Get over your gear!

October 26, 2016

 

So, I know what you're thinking.

 

"I just need to find that (xyz) piece of gear that is going to make my kit complete, then I will finally be content". You buy it, and immediately begin looking at something else that will THEN make your kit perfect. On and on...

 

I know because I suffered from the same obsession. Finding, researching, and having to have that next lightweight piece of gear, was going to make my pack weight so light that I was just going to float down the trail!

 

I realized that even with the lightest of lightweight gear I still have to carry it for miles and miles each day. I still had sore muscles and joints. I began to accept that the equipment I had was more than good enough, and started focusing more on my physical fitness which included the way I was training. Hiking is essentially just walking, only you are walking in a non-man-made environment that isn't so soft on the old body. So my focus became more on walking and stretching less on lifting weights and building bigger muscles. Don’t get me wrong you still need strong muscles, but more importantly you need to get your legs and joints accustomed to moving for longer periods of time. 

 

Long distance hikers talk about muscle memory a lot, and how they can be off trail for a while and within a few days of a trip their body acclimates to the stress of long distance walking, reducing their recovery time. For the rest of us average hikers we need to just keep moving. Take the stairs at work, walk to stores near your house instead of driving, even using "zero drop” footwear is showing promise as a way to strengthen your feet and develop good walking form. 

 

Having the right gear for the type of climate and environment is important to being prepared and enjoying your hiking trip. I just don't obsess as much on the latest and lightest gear and spend more time preparing physically. As I get older I want to continue to enjoy my trips just as much as I do now. Times are a changing...

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Eric Heber - Hiker

I really enjoy the unique hiking and backpacking opportunities that Louisiana has to offer. I have collected information on many trails in Louisiana and put them together so others can enjoy them as well.

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