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      Hiking

      HIKING ESSENTIALS FOR BEGINNERS, PART 2

      In our last blog, we outlined five of the essential things you should bring with you on every hike. Packing wisely ensures that you have everything you need with you to fully enjoy your outing into the wilderness.

      Join Killgore Adventures as we highlight five more things you should always have with you on your day hikes into Hells Canyon and beyond.

      FIVE MORE HIKING ESSENTIALS

      In part 1, we covered backpacks, clothing, food and water, navigation aids, and emergency supplies. All of these items should be tailored to how long you’ll spend outdoors on your hike, and when and where you’ll be hiking.

      For instance, if you’ll be hiking all day and there’s a chance of rain, bringing extra snacks, a waterproof layer, and a way to make a small shelter is a great idea. However, if you’re doing a quick two-mile loop on a warm morning, you might only need a light snack, a light fleece, and some extra water.

      Let’s explore five more essentials you’ll need for your next outing.

      HYGIENE KIT

      You can leave your razors and shaving cream at home for your next hike, but you’ll want to bring some things to keep you clean while hiking. Hand sanitizer is a great option, as is a biodegradable soap. Bring menstrual products if need be. Also, think about taking care of your skin. Sunscreen and chapstick with SPF is a vital part of keeping yourself from getting sunburned while hiking. You’ll also want to bring sunglasses and a hat.

      Finally, consider bringing bug spray depending on when and where you’re hiking. If you’ll be out for a long time and might have to defecate, you might also consider bringing a small trowel, toilet paper, and a plastic baggy to pack your used toilet paper out in.

      TOOLS

      There’s no need to lug your toolbox out onto the trail with you unless you’re building a new network of trails. Instead, keep it light and simple. Most people carry a small pocket knife with them. This is great for opening packages, cutting cord, or breaking down kindling. A multi-tool is also great for longer hikes. You might also consider keeping other tools with you. You can wrap a few feet of duct tape around your water bottles that can be used to patch bags and clothes. Zip ties are also handy in a pinch.

      EXTRAS AND LUXURY ITEMS

      You don’t have to travel with just the bare necessities on your hike. You’ll want to enjoy every step of the way, so consider bringing a few items that add to your experience. A camera is essential for some, especially in a place known for its scenic beauty like Hells Canyon. Others bring sketch pads and art supplies with them so they can paint or draw the landscapes that they view. Binoculars are a great addition to your day pack, as they allow you the chance for bird watching or to view wild animals from a distance. Finally, it’s always a good idea to pack a headlamp or flashlight. If your hike runs late into the day, you’ll appreciate being able to see where you’re going.

      PERSONAL GOODS

      Even on short day hikes, it’s important to have some personal items with you. You should always keep your cell phone nearby. Most people use their smartphone to take photos, but it’s also an invaluable tool should you or another hiker get lost or injured while traveling. Additionally, keeping an ID and some cash on hand is also helpful.

      THE RIGHT ATTITUDE

      One of the most important things to bring with you while hiking is a positive attitude. Yes, the trail might be long, and yes, your feet might start to hurt, but you’re exploring a unique part of the world. Any hike is the chance to reflect on your place in the natural world and connect with those around you. Approach each hike with a learner’s mindset and you’ll enjoy your adventure all the more.

      THE BEST BACKCOUNTRY SNACKS

      Traveling through the wilderness and woods of Idaho is an adventure like none other. Of course, an epic adventure helps to burn epic amounts of calories, so you’ll want to pack some snacks to keep you moving throughout the day. Whether you’re exploring the trails on foot or taking one of our ATV tours, you’ll want to have the energy to enjoy every moment of your experience.

      Read more

      5 THINGS YOU CAN LEAVE AT HOME BEFORE YOUR NEXT BACKPACKING TRIP

      While the guides at Killgore Adventures spend a lot of their time traveling on a jet boat or even an ATV, that doesn’t mean we don’t like to put our trusty leather hiking boots on and rely on some people-powered transport from time to time. We’ve spent a lot of time hiking and backpacking the trails throughout the Hells Canyon region. As such, we’ve got our packing lists pretty well dialed in. 

      While we all love to pack a few luxuries into the backcountry with us, they can get heavy fast. And sometimes the things we deem “essentially” don’t actually do us much good. So here’s a quick list of the five things you can leave at home before your next backpacking trip to Hells Canyon.

      COTTON CLOTHES

      We make this note seemingly every time we talk about packing lists because it always bears repeating. Cotton clothes might be great for your trips into town, but they should stay in your front country closet. Cotton isn’t well-suited for the backcountry because it’s heavy, it absorbs water, and takes forever to dry out. You’ll find that it takes forever for you to get warm again if your cotton t-shirt gets wet on your next backpacking trip. 

      So avoid cotton shirts, pants, socks, and even underwear while backpacking. Instead, replace them with synthetic materials like polyester or nylon, or use other natural materials like merino wool.

