Be a Hiking Ambassador

6 trail-tested tips to guarantee your friend's first trip isn't his last
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6 trail-tested tips to guarantee your friend's first trip isn't his last

Gear up

Pick the proper pack by testing it fully loaded. Ensure the weight rests on the hips, there's no large gap between the shoulders and the straps, and pressure points are minimal. Keep first-trip weight under 30 pounds.

Protect feet

Break in new boots–while wearing wool or synthetic hiking socks–at least a week prior to a trip. On the trail, keep daily distances under five miles, and treat hot spots immediately with duct tape or moleskin.

Pack smart

Often-forgotten items include headlamp, utensils, gloves, and camp shoes. Find season-specific packing lists at backpacker.com/backpacking101.

Sleep well

Combine a thick (1-1/2 inches) ground pad with a temperature-appropriate (rated 10°F below nighttime lows) sleeping bag. Add a winter hat for more warmth.

Eat up

Serve appetizers and cocktails–salami-cheese kabobs and stream-chilled wine–and don't forget dessert.