Equipment and useful links

Basic equipment

He who would travel happily must travel light

  • Comfortable hiking boots with profile and good ankle support.
  • Hiking trousers/shorts, depending on the season.
  • Good backpack (preferably with a belt on your hips).
  • Rain gear, gloves, cap/hat, warm fleece ( depending on the season).
  • Head-lamp and whistle.
  • Hiking poles/sticks are highly recommended.
For all hikes:
  • Bring drinks: a bottle or flask with water/tea/juice (minimum one liter).
  • Bring snacks/cookies/fruit to eat during stops (apart from the meal generally taken in a Gasthaus).
  • Have a Knife – (recommended Swiss knife type) – Tissues – plastic bag – sun glasses and protection cream – lipstick/protector and a small emergency kit –with plasters–your tablets.

Some tips

Hiking boots and socks

If you want to forget all your other troubles, wear shoes that are too tight

Hiking boots are the most important item in your hiking gear. They should provide comfort for miles of walking over rough terrain, and protect your feet against water, mud, rocks, and other obstacles. They should be breathable and watertight, support the ankle to avoid twisting but should not restrict the ankle’s movement. A good tread will keep you from slipping and falling. The best time to buy hiking shoes is when the feet are tired. Wear the type of socks you will be wearing when hiking. Hiking boots should fit snugly around your feet while allowing you to wiggle your toes freely. You should not feel any pressure points anywhere. If the boots do not feel right when brand new, they never will. Ask for advice!
Use lacing techniques to ensure your foot is not moving too much in your hiking footwear during activity. Ask for advice!

Hiking boots are like cats: they have several lives! Clean them, dry them adequately and wax them regularly.Between the hikes, take the insoles out to facilitate drying.

Invest in some good hiking socks. Merino wool is a great material; synthetics are good as well. Avoid cotton socks: they retain moisture that can lead to blisters. During extended rest breaks, take your boots off (and your socks) and air out your feet. An extra pair of socks is useful if you step in a stream, or if it starts to rain and your feet get wet.
Trim your toenails short. When toenails are too long, they make your toes around the nails sore.

Hiking clothes

There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing

Layering allows you to adjust to a wide range of conditions and to fine tune for optimal comfort

  • Layer 1: Base layer (avoid cotton, prefer synthetic fabrics, which dry quickly)
  • Layer 2: Fleece jacket and hiking trousers.
  • Layer 3: Rain gear (Gore-Tex or similar – wind and rainproof-jacket and trousers).

Rain gear (breathable jacket and trousers) is necessary even when it’s not raining. Worn over insulating layers, like a fleece jacket, it will protect you from the wind, retain body heat, and keep you much warmer. Moreover, when hiking, you need to be prepared for rain or snow, whatever the season.

A hat and gloves are also important, whatever the season. Even in the summer, it can get a little chilly. You loose approximately a quarter of your body heat from your head and it is, therefore, essential that the head is kept warm.

Hiking poles

Hiking poles help you keep your balance, prevent you from slipping and falling and help to ‘pull’ yourself uphill by taking pressure off your back and hips. Most importantly, they reduce the stress on your knees when going downhill. Features to look for include grip comfort, weight, adjustable height, folding for storage.

Backpack

Backpacking is the art of knowing what not to take

A good day hiking backpack should have a good padded hipbelt and padded back. The hipbelt is the most important part: without a good hipbelt, all the weight ends up on your shoulder, neck and back muscles instead of your hips and legs.
A 20 to 30 liter-model is adequate for a day hike. The bigger the pack, the more likely you will fill it. Take a light-weighted model that suits your body. Some packs are specifically designed for women. Many now have an integrated rain cover and whistle
A key principle, when packing your backpack, is weight reduction.Evaluate each item of gear for its necessity and functionality and search for the lightest options. Travelling light will increase your enjoyment level significantly.

An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day

Follow the leader and be kind to the environment

During a hike or a cycling tour,the leader remains in front and the members follow him/her at the given pace.
If you need to stop, please advise the leader and the group will wait for you.
Do not walk out of the trails – Do not take short cuts (you destroy the terrain!).
Do not throw your garbage during the hike; bring it back to the first public bin.

Respect nature, fauna and flora. Do not pick protected flowers like Edelweiss, Gentians, Martagon lilies, Venus shoes or Soldanellas.

Take only pictures, leave only footprints