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First time gear recommendations

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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First time gear recommendations

Postby HikingBeste » Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:18 pm

Very much looking fwd to my first visit to Yosemite next month! 4 full days in the park, planning on as much hiking as we can get in.
Really debating between trail shoes vs hiking boots. Looking for any feedback/tips/recommendations! I feel like the ankle support may hinder me rather than help. Mainly bc I'm not used to it. However, thinking terrain wise, boots may be more stable? And i know it's all about personal fit, but any brand recommendations?

Also looking for any favorite day hike backpack feedback?

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Re: First time gear recommendations

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:43 pm

Unless you go out of your way to get domestically made boots, all the shoes and boots are made overseas. Pretty much all the same quality. Pick ones that fit and hike in them for a while before your trip to make sure you don't blister or have foot pain, and that'll do fine.

I used to wear trail runners all the time. After a decade of 100s of miles a year hiking in them tho, I am back in full grain leather boots with sturdy soles -- the Sierra granite and many thousands of steps later, I just can't wear flimsy shoes any more. Too much neuropathy and foot pain at night without some sturdy, thick soles. For a few days, anything will do - if you want to really protect your feet tho, better soles are the right choice. Ankle support is overrated. I roll my ankle in my boots whenever I'm tired at the end of a hike just the same. The real support is in frequent hiking and walking and other exercise to strengthen your ankles.

I've hiked with someone who used a Vons plastic bag as a day pack. Use what you want. I have smaller packs for shorter hikes, 20-30 liter pack for all day hikes where I want to take a little more - a layer or two, extra food or water, maybe an emergency bivy/contractor bag or two just in case. A water filter is helpful if you don't want to carry more than a couple liters for the day.
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Re: First time gear recommendations

Postby Phil » Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:32 am

I'm also an advocate for boots, but you might want to pin down just what your own needs are before you make a decision.

First of all, a trip planned for a month away is a relatively short period of time in which to break in a stiffer, higher quality hiking/backpacking boot that's made to give years and 100s of miles of service. And then there's price. All things considered for you personally, are you looking for a boot for just this trip, and maybe theoretically just occasional hikes thereafter? That's a big difference. But, if you want to know what I wear exclusively, it's Zamberlans; they do their job, they break in fast, they're comfortable and supportive (I use aftermarket footbeds though), but they're also comparatively expensive. I also use Asolos, but in far different circumstances and as specialty footwear that's beyond just standard hiking applications. However, Asolo also makes more of what I would consider entry level boots at a lower price. Basically that's it on what I have to say about boots.

I also use trail running shoes when called for. In this, I'm a fairly devout user of Asics. That said, in terms of what you need, you have those realistic break in considerations in whichever choice you make. With shoes you may give up some support and rugged function that a boot would provide, but with your trip looming, you're going to be able to break them in to where they'll be an asset sooner. Boot or shoe, regardless, you can find yourself damaged and miserable if it's not given the time to become what you need it to be. Don't forget that footcare/ function is also very much the product of a system, ie: socks/sock combos.

As far as daypacks are concerned, for little stuff, while backpacking, I use what's included as an insert of my main backpack. Primarily, I use an older, heavily modified Osprey React, and for longer days and necessarily bigger loads (like everybody else's crap), I use a fairly recent addition, an Osprey Skarab 30. Reasonable and effective compartmentalization is a great thing, but I just mostly want to have a big sack to dump my stuff into in order to get to it fast enough, hold what I need for the given circumstances, and that carries comfortably.
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