gearing up #2

So yesterday, I got started on a series of posts on top five outdoor gear essentials.

Number two is sort of hard to nail down.  I could make a pretty good case for a number of things to fill this spot.  However, after a sleepless night, I’ve come to the conclusion that boots are next.  If you are going to venture into the wild once a year or less, then maybe you can get by on borrowing when necessary.  Much more than that though, and you are going to want your own pair of kicks.

Problem is that outdoor footwear makers are no dummies and so they manufacture and market a dizzying array of boots and shoes.  Of course, they would have you believe that you should probably own one pair of each type of boot so that you will have footwear exactly suited for whatever activity you’ll be engaged in.

Again, I’m a middle-of-the-road value-minded guy, so I would recommend getting something that is going to suit a wide range of activities.  Nearly anything on this page is going to be safe bet.  Or here for the ladies.

Few quick tips…

1) There is some debate over whether to get a boot with ankle support or low cut hiking shoes.  I’ve used both with satisfaction, but I lean towards getting something with ankle support.  I think it gives a wider range of possibilities.  Also, trail runners aren’t hiking shoes.  They look a lot the same, but do function differently.

2) Whatever shoe you end up with, wear it around town for a few days before heading out on a long backcountry excursion.  This does a couple of things… Breaks the shoe in a bit and helps it adjust to the shape of your foot.  Also, lets you figure out if there are going to be problem areas (read “big nasty blisters”) before you find yourself fifteen miles in.

3) Chacos and Keen sandals aren’t really meant for hiking.  They work ok around town, on paved walking trails, strolling along nature trail, or post hiking relief.  But anything with an ounce of ruggedness is going to pose some problems.

4) And last but not least…  just say “no” to these…

I just don’t get them.

Check back tomorrow for Number Three!

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