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new to hiking have questions


theniffs
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Ok, so Im a newb. I want to go hiking and take my dog along Ive found some good information the county parks in my surrounding area that allow me to bring her. I am overweight even though ive now lost 100 lbs. I have no idea what kind of shoes/boots and clothing to buy and cant even find most clothing at most of the sporting goods stores ive checked that sell my size (WTF fat ppl dont go outdoors?) We stumbled upon jacks peak county park in monterey last year while visiting the area geocaching and we had a wonderful time (even though it totally kicked our butts). Now that the weather is nice again we are ready for more punishment.

 

Right now im still needing to keep my trips short since im still not in the greatest shape. Also my dog is a little one she is about 10-12 lb mini rat terrier. I need recommendation where to start with shoes and if anyone can recommend a place to get some plus size clothing that would be nice (that doesnt throw me into sticker shock).

 

I also got a really nice prosumer digital camera and i was hoping to use Waymarking to find some nice views to take pics from in my area but was disapointed to see things like mcdonalds listed there and not really what i was looking for. Does anyone know of a site that lists those types of locations?

 

Thanks in advance.

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As far as shoes go, comfort and support are key, especially if overweight. A good jogging shoe is probably just fine. Consider a pair of lifts (eg, Spenco's) to prevent platar fascitis. (You may want to take the lifts along when buying shoes.)

 

As far as clothing goes, comfort is critical. My preference in summer is something other than jeans, which seem to cause a lot of chafing.

 

I find it helps to go to stores that cater to hunters and fishermen, and to stores that carry work clothes. (Around here in Wisconsin that would be Gander Mountain and Farm & Fleet). Their clientele skews bigger to begin with, and the clothes are cut to be comfortable during activities.

 

I assume you have checked out www.Waymarking.com?

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As far as shoes go, comfort and support are key, especially if overweight. A good jogging shoe is probably just fine. Consider a pair of lifts (eg, Spenco's) to prevent platar fascitis. (You may want to take the lifts along when buying shoes.)

 

As far as clothing goes, comfort is critical. My preference in summer is something other than jeans, which seem to cause a lot of chafing.

 

I find it helps to go to stores that cater to hunters and fishermen, and to stores that carry work clothes. (Around here in Wisconsin that would be Gander Mountain and Farm & Fleet). Their clientele skews bigger to begin with, and the clothes are cut to be comfortable during activities.

 

I assume you have checked out www.Waymarking.com?

 

Thanks for the suggestions. I did checkout Waymarking and i was disappointed to see one of the first hits in my area was a mcdonalds... obviously not what i was looking for. I will have to play around with it some more to see if i can get it to cough up what I was looking for.

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I typed in "Elk Grove, CA" and got a bunch (I left the first block blank) -- give it another whirl. Can't say that Waymarking is my cup of tea, but it is an interesting way to learn about a place (if just find out about where the good playgrounds and bars are). Good luck!

Edited by MikeB3542
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Ok, so Im a newb. I want to go hiking and take my dog along Ive found some good information the county parks in my surrounding area that allow me to bring her. I am overweight even though ive now lost 100 lbs. I have no idea what kind of shoes/boots and clothing to buy and cant even find most clothing at most of the sporting goods stores ive checked that sell my size (WTF fat ppl dont go outdoors?)

 

I'm an overweight backpacker and have had the same problems with clothing. Every one tells you to lose weight. To walk more. To get out there and do it. You get excited about idea and then you find out that the same people don't want to sell you the right gear in your size. Go figure! I finally found a site that carries a few items from Columbia in a lot of sizes. The I'll suggest a pair of the Titanium Omni Dry Zip Off Convertible Pants. There extremely comfortable and dry quick. Quick drying materiel is important. A lot of hikers have suffered from Hypothermia because of wet cotton clothing. They also have a shirt in the Omni Dry. Good boots will be extremely important. You want something with good ankle support to help with that extra weight, I like Merrells but just find some that fit well and work for you. Also take my advise and get a pair of good wool hiking socks and polypropylene sock liners. Increased weight means increased friction in your boots which means increased blisters. The liners will keep your feet dry and help eliminate most of that friction. One other thing that is a little, um, personal. Get some boxer briefs that still have support but have longer tight fitting legs. This will help reduce friction in your thighs and prevent rashes and blisters. This site also carries some good rain gear, gore-tex jackets, winter jackets and the like.

 

http://www.bigmen.com/

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For footwear I highly recommend finding a certified Phil Oren boot fit specialist. Following the link below you can find out more about the Phil Orin fit system and find a local outfitter who has gained certification. These outfitters will not sell you a bad boot. Plan to spend a couple of hours getting the right fit, learning about socks, learning how to lace boots properly, and learning how to care for your investment. I say investment because most of these dealers command full retail but once you are properly fitted you will leave satisfied that it was money well spent.

