I suppose I should wire up an affliate marketing scheme. Try to sell some gear. Make a little money off the hiking blog.

Or, I suppose not.

The problem is that my gear just isn't that fancy. My dayhikng kit couldn't be simpler:

  • Old sneakers when its hot. The ones I wear to cut the grass, in fact. Ordinary white gym socks. When it's not hot, or if I'm going to be hiking a bunch, I break out the boots (Columbia, because they were not very expensive, and because they fit well) and the real hiking socks (wool rag over poly-pro liners).

  • Shorts, the same khaki kind I wear around town, if its hot. Old jeans if its not. Poly-pro long underpants if its cold. I don't worry about the jeans or the "cotton kills" business. If the weather says it's going to be that cold and wet, then I'm staying home.

  • Whatever sort of shirts I think I need. Nothing fancy. Old t-shirts. A flannel shirt. Maybe a poly-pro long undershirt if it's cold.

  • Hats, fleece pullovers, windbreakers, gloves, etc, as the weather dictates. Half of this stuff ends up in the pack, but I like to be warm when I start out and warm when I break for lunch. I tend to leave layers on too long, which is a mistake, since it leaves me with a damp t-shirt at lunch, which is not comfortable on cool days.

  • I usually carry a poncho, the substantial nylon type. Just because the weatherman says it isn't going to rain doesn't mean it wont. If he gets it wrong, then I want to get back to the car without getting soaked to the skin. I sometimes end up sitting on the poncho.

  • Water, lunch, a small thermos of coffee and a book. Water is a big deal when its hot. I've carried almost gallon on long summer hikes. Even when it's not hot, water goes down surprisingly fast. I try to find a nice comfortable spot for lunch, and make an event out of it. Enjoy some coffee, spend half an hour reading. I just bought a Kindle. We'll see how that works out.

  • A walking stick. I have purpose-made, telescoping steel gizmo that works well. For a while, I used an old broomstick, but I ended up breaking it. Random sticks work fine, but they aren't as comfortable as the thing I have now. I find that when I get tired my coordination decreases. Plus I'm older than I was, and not as nimble. So the walking stick, truth be told, really functions as a cane.

  • Map and compass. GPS would work just as well, but they taught me map and compass when I was a kid, and I learned it well, so I see no reason to upgrade.

A current weather report is the foundation of this kit. I would not want to get caught in a winter rainstorm miles from the car. That would be miserable. So I always check the weather. Always.

I'm not entirely satisfied with this kit. For example, it seems reasonable to carry a small stove (I have a couple), and to make a hot lunch. But I usually don't bother. A thermos of coffee seems to be enough. And if someone made a folding chair small enough to be tied onto a day pack, I might take it along, and turn my forty five minute lunches into two or three hour mini-campouts.

My daypack is terrible. It's about 100 years. For some reason, I use them until they fall apart. The one I have now is almost there. The foam padding in the shoulder straps has solidified. Zipper pulls have broken off. The whole thing is infused with trail grime. I should go buy a new one--it's like $20 at Wal-Mart, right?

I haul around a completely different kit when I backpack. I'll report on it whenever I get a chance.