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Tips for Hikers What equipment you need for a successful hike

Trekking poles are great things. They help you move uphill, help save your knees when coming downhill, and assist in getting more traction when crossing steep slopes. But only when they are used properly. This is how it should be done:

When descending, poles should be kept parallel to your body to do their job. Lean forward with your upper body and bend your knees so that the poles can be placed further in front of you. The poles should be made longer for steeper grades. It is best to use poles for every two or three steps. You should check that the segments are tightened before descending on steep grades. When traversing, alternate placing the poles, putting more weight on the “uphill” pole. Hold it underneath the handle. When ascending, adjust the pole length so that you can push yourself forward or upward with the strength of your arms. And for easy, flat paths? Don’t use the poles here, in order to improve your sense of balance.

Weight should be distributed evenly; heavy items on top nearer to your body, light items underneath or on the outside. Use compression straps to bring weight in partially filled spaces closer to your back.

Adjust correctly. After loosening all belts, shoulder the rucksack and fasten the waist harness (1). It should not constrict your abdomen. If possible, adjust the back length. Then pull the shoulder straps (2) securely. Not too tightly, as the waist harness should bear most of the load. Lastly, fasten the chest strap (3). This holds the shoulder straps in place. The load can be stabilised closer to the body with the adjustable straps (4) on the shoulder straps. Loosening these will help to bring air ventilation to your back.

What should you have in your rucksack?

  • A functional jacket, hiking trousers and rain trousers
  • Soft-shell jacket
  • Outdoor shorts, if applicable
  • Insulated or fleece jacket
  • Functional underwear: (T-)Shirt, underpants
  • Hiking / trekking boots
  • Hat, cap or headband
  • Hiking / trekking socks
  • Rain cover / waterproof lining
  • First-aid kit
  • Trekking poles
  • Hiking map / hiking guide
  • Compass, GPS, mobile telephone, multifunctional wristwatch
  • Swiss army knife
  • Documents, tickets
  • Sunglasses / glacier sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm
  • Water bottle or hydration system