Hiking for Beginners 5 Basic Gear Recommendations

Girl hiking in the fall with trees behind Fall hiking at Eva Lake Trail in Mount Revelstoke National Park, BC

Gear Recommendations for Those New to Hiking

Basic hiking gear that can be used on any trail

Hiking for beginners gear recommendations - So you finally decide to take the jump and try out hiking in Canada?! From the breathtaking views, the surrealness of the quietness, and that feeling you can only get when you're outside, hiking will become your new favourite hobby. However, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed by all these 'hiking gear' options and aren't even sure where to start? Here are my 5 basic gear recommendations, regardless of where you hike or the season, you will always use them:

Hiking Gear for Beginners 

1. Hiking backpack
Invest in a backpack that has a hip belt, fits your back nicely, and is able to fit everything you will need for a day hike in your area (snacks, water, extra clothes). For this reason sore shoulders and back can make for a long hike.

Budget Option: purchase one that can be used for different occasions (mine is a hiking bag, overnight bag, weekend trip bag).

2. Hiking footwear
This will be a personal choice and all footwear should be tried on before purchasing. Therefore the type of footwear you buy (waterproof, boot, shoe, etc) will depend on the terrain and climate. When I lived in Hong Kong, I chose non-waterproof, breathable shoes with a bit of grip on the outsole (bottom of the shoe) as most trails were either on pavement or really well-worn paths and the humidity made your feet sweat. In other words look for footwear that are sturdy, give support, and are comfortable on your feet.

Budget Option: purchase shoes instead of boots that can be worn for other occasions and upgrade once you become more involved in hiking.

3. Insoles

Probably not a hiking gear item you would have thought of but most insoles that come with your shoes aren't always the greatest and, more or less, are there to give it a finished look. In particular, take a look at what your feet need (high arch, shock absorbant) and pick one that's suitable for you.

4. Athletic clothing (no cotton)
If you go to the gym or do any type of exercise, you probably own some of these already. Outdoor clothing should be wick-away and fast drying, making the hike more enjoyable.

Budget Option: lots of hiking stores have clearance sections in the store or online or offer sales during long weekends. Therefore keep an eye out and order your gear then.

5. Reusable 1L water bottle
Another item you may already have and something that can be reused over and over (I've had mine for over 3 years). Why 1L? That is what is recommended for you to take on hikes.


*It is highly recommended to test/wear all gear first before doing a hike*
Golden Larches at Hyde Mountain Lookout Trail in Sicamous, BC

Sticking to the Basics

Let's not let the overwhelming feeling of which gear to purchase prevent you from hiking when all you need to start are these 5 basic items. Start with these beginner recommendations and upgrade as you venture out more.

Looking for more tips on hiking? Check out Top 10 Tips for Hiking in Hot Weather or Top 10 Tips for Hiking in Cooler Weather

Hiking for Beginners 5 Basic Gear Recommendations 

Hiking Gear for Canada

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Comments 5

EH Canada : Support on Wednesday, 24 November 2021 05:50

Reusable water bottle - I second that! Another great article Melanie.

Reusable water bottle - I second that! Another great article Melanie.
Melanie Adair on Saturday, 27 November 2021 04:38

I've seen way too many of them left on trails around the world. Mine was $20 and I purchased it 3 years ago and it has been through a lot.

I've seen way too many of them left on trails around the world. Mine was $20 and I purchased it 3 years ago and it has been through a lot.
Janel Coe on Wednesday, 24 November 2021 20:02

Great post - and I appreciate the budget options angel)

Great post - and I appreciate the budget options :(angel)
Melanie Adair on Saturday, 27 November 2021 04:40

Thanks! I know some of those items are already expensive so you might as well get the most out of them.

Thanks! I know some of those items are already expensive so you might as well get the most out of them.
Sonya Richmond on Saturday, 11 December 2021 03:28

Great advice!

Great advice!
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