Top 7 Rainy Day Hiking Essentials

The rainy season doesn’t need to be a parking break for your outdoor excursions—a little water should hardly even slow you down! With the right gear and knowing how to handle wet conditions, hiking in the rain should be no less fun! And, some might even like it a bit more. But, what are the most essential pieces of hiking gear for your journey? Here are a few items to get you going in the right direction.

Credit: Erinn Vuttim
Credit: Erinn Vuttum

1. Waterproof Boots

Staying dry is key, but also keeping your feet from getting soaked as you splash through puddles, pools of mud, and high-running streams is vital to your hike’s success and comfort. For this reason, I’m a big fan of the Ahnu Montara WP Hiking Boots, which help keep you dry in every season and are lightweight enough to keep you moving quickly down the trail.

2. Gaiters

To further keep puddles and mud from getting you wet, seal off the tops of your boots, and here is where gaiters come in. This garment adds a waterproof layer that overlaps with the top of your boots and your pants, preventing water from getting in and simultaneously protecting your pant legs from the worst of it. The affordable EMS® Spindrift Gaiters have full Velcro with a storm flap, an adjustable knuckle, and a bootstrap to keep them in place.

3. Rainproof Pants

Working your way up, rainproof pants are another essential many won’t leave without. As one example, these EMS® Thunderhead Rain Pants can be worn alone or over your standard hiking pants. Either way, their waterproof and breathable surface will help keep you dry inside and out.

Thunderhead Jacket

4. Rain Jacket

The EMS® Storm Front Jacket offers a ton of features for your rainy day hike. System Three laminate material provides both excellent waterproof protection and high breathability, keeping you dry from from all sides.

5. Moisture-Wicking Shirt

Base layers are extremely important for hiking in general, let alone attempting it in the rain. EMS’ Techwick® collection offers moisture-wicking and fast-drying performance coupled with a soft, lightweight feel.

6. Waterproof Backpack or Pack Cover

A wet pack is a heavy pack. So, as one preventative measure, make sure yours is covered to keep all of your gear dry throughout the hike. As one solution, EMS® Pack Covers fully seal up your pack and keep your essentials dry the entire time. It’s also a good idea to keep your map and water-sensitive gear in dry sacks, boxes, or even Ziplock bags for an extra layer of protection.

7. Waterproof Tent

Don’t let rain stop your backpacking adventure. If you have all this basic wet-weather hiking gear, the only thing remaining is a solid tent to keep you dry at night. The EMS® Velocity 2 is a lightweight but roomy option that does this even in the heaviest of downpours.

Credit: Erinn Vuttim
Credit: Erinn Vuttum

While rain might not make for the most ideal hiking conditions, a little water never hurt anyone. So, don’t let it dampen your spirits, and with these essentials, open up your hiking season to days you might have otherwise called off.


Reading the Signs: Hypothermia and Frostbite

“Don’t go outside with wet hair, or you’ll get a cold!”

“Bring extra layers, so you don’t get sick!”

While these warnings are often overlooked and paired with an eye roll, for hikers, those extra layers are essential. For anyone brave enough to head out on the trails during the winter, the concerns amount to much more than simply getting a cold. Frostbite and hypothermia are both very real possibilities when spending extended time outdoors in below-freezing temperatures. But, there’s no need to stop doing what you love, as long as you know how to avoid these cold-weather emergencies.

Credit: Hannah Wohltmann
Credit: Hannah Wohltmann

Frostbite

Frostbite typically affects an area of uncovered skin: Your fingers, toes, ears, or nose usually falls victim. The condition occurs when the skin or tissues under it freeze, and you need to be able to identify it.

Symptoms: Numb, white, cold, or hard-seeming skin feels rubbery to the touch and can become red and swollen. Even more advanced frostbite will show black, dry, and rubbery skin.

Treatment: The patient suffering needs to be taken somewhere warm and dry, preferably indoors. Trying to re-warm the area will cause more damage if it refreezes. Instead, the area should be rapidly warmed with water over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prevention:

  • Wear layers
  • Try to limit sweating
  • Protect all areas of exposed skin
  • Bring hand and toe warmers
  • Use common sense!
  • Don’t be afraid to turn around or change plans according to the weather
Credit: Hannah Wohltmann
Credit: Hannah Wohltmann

Hypothermia

A condition a little more severe, hypothermia takes on your entire body, occurring when it can’t generate enough heat to keep your core temperature at a safe level. This is a life-threatening condition that requires an immediate response and may occur with prolonged exposure to temperatures in the 50s or submersion in water around the 60-degree mark. Contrary to most perceptions, it does not have to be below freezing.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Shivering
  • Apathy
  • Cold, pale skin
  • Poor judgment
  • Unsteadiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Numb hands or feet
  • Slow speech
  • Shallow breathing
  • Physical weakness or a weak pulse
  • Unconsciousness

Treatment: Restore the core body temperature. Get the victim to a warm, dry place, such as a tent or building, and use blankets, hot water bottles, and body warmth to heat them up. The longer they are breathing cold air outside, the harder it will be to warm them.