      HEAVY INSULATED WATER BOTTLES

      We admit we’re fans of the recent trend in insulated bottles and mugs. Warm coffee for 24 hours? Cold drinks for the same amount of time? What a luxury! But it’s just that, a luxury. When you’re backpacking, you won’t fully appreciate the insulating properties of these bottles because you’ll be noticing the weight instead. These things are heavy. Not only that, they’re loud! Even tapping these bottles with your keys results in an ear-piercing “ping” that is sure to echo throughout the walls of Hells Canyon. Do yourself a favor and leave these bottles at home and pack a lightweight plastic bottle instead.

      SURVIVAL KNIVES

      We get it, you never know when you might need a knife, but does it really have to be the size of your forearm? Probably not. 99 percent of the time, you’ll use a knife to cut cheese or dried salami for your lunch, or cutting bits of line to help set up your tent. You won’t be cutting down trees or bears with any knife, regardless of size. So leave the showy knives at home where they belong and pack in a lightweight Swiss army knife instead.

      VALUABLES

      The outdoors are priceless, so why would you bring your irreplaceable necklaces, watches, and other trinkets with you? The fact is, bring valuable items like these and others into the backcountry is just a recipe for heartbreak when you lose them. It’s best to bring materials that won’t bother you if you lose them on the trail. That includes things like laptops, high-end camera equipment, or other electronics. Think about which materials are going to make your experience comfortable without causing distractions.

      A BAD ATTITUDE

      You’re on an adventure! Act like it! No one likes a grumpy travel buddy, especially when you’re miles from civilization. A backpacking trip is your chance to explore the outdoors, connect with your friends and nature, and put yourself into context. By approaching your backpacking trip with an explorer’s mindset, a positive mental attitude, and a willingness to learn, you’ll get plenty out of your trip.

      BOOK YOUR HELLS CANYON ADVENTURE TODAY

      And that’s it! By leaving these simple things at home, you’ll have a more streamlined and enjoyable backpacking experience in Hells Canyon. 

      Want to see this spectacular part of Idaho, but aren’t crazy about walking? We’ve got you covered. Check out our helicopter toursfishing expeditionsjet boat tours, and ATV tours.

      THE BEST WAY TO BREAK IN NEW HIKING BOOTS

      It’s often said that you should never skimp on the things that separate you from the ground. That line of thought goes for tires, mattresses, and of course, boots. But even the best hiking boots require a little bit of break-in. Hiking a trail of any length can be extremely painful if you haven’t properly prepared the boots and your feet. Fortunately, breaking in your new boots is easier than you might realize. Just follow this handy guide from Killgore Adventures!

      FIRST OFF, MAKE SURE YOU’RE WEARING THE RIGHT SHOES

      Moreso than fashionable dress shoes, getting the right size and shape boot for your foot is vitally important. Hiking can put a lot of strain on your foot and having uncomfortable shoes or boots from the getgo makes that even worse. Take your time when trying on hiking footwear and don’t be afraid to try a variety of brands and models before you settle on “the one.” Also, don’t buy cheap hiking footwear. Even if you only hike once a year, the comfort and quality of better boots are worth the price.

      With this in mind, let’s take a look at how to break-in your new boots.

      START SLOW AND TAKE IT EASY

      Once you’ve found a great pair of well-fitting shoes, it’s natural to want to immediately start hiking. But doing so could leave you with nasty blisters. Instead, wear your new hiking books inside or to work for a few days. You should also wear some cushioned hiking socks and make sure that the shoe is snug, but not tight. Take a second to properly align the tongue of the boot and the gussets to make sure that they sit properly in the shaft of the boot.

      After you’ve worn your boots inside for a little bit, it’s time to hit the streets. Take a few walks around town or while you’re running errands to the grocery store. After a few more days of this, it’s time to take your new boots to their first hiking trail.

      PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR FEET

      Your first outing with your new boots might necessitate a shorter trail than you’re used to. That’s because you don’t want your feet to blister. During your hike, pay careful attention to how your feet feel. If the new boot doesn’t fit as well as you thought, your feet will let you know soon after starting your hike.

      As soon as you feel hot spots or blisters forming, stop and treat them. Ignoring them can lead to painful blisters that make it extremely difficult to walk, even in plain shoes. It’s always a good idea to carry some moleskin or duct tape when hiking, especially so in new boots.

      You can also limit the amount of wear and tear you put on your feet by wearing thin sock liners under your hiking socks. The liner helps to remove moisture from your skin, preventing blistering.

      Similarly, you can try re-lacing your boots throughout the hike. Make sure that the forefoot of the foot is snug. This keeps your foot from shifting too much in your boot, which could cause pain. If you want to know some different strategies for lacing your boots, check out this great video from REI that teaches you how to lace your boots to address foot pain.

