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1:00 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi guys. My name is Christy and I am new to hiking, backpacking, etc. I live in Denver and am interested on getting started to live a healthier life and adding the trails in this new adventure. Any helpful tips would be amazingly helpful. Thanks to you all.

1:06 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey Christy, welcome to the wonderful world of Trailspace. 

I hope you find the info/feedback here helpful on your future endeavors. If you have any questions, please by all means do not hesitate to ask. 

Once again welcome to Trailspace, great to have you aboard. 

Happy hiking-Rick

1:09 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks Rick. I will definately do alot of exploring and will ask any questions. This is going to be a great adventure and an even better summer.

3:47 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Welcome to trailspace christy!

If you have any questions just ask.I would look around abit. The !0 essentials are a good place to start.Look forward to your future input on trips etc. Again welcome aboard..

3:55 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Christy, here is a link to the "10 Essentials" that Denis references in his post:

http://www.trailspace.com/articles/ten-essentials.html

5:18 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Welcome Christy!

While the wealth of information about hiking and climbing can be overwhelming at first, I would greatly suggest that you start off by doing some of your own research first - either here at trailspace, or elsewhere on the internet.

I'm not telling you this to deter you from asking questions, because we love to help each other out here at trailspace. 

I tell you this because there are a lot of opinions, agendas, and biases in any forum, and if you know what your goals and expectations are before you ask questions, you will be able to sort through the info that suits your needs.

The 10 essentials, as stated above, are a good place to start, and also checking in about your physical fitness and whether you should set goals for fitness is an important piece. The sport can be expensive, so ask questions as you go about gear. There are many ways to get things for cheap without sacrificing quality, but on the other hand, there are certain things you would never want to skimp on because it could kill you.

You've got a long road of learning and gathering info ahead of you, but it's so worth it once you get out there and enjoy the beauty of nature. Enjoy your adventures!! I personally find that this process of learning is one of the adventures itself!

7:26 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Get some good boots! Don't buy the first ones you try on. My wife has a hard time finding boots for her feet and she gets a little impatient and trys to pick the pretty ones. They're just going to get muddy so get the ones that fit best. There are some threads on boot fitting.

Search,"How to fit boots".

8:07 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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And also welcome from overseas and the small country that brought skis to the rest of the world.

There are numerous "essential" lists, but just start small and increase as you feel comfy. Dayhikes in an area around the home town is a good thing, sure there are some hills that you have not visited. With not too stony terrain and a light pack, you may build up experience and equipment as you go. The start need not be so expensive.

But for longer hikes I agree with MoZee, the boots are essential. Nothing makes or breakes a tour so much as nonfitting shoes. Look away when you pay them, the good one are often costly but worth every dollar.

Have fun!

Otto

10:59 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Welcome Christy,

The people on Trailspace's forums are some of the best on the net.  Knowledgeable, courteous and willing to help.  

 

2:20 a.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Thankyou all for the advice

10:05 a.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
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Welcome christy! All the folks who have posted so far are deep wells of knowledge.  I might seek out giftogab at some point too.

Have fun!

12:19 p.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Giftogab, Everest ?

3:33 p.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
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After reading your profile I thought jumping right into the backpacking part of your new lifestyle may be getting somewhat ahead of yourself.  You might want to consider working up to this activity level, giving your body time to adapt to the physical stresses such a pastime entails.

Many folks deciding to get onto a health kick add physical activities like backpacking to their lifestyle; however, they become quickly discouraged because of undue suffering associated with getting fit enough to actually enjoy their chosen activities.  This is because their joints, tendons and other skeletal elements need to be toughened up to accept the vigor of this new lifestyle.  Thus my advice is gradually work up to your aspirations while your skeleton copes and adapts..

If your body is not accustomed to walking miles, let alone miles on steep trails, you can experience joint and tendon discomfort covering as little as four miles.  Often this uncomfortable to the point of discouraging folks to venture out the next day, or more.  Going into this slow can minimize this kind of discomfort.  You cannot rush the process of toughening up your skeleton, it proceeds at its own pace.  Try walking four miles daily in the city on good surfaces.  When that gets easy enough where you can cover such distance in an hour and fifteen minutes (3 mph) without joint pain, try similar distance walks on trails, increasing both distance and steepness as your muscles become stronger.  If you are only slightly out of shape and young, you will make fast progress into the mountain trails, and be in better shape in six weeks.  But if your are older or have been inactive for a long period, it can take six weeks before the city walks have toughened up your joints and skeleton enough to tolerate trails without unnecessary skeletal discomfort.  Think long term.  Once your skeleton is accustomed to physical activity, you can begin pushing yourself much harder.  You will experience muscle soreness that comes with building you stamina and strength, but you will find this kind of ache strangely pleasant, as is accompanied by enhanced feelings of relaxation, well being, and vitality.  (Endorphin is a wonderful thing!)  An activity that helps build muscle strength with minimal stress on your skeleton is cycling.  And outdoor cycling is superior to gym spinning.

Eventually trail walks will not provide much physical challenge unless you are pushing an aggressive pace; at that point you will be ready to consider overnight hikes and the physical demands they provide.  In the mean time pour through the Trailspace forum threads and gear reviews for information to assist whatever gear choices you’ll eventually need to make.  And when you do start camping, it helps to tag along with someone who has experience, who can mentor you regarding how one safely and comfortably has fun in the backcountry.

