Hiking Tips

Woman hiking in the mountains with her dog
Man in orange vest holding a pair of boots on a beach

How to Break In Hiking Boots

More art than science, breaking in new hiking boots is about making proper introductions followed by a little awkward posturing and a few gentle adjustments.

Think of breaking in your hiking boots as a metaphor for preparing for any challenging hike: aiming for the summit your first time out is unrealistic. Building your endurance gradually with a series of less challenging hikes that grow more ambitious over time is a reasonable approach. In a nutshell, take your time: when you break in your boots slowly, not only will your feet thank you, but your boots will enjoy a longer life. Your hiking boots are arguably the most important piece of hiking gear in your kit; carefully conditioned, the right pair of hiking boots will provide years of comfortable and reliable service on the trail.

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Two women hiking in the desert with a lake in the background

What to Wear Hiking

A walk in the woods is an excellent way to retreat and regroup from the hectic pace of everyday life.

And for those Type A personalities among us, a demanding hike up and down a mountain is even better. Regardless of how you approach it, your hike will end up being much more enjoyable — and safer — if you are outfitted properly. Here’s what you need.

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Three people on a hike at the top of a hill

Hiking Boots vs. Hiking Shoes

If you’ve done any hiking at all, especially in a changeable climate, you know that your choice of footwear is crucial.

Many casual hikers start out thinking their regular sneakers will work fine on the trail but quickly learn otherwise. For hiking on any terrain that’s not completely flat, groomed or manicured, you need proper hiking boots or hiking shoes. What’s the difference between hiking boots and hiking shoes? Which is the best choice?

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Three people on a hike in the woods with two dogs

How to Hike Safely With Your Dog

Any seasoned hiker who routinely hits the trail with a canine companion knows having their beloved dog along for the adventure elevates the experience. Enjoying the reward of stunning vistas during a long hike takes on an added measure of joy with your tail-wagging friend by your side. However, backcountry treks with your dog require an added measure of preparation and awareness. Read on for tips to follow before you hit the trailhead and during your hike so you and your furry best pal can make the most of your outing.

Dog in a harness looking out over a vista

The Most Dog-Friendly National Parks

Pets are allowed in all of the national parks to some degree or another, but there are usually strict regulations on where you can go with your four-legged friend. There are, however, national parks where you and your dog can savor nature’s grandeur safely and fully. If the thought of hiking with your dog past stunning vistas or through primeval forests captures your imagination, read on to discover the best national parks to visit with your best pal and how to prepare for these walks of a lifetime.

Scenic vista of pines and mountains

What to Do in a Bear Encounter with your Dog

The best kind of encounter between a bear and a dog is no encounter at all. The single biggest problem for a bear—in his territory and in your own back yard—is an unleashed dog. However well trained the dog, or however well he responds to you in a normal situation, it’s not enough in most emergencies involving a bear. And while bear attacks are unlikely and rare, a three-year study of 92 attacks in North America showed fully half of them involved a dog off leash.

Hiker in a mountain at sunrise

Hiking Tips for Beginners

If you’ve never ventured beyond the paved walkways at your local park, don’t be daunted.

If you’ve been struck with a newfound yearning for a walk beyond your backyard into the backcountry, lace up your hiking boots and follow that impulse. Hiking is profoundly healthy for both your mind and body. Researchers have found that getting out and walking in nature can mitigate symptoms of depression, increase your attention span, and improve your overall fitness level. And those benefits aren’t reserved solely for seasoned hikers taking multi-day treks through difficult terrain.

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Family sits around campfire in wooded mountains under the stars

How to Build a Perfect Campfire

For many outdoor enthusiasts there’s no greater source of pride than mastering the art of building a perfect campfire.

Pride notwithstanding, how to safely and efficiently build a functional campfire is something everyone should know.

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