Summer Camp Recommendations
Thu, 03/19/2020 - 09:00
Here's a common question that arrives to us from camp parents at this time of year: “I'd like to start getting our gear. Can you recommend a brand and type of hiking boot? She'd like to break them in before camp.”
There are many brands and types of hiking boots for backpacking; trying them on for comfort is best. They do not need to be fancy, but should be comfortable when trying them on for the first time. There shouldn't be too much of a "breaking in" period; they should have a lot of comfort from the start!
A heavy-duty backpacking boot may be too much boot for what we do at Alpengirl, while a low (no ankle support) trail shoe will be too little boot with not enough support. Waterproof or Gore-tex is not necessary.
Hiking boots should be worn in before camp begins: stiff new boots are a common cause of painful blisters during camp. Figuring out your preferred boot/sock combo and wearing your boots enough to begin to mold them to your feet is the best blister prevention in town.
There are great salespeople who can help fit your boot in-store, and show you awesome lacing techniques. They can also help you decide if you want to wear just 1 pair of hiking socks or if you want to try wearing a pair of hiking socks with a pair of liner socks. People have mixed feelings about wearing 1 or 2 pairs of socks; I prefer wearing one GOOD pair of hiking socks and no liner socks, while others want liner socks + hiking socks as they have found it helps them prevent blisters. If you know you are blister-prones, you can also try a liner with individual toes, to keep them from having a toe-blister party inside your boots. It's all about personal choice and comfort, and it's good to try different methods to find what works best for you! Here's more info on how to prevent blisters from the Washington Trails Association.
As the Alpengirl packing list suggests, you'll select 4 pairs of medium weight wool blend trail-hiking socks (no cotton socks.) Add an additional 2 pairs of synthetic, non-cotton liner socks if you like to layer your socks for blister prevention.
Here's an example of a hiking sock: Hiking Sock
Here's an example of a liner sock: Liner Sock
Other things to note about hiking socks - good ones cost around $10-$15/pair, but they tend to last a very long time! Also, when one goes missing the other is lonely, so don't forget to label everything coming to camp with you, even those trusty hiking socks!