Hiking is a very healthy way to enjoy the outdoors, but you need to have the right gear. The difference between the right boots and the wrong ones, for example, can be days of painful blisters and sore feet. Do you know the things every serious hiker considers essential? Take our quiz to learn more about hiking gear.
The cardiovascular benefits of walking are well-documented, and hiking is a very demanding form of walking.
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was a nature lover who very much enjoyed hiking.
Psychological research has found that people who hike might actually be more caring than those who do not.
What really distinguishes hiking from walking is the terrain, which tends to place far greater demands on the hiker than a regular walk would.
The word hike likely comes from the Middle English word hicchen, which means "to move in a jerky manner."
There are 10 essential hiking items that every hiker should have before venturing into the great outdoors: a topographic map, a compass, sunglasses and sunscreen, extra clothing, a flashlight, first-aid supplies, a firestarter, matches, a knife, extra food and water.
The Mountaineers, an organization based in Seattle, put together the list of 10 essentials in the 1930s.
It is extremely important that the map you use for hiking include topographic information, so that you don't end up with a major surprise -- a river, for example -- in front of you.
If you're going to be carrying a lot of gear, you're better off wearing hiking boots than hiking shoes, because they offer more cushion and support.
You want to wear the lightest footwear that you can, given the needs of the hike.
Hikers recommend that you wear two pairs of socks when hiking: a synthetic liner, and an outer sock.
Wool is a hygroscopic insulator, which means that it absorbs moisture and regulates temperature.
When hiking over rough terrain it can help to have hiking sticks to help you keep your balance and prevent you from losing your footing.
Most hiking sticks adjust between a height of 24 inches and 55 inches (61 and 140 centimeters).
It's not really possible to read a map while wearing night vision goggles, and you can also use a flashlight to signal for help if needed.
In case you decide to take up night hiking, it helps to have a compass with a glow-in-the-dark needle.
Clothing can be cut or torn to serve as bandage if needed.
A nocturnal animal is an animal whose waking hours occur during the night. When you take up night hiking you should research these animals, for safety.
A crepuscular animal is active during the dawn and dusk hours.
It's important that someone know where you're planning to go and when you plan to return, because night hiking can be dangerous.