Getting Ready for Summer Hiking Season

What are a few tips to get ready for the summer hiking season?

It’s getting to be that time of year where we all start dreaming of the trails we want to explore and the peaks we want to climb. There’s still snow in the mountains, but the flowers are out, the grass is green, and our summer adventures are just around the corner.

Besides the plain fact of just getting out there, we wanted to share some of things we do to get ready for the hiking season.

Check out those boots. See how your boots look after last season – if you need to get new ones, do it soon so you have plenty of time to see if they work or not. I usually like to get a new pair of insoles every season even if my boots are in good condition to make sure my feet are well supported. Also, if the boots are all leather, give them a good oil.

Get out the daypack. Go through your pack to make sure you have everything you need. A lot of the gear in my pack lives there for the entire summer season so it’s easy to get ready for the next outing. Below is a list of what I carry in my pack when I go out for an all-day hike.

  1. Rain gear – BOTH top and bottom because you never know when afternoon thunder storms will appear
  2. A light pull-over for cool mornings
  3. Small 1st aid kit that has plenty of blister care products
  4. Matches/lighter
  5. A couple of emergency granola bars when your lunch runs out but you still have many miles to go
  6. Hat and gloves – Only need to be light weight. This is particularly necessary for those early summer hikes when the weather might change.
  7. Sunscreen
  8. Pocket knife
  9. Bear Spray
  10. Water bottles or hydration system. We usually take about 64 oz. for a good day in the hills.
  11. Water filtration method if you will be refilling.
  12. Maps – either paper or GPS
  13. And the most important – FOOD! Can’t enjoy a long day hike without it.

Check that bear spray. If you are hiking in Griz or Black Bear country, you will want to carry bear spray. Make sure it isn’t expired, doesn’t have any dents, and that it still has a safety clip on it. If you have an old can, go out and practice spraying a time or two (be careful of your wind direction!)

Start getting outside. The best way to get in shape is to go on short hikes or walks several times a week. This will help get your legs in shape for those longer days on the trail. You can even wear your daypack to get used to carrying a little weight and to check that it is properly adjusted.

Explore your maps. I love starting the season by pouring over my maps and thinking of all the places I want to adventure. Then I think about when would be the best time to go there and who I might like to go there with. A little planning (and dreaming) goes a long way.


The lower elevation trails are opening up so now is a great time to start hitting the trail!

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