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Surprising new hobby: Hiking - wishlist

Husband and I have a new hobby as of mid-last summer, and it's embarrassing that we've both lived in Oregon for most of our lives and it's taken us this long to get into it.

It may seem early in the year for me to be excited about it, but we've had temps in the 60's and full sun the past three weekends and husband and I have been out every Saturday for our first hikes of the year! It's been so great, it's got us thinking, we've got to do this every weekend!

So, I'm so excited for nice hiking weather whenever I can get it and really looking forward to going out a lot this year and trying some new hikes.

But, still being newbies, we don't have any actual hiking gear and we've ended up carrying our water bottles, packing our keys awkwardly, and sometimes struggling in the totally wrong shoes. I've actually never bought hiking gear or much outdoor gear at all, so it's new to me to shop around for specific items for which I didn't have a use before!

Side note: shoe problems

The shoes have been a real issue. I've done our hikes in flat, rigid Converse (they give me blisters after a few miles and have no traction), super structured ancient trail running shoes (the arches are so high and supportive, they make my feet hurt), and Nike Free running shoes (even these had too much arch support, and not much traction).

I've had back and neck problems for ages, and I once years ago got custom orthotics that to raise my arches and supposedly help my back. Well, after a couple years of functional movement training (and after reading Katy Bowman's blog posts about feet and footwear and listening to her on lots of podcasts), my back is much better with more muscle and my feet are most comfortable barefoot or in minimal shoes. I wear flats to work every day, and usually wear canvas slip-ons on the weekends, but now that I go hiking sometimes, I want something with laces and traction! But not as much support as my old running shoes or a thick leather hiking boot. So I've been doing my research. (I found these tips in this post on minimalist footwear for backpackers (and part 2, with some elements to look for) and those, plus Amazon reviews from die-hard minimalist shoe wearers on hiking shoes, have been helpful.)

My hiking wishlist!

It's hard to bite the bullet and just order the stuff already!! so I welcome your tips or recommendations on hiking shoes, packs, etc. and how to find hikes!

Here are some goods I have my eye on!

  1. Vivobarefoot Women's Neo Trail Running Shoe. I think I've seen these on two or three other hikers in Forest Park! They look like a great balance between hiking/grip-heavy shoe and a minimalist, easy movement shoe.
  2. New Balance Women's WX20v3 Minimus Cross-Training Shoe. For drier days or flatter hikes/walks, these look great.
  3. Forest Park (image source). We hiked up to the Pittock Mansion from the Hoyt Arboretum and from the 29th Avenue entrance to Forest Park.
  4. My homemade sunflower seed/cashew nut butter. While I don't feel hungry while hiking (sympathetic nervous system response), I noticed when I had a couple tablespoons of this stuff before our hike one weekend, I felt much more satiated/stable blood sugar after! Very tasty protein and fat, great for pre-hike fuel!
  5. Hydration Pack Water Backpack + 2L Hydration Bladder. Thinking about ordering this one.
  6. The Wildwood Trail (image source). We want to explore this 30.2-mile trail all the way up north, in pieces! So far we've seen a lot of the southern parts.
  7. VIVO Hydration Water Pack Bag 2L Bladder Backpack in woodland camo. Another bladder backpack option, more storage capacity.
  8. Oregon State Parks--hiking around the rest of the state! One of my favorites was Saddle Mountain on the way to the coast.

Even as I write this, I'm so excited for the weekend when it's supposed to be sunny yet again and I hope we get out on another great hike!


  1. I've thought about hiking at times, but I'm kind of clumsy on land and would probably be that guy who falls off a cliff. So I lug old quilts around-- a better workout than you might think! :)

  2. woohoo! i love hiking around forest park. we definitely don't buy a lot of gear. a pair of pants that cover your legs, trail/running shoes, and a backpack are enough! good list!

  3. I hike a lot. It's taken me awhile to find shoes that I love (and I've lost many a toenail in the process - gross). I am currently a big fan of Pearl Izumi's trail runner line. I have a pair of the N2 model, which I found by accident, and now I've worn so much that I need to replace them. I like the cushion they offer without being too structured. I hike in the east, though, over a lot of rocks, so cushion is helpful. Also, they have great traction!

  4. We've been going on a lot of hikes too, and I, too, have been searching for some real hiking shoes! The weather has just been incredible, hasn't it? I find a lot of hikes just through reading other people's blogs. I like being able to see the terrain from a real hiker's viewpoint, and to see a lot of photos, versus the small, static official park images.