 

http://www.fitsystembyphiloren.com/index2.html

 

Next for clothing, http://www.sierratradingpost.com/ has great prices and carries a lot of Big and Tall sizes. When choosing hiking/backpacking clothing cotton is the devil. I personally don't have a thread of cotton on me when I am backpacking. Make sure you follow this rule all the way down to you’re under garments. Also check the big box marts who often sell discounted wicking shirts which work nearly as well as the over priced name brand shirts sold in the high end sporting good stores.

 

The nice thing about the wicking material is that it is light and dries fast. You can wash the clothing out along the trail and hang it from your pack while you are hiking or in camp at the end of the day and in a short period of time it s dry. This reduces the amount of clothes you need to carry.

 

One other recommendation I have is to use stuff sacks to conserve space and organize your pack.

 

I hope this helps!

.

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Thanks everyone for all the information. Im actually female but I will pass a lot of this along to my husband as well. I went looking at shoes/boots and see many of them are very breathable which is good but the running shoes im using now are as well and the amount of dust that gets inside the shoe because of it ...

 

Should I just suck this up and not be concerned with it, realize this is just part of hiking or should I avoid all these ones that have the mesh all over.

 

We went out for about 4 hours yesterday even the dog is wore out :) It was supposed to rain today but it looks pretty clear to me I wonder if I can get them out to some short ones :anicute:

 

I need to log our geocaches from yesterday. Oh and I got some wonderful pictures with my new camera... including ones of a very large black widow, wild turkeys and black tailed deer.

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Thanks everyone for all the information. Im actually female but I will pass a lot of this along to my husband as well. I went looking at shoes/boots and see many of them are very breathable which is good but the running shoes im using now are as well and the amount of dust that gets inside the shoe because of it ...

 

Should I just suck this up and not be concerned with it, realize this is just part of hiking or should I avoid all these ones that have the mesh all over.

 

We went out for about 4 hours yesterday even the dog is wore out :anicute: It was supposed to rain today but it looks pretty clear to me I wonder if I can get them out to some short ones ;)

 

I need to log our geocaches from yesterday. Oh and I got some wonderful pictures with my new camera... including ones of a very large black widow, wild turkeys and black tailed deer.

First of all, kudos to you for getting out there! You received some really great replies here.

 

My wife had the same problem as you did with finding off the rack clothing and we did a lot of online ordering and returns to get the right fit. We discovered places like Eddie Bauer will go one step further, and order it for you, let you know when it is in the store and allow you to try it in their dressing room and decide whether or not this is right for you with no obligation what-so-ever.

 

Hiking is a dusty sweaty effort. Breathability is only part of the equation for foot comfort. The running shoes will do you fine for a while, but you're going to find they will break down rather quickly and your feet will suffer for it if they blow out deep on your hiking adventure. I had that happen with a pair of medium weight hiking shoes on a particularly tough hike (I'm the one on the left below) and it was all I could do to finish out the hike. But yah, expect the dust, dirt, mud and muck to be part of the hiking experience. The only thing you can do here is make sure you have shoes that can handle the abuse while providing as much comfort as possible. I don't expect you to go out and do the same thing I did on this and other hikes, but how your feet feel at the end of the hike will determine how quickly you'll be willing to get back out there again after the stiff muscles are ready and willing. :)

 

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First, allow me to give you more kudos! And don't let the idiots in the mall stores wear you down.

4 Things I recommend:

 

Shoes Here in Illinois, the place to go for hiking shoes is The Walking Company. They have stores in a few of the malls, and I think they can be found online.

They carry hiking shoes, walking shoes, and even the hiking sandals in large sizes, as well as my size, a freakishly impossible to fit AAA width. (Yep, my problem is the other extreme. Every blasted store sells D and DD widths, nobody sells narrows.) Best bet is to check their store locator so you can actually try something on. Mail order for shoes sucks. I've tried it. LL Bean has no grasp on how women's feet are shaped. Trust me.

 

Clothes As far as clothing goes, just get something in your size that's comfy and can take a beating. When I go out to the caves and waterfalls at Starved Rock and Mathiesen state parks, I just get into an old Tshirt and either jeans or cargo shorts. I get muddy and sweaty, and if it gets permanently stained, it's only going to be worn for hiking anyway.

 

Bag I also recommend a good day pack or a rugged messenger bag that can be carried across your torso (so it won't get caught on tree branches). I picked up a decent sized Jansport messenger at a local luggage store on at a discount so deep it could've done voice work for James Earl Jones. Look for tough canvas, with enough room to carry your wallet, phone, camera, and any absolutely essential items. Remember, you don't really need a makeup kit out there, but you might need bandaids or a bee sting kit if you're allergic. Helps if your pack or bag has a place to stow a water bottle. If it doesn't there are carriers for those too.

 

Stick Next thing to get if you're serious about it is a good hiking stick that can bear some of your weight. If you get winded or have knee or ankle problems, you're going to be glad you brought it. Hubby's knees tend to do odd things at the most inopportune moments, and he had to borrow mine.

