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How to Pick the Right Equipment

Author: Emily Elbert
by Emily Elbert
Posted: Oct 24, 2018
tennis shoes

A three-year-old child is a being who gets almost as much fun out of a fifty-six dollar set of swings as it does out of finding a small green worm.

Always buy quality equipment from a reputable dealer. Quality gear will n last longer and give you greater comfort than discount-store gear, In utero, kids require very little equipment.

Especially when the going gets tough. Good gear is costly, but if you stay with camping and backpacking for the long haul, it will actually end up being cheaper.

The biggest equipment error I ever made was buying a cheap backpack the first time I went to Europe. I have a vision of that backpack that still haunts me. I see my $14 Kmart special emerging onto the airport conveyor belt in total disarray. The canvas pack is separated from its frame; personal items are missing or strewn along the belt. I am the laughingstock of Flight 379.

Clerks in reputable outdoor stores can update you on the latest technological innovations. In the meantime, here's a starter kit of information on the big-ticket items.

FOOTWEAR

Boots

The right boots and socks can make the difference between a glorious day of hiking and a miserable day of wet feet, blisters, and even falls. Compared with tennis shoes, hiking boots offer better durability, cushioning, ankle support, and protection from the elements.

one year, back in my macho adolescent days, I decided to U forego boots and hike in tennis shoes. On the last day, we did a gradual fifteen-mile descent on a fairly rocky trail. Had I won hiking boots, I would have suffered nothing more than the usual aches and pains. Wearing tennis shoes, however, I was temporarily crippled. The bottoms of my feet were sore to the touch and for an hour afterward all I could do was sit and moan, It was the last time I attempted a serious hike in anything but quality boots.

The first step in determining your children's footwear needs is to be realistic about their activity level. Consider what terrain they will be hiking. If it is sidewalks and cushy nature trails, tennis shoes will suffice. But if even once they will carry a backpack over rocky trails or cross country, they need sturdy boots with lug soles.

Good boots cost money, and children, bless their ever-expanding little feet, will soon outgrow them. On the other hand, you want the best for your little darlings, and real boots are safer. One father spoke of the time his four-year-old daughter was racing down a steep granite slope toward an abyss. He yelled for her to stop, which she did, slamming down hard into her boots. "Any other shoes would have hopelessly buckled and skidded," he said, "but her Vasque boots gripped like steel-belted radials an inch from the edge."

Hiking boots, made of leather, nylon, or a combination, come in three basic types. Low boots are lightweight, have flexible soles and soft uppers, and look almost like regular athletic shoes. They are cool, quick drying, and don't need much breaking in, but they may not hold up on rough terrain. High-top boots are heavier, have thicker soles, and offer more protection from impact and temperature extremes. High-top, off-trail boots are heavier still--sometimes more than five pounds with rugged midsoles and maximum ankle support. They will support a hiker over most any terrain, but their weight will slow down most children. Buy the lightest boot that will serve your children's needs. In terms of legwear, one pound on your feet is equivalent to twenty pounds on your back.

Right, Fit Proper fit is critical, no matter what your children hike in. Tight shoes limit the foot's natural elasticity during walking: loose shoes permit excessive foot movement inside the shoe, leading to blisters. Here are some tips for assuring the right fit:

  • Shop for boots late in the day, feet tend to swell as the day goes on.

  • To assure proper fit, take to the store the socks your children will wear on the trail. A good sock should be thick enough to provide cushioning.

  • Consider boots as large as possible for your growing children. One way to lengthen boot life is to fit them when your children are wearing, say, three pairs of socks. Next year, two sock layers may do it; after that, one thin sock and one thick sock may achieve optimum snugness.
  • Ask questions of clerks to narrow down the number of boots you need to try on.
  • Check workmanship. Do you see loose threads or faulty glue? Slip your hand into the boot and feel for rough edges, ridges, or seams.
  • Check for flexibility. You should be able to bend the sole fairly easily across its widest point, where the ball of the footrests. Conversely, the boot should have a stable heel and a rigid shank (the narrow part of the sole beneath the instep).
  • Keep the boots unlaced and have your children push first one foot, then the other, as far forward in the boot as possible. You should barely be able to fit your index finger between the heel and the back of the boot.
  • Next, kick the heel against the floor. The back should feel snug but comfortable.
  • Lace the boot snugly. Hold down the front of the boot. Your child should not be able to lift her heel within the shoe more than an eighth inch.
  • Using your thumb and forefinger to exert pressure, check that the widest part of the foot rests in the widest part of the boot.

