There are many important elements that make up a hike whether it be long distance trails, day trips or multiday outings. First, it is important to be prepared with dependable gear. The most expensive gear (get your gears here:The PNW) does not mean it is the best so it is important to do your research and choose what is right for you.
Choose a sleeping bag that is in right degree category, especially if you will be camping in cold temperatures. For example, even if it is a beautiful sunny 80-degree day in the Sierras, the temperature drops dramatically at night, especially in the higher elevations. Remember that your tent and your sleeping bag are your “home” while you are out in the woods so it is a top priority.
Remember to dress in layers and in breathable fabric. If you get hot, take a layer off and have extra layers for those cold and rainy/snowy days. You don’t want to sweat as this just makes you colder when the temperature drops. Having the right shoes or boots is also extremely important, especially if you are hiking long miles. Give yourself some extra room as your feet may swell depending on the heat and the terrain. A common mistake is choosing shoes that are too small. This makes for uncomfortable blisters that are painful and can become infected. When hiking in the mountains, remember to be prepared for any type of weather as the elements of mother nature can change drastically in a short amount of time.
The type of backpack you choose will vary depending on the length of time you will be out, the time of year and your personal comfort level. Remember that everything you put in your backpack you will be carrying on your back! This may sound silly but it is really easy to add a few ounces here and there and this eventually means extra pounds of gear that you may not use. Each person is different so choose a backpack that fits your body type and also the appropriate size. I tend to choose smaller packs as I have found that I use my space more wisely and in return choose only the things I really need making it easier on my body.
These are just a few things to consider when going hiking. It is extremely important to be prepared and knowledgeable about where you are going and the elements you may encounter. I have a great amount of respect for the mountains and mother nature after hiking thousands of miles in the back country. Choosing an outdoor adventure can be a very rewarding and humbling experience, there is nothing in the world quite like it!