  5. I just wish I could do hiking in Oregon, the trees, the weather, have fun, my hiking its on Baja California, so we have the beach and also de country.

  6. What an excellent post! Thank you for the links on Katy. This is exactly what I've been looking for!!! If you ever want to hike Rainer or anywhere in WA, let me know and we can create a meet-up. I love photographing wildflowers and am always up for new hikes or sharing my favorite places with others.

  7. Love hiking so much but am waiting for all this stinky snow to melt in PA so it's not so sloppy!! Me and my boyfriend are the less-is-more type of hiker so we also don't have a whole lot a gear. For any recommendations, a good backpack is a must (mine is a Sierra my boyfriends is a tactile molle backpack)!! I have a CamelBak Magic Hydration Pack in pink for when I go biking I know theirs work really well. When hiking we just carry 32 oz frozen Nalgene bottles with us (mines a sparkly pink I got off Amazon). Oh! Also don't forget to take some plastic baggies to grab any litter you see while you're out there. It's an awesome hobby to take up, you'll love it!

  8. Worked at an outdoor store for ages as a buyer. Innov-8, the shoes popular with crossfitters, have great hiking shoes as well, and sometime you can find them on Clymb.com I hike in my innov-8 flight 195's which are for the gym, but they have hike specific shoes as well.

    For packs, I would look into a few different ones:

    the gregory tempo series comes in three different sizes


    Or the camelbak run series, very lighweight, has water etc.. they have lots of good options.

    If you ever get into bigger pack, I LOVE Osprey packs and have THREE! :) Great stuff!

  9. I actually wrote a post about basic shorter-hike hiking gear, you can find it here: http://theokeden.com/2015/01/22/favorite-gear-for-shorter-hikes-exploring-the-outdoors/ As far as hiking shoes/boots, most shoe experts do not recommend the minimalist kind of shoes because they don't provide enough support for your knees- they also don't support your ankles, which can be problematic during hiking. As odd as it might sound, the right kind of socks can make a BIG difference- get some socks made for hiking/outdoor sports and you'll feel the difference! I have had my Montrail boots for at least 5 years and they still look brand new (even after 3 weeks of hardcore hiking in the Andes Mountains and walking all over hilly Peru). I have an Osprey Sirrus 24 daypack- I would definitely recommend it (I'm pretty short and it's for women with a bit smaller of a frame- you definitely want one that's the right size/weight for your height/weight). Enjoy hiking!

  10. This is a great list! My husband and I love hiking, but we haven't done much since having kids. We plan to do much more this spring and summer as the weather gets nicer.

  11. Someone needs to write a guide of hiking trails that are just based on photos, because that would reel me in and motivate me to see the rewarding views or scenery!

  12. I usually just wear my minimalist running shoes when hiking, paired with wool hiking socks. I also make sure to wear a good sports bra and polyester wicking underwear and shirt. I like to wear a bandana in the summer to keep the sun off my neck and to be able to wipe the sweat out of my eyes so I don't get sunscreen in them.

  13. My friend and I always talk about going on "hikes," but we end up just thinking about what we'd want to buy to look good while doing it. I will say I love the area up by Washington Park for going on walks.

  14. I need some hiking shoes too! I always just end up wearing sneakers, which I know isn't the smartest idea.

  15. We've been prepping for hiking/camping trips. We're doing a practice run locally to test out the gear we've put together so far during Spring Break (next week). I don't know who's more excited...Hubby or the 8 year old. :o)


  16. I love to hike and have hiked many times. I've even done a back pack trip through El Capitan in Yosemite. There are certain hiking things that I really recommend. One is a good pair of hiking shorts and pants. You can get them at any outdoor store. I've some from REI. Another thing, I recommend is a Camelback. I own one and love it! The brand is great. My hiking shoes are high tech adventure, flex groove. They are a women's hiking shoe. I have had mine for about 6 years and they still are super durable and conferrable. I also recommend bringing food. Good food too eat when hiking is taking cliff bars with you. Also, if you really do longer hikes you can get a mini camping stove. It's super small and you can warm up soup or food like mac and cheese. You can even warm up tea. It's so small it will fit in any size back pack.

  17. Thanks for sharing!
    I try to keep my feet and ankles strong by being barefoot and wearing minimal shoes most of the time. I think if I were used to very supportive shoes it could be dangerous to hike in minimal boots or shoes. Transition is important!

    Socks, good tip!

  18. Ooh, wow, great list! Clymb.com is so overwhelming ;). You really know your stuff!



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