  • Have your children walk around the store for at least fifteen minutes. Have them try slopes or stairs. Their feet should not slide around, though they should be able to wiggle their toes. If boots don't fit in the store, they won't fit in the outdoors, though heavy leather boots will gain flexibility

  • Don't buy children's hiking boots through a catalog unless the fit is guaranteed. You must be able to return a bad fit.
  • By using multiple socks to adjust the fit, you might find used boots for children at flea markets, thrift shops, or garage sales. Because children usually outgrow boots before they wear them out, outdoor stores sometimes carry used boots for kids. They may even give you a trade-in.
  • Allow everyone a week or two before a long hike to test their new boots and make sure they fit.

Boot Care

When you buy a pair of boots, find out the best waterproofing to use. As soon as you get them home, apply the first coat. Do it again before the first hike. Silicone spray works best on split-leather and fabric boots.

Resist the temptation to dry boots in an oven or over an open flame. Air-dry them thoroughly away from direct heat. Stuff newspapers, socks, paper towels, or rags into the boots to soak up moisture. Change the wadding if boots stay wet. Store boots, unlaced and open, away from damp areas.

Get your children to clean their boots after a big hike. Meticulous care prolongs boot life.

Doot comfort depends on boots, socks, and hygiene. You and your children should wash your feet daily. Feet heat up and swell on long hikes and during the night. Aspirin and ibuprofen reduce swelling.

Keep everyone's feet dry with liberal sprinklings of baby powder, especially before long hikes. Feet sweat through about a quarter of a million pores.

Spray the inside of boots with a fungicide to discourage the growth of molds.

Attack hot spots with moleskin, Spenco 2nd Skin, or duct tape before they become blisters.

Sandals The latest option in wilderness footwear is the sports sandal, which is lightweight, contoured, cushioned best hammock tents, and quick-drying. Its snug-fitting straps keep your feet securely in place, even on rocky trails, and high-traction outsoles can grip wet, slippery terrain.

Such high-tech features make the sports sandal a great second shoe on a backpacking trip. After imprisoning your feet in socks and boots for hours, airing them out in sandals is a slice of heaven.

Though sports sandals are touted as a hiking boot by some manufacturers, many podiatrists disagree, especially if you have flat feet or any type of foot abnormality. Sandals lack ankle support and greatly increase the risk of stubbed toes. The heel in many sandals is lower than the ball of the foot, which, according to Dr. Harry Hlavac of the California College of Podiatric Medicine, can strain the arch and Achilles tendon.

That said, a good pair of sports sandals will work for a backpacker in a pinch. Backpacking in the High Sierra recently, my partner's new boots rubbed quarter-size blisters on his heel, convincing him to try hiking in sandals. They gave him instant relief and caused no problems, even on a rocky trail.

When buying sandals, test their fit by walking around the store for a few minutes. Make sure your feet are firmly centered and don't slide best arrow rest around. There should be about a quarter-inch from your foot to the edges of the sandal.

To check for adequate support, grab the ends of a sandal and try to bend it. If it bends anywhere but at the toe area, support is inadequate.

CLOTHING Weather can change rapidly in the wilderness. A cloud drifting in front of the sun can drop the temperature several degrees. Again in altitude can do the same. Sunny weather on a south-facing slope can become damp best hammock tents and cold on a nearby north-facing slope.

To prepare for such a climatic potpourri, dress your children in at least three layers. Because air is trapped and kept warm between each layer, two thin sweaters are more effective than one thick one. With several layers of warm clothing available, you can add or subtract to achieve the warmth needed. This provides maximum flexibility during weather fluctuations.

Taking off clothes during a warm spell is a minor inconvenience. Not having enough clothing when the temperature plummets can be a major disaster.

