Ah yes, the blue, cloudless sky waiting at the top of the summit. But wait, just moment. Before you start dreaming about the top, your first worry should be how to get there.
For years now, mountain hiking has been popular with hikers with a taste for the extreme. Bored with simply walking on marked trails and undiscovered wilderness areas, many people have turned to mountain hiking for added adrenaline rush of hiking on a trail that some several hundred miles above sea level. That’s mountain hiking for you.
But exactly how different is mountain hiking from simple hiking? Well, apart from the place you’re going to be hiking on, there really isn’t much difference. You basically need the same gear in mountain hiking as you do in simple hiking. And you need the same provisions, more or less.
But you have to remember that the gear and equipment you use for mountain hiking can be strikingly different, depending only on the mountain you are going to climb and in what conditions.
To help you with your mountain hiking trip, we came up with the mountain hiking gear list below, which will hopefully give you an idea of the things that are usually needed during such trips:
The three layer system that is often used in hiking also applies in mountain hiking. Let’s do this real quick: the layering system offers three different layers of clothing that a hiker should follow.
First is the base layer, which is responsible for keeping a dry and comfortable microclimate next to your skin. For mountain hiking, you can wear two pairs of long johns, top and bottom. The clothes should be made from synthetic fiber but not from cotton.
The second layer you need in mountain hiking is the insulation layer. This layer provides more warmth if the base layer and the shell layer do not provide enough insulation on their own. And last is the shell layer, providing you protection from wind, rain, sleet, snow, etc.
Shirts for mountain hiking during good weather
Wool or fleece sweater or synthetic insulated jacket
Wool shirt or sweater, second fleece/pile jacket, vest, etc. Fleece pants – side zips are nice as they come in handy if you are getting too hot
While in a typical hiking trip, no more than three layers of clothing is needed, this is not so in mountain hiking, where the conditions can be harsher and more extreme. That is why a fourth layer of clothing is usually added, the ‘super’ insulation layer.
In extremely cold conditions when mountain climbing, you need to add a large amount of insulation in order to keep your body’s thermal equilibrium. Some examples of super insulation clothes you can wear are “expedition” down parka with a good hood and wind tunnel and down pants or “expedition” pile pants.
If you are mountain hiking in the mountain glaciers of Alaska, eye protection is important. Snow blindness is common due to the extreme glare, even on overcast days. Mountain hiking sun glasses should provide maximum protection from ultraviolet and infrared rays, along with protection from side glare.