      SKIP THE SHORT CUTS

      Some hiker lore suggests that if you soak your boots in the bathtub before hiking you can accelerate the break-in process. Others recommend bending the toe box of the boot and wrapping them in rubber bands to get them to stretch. Some old school hiking advice even suggested urinating in your boots to help break down the stiff leather.

      All of these tips are weird, and even kind of gross. All they result in is soggy, ill-shaped boots that smell funny. Skip these tips and instead just gradually use your hiking boots more and more until they feel like a second layer of skin on your feet. Trust us on this one, you’ll thank us later.

      With your new boots broken in, it’s time to get moving. Plan your next hiking expedition for Hells Canyon in Idaho! Killgore Adventures offers a unique jet up and back service that allows you to take our jet boats up the Salmon and Snake rivers to all of your favorite hiking spots. Book your spot on our jet boat today!

      5 EASY HIKING HINTS

      Who doesn’t love a good nature hike? Whether you’re meandering through a local State Park or visiting your favorite National Park, or visiting some of the immense trails here in Hells Canyon, hiking is a great way to connect with the outdoors. But if you’ve never gone hiking before, are new to it, or it’s just been a while, you might not know some of the tips and tricks that the pros use to ensure they make the most of every hike.

      As Idaho’s #1 adventure company, Killgore Adventures has explored nearly every inch of the Hells Canyon region. In that time we’ve developed a lot of blisters, worn out plenty of hiking boots, and returned home countless times with grins plastered to our faces. To make sure you get to have the same experiences that we do, we put together this quick list of five easy hiking hints.

      #1: KEEP A DIFFERENT PAIR OF SHOES IN THE CAR

      For those days where you’re crushing 20 or more miles in a single afternoon, or you’re just breaking in a new pair of hiking boots, having an extra pair of shoes to change into at the end of a long day of hiking is always a great idea. As you hike, your feet begin to swell from use and from blood flowing into them. That’s why we always carry a pair of loose shoes like sandals or flip-flops in our car. Changing out of dirty hiking shoes and sweaty socks slipping into a pair of flip-flops is akin to giving your feet a little hug at the end of a hard day. Not only that, getting your feet out of sweaty shoes is a great way to let them air out and not get foot fungi like athlete’s foot.

      #2: LET SOMEONE KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING

      Just like you build an itinerary for when you travel overseas or out-of-state, you should build an itinerary for your hiking days. The information that you should include should be:

      • The name of the trail
      • Where is located
      • How many miles it is
      • Your expected start and finish times

      You should also include a “worry time” on that list. Make a copy for yourself and for a friend or family member who is staying behind. This information is useful so people know where you are as you’re traveling. Should you get lost or injured and not be able to get home, your friends will know exactly where you are and will be able to send you the help that you need. If nothing else, you can save all these trip notes and put them in your scrapbook to have a living record of all the hikes you completed.

      #3: TAKE IT EASY

      Unless you’re hiking something like the Pacific Crest Trail that runs more than 2,000 miles, there’s really no reason to hurry on your hike. Move at a pace that is comfortable for you and anyone else hiking with you. Typically, it’s best to have the person who’s moving the slowest lead the group, as they can set a comfortable pace for them. This ensures that no one’s left behind. Additionally, it keeps people from getting worn out early on in the hike which could lead to problems later. Plus, by moving at a comfortable and deliberate pace, you’ll have more time to enjoy the beautiful scenery and the friendship of those around you.

      #4: BE KIND TO YOURSELF

      Even if you’re in the best of shape, hiking can take a toll on your body. That’s why it’s important to be kind to yourself as much as you can to prevent aches and pains later on down the road. You can start by ensuring that your hiking boots fit properly and are well broken-in. Before you begin hiking, take a minute to do some light stretching. This will limber you up for your outing. You can also use other tools like hiking poles that help relieve some of the strain on your knees. If you’re worried about muscle pain or joint pain as you travel, include some blueberries and tart cherries in your trail mix. These are natural anti-inflammatories. That said, you can also take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen halfway through your hike to make sure you make it back to the car in comfort.

       

      #5: BRING A RAIN JACKET

      If you’re hiking in the high desert then you’re free to ignore this tip. However, If you’re hiking in the Hells Canyon area, it’s always a good idea to have a rain jacket on hand. In most regions, rain can occur at any moment even if the weather forecast doesn’t call for it. This is especially true the higher you go in elevation. Plus, a rain jacket is a great windbreaker as well. For windy or cold days, your rain jacket layer can also be used to help you stay warm. It’s a versatile layer that you’ll find many uses for even when it’s not raining.

      EXPLORE HELLS CANYON TODAY

      Ready to explore the ridges and mountains that make up the Hells Canyon region? It’s time to take advantage of Killgore Adventures jet boat services. We offer jet up and get back services for hikers who want to explore remote parts of the canyon. We can drop you off in the morning and pick you up in the evening. Book your jet boat tour and jet up service today.