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Do’s and Don’ts of hiking gear
hard surfaces. However, ballistic nylon,
I used in many boots, can provide similar
ALE Feel and comfort are what’s important protection. Lastly, you need to consider

water protection. Around Calgary, we
usually hike in dry conditions. However,
salesperson with hiking experience. If you when backpacking you might, as has
plan to mainly do light hiking, you might happened to me on many occasions, face
¦ IN THE PAsT 10 or so years there have consider a different boot than one for a very wet couple of days, when Gore-Tex-
been huge advances in the technology and backpacking, scrambling or mountaineering. lined boots could salvage a day or two.
products that make hiking and backpacking There are also many brand names. Avoid Beware, some companies claim to use
very enjoyable for even the less-experienced the hype of marketing. Focus on the Gore-Tex lining, but they use it only on the
hiker. Below are some tips to help hikers performance. some reputable American upper part of the boot, not as a liner sock
choose their basic gear to fully enjoy the and Canadian companies outsourced their within the boot construction. That makes
activity and especially to avoid pains and production to China. Many different brands the boot prone to seepage of water from
even injury. are produced now in the same factories in the sole, when cracks develop, which they
THE RIGHT GEaR Asia. They claim that quality control does eventually tend to do.
First and foremost are boots. Forget not suffer, but you have to be the judge. All of this can be confusing. Forget it
your tennis or running shoes. Leave them European boot manufacturers, especially for a moment and consider that the most
at home unless you want to wear them for German and Italian, were always at the important factor is the feel and comfort.
the trip to and from the trailhead. These are forefront in terms of quality. They tend Forget also the breaking-in period. A well-
simply too soft and inadequate for rocky, to cost a bit more, but these companies fitting boot must feel good from the get-
rooty and muddy terrain. Your foot bones also tend to produce boots in their own go. Walk around for a few minutes. If your
and muscles will be heavily taxed after factories, where quality control is king. You feet feel good, with no pressure points, no
a few hours of hiking. In addition, every need to decide if it is worth investing $300 chafing, with a lot of space for the toes, the
misstep on rocky terrain can potentially be in a European-made boot vs. a boot made boot might do very well for you.
very painful. Besides, such shoes do not in China that might cost $200. When on the trail, if ever you start to feel
provide any ankle support, which when The main characteristic of a hiking boot any pressure point after an hour or so, stop
added to their lack of rigidity, makes the is that it usually has a stiffer sole than a and put medical tape or a band aid on your
wearer prone to a twisted ankle. walking shoe; the stiffer it is, the more foot to prevent any further damage.
There are many types of hiking boots service it will provide. Also, a heavier boot In summary, choose a boot from a
and many outdoor stores that carry them. will be more suitable for backpacking reputable store and manufacturer that fits
Because it is the most important hiking or mountaineering than a lighter one. In comfortably from the onset. If there is a
equipment you need, you should shop addition, the uppers of the boot can be choice between two comfortable boots,
at a reputable store carrying the brands made of leather or synthetics. usually, the choose the stiffer, heavier boot as it will
specializing in hiking boots. In addition, leather will be stiffer, more breathable and provide you with more support in various
make sure you deal with a knowledgeable offer more protection from rocks and other hiking conditions. CALGARY  SUMMER 2008 5
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