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Wearing the wrong socks can land the most seasoned of hikers in quite an uncomfortable position. Therefore, it is imperative to pay adequate attention while shopping for this seemingly menial piece of clothing.
Buying Guide for Hiking Socks
It may sound a little preposterous to have a ‘buying guide’ for socks, but rest assured that you’ll be thankful for this information during that unexpected lash of rain on your next trip in the mountains.
Consider the Material
Say no to cotton.
It’s natural to prioritize comfort and opt for cotton socks, but this fabric can be a nightmare for hikers. It is a poor insulator, it does not dry fast enough, and it may cause blisters due to friction.
100% wool is no good either.
Woolen socks provide amazing warmth and cushioning. They have better wicking properties (the ability to draw moisture away from the skin), as compared to cotton. But they don’t dry fast enough, and may feel itchy to some.
It’s better to skip silk.
Silk socks are lightweight and airy. They also wick well, and offer comfort to the wearer. The downside, however, is that they are quite delicate, and also very expensive.
Synthetic blends are the best buy.
Synthetic socks can be made of elastic, acrylic, spandex, polyester, nylon, GORE-TEX, or COOLMAX fibers. These provide comfort through cushioning, possess good wicking properties, and can take a lot of wear and tear. Another plus point is that they are easy on the pocket as well. When blended with cotton, wool, and silk, they enhance the qualities of the natural fibers.
Types of Hiking Socks
As the name suggests, these are meant for colder climes, and are usually worn over a pair of liners. They provide considerable warmth and cushioning.
Here, the cushioning is slightly lesser than the heavy-weights, but these are also worn over a pair of liners, and are known to provide warmth.
These are comfortable and light, and are recommended for short hikes in the summer season.
As you already know by now, liners are usually worn under heavier socks for their wicking properties. But they can be worn by themselves at times, if the weather demands it.
How to Choose Hiking Socks
Armed with this information, it will probably be easier to make a choice. But while you’re in the store trying on some pairs, do not make a hasty decision. Check for the comfort of the elastic, along with the padding on the underside. They should also provide adequate support to the arch of your foot.
Besides these qualities, look out for the following factors as well.
The first point to consider while making a purchase is the weather. Hikes in peak summertime (when the weather is hot and arid) call for synthetic liners, which are good at wicking the moisture away from your skin, especially if your feet are prone to perspiration. For winter hikes, you may need to carry socks made of a thicker fabric like synthetic blended with wool or silk to keep your feet warm. You may want to wear these over a pair of liners to maintain warmth.
Highly absorbent materials tend to be thin, so you can never have a pair that keeps your feet dry, and provides warmth at the same time. Therefore, if your feet tend to perspire heavily, donning liners underneath your regular socks is advisable. By doing so, you will not be compromising on providing insulation for your feet.
Your comfort level is of utmost importance, in tandem with the necessities mentioned above. As an individual, you may be allergic to certain materials, so you need to test them at home before you venture out on a hike.
Duration of the hike
Long hikes call for extra pairs of socks, of course, but you need to also consider the factors mentioned above. If your hike includes more than one overnight stay, ensure that you keep the changing weather conditions in mind, and pack accordingly.
So, the next time you go sock shopping, remember that it isn’t such a trivial matter as it is made out to be. Keep these points in mind and make the right choice.
The weather largely dictates the kind of clothing you should pack. Layered clothing will help you to adapt to the changes in the varying moods of Mother Nature!
–The best material for hiking gear in the summer is synthetic fiber like, polyester or polyamide.
–Start with a base layer of comfortable innerwear. Opt for a short-sleeved top and three-quarter length leggings.
–For the next layer of clothing, go in for a zip up jacket and comfortable trousers.
–Carry a jacket that is windproof as well as rainproof, for precaution against the natural elements.
–Wear a pair of liner socks and carry an extra pair along with you.
–Wear a thermal top with long sleeves and full-length leggings over your innerwear.
–As a second layer, go in for a fleece jacket with long sleeves or a woolen turtleneck. Over the leggings, opt for pants that are water-resistant and thick enough to protect you against the cold.
–For the third layer, take along a jacket that will act as a shield against the wind and rain, if required.
