Hey Everyone! Hope y'all had a great week. This weeks blog might be more of a hiking blog than a pure photography blog but there is some photography in it as well. This week I want to talk about what I have been doing a lot of the last few months. Day Hiking. The gear that I use for this is kept to the minimum. I'll be talking about the gear that I use when I take a day hike and or a photography scouting trip. They are almost the same except for a few items. I haven't really done many photography scouting trips because I haven't had the time before. I would have to get to work or this would be my only chance to check out this cool waterfall or what ever I was looking at. Now that I'm retired I have the time I will be doing more photography scouting trips to find places to shoot and then come back when the light is just right.
Day Hiking, Here recently I have been using day hikes as my exercise to get me back in shape. I am fortunate to have a state park only 10 miles from my front door which makes a hike real easy. For exercise I prefer going on a hike instead of just urban walking down a sidewalk. Of course any type of walking is good for you. I like it because the terrain is uneven and your body needs to use more muscles to help keep you in balance. I usually take the day hike with my faithful companion Forrest the Wonder Dog and he really likes the hikes. I think he likes the smells more than anything. I have been going out to this state park for 10 years now and use it for training and trying out new gear for hiking or backpacking. I'm the guy that you will see at this little park with a big pack on my back hiking the trails. I'm trying to get used to the weight before I go on a backpacking trip. But for day hikes I use a small pack made by Mountain Smith. Its a 25 liter bag and its plenty big enough to carry what I need on a day hike. So lets get into the list of things I take on a day hike.
Backpack, Like I said earlier I use a Mountain Smith Backpack but you could use almost any type of pack that can carry the essentials that you will need for a hike.
Clothing, Depending on the weather I'll have maybe gloves, stocking cap, rain coat, fleece sweater. I tend to dress cold because after you get walking you warm up. But I have always the room in my pack if I need to take off a coat and carry it if I get too hot. What I wear is also dependent of the weather but I never wear 100% cotton for hiking. If you sweat the cotton will stay wet for a long time and could cause hypothermia. The old saying is that Cotton Kills. I use blends or water wicking material that will dry quickly if I get wet for some reason. Almost anything from expensive hiking clothes to Walmart brand as long as it doesn't hold water. A good hat is also good to have. It can be a baseball cap or a big brimmed hat. I usually have a baseball hat on.
Footwear. Probably one of the most important clothing choices is footwear. This is not where to save money and skimp. You want good socks and shoes that fit properly. The socks preferably wool socks cushion your feet and wick water away to prevent blisters. Shoes shouldn't be too tight because your feet swell with prolonged walking. Try to break shoes in before taking a long hike . Wear them around the house or to the store to get them comfortable before a long hike.
Food and Water. Keeping hydrated is very important especially during hot humid weather. Keeping some sort of food with you like a power bar or something sweet if your a diabetic and your blood sugar gets to low will help you get out of the woods. I always have these things with me.
Toiletries. I always have a kit that has some toilet paper or wet wipes with me . If I'm out many miles and the urge hits me I can get off trail and take care of business during an emergency. A small first aid kit with some band aids is also handy if you get a cut or blister. I also always have chap stick and bug repellent and sun screen. I buy these in small one use packets to keep the weight down.
Medications, Any medications that you might need. Tumms , aspirin etc...
Trekking poles. This may have been the best purchase that I have ever made for hiking. I'm not talking about a big stick but special designed poles kind of like ski poles that will help you keep your balance and help up and down hills. They will save your knees and give you the confidence to look at your surroundings instead of just the trail in front of you. I have one that I use when Forrest the Wonder Dog is with me and on small hikes and a pair of poles when I'm taking longer hikes over 5 miles and when I'm backpacking. The single one that I have has a mounting spot on it where you could put a small tripod or camera mount and use it as a bipod . I mount a Go-Pro when I go some where new and I can quickly turn it on or use the pole as a selfie stick and photograph myself. With my double pole set up I have a little device that I don't even know if its made anymore but its called a Stix Pix and you can attach a GoPro Mount or a Phone Mount as I have shown here. This attaches to the pointy end of the Trekking Pole and you can use as a selfie stick to video or photograph.
Camera- My main Hiking/Scouting Camera is the Canon G7XMII that I have talked about in the past. Its a great little point and shoot that I use as my EDC Camera (Every day Carry) . This is the link to the blog about it. EDC (Every Day Carry) Camera It is small and I have a peak design clip on my backpack strap that I can attach it to for easy access.
Fanny Pack. I know , I know nobody likes a fanny pack. Except me. LOL I like the convince of having it sitting right in front. I usually have my phone , wallet and keys in the pack . If I'm somewhere I need a map the map goes there and a snack. If its cold I usually have a vest of some sort that has lots of pockets so I don't need the fanny pack.
Forrest Stuff. If Forrest the Wonder Dog is going with me I have a collapsable bowl , poop bags, Leash, His Harness , and Jacket if colder than 40 degrees. When we hike to keep my hands free I have a small belt that I wrap around me and on the end of his leash is a carabiner that I hook to the belt and then I'm hands free. The carabiner will slide around me on the belt. I don't hook to my pants belt because it tugs at your pants if he see's a squirrel or something. It's much easier with the separate belt. You need to practice with this set up so you don't get tangled up in the leash and trip. Small commands like Stop, Come do really come in handy. Its taken a while but I can tell Forrest to stop when we get to a road without touching the leash. Of course if you're on a longer hike water and snacks you'll have to tote.
For Scouting I usually have all of the above and add a Go-Pro to the top of the Trekking pole that I talked about earlier. I'll also take a mini tripod that I can use for my EDC camera or the Go-Pro. I rarely take a big boy camera unless I know that there is a waterfall or some feature that I know that I'm hiking to just for the photo. Then I would add the camera and maybe a tripod. But usually if I'm going that far I will take my Landscape backpack with all my gear and it has room for all of the gear mentioned above.
Well that's about it for Day Hikes and Scouting Gear. Until next week get out and take a hike and Shoot!