Ed

9:22 p.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Hello! I am here in Katmandu catching up before heading back to Vegas. Glad to help. Gear is fun and these guys can tell you all kinds of things that will make your new choice of activity enjoyable and beneficial. Whomeworry is right as well. Get some hiking in and learn your feet and your abilities. What you like about being out there and if you even want to go back country or stick to the day hikes. There is nothing to see out there but everything and it will be there for you as you gain perspective on your style of playing outside! WELCOME! Boots are the first and foremost essential fundamental. I say go right out and get FIXING YOUR FEET and read it cover to cover. ithout the feet, nothing else matters in hiking!

1:25 p.m. on April 13, 2012 (EDT)
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Thankyou guys. I will definitely start walking and slowly train my body for the trails. All of you are very helpful and welcoming.

2:59 p.m. on April 15, 2012 (EDT)
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Have fun researching and trialling

1:10 p.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm a bit late to the party, but just wanted to add my welcome to Trailspace :) 

6:49 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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mozee had the best suggestion,start at the foundation,your boots.the most comfortable thing youve ever worn.if you can sleep in your boots you made a good decision!

7:25 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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If you have thick skin you'll luv it here.

;-)

4:10 a.m. on April 21, 2012 (EDT)
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First things first. Do your homework. By that I mean if you are a total beginner, start by doing some reading. I would start with this-http://www.amazon.com/Allen-Mikes-Really-Cool-Backpackin/dp/1560449128

Mike also has a book on ultra light camping (also on Amazon). I have their two books on winter camping and tele skiing and highly recommend their style for beginners.

Then read The Complete Walker, considered the Bible of backpacking. The latest version is the 4th edition. There are many other books, but these two will give you the basics. Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills is another great book, but more oriented towards climbing.

You will learn far more far quicker from books than by asking a generic question like you have done.

Asking a question may get you a dozen conflicting answers from people you don't know and more importantly, you don't know if they actually know what they are talking about. Anyone who says you "must" buy a particular brand of anything is full of it. For better or worse, there is a bewildering array of gear and clothing available. Don't believe me, walk into your local REI and look around.

Second-don't buy anything until you understand what you need, otherwise you could waste a heck of a lot of money in a hurry for no good reason. For example, if you are just day hiking for the moment, get a cheap daypack, load it up with the "ten essentials" (a basic list of essential items to carry at all times, sometimes bumped up to 14 or so items) and do some short day hikes. You can find this list on many sites. 

Everyone else here is saying "buy boots." Why? I have no idea, and neither do you. I know for a fact, they don't know since you haven't said word one about what you intend to do or where.

For now, I would hike in running shoes for starters or buy a pair of trail runners (they look like beefed up running shoes or lightweight boots, depending on the brand and how they are being marketed). Yes, a nice pair of boots is a good investment. I wear boots when backpacking, but for a simple day hike, I just wear running shoes unless I know I will be on sketchy terrain.

If you want to know what the average backpacker carries, look for gear lists; they are all over the net on various camping websites. You need to match your list to your location and weather. For example, I have a gear list that is specific to Yosemite in winter. If I was planning to be there in summer, it would be quite different.

Third-find other people with similar interests, perhaps friends, people at work or through an organization like the Sierra Club, which organizes hikes and other outings for people of all levels of experience. Find a local chapter online.

 

9:08 p.m. on April 21, 2012 (EDT)
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1,124 forum posts

I just got my copy of National Geographic; The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide. Well worth it.

10:40 p.m. on April 21, 2012 (EDT)
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1,238 forum posts

Tom D said:

First things first. Do your homework. By that I mean if you are a total beginner, start by doing some reading. I would start with this-http://www.amazon.com/Allen-Mikes-Really-Cool-Backpackin/dp/1560449128

Mike also has a book on ultra light camping (also on Amazon). I have their two books on winter camping and tele skiing and highly recommend their style for beginners.

Then read The Complete Walker, considered the Bible of backpacking. The latest version is the 4th edition. There are many other books, but these two will give you the basics. Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills is another great book, but more oriented towards climbing.

You will learn far more far quicker from books than by asking a generic question like you have done.

Asking a question may get you a dozen conflicting answers from people you don't know and more importantly, you don't know if they actually know what they are talking about. Anyone who says you "must" buy a particular brand of anything is full of it. For better or worse, there is a bewildering array of gear and clothing available. Don't believe me, walk into your local REI and look around.

Second-don't buy anything until you understand what you need, otherwise you could waste a heck of a lot of money in a hurry for no good reason. For example, if you are just day hiking for the moment, get a cheap daypack, load it up with the "ten essentials" (a basic list of essential items to carry at all times, sometimes bumped up to 14 or so items) and do some short day hikes. You can find this list on many sites. 

Everyone else here is saying "buy boots." Why? I have no idea, and neither do you. I know for a fact, they don't know since you haven't said word one about what you intend to do or where.

For now, I would hike in running shoes for starters or buy a pair of trail runners (they look like beefed up running shoes or lightweight boots, depending on the brand and how they are being marketed). Yes, a nice pair of boots is a good investment. I wear boots when backpacking, but for a simple day hike, I just wear running shoes unless I know I will be on sketchy terrain.

If you want to know what the average backpacker carries, look for gear lists; they are all over the net on various camping websites. You need to match your list to your location and weather. For example, I have a gear list that is specific to Yosemite in winter. If I was planning to be there in summer, it would be quite different.

Third-find other people with similar interests, perhaps friends, people at work or through an organization like the Sierra Club, which organizes hikes and other outings for people of all levels of experience. Find a local chapter online.

 

 +1 on that there post!

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