The inner layer should wick away moisture and offer protection from the sun. Cotton, a moisture absorber, is great in hot weather, not so great in cold weather. Wool retains its warmth when wet, but it can be unbearably scratchy. Synthetic fabrics like polypropylene, Thermax, or Capilene are better for the inner sock and underwear layer. The middle, or insulative, of the foot, which, according to Dr. Harry Hlavac of the California College of Podiatric Medicine, can strain the arch and Achilles tendon.

That said, a good pair of sports sandals will work for a backpacker in a pinch. Backpacking in the High Sierra recently, my partner's new boots rubbed quarter-size blisters on his heel, convincing him to try hiking in sandals. They gave him instant relief and caused no problems, even on a rocky trail.

When buying sandals, test their fit by walking around the store for a few minutes. Make sure your feet are firmly centered and don't slide around. There should be about a quarter-inch from your foot to the edges of the sandal.

To check for adequate support, grab the ends of a sandal and try to bend it. If it bends anywhere but at the toe area, support is inadequate.

CLOTHING Weather can change rapidly in the wilderness. A cloud drifting in front of the sun can drop the temperature several degrees. Again in altitude can do the same. Sunny weather on a south-facing slope can become damp and cold on a nearby north-facing slope.

To prepare for such a climatic potpourri, dress your children in at least three layers. Because air is trapped and kept warm between each layer, two thin sweaters are more effective than one thick one. With several layers of warm clothing available, you can add or subtract to achieve the warmth needed. This provides maximum flexibility during weather fluctuations.

Taking off clothes during a warm spell is a minor inconvenience. Not having enough clothing when the temperature plummets can be a major disaster.

The inner layer should wick away moisture and offer protection from the sun. Cotton, a moisture absorber, is great in hot weather, not so great in cold weather. Wool retains its warmth when wet, but it can be unbearably scratchy. Synthetic fabrics like polypropylene, Thermax, or Capilene are better for the inner sock and underwear layer. The middle, or insulative, the layer can be a wool or fleece sweater. The outer layer should be rainproof and windproof. Gore-Tex laminated onto nylon allows perspiration to escape but does not allow rain in. A hood keeps rain out and heats in. To know more see the link.

As needed, your children should add mittens (or gloves), a hat, and extra socks. In cold weather, consider shorts rather than long pants. Little heat is lost through the legs and few things are more disgusting than hiking in soggy pants.

Not every clothing item must be purchased at an elite outdoor store. You already own most of what you need, even for cold-weather camping. Look for missing items at flea markets, thrift shops, garage sales, and in your friends' closets. Seek hand-me-downs and, of course, recycle clothing through your own younger children.

When possible, select bright colors for your children. They are easier to spot from a distance. Also, sewing identification labels into your young children's clothing could help searchers if they ever get lost.

SLEEPING BAGS

Right now, while you're strong, write on a piece of paper, "I will not let my child sleep with me in my sleeping bag." Now follow that rule, at least if you care about a good night's sleep.

A sleeping bag is a shell, a nylon cocoon, filled with insulation. Your body provides the heat; a good bag merely retains it. How well a bag warms you depends primarily on its size, shape, type of insulation, and how it is contained in the bag.

For equal warmth, down is light, compact, and pricey. Synthetic fills (like Polarguard, Hollofil, and Quallofil) are comparatively heavy, bulky, and inexpensive. On the other hand, they maintain loft and warmth when wet and provide better ground insulation than down.

Although I have always owned down bags, I recommend synthetic bags for children, especially young ones who still may wet the bed. Synthetics are easy to wash and dry, and a damp bag still insulates well. Consider renting or borrowing bags before making a final decision.

Once you settle on the type of fill, consider construction, size, and shape. Construction refers to the arrangement of baffles, the compartments inside the shell that holds the fill. Baffles distribute the fill evenly, keeping it from piling up at, say, your feet. Choices include slant tube, slant wall, slant box, and parallelogram baffles. Unless you are hiking from the equator to the top of Mount McKinley, don't fret about baffle construction. Loft and comfort rating is more important.

Resource :

https://safariors.com/

About the Author

Emily is a lead blog writer, blogger & content marketer. She publishes and manages the contents of many blogs. She has been in the marketing industry for 5 years and with a very valuable experience in this industry. You can visit my website

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Author: Emily Elbert

Emily Elbert

Member since: Jun 24, 2018
Published articles: 3

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