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3 Tips to Help First-Time Hikers Gear Up for the Trail


SPONSORED CONTENT -- (StatePoint) Being new at anything can be intimidating. What’s great about hiking is that it’s free and open to all, no matter where you live or your level of experience. You also don’t need much gear or education to get started.

Ready to find the nearest trail? Check out these three tips and hike your way to greater fitness, well-being and adventure.

1. Find Community

The world of hiking gear, apparel and footwear is vast, which might be a bit confusing for those new to the outdoor experience. Look for brands that make things simple. For example, KEEN Footwear is on a mission to make the outdoors more accessible by providing high-quality footwear at inclusive price points.

Some outdoor and sporting goods stores host outdoor skills workshops and group-led trips to help consumers feel comfortable prior to hitting the trail. For example, REI offers virtual and in-person courses in topics like hiking and backpacking, along with lessons in everything from being bear aware to avoiding common stings and bites. These classes and events are a terrific opportunity to meet like-minded people with whom to share future outdoor adventures.

2. Take Care of Your Feet

While you don’t need much to enjoy a hike, it’s important to have proper footwear for the terrain that’s comfortable, fits well and has the right technology features.

Expensive, bulky hiking boots that need to be broken in are not always the right answer for a newer hiker. Innovative solutions are emerging however. The KEEN Targhee has been keeping feet comfortable on the trail for more than 17 years. It’s a go-to hiking boot for backcountry overnights and hiking in rugged terrain. KEEN has created a new option that offers all of the most important features of its iconic, trail-tested Targhee collection with a fresh approach and inclusive pricing. The Circadia line is a back-to-basics alternative that provides the protection and stability of a hiking boot with a lighter, more sneaker-like feel. Expect out-of-the-box comfort, all-day cushioning, and stability on any trail surface, from dirt to gravel. It’s a great choice for local day hikes and short out-and-backs.

Another solid option from KEEN is Ridge Flex. Because this boot requires less energy on the part of the hiker, it’s known as the “e-bike of hiking boots,” and is ideal for beginners and experts alike. This is due to the KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX technology that makes it easier to flex the boot right out of the box. Thanks to this design, this boot bends where others may crack and weaken over time, making it a good long-term investment for hikers interested in multi-day backpacking and thru-hikes (hiking a long-distance trail end-to-end).

3. Prioritize Safety

As with any outdoor activity, checking the weather is a must before heading out on a hike in order to have the right apparel for comfort, whether that is heat, wind or the cold. Be sure to bring extra food and water, or a way to purify water on the go, along with a simple first-aid kit and tools to start a fire. Don’t forget your cell phone, but be aware that cell phones do not always work on hiking trails.

It’s also a good idea to read up on the trail you’re planning to tackle to ensure it meets your abilities. Always tell a friend or family member when and where you’re hiking and what time you expect to return.

Whether you’re hoping to spot some elusive wildlife or you’re a fitness buff looking to get a great workout in nature, the outdoors is for you. And with a few simple preparations, you’ll be ready to hit the trail with confidence.

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