21 March 2018
Hikers need to be adequately equipped to meet the challenges ahead. Photo: CNSA
Hikers need to be adequately equipped to meet the challenges ahead. Photo: CNSA

Gear up for hiking: Choose the right equipment

You need to prepare well for hiking or trekking challenges. First of all, you must be adequately equipped.

Here’s a checklist:

1) Footwear. Hiking shoes should be made of breathable and lightweight materials. Avoid too high-cut boots, if possible, as they would limit movement and reduce flexibility.

Deeper, thicker lugs on the outsole of the shoes could improve grip and enable the wearer to move forward more easily.

You should also consider shoes with outsoles made of anti-slippery and shock-absorbing materials. Try out the cushion by jumping up and down for a few times before you buy a new pair of trainers.

2) Outfit. It should be comfortable and protective. Light-colored, loose and quick-dry garments are preferred.

You can consider wearing quick-dry T-shirt, breathable jogger pants and a waterproof windbreaker.

Do not wear jeans because the tough fabric could cause skin abrasions and add weight after sweat absorption.

3) Hiking staff. A hiking staff allows your arms to help propel you forward and upward and reduce the impact on your legs and joints. The additional contact point could increase your traction and give you a better balance.

It is recommended for long treks and people with legs of unbalanced strength.

Aluminum or titanium staffs are just about the same, but prices could range enormously, from a few hundreds to over a thousand dollars.

When you walk uphill, lean yourself slightly forward and walk with a shorter staff, but when going down, maintain your body’s center of gravity slightly backward with the help of a longer staff. That could help you keep your strength longer.

4) Backpack and waist pack. You should use a backpack that is designed for hiking or trekking. Shoulder straps should be adjusted so that the pack is mostly attached to the back.

If the straps are too long, the bag would be too low, which could hurt your back. 

When the bottom of the bag is lower than your waist, or passes the belt, you might tend to lean forward and strain your back muscles.

A sternum strap could provide protection as it fixes the shoulder straps in place and prevents the bag from going sideways while you are walking.

A lightweight waist pack is a good option as it would free your shoulders and upper torso, allowing you to breathe much better.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Jan. 10

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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