Part of the beauty of the United States is its various landscapes: the never-ending deserts of the Southwest, the soaring peaks of the Rocky Mountains, the dense forests of the Northeast and the prairies of the Great Plains. The unique characteristics of these regions call out to adventure-seekers, whether they’re runners, hikers, rock climbers or just plain adrenaline junkies and is growing in popularity.
Find Your Outdoor Fitness Challenge
Getting outside to explore these beautiful areas while pushing themselves in endurance events and outdoor fitness challenges has become a way for the adventure seekers to appreciate the impressive landscape and push themselves physically. Thanks to its massive mountain ranges, the Western U.S. has become a hotspot for those who want to combine the excitement of a fitness challenge with the great outdoors.
The Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge, which debuted with its SoCal challenge, has since expanded to include events in Oregon and Colorado. The challenge is simple to plan, but tough to execute: challengers must hike up six different mountains, completing them before the deadline. One challenger, Pamela Price from LATF USA, documented her gear and experience preparing for and completing the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge in California. We’ve picked out our favorite from her list and added a few extras to create a quick guide for best mountain climbing and hiking gear to have on your next adventure.
Hiking Gear Checklist
Thanks to its massive mountain ranges, the Western U.S. has become a hotspot for those who want to combine the excitement of a fitness challenge with the great outdoors.
Before you head out on your hiking trip, make sure you have all the other essentials: enough food and water, sunscreen, running safety gear, first-aid and repair kits and toiletries. Completing an outdoor fitness challenge such as the Six-Pack of Peaks can be exciting, but it’s always better when you’re well-prepared.
- Hiking Boots
Arguably the most important mountain climbing and hiking gear you’ll have on your challenge, suitable hiking boots are a must — you not only need to be comfortable, but have enough grip on rocky terrain. Heavy backpacking boots are made more for multiday treks, so lightweight day hiking boots that still provide ankle support are the best bet. Make sure to give yourself enough time before the hike to break them in, as you don’t want to deal with blisters and sore feet the moment you step foot on the trail.
Since you’ll only be hiking a day or two at most on each peak, so it’s not necessary to bring your biggest, roomiest backpack (unless, of course, you’re planning a personal adventure on your own). Travel with a lightweight but sturdy backpack, and make sure you can carry everything comfortably.
It’s colder and windier the higher the altitude, so you’ll want to pack enough clothing and the right kind: bring layers, including quick-drying pants, shirts and thermal underwear, as well as extra socks, gloves and a warm hat. It may be sweltering on the ground — bring a hat for the sun, too — but your teeth may be chattering by nightfall.
In addition to clothing, bring an extra pair of lighter sneakers if you plan on camping — heavy boots do not make for a comfortable walk around camp — sunglasses, and a rain jacket and pants.
- Compass and Map
Sure, your phone may have that nifty compass, but they are notoriously faulty — and there is none so dependable as the original. Relying on digital maps can also be unwise (phone batteries run out, and portable chargers last only so long) and you can’t always rely on marked trails.
- Cell phone and Charger
Of course, you can’t leave home without your phone — but bring along a portable charger, too, to make sure you’ve got enough juice to last the whole day (and perhaps night).
Even though you’ll have your backpack, Price recommends wearing a FlipBelt during the hike — you’ll have easy access to your phone, compass, map and other small necessities for which you don’t want to stop and dig around in your backpack every time you need it.
- Emergency Blanket or Tarp
If you’re not planning to stay overnight, you should still plan to protect against exposure with an emergency blanket or tarp. Hiking a mountain comes with its risks like any other outdoor sport; if you suddenly become stranded on the mountainside in a torrential downpour, you’ll be happy to have been prepared.
- Flashlight or Headlamp
Nighttime in nature is nothing like the nighttime you experience in your neighborhood. You may fall behind schedule and daylight fades fast, so bring along a decent flashlight (better yet, a hands-free headlamp) and extra batteries.
- Trekking Poles
A sturdy hiking stick will give you extra stability, which is particularly useful when hiking up the rocky, uneven terrain of a mountain.
- Camping Essentials
If you plan on spending the night before reaching the summit, you’ll need an extra set of supplies to camp, including a tent, sleeping bag and inflatable mattress or foam pad and a small gas camping stove.
Before you head out on your hiking trip, make sure you have all the other mountain climbing and hiking gear essentials: enough food and water, sunscreen, first-aid and repair kits and toiletries. Completing an outdoor fitness challenge such as the Six-Pack of Peaks can be exciting, but it’s always better when you’re well-prepared.