This September (2021), I returned to Cityline with Tracy Moore—North America’s longest-running daytime talk show for women—for a segment all about hiking essentials and things to know before you head out on your first hike!
As a non-adventurer who loves to adventure (and definitely does it “for the gram” lol), I’ve been easing into hiking adventures over the last couple of years thanks to my patient adventure friends.
On the show, I shared a great guided hike I did with Jasper Food Tours, a lot of tips for what you need to think about before and during your hike, and what to bring—products that ensure your safety and comfort along the way (featuring items from Alberta-based businesses Campers Village, Lamose, and 7 Summits Snacks).
And read on for more details about the products!
Note: products featured on the show were sourced by me, and provided by the individual companies.
A Beginners Guide to Hiking on Cityline
Segment originally aired Sept. 15, 2021
Tip #1: Invest in quality hiking shoes
You might be able to get away with different kinds of clothing for your hike but you really NEED proper hiking shoes, I can’t stress that enough!
If your shoes don’t offer the right support, it’s going to make your hike uncomfortable and potentially unsafe, very quickly. In fact bad shoe choices is one of the number one reasons people need to be rescued on hikes in national parks. You want shoes that will absorb shock, are generally water proof, breathable and with a sole that gives your feet extra support.
I once hiked in $20 shoes and it almost destroyed my feet. And that’s not fun.
Of course it will depend on what trails and hikes you do, and certainly you can get away with doing certain hikes with just a regular pair of sneakers, but for the most part, if you can invest in proper hiking shoes before you head out, do it! Especially if you’re doing a more moderate or advanced hike, or one that will have you on your feet for many hours.
High quality hiking shoes will last a long time and your feet will thank you.
I typically hike in KEEN Footwear or the shoes featured in the segment are Merrell and Columbia from SportChek. You can also get hiking shoes from Alberta-based Campers Village, who also ship across Canada.
Tip #2: Think about layers and moisture-resistant clothing
Generally when hiking, you want to think about layers. The Mountain Hardwear jacket I’m wearing in the segment is from Campers Village, and is super lightweight, warm if the weather gets cold, but also easy to take off if it gets hot or utilize what I demonstrate in the video—the pit zip—a zipper by your armpit which cools you down quite quickly if you’re getting too hot.
Weather and body temperature often changes when you hike so you do want to be prepared with layering. Your jacket should also be moisture resistant!
Whether it’s rain or sweat, nobody wants to feel soaking wet as they hike up a mountain. Avoiding sticky clothes is really important for a comfortable hike.
Tip #3: Bring snacks, water, and a good hiking backpack on your adventure
There’s a few different things you want to bring along with you on your hike, which is why it’s important to have some kind of comfortable and spacious hiking backpack.
Hiking specific backpacks like the Osprey one I’m wearing in the segment (also from Campers Village) come with great adjustable straps so it can sit pretty straight against your back, isn’t sagging or pulling you down, and doesn’t jostle really if you move. It also isn’t going to stick to you as much as you sweat on your hike because it’s got built in airflow design. That’s key.
One time I hiked with a pleather backpack thinking I had done a good job bringing a backpack, but actually it wasn’t great because it got so sticky (from my sweaty/stickiness) that it made carrying it really uncomfortable).
In terms of what to pack:
You always need to bring water and snacks!
- I love 7 Summits Snacks—an Alberta-made chocolate specifically for runners and hikers. Their chocolates are made with hiking in mind so it’s packed with endurance and energy boosters. And they ship across Canada.
- My hiking friends enjoy sour gummies for the instant shot of energy, but there are also healthier alternatives like nuts so you don’t have a sugar crash mid hike.
- You also want to stay super hydrated throughout your hike so you need a good bottle or hydration pack. Lamose is an Alberta-based water bottle brand that is great at retaining the cold. They ship worldwide and you can do custom bottle designs too!
- Hiking poles are also super helpful especially to navigate steep spots. You can hang it on your backpack if you’re not using it on your way up and then take it out on the way down. The one I use is TrailBuddy from Amazon which I found has been really helpful on my hikes and I love that I could get pink ones (choose from other colours too. If you purchase via that link I might get a few cents back as well)
Tip #4: Bring emergency and safety items just in case
You want to make sure you’re bringing items on your hike that will help in case of an emergency. These are some of my hiking safety essentials (as a starting point, but certainly you could keep adding to these depending on what type of hike or adventure you’re doing!)
- Medical and first aid kits can come super compact these days so it doesn’t take up much space in your pack to ensure you have some kind of emergency medical aid with you
- You should bring a light of some kind on your adventure—depending on what time of day or year you go, or potentially if your hike takes longer than expected, you have a lot more peace of mind knowing you have a light source (like a head light) with you (this is also important so you don’t trip and injure yourself!)
- Using a small air horn throughout your hike, or being super loud as you see my Jasper Food Tours guide Estelle be in the video, can help keep bears away but it’s very important to have bear spray with you too—though hope you won’t have to use it. Non-hikers may not realize that bear spray is actually considered a firearm!
The biggest thing to think about in terms of safety on your hike is, could you safely and successfully spend a night outdoors if you had to—if something went wrong on your hike?
So you can start with some of these items I’ve mentioned, then add things like a knife, rope, some people bring tarp, it really does depend on the hike you’re doing but preparation is key.
Tip #5: Plan, plan, plan before you go!
Pre-planning is so important. Having an understanding of what the hiking route looks like and what type of terrain you’ll encounter, whether the hike is considered easy, moderate, difficult, will make such a difference for your experience.
I am NOT a professional hiker so when I go, it’s usually with experienced hikers or I’m booking guided tours, and if not, I’m researching the heck out of the hike before I go.
Again it depends on the hike you choose, as there are lots of flat terrain and simple loops that can still give you good views and makes for a great hike, but if your hike has higher elevation then you need to think about what you’re bringing to stay safe and comfortable before you get to that stunning picture perfect moment, which let’s face it, is why I’m hiking, and I think why many beginner hikers get into it!
In general, I’d also recommend starting your hike earlier in the day. Weather is cooler at this time so it’s more comfortable, and then if something goes wrong, you’ve still got the rest of the day to sort it out (hopefully before it gets dark). Also I tend to be very slow when I hike, so I just need the buffer of extra hours! lol
You should also pick easy objectives if you’re a beginner. You want to ease your way into hiking, don’t push yourself too hard too fast, because that’s going to turn you off from the experience as things are more likely to go wrong if you’ve taken on a hike that’s too advanced or don’t have the right safety or comfort gear for a good experience.
So there are just a few tips and my “essential” product recommendations to help you plan for your beginner hike!
Thanks again to Cityline for having me on the show! I love being one of their guest “experts” and can’t wait for another opportunity to show you some food, lifestyle, or travel trends and tips.
- Watch the Beginners Guide to Hiking segment on Cityline’s website
- Check out my Alberta Travel Guides
- Read my blog: 5 Adventures to Experience in Jasper, Alberta
- See my other Cityline segments
As well, Campers Village set me up with a promo code so if you use my code LINDORK until Sept. 30, 2021, you can get 10% off your order in-store or online!
- Follow @lindork on Twitter
- Follow @lindork on Instagram
- Like Lindork – Linda Hoang on Facebook
- Follow @lindorable on TikTok
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