High-tech hiking gear and clothing can be seen in ads all over the TV and in magazines. But, how much of that fancy gear do you really need to go hiking?
This is a question that I am always asking myself because I spend a lot of time outdoors hiking, camping, and fishing. This means that I am always using different gear for different purposes. Sometimes I feel my gear is fine, but not always. A recent hike in the rain and snow on an overnight stay in a hut during a snowstorm caused my wife and I to load up on good rain gear the following day since we were so cold and wet.
At Its Core Hiking Is Just Walking
When it comes right down to it hiking is the simple act of walking in the mountains. People all over the world live, work, or recreate in mountains. I’ve been lucky enough to hike all over the world and I’ve seen people wearing a broad range of gear.
The first time that I saw local porters in Nepal carrying all of my stuff wearing flip-flops and shorts just blew me away. Since that time I’ve seen locals using minimal gear in the mountains in many other countries and mountains. Sometimes they were fine and I looked ridiculously overdressed, but other times they were not happy and I was glad I had nicer gear.
Ultimately though, those experiences drove home to me the fact that we really don’t need that much stuff to just go hiking. We can go hiking in very simple clothes and footwear, but our comfort level may suffer.
Do You Need High-Tech Hiking Gear Or Not? Yes and No.
This is a question that can only be answered by each individual person. I can only give you my personal opinion on the matter based on my experience hiking all over the world.
Personally, my answer and opinion on this comes down to what kind of hiking you are going to do. If you are going for a short day hike then I would say no you don’t need high-tech gear. But, if you are going for an all day hike, hiking in rainy or snowy weather, or hiking for multiple days then I would say yes, you need high-tech gear.
Short Day Hikes – NO To High-Tech Hiking Gear
Personally, I think if you are just sticking to short day hikes you don’t need all of the high-tech gear. Think about it, you are just going for a walk along a well-maintained trail for a couple of hours. If you don’t have fancy boots, waterproof pants, or a really nice raincoat you may get wet. But, you will only be wet and uncomfortable for a short time, then you can return to your house and take a warm shower and put on clean clothes.
Longer Hikes, Bad Weather, Or Multi-Day Hikes – YES To High-Tech Hiking Gear
If you are going for a longer hike or will be in more serve weather then the right gear could make a big difference. It doesn’t matter if you get a little wet on a short outing, but if you are outside all day in the rain or cold weather and you get wet you may seriously suffer. In that case, having a top of the line raincoat or top of the line boots will benefit you.