Reading: The Gentleman’s Handbook: Gentlemen Know How to Hike

The Gentleman’s Handbook: Gentlemen Know How to Hike

With the snow melting and sun shining, Canadians are itching to get out the house. Perhaps you are outdoorsy by nature or maybe spending more time with mother nature was one of your resolutions. Either way, there’s no better way to breathe in fresh air than by strapping on those boots you bought ironically and going for a hike.

For those who are new to the hiking game, we looked to Mountain Equipment Co-op hiking expert Andrew Sutherland for some tips and tricks to make the most of your adventures.

  1. Don’t rely on Google Maps – The biggest challenge for any hiker is keeping your bearings and making the correct turns at each trail junction. Getting lost, even temporarily, is stressful and can happen just as easily in popular places as in remote areas, warns Sutherland. Familiarize yourself with your route and bring a copy of a guidebook or map that doesn’t require internet connection, just in case.

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  1. Be prepared – like a Boy Scout – The key to a successful hike is being prepared for the unforeseen. According to Sutherland, key essentials include a compass, water, food, clothes, first-aid kit and flashlight. A whistle is especially important as it can be heard over long distances and is more sustainable than shouting for help. Insider hiker tip – three blasts is a standard distress signal.

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  1. A secret layer – The secret to staying warm and comfortable in the outdoors is layering, advises Sutherland. Layers allow you to build a tiny microclimate that surrounds your body and can be adapted to moisture, wind, temperature and exertion. During the fall and winter, your layering system becomes more important, however a sunny summer morning doesn’t guarantee a sunny afternoon, so be prepared with an extra layer.

how to hike - bring layers

  1. Fun in the sun – Everyone has heard of SPF, but UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) is just as important. The higher the UPF rating on gear, the higher the level of protection it has from UVA and UVB rays. According to the American Society for Testing and Materials, a garment with a UPF treatment must undergo 40 simulated launderings, withstand the equivalent of two years’ exposure to sunlight, and, for swimwear, be exposed to chlorinated water. Needless to say, this is the gear you want.

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Enjoy your hike, gentlemen. Until next time.

Have a topic that you’d like to see explored in an upcoming issue? Send it to kaitlin@kaitlinhazen.ca.