There are sticks that look like ski poles and are extendable, and there are also the nice oak walking sticks with smooth grips on them. If you get a wooden one, here's a hint -- use tennis racket tape on the spot where you will be gripping it. Lowers the chance of hand blisters.

 

I've been hiking, camping, and ski trekking for almost 25 years, and I'm glad to see a newbie discovering the kind of joy that it has given me. Congrats! Oh, and don't forget to take a camera! Please, post some pictures on the geocaching site!

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One other investment that could really help would be a pair of hiking poles if you're at all unsteady on rougher trails. I took them up as I came closer to knee surgery and now use them all the time for the added stability on rough trails and particularly crossing streams or muddy bogs. You can just strap them to your bag in good terrain and they're very light and most can be collapsed down to a very short length for convenience.

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You guys are all so wonderful. Thank you so much for all the info. We had a great time out on Saturday and now my niece and her ex boyfriend are curious what is this geocaching! So we are going to figure out where we are all going the Saturday before Easter.

 

There were tons of wildflowers out.

 

Here is a small sampling of the pictures I took.

Edited by theniffs
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Oh and here is my before pic. The reason geocaching really appealed to me was that its like exercising without necessarily realizing that you are exercising and I was enjoying walking.

 

This is one of the few times you can say Congrats on your loss! :antenna: My reasons for caching are about the same, I've walked up and down Old Quebec City geocaching and didn't even notice that I had walked 24Km in two days! :antenna:

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Thanks! It really feels wonderful to be able to get out and see so much that I never would or could have seen before. I look forward to so many more trips even if they are half day trips. I dont know if I will ever be one that likes to go camping Im too spoiled but there is plenty to do without staying in the woods overnight. Already thinking of where can I go that is not far this weekend!

 

I changed the page up above with my pics the new url is here

Edited by theniffs
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Bravo on getting in shape, and great pix! If chafing is a problem for either of you, there's a product called Glide that we recommend to our Boy Scouts. It comes in a roll on, like a deodorant stick, and it really helps. I also highly recommend trekking poles, and use two, not one. They've really helped my knees, and they're great for water crossings. You can get really expensive ones, but the $15 pair I got at Wally World are doing just fine.

 

If you're looking for photo ops, search for Virtual Geocaches in your area. These were discontinued when the Waymarking site was begun. They show up on the geocaching maps as little ghosts. Some of them are as lame as McD's, but many were "placed" in National Parks and other special places that do not allow traditional container caches.

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...When choosing hiking/backpacking clothing cotton is the devil. I personally don't have a thread of cotton on me when I am backpacking. Make sure you follow this rule all the way down to you’re under garments.

Everybody gets hung up on the "cotton kills" thing, and yes, in many circumstances cotton clothing is a bad idea. However, on a hot summer day it can be the most appropriate thing. On a fall, winter, or spring hike you can be sure I've got wicking materials and fleece or wool, depending on the temperature... but on a summer hike I'm going to be in a cotton T-shirt (though on an overnighter I'll have something else to change into as well). Most of the year I hike in cotton zip-off trousers... but have an extra pair of fleece in my pack (and polypro long johns if it's really cold).

 

The dangerous thing (which really does kill) is to go out and work up a sweat in cotton on a chilly day, then have nothing else to change into when you find yourself stuck outside and start to cool down.

 

Boots... every boot manufacturer builds their boots on a "last", which is basically a metal foot they form the leather around. How closely the last matches your own foot determines how well the boots will fit. Once you find a bootmaker whose boots fit your feet, chances are all of their boots will fit. In my case (I have fairly narrow feet), I've found that Merrell boots fit me... I can mail order Merrell boots in my size and I know they'll fit. OTOH. I've never tried on a Vasque boot that fit... but my hiking buddy (who has wider feet) swears by them, and buys nothing else.

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My biggest issue with cotton, particularly in the summer, is with chafing and blisters. Cotton gets damp and stays damp, and that's where the trouble really gets going. Poly is ideal for socks and briefs. To wash, rinse in water, wring and they are dry.

 

Blue jeans are similarly inviting disaster. A lighter poplin cotton/poly blend for shirts and trousers is ideal. Good tip regarding Glide roll-on.

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My biggest issue with cotton, particularly in the summer, is with chafing and blisters. Cotton gets damp and stays damp, and that's where the trouble really gets going. Poly is ideal for socks and briefs. To wash, rinse in water, wring and they are dry.

 

Blue jeans are similarly inviting disaster. A lighter poplin cotton/poly blend for shirts and trousers is ideal. Good tip regarding Glide roll-on.

 

Great points, this is exactly correct. Suffer from chafing one time on a multi day hike and you will be convinced to leave your cotton at home, poly undergarments are essential. Poly sock liners along with correct boot selection serve the same purpose for your feet to avoid blistering. Try washing a cotton shirt in a stream. If you hang it off the back of your pack it may be dry in two days, do the same with a poly shirt and it's dry within two hours. If you are looking to purchase clothing specific for backpacking and hiking stick with poly, fleece, and wool.

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