Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hawaii Hiking Gear -- Top Three

Assuming you have the basics like a daypack/backpack and shoes/boots with good tread, what other gear would be beneficial for someone hiking a trail in Hawaii? Here are my top three:
  1.  Camelbak hydration system.  Hawaii is in the tropics, hence warm weather, hence the need for very good hydration.  A dehydrated hiker is an unhappy and unsteady hiker, so it is important to drink fluids constantly, especially in the Hawaiian climate, where a typical day on the trail will be in the low to mid-80s F even warmer in the summer months.  Since I am a big guy, I require a lot of fluids; hence my system of choice is the camelback 100 oz reservoir which I fill and then slip into my daypack.  Cost is $24 from Amazon.com.
  2. Gaiters.  Hawaiian trails can get quite brushy and overgrown, so gaiters help protect the legs, prevent dirt and brush from getting into shoes/boots, and keep shoelaces from becoming undone by trailside bushes and brush.  An inexpensive pair can be purchased from Amazon for about $12.
  3. Hiking pole/staff.  I used to have problems with sore feet and knees and even had a bout with plantar faciitis.  The solution for me was to hike with a hiking pole.  What the pole helped me with is balance and cushioning.  A hiking pole, which can be cumbersome when trails are overgrown, is nonetheless a blessing for most hiking trails in the island, especially when conditions are muddy and trails are steep.  There are all kinds of hiking poles on the market but an inexpensive one can be purchased online for less than $20.
Yes, there are all kinds of  gadgets and gear available for hikers, but the three I have mentioned here will help make your Hawaii hiking experience a better one.