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by Diane Spicer
Using a spring hiking gear list makes good sense during the early season of fast changing weather and variable trail conditions.
Regardless of where you hike, spring can bring windy gusts, cold precipitation, lots of mud, and fog.
Get ready to meet those conditions and understand what to wear hiking for spring conditions.
Those are the 3 pillars of your basic spring hiking gear list.
To begin, let's stick with the basics of comfort and safety. We'll add in fun items at the end of our list building.
But if you're just starting off your hiking year with a spring hike or two, don't be caught off guard by how chilly it can be - especially if you're hiking under evergreen tree cover or in a place where spring cloud cover is the norm.
In the spring season, more daylight hours and modulated temperatures will make your trail time longer.
So you need to bring extra food and water (as the Ten Essentials preaches).
And you need to be careful about gauging the weather.
To stay comfortable on a chilly hike, choose a spring hiking outfit that will layer easily to provide at least 3 layers between you and the cold spring drizzle.
Not sure which brands and styles are best? Read these tips on exactly what to wear hiking.
In spring, you'll be facing winter run off and snow melt.
That means wet conditions for your feet, along with unstable trail conditions such as mud holes, rock slides, eroded tread, slippery tree roots, and swollen impassable creeks.
Waterproof footwear that comes up over your ankles is the way to go, quite literally.
If you plan to rock hop through the mud and roaring creeks, think again: any time you hop, you put yourself at risk for a fall.
much better to blast through the mud, and carefully pick your way
around dicey sections of trail, in snug boots with good tread.
If a water crossing looks too wild for you, do the smart thing: turn around.
If you hike where mosquitoes are a nuisance, spring is a great time to check your supply of insect repellents.
Also consider whether or not to bring a bug net on your hike. It weights nothing, but can keep you sane and safe from the blood thirsty hordes.
Spring is Mother Nature's time to wake up and stretch.
Revel in all of the shades of green surrounding you!
It's also the time to catch a glimpse of spring babies:
Bringing along a field guide on a spring hike adds a lot of enjoyment when you spot a plant you'd like to name, or a bird perched along the trail.
With the wild spring weather, rainbows are a common occurrence, so have your camera along in your hiking camera pack.
Every hiker has a particular set of "must have" hiking equipment, depending on what spells comfort, safety and fun for you on the trail.
Don't be shy about adding the gear that makes you feel great on a spring hike.
My favorite comfort item on a spring hike?
A piping hot drink to enjoy when my hands and feet get cold.
Or brew up a fresh cup with your JetBoil!
You might be surprised by the amount of calories your body will burn through just to keep your internal temperature steady.
And that translates into a huge appetite.
Be prepared with extra portions of your hiking lunch.
These tips will get you ready.
And take these hiking snack suggestions seriously - they're chosen for taste but also for nutrient density to keep you going.
That's the bottom line, isn't it?
Enjoy the changeable weather, the fresh green sprouts of life, and the sounds & smells of Nature waking up after a long sleep.
Laugh at the mud on your pants.
Take lots of pictures, and be sure to post your favorite spring time hike here, for all to enjoy.
Lots more hiking tips here!
Spring Hiking Gear List
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