Preparing for a Hike in Colorado

I used to hike a lot on my own when I lived here 4 years ago. But upon moving back I realized how unprepared I was for hiking again. Not to mention I was wildly out of shape, but I couldn’t remember what I actually needed to bring for an all-day hike. I mean I guessed but found I was missing several basics.

Hiking Colorado, 2013

Always check the weather. Pack for the potential weather, not what the weather says. This kinda comes with time and knowledge. Spring in Colorado can be pretty unpredicatable. So while it’s sunny and warm now, it could easily be snowing in an hour, pack for that. But remember cotton kills. The rule here in Colorado is to avoid cotton because while the day could be warm and make you sweat but when the temps drop cotton saturated with sweat will begin to freeze and can cause hypothermia.

Hiking alone? Tell someone where you’re going. Hiking with a buddy, still tell someone where y’all are going. That unpredictable spring weather is dangerous and if you aren’t home by a certain time, it’s good to know where to start looking or send help in an emergency.

So, a few things to keep in mind.
1) Pack it in, Pack it out- trash bags are always good to keep in your pack. They easily double as a poncho or can be used as a shelter in an emergency. Not to mention their intended purpose.
2) Food & Water- take more than you think you need. Again, worst case scenario also be prepared for twice as long as you plan to be gone for.
3) First Aid Kit- have a fully stocked first aid kit, including a flashlight, extra pair of socks (can be used as mittens or replace your socks), hat, thermal blanket, battery pack to recharge your phone,
4) Fully charged phone & Full tank of gas
Again, if you get lost a fully charged phone and tank of gas can save your life.
5) Bear Bells
Take bear spray or wear bear bells when you plan on being out in remote areas. Don’t want to buy bear bells? Jingle bells on pipe cleaners are perfect and work well in a pinch. So if you hear someone jingling down the trail, it’s probably me.

Next Week: Hiking with a dogs

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