–While hiking in winter, two pairs of wool socks and two pairs of gloves are recommended.
Spring and Autumn
–The base layer includes a non-cotton top. Wearing leggings is optional depending on how cold you feel.
–The second layer includes full-length pants and an insulated jacket that is weatherproof.
–Carry a fleece jacket along with you.
–Wear two pairs of socks; woolen ones over synthetic ones.
**Always ensure that you wear a base layer of clothing made of fabrics that absorb sweat. This layer is the closest to your skin and fabrics that do not absorb sweat will make you feel sticky. Polyester microfiber is suited for the warm summers, whereas polypropylene is preferable for the cool winters.
**The outermost layers should be windproof and water-resistant. Look for a comfortable jacket with several pockets.
**Avoid wearing denim. Instead, opt for special hiking pants that are easily available in stores. Shorts can come in handy, so always keep an extra pair in your bag.
**The kind of footwear that you choose is extremely important. This would depend upon the climate and the kind of terrain you are about to explore. For example, during the rains, choose waterproof shoes with a sturdy sole that will enable you to get a better grip. Always look for the cushioning in the footwear. Stiff shoes are bound to make your feet hurt.
**Opt for hats or caps to protect yourself from the heat. Knit caps are ideal for the cool winters. Sunglasses are essential to protect your eyes from the harsh rays during the day.
The goods that you will be packing in your luggage will depend on the place where you are heading on to and the duration of your trip. People usually tend to stuff their backpacks with lot of unnecessary materials that contribute to increasing the load of their bags. Thus, you need to make a list, that will contain only those things which would prove useful to you. So what to take on safari holidays? We explain you over here.
» A Medicine Kit
Whether it’s a journey of a night or a few days trip, you should never step out of home without medicines. To be on the safe side, you should carry medicines for fever, pain, vomiting, dehydration and other minor health complications. Stuff your medicine kit with antiseptic lotions, rehydrate powder sachets, pain killers, paracetamols, insect bite creams, throat lozenges, etc. People usually take vaccinations, which is sometimes mandatory for traveling to different countries.
» Clothes and Accessories
Carrying too many clothes is not at all feasible on a safari. You can pack two clothes per day. Pack casual and light weight clothes so that you feel comfortable throughout the trip. Shorts, pants, Ts and cargo are some good options for your dress code on a safari. You can shop for long and short sleeve blouses and a good pair of safari jacket. Cool cotton shirts with three fourth pants would perfectly suit the adventurous trip. Wearing jeans would make you feel uncomfortable when you indulge yourself into adventures.
You need not deck yourself up with loads of accessories while going on a safari. A safari hat and a UV protective goggle would be useful for you. Girls should avoid heels, instead they can wear sneakers, canvas or sport shoes. Two pairs of shoes would be enough for you. Keep an extra pair of floaters if required. You can wear high boots to protect your legs while are treading through jungles. This is a general guideline to your clothing and accessories. You should pack your clothes according to the weather conditions prevailing there.
» Food and Drinks
Never set on an expedition without equipping yourself with food and water. Purchase packs of dry fruits and keep enough water with yourself. Canned foods, dry fruits, snacks and other types of dry eatables last long for a couple of days. You can also carry home cooked food, provided they are dry and dehydrated. Apart from water, you can also carry few bottles of energy drinks and cokes. Give importance to food and drinks more when kids are with you. You can also carry some extra jam, jellies and frozen foods so that they can relish them whenever hungry.
» Gears and Gadgets
The places that abound natural beauty are worth capturing with your camera. Those who are passionate about photography, will never miss out the photography equipment. Video shooting the wildlife and the scenic beauty is an experience of a lifetime. So do not forget to carry your camcorder or digital camera, or else the journey will remain incomplete. Watches, mobile phones and binoculars are also needed on a safari. Carrying laptops, music systems and GPS is a matter of personal choice. Maps and journals also prove useful for knowing the directions and jotting down your personal experiences, respectively, while traveling.
Now that you are aware of what to take on a safari, I hope you can start your packing in a much more organized way. Make a list of these things so that you do not forget anything. Till then, count days for the expedition that you are so avidly waiting for. Have fun!