first before doing your hike*

Girl walking on FSR along golden larches
Hiking along the golden larches on Hyde Mountain Loop, SIcamous, BC

Let's not let the overwhelming feeling of which gear to purchase prevent you from hiking when all you need to start are these 5 basic items. Start with these recommendations and upgrade as you venture out more.

Note: these are only a few gear recommendations, always take the 10 essentials with you whenever you hike, check the weather, and bring anything else that you require for the hike. Looking for more gear options? Check out Top 9 Hiking Gear: Additions.

Top 5 Basic Hiking Gear Recommendations for Beginners

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