By Kim Lasota
Whether you are hiking in the desert or even the mountains of the Catalinas and Santa Ritas, your hiking equipment should include simple, and inexpensive, things that can make your hike more comfortable, safe and reduce the chance of injury.
Boots are the best for desert hikes
Good boots that support the ankles, offer good traction, and a steel shank are preferred. Hi/Tec, Vasque, Merrell and Donner are wise choices. A fanny pack for supplies and a water carrier, either bottles or a canteen are necessary. These will vary depending on the length of the hike and on the trail chosen.
Terri Gay, marketing coordinator at Summit Hut, located at 5045 Speedway Blvd. near Rosemont said everything from the newest hiking shoes, which are made with Kevlar materials (the same material used to make bullet-proof vests- an abrasion-free material) to hi-tech hydration systems can be found there.
The landmark Tucson outdoor shop has everything that is needed for a day-hike or a weeklong hike. Videos, maps and books are also available. "Nearly all of our employees are hikers. We try to get out there as much as possible," Gay said.
Basic items that should go on every hike bwhetherb one hour or one day should include:
- map of the area (or a GPS)
- cell phone (service may not be available at all locations)
- extra food and water
- waterproof matches
- candles or fuel tablets
- a pocketknife
- and a first aid kit.
"Topographical maps are important to the novice hiker especially," said Dave Jonason, an avid hiker for nearly 20 years. "Learning to read a map and use a compass are not difficult," he said. "
Jonason recommends two quarts of water for day hikes and a gallon or more per person for longer hikes. He said Nalgine water bottles are the "best" and offer a lifetime guarantee.
He also suggested always telling someone where you are going and to "hike higher" in the summer because of the heat. "Always take it easy when you are a beginner," he said.
Leave no trace and contact the appropriate ranger station (phone numbers can be found in the blue government pages in the phone book) for weather and trail updates.
Your equipment should include gootl boots that support the ankles, offer good traction, and a steel shank. Hi/Tec and Vasque Alpha II are wise choices.
A fanny pack for supplies and a water carrier, either bottles or a canteen are necessary. These will vary depending on the length of the hike and trail chosen, said Greg Ostapuk, manager of Popular Outdoor Outfitters on Oracle Road.