Prevention Methods:

  • Always keep an eye on the weather conditions
  • Be prepared! Pack everything you would need to stay overnight on the trail
  • Wear layers; follow the wick, warmth, and weather rule
  • No cotton!
  • Don’t spend too much time above treeline
  • Avoid sweating
  • Stay as dry as possible
  • Turn around while you’re still safe

 

One final warning: You are not invincible, and tragedy can strike just about anyone, regardless of how prepared you are. Do your best to stay knowledgeable and ready to help. And, when you remain alert and warm, you’re bound to have a fun winter day outside!


Hannah Wohltmann's Hiker Wish List

Editor’s Note: Have you ever wondered what items professional athletes and outdoor adventurers put on their wish lists? Because these folks know their stuff, we asked a handful of experts in different fields to tell us what they want for the holidays.

Hannah Wohltmann is an avid hiker, a GoPro photographer, and a goEast contributor on her way to climbing all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000-foot peaks, and she has more than 12,000 people following along on Instagram while she climbs. 

Courtesy of Hannah Wohltmann
Courtesy of Hannah Wohltmann

1. AMK Adventure First Aid 1.0 Kit

An often overlooked item, a first aid kit, like the AMK Adventure 1.0, should always be brought along on hikes and has you prepared for whatever the mountains have to offer. This one specifically is ideal for one or two people, giving you what you could need without adding too much weight to your pack.

2. EMS Big Easy Tent

Eastern Mountain Sports created the perfect two- to four-person tent, the Big Easy. Made with nylon and polyester ripstop materials, this tent is perfect for spring, summer, and fall camping!

3. Hydro Flask Wide Mouth, 20 oz.

Hydro Flask bottles come in many shapes and sizes, but I think this one is the most useful. And, it makes an amazing gift for any hiker in your life. As you’re out on the trails, it keeps your cool drinks cool and your hot beverages steaming all day long.

4. EMS Solstice 20° Sleeping Bag

The EMS Solstice 20 is a great sleeping bag for staying warm on those colder nights! Though this particular model is recommended for when the temperature drops a little lower, EMS offers options for any condition you may be camping in!

5. Sawyer Mini Water Filter

The Sawyer Mini weighs a mere two ounces but is guaranteed to filter 100,000 gallons of water before it needs replacing. And, what could be easier than filling a bag with dirty water and just squeezing it through the filter for clean, drinkable hydration on the other side? This lightweight product is necessary for any hiker and just may be the most essential emergency item.

6. ENO DoubleNest Hammock

There’s no better feeling than hanging out at the top of a mountain and swinging back and forth with the breeze. The ENO DoubleNest Hammock, large enough to fit two people, packs down small for the hike up. This easily storable accessory is great for those who enjoy extended stays at the summit.

7. Yaktrax Hand Warmers

A great stocking stuffer, hand and toe warmers are always a must for hikers. Whether it’s June or January, higher summits can offer colder temperatures, so, as an accessory in your pack, these come in handy for adjusting to the conditions.

8. Garmin Forerunner 610

With Bluetooth® technology connecting this device directly to your phone, you can use the Forerunner 610 to track your mileage and your time! Download the Garmin App to follow your progress and compare all of your hikes.

9. MSR Women’s Revo Ascent Snowshoes

Helpful for breaking in a freshly powdered trail or just wandering through a winter wonderland, the MSR Revo Ascents are even better for getting up peaks in the dead of winter. With ample flotation, some serious traction, and an ascent bar to keep your heel elevated, these are ideal for getting around the mountains.

10. GoPro Hero4 Black

This ever-popular GoPro is the perfect lightweight camera to bring on your hike and capture your shot in any type of weather, rain or shine. The waterproof, drop-proof case ensures that your camera will be safe and ready for anything.

Courtesy of Hannah Wohltmann
Courtesy of Hannah Wohltmann

Six Ways to Break Even on Thanksgiving Dinner

The average American consumes somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 calories every regular day. But, on Thanksgiving Day? That’s a different story. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrots, and more, all doused in a puddle of gravy, balloon the typical caloric intake to more than 4,500 on the holiday alone.

While most people doze off, dreaming of the leftovers they’ll eat, some of us might be interested in getting out to put all that food-energy to work, but breaking even might be a little harder than you think. To help, here are a few activities the average 150-pound male might have to do to burn off all that deliciousness:

Credit: Hannah Wohltmann
Credit: Hannah Wohltmann

1. Climb Mount Isolation after a snowstorm

Mount Isolation’s name speaks for itself, with 14.6 miles round-trip and no views until the summit, but a nine-hour trek in snowshoes, the day after a dumping, would just about compensate for a Thanksgiving filling, and you can cross it off your list of 48! Don’t forget your snowshoes and your cold-weather gear!

2. Bike from Boston to North Conway

A full meal calls for a full day of biking, and this 150-mile route is at least a simple, if not easy, way to burn off your dinner. Start your route at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, follow through Boston and into New Hampshire through various little towns, and finish at the base of the White Mountains in North Conway. This scenic route will leave you tired, but fully relieved of everything you ate.

