Hiking Preparation

It’s almost time for our 42.2 mile hike through Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore. This will not be our most challenging hike but it will be our longest. We’ve taken many things into consideration planning this trip and thought it would be a good time to reflect.

Why Pictured Rocks

With this being my first long hike, I thought it important to find an area that I’m already very familiar with. Steve and I have been doing day hikes throughout Pictured Rocks for years now. We like the area, are familiar with the wildlife and we know what to expect in terms of water and terrain.


We had two major concerns that needed to be addressed. The first being the August heat, the second being food and nourishment.


We can’t do anything to the change the temperature but we can do something ot help our bodies adjust better to it.

Merino Wool Socks

Steve and I invested in two pairs of Merino Wool Socks each. He picked Darn Tough Vermont and I went with SmartWool. Merino wool is known for it’s breath-ability in the summer and insulation in the winter. It also wicks moisture away from your skin, keeping your feet cool (or warm) and dry. This effective moisture management prevents odor-causing bacteria from forming as well.

Merino Wool clothing is available but it’s a lot more expensive.

Mission Enduracool Microfiber Towel

These are an awesome addition to our hiking gear. They are small towels that when wet, cool to 30 degrees below average body temperature. On top of that, they are chemical free and reusuable. Dip in a lake or river, ring out, and place around your neck. You’re good to go.

Columbia Silver Ridge Shirt

I was looking for a shirt that would keep me cool and has long sleeves to help protect against the sun and biting insects. Columbia’ Silver Ridge fit both of my needs. It has Omni-Wick, which keeps moisture away from the body, 40 sun protection, it’s vented, and has roll up sleeves with holders that are easy to do one handed.


Calories can make or break a hike. Depending on pace, total weight being carried, hiking conditions, etc the average hiker needs to consume from 3,500 to 5,000 calories per day for overnight backpacking trips. In order to have an idea of how many we needed, we had to have a base line. What do we consume in a day? That was our first step to meal planning.

A hiker’s diet should be a balance of 40 to 45% carbohydrates, 40 to 45% fats, and 10 to 15% protein.  We learned that fats pack higher calories per gram than carbs and protein requires more water to metabolize. Meaning if you have a high protein diet, you’re going to be consuming a lot more water.

Between knowing our base line calories and having a good idea of what a meal breakdown should look like, we were able to start planning out our meals. To help, I found a menu planning worksheet, providing by the Washington Trails Association, that calculated calories, %’s, and overall, helped keep us organized for each day’s food. This worksheet is available at Calorie Planning Worksheet.

3 thoughts on “Hiking Preparation

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  1. I’m a lazy hiker when it comes to food and I usually don’t eat much when on the trail.

    My go to snacks are bars like Clifbar or Kind bars, Snickers (yup) and self made trail mix. As for meals I’m at the stage where instant noodle soups and some couscous are enough for me. I’ll add some jerky or tortilla from time to time but that’s it. I guess when it comes to food I’m not the greatest example to follow ūüėõ

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