Credit: Chris Bennett
Credit: Chris Bennett

3. Ski Tuckerman’s Ravine four times

All the way up, and all the way down, for 13 straight hours. Thousands travel to New Hampshire to break in ski season and head down the ravine, but you’ll have to work a little harder post-Thanksgiving. Start your hike at Pinkham Notch off of Route 16 and take the Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail 3.6 miles until you reach the top of the bowl. Climb up, drop in, and then take the Sherburne Ski Trail, before you ski back down to the parking lot. For this to really burn off everything you consumed, you’ll have to repeat this path around three or four times, for a total of 13 hours of skinning and descending.

4. Run an ultra-marathon

Sure, this requires months and months of training, but for burning off all of those calories, this activity is perfect! 50 miles of straight running should about take care of it, but if you have any leftovers to snack on along the way, you might need to add a little extra distance.

5. Ice skate for 9.5 hours

If you live in an area with a lake frozen over by Thanksgiving, 9.5 hours of skating is always another option! This frozen fun can involve the whole family, as long as the ice is thick enough! If it turns into a hockey game, you’ll be able to drop an hour and a half of ice time.

6. Play 17 hours of table tennis

With the family home for the holidays, it can be a great time for game nights! If you’re looking for some friendly competition indoors or out, table tennis for 17 hours straight will burn those calories away! If you’re skilled enough to rally the ball the entire time, you could even set a world record!

 

Although some of these activities are out of reach for the average person, it’s always important to be aware of what goes into your body, and how you can stay healthy. Have a safe and happy holiday, and if you’re out exploring, don’t forget to tag your photos with #goEast for a chance to be featured!

How will you be burning off those 4,500 calories?


Trail Bartender: A Guide to Drink-Hike Pairings

What’s better than sitting on the top of a mountain? How about sitting on the top of a mountain with a nice brew in hand? Many hikers would agree that it’s a long-time tradition to enjoy a drink after a hike, as long as you know how to match it with the right beverage.

Winter hikes can be whiskey business

While whiskey is an exceptional spirit for many occasions, nothing is more heartwarming than a few generous swigs of the stuff on a bitter cold hike. So, throw a few shots in a Klean Kanteen, and enjoy it on your way up the mountain for a small splash of liquid motivation. You obviously don’t want to go into party mode in the middle of a hike, but a well-timed shot on a cold day will surprise you if you haven’t tried it before. It may seem risky to enjoy liquor on the trail, but whiskey warms the soul and can push you to the top of a cold, snow-capped summit. If hiking with friends, bring enough along for them to savor, as well.

Our recommendation: Not far from the White Mountains in Tamworth, New Hampshire, Tamworth Distillery has a selection of quality whiskeys. Check them out to truly capture the local spirit, not only on the trail but also within your flask.

I have a stout feeling we can go on for days

Every smart hiker knows to be up-and-at-’em early to get the most out of your day. And, along this line, spending multiple days or nights on the trail can be made more fun if you are pairing your breakfast with an oatmeal stout. This smooth brew will help wake up your body and mind and help you have a great hike! Plus, it’s filling enough to be breakfast!

Our recommendation: Not sure where to pick one of these up? A popular hiking and outdoor activity area—Belfast, Maine—is also home to the Belfast Bay Brewing Company. A silver medal winner at the World Brewing Championships, this company brews McGovern’s Oatmeal Stout, which pairs perfectly with your morning breakfast. Before you hit the trails, be sure to grab some brews for your early morning or overnight trips.

Quit your wine-ing

Some of the longer hikes can get a little boring, and those that end with no views can be even worse. If you are in it for all NH 48, NY 46, or NE 67, you’ll need to quit your whining about the mountains with limited sights and make the most of it. Whether you are enjoying some mulled wine at the summit or a nice tall glass after you make it home, these types of adventures are perfect to pair with wine.

Our recommendation: The Green Mountains region in Vermont offers a popular destination known as “The Shrines of Vermont,” where people can enjoy wineries or just visit a local wine shop. If you are heading to the Green Mountains or coming back after a long hike, stop here to pick up something perfect to pair during or after your hike.

Credit: Hannah Wohltmann
Credit: Hannah Wohltmann

Just a hop, skip, and a jump

Not all of the trails are long and treacherous; some are short, sweet, and to the point! For those like this, I would recommend soothing amber ale. Give yourself a chance to relax and really take in the summit views, or just enjoy the beer, if the weather isn’t permitting.

Our recommendation: Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Long Trail Brewing Company out of Vermont makes a popular amber ale, Long Trail Ale; it’s light, tasty, and perfect once you reach the peak. Not in Vermont? Head to their website, type in your zip code, and find the stores near you that sell this beer. Need any more motivation? The label itself tells you to take a hike! And, who can say no to that?

I’m rum-ing out of puns

Getting close to finishing that big list of peaks can be really exciting, but also very disappointing. Putting so much time and energy into these hikes and then knowing your time is running out can be bittersweet. Why not enjoy what you have left with a little rum, before, during, or after the hike? Mix it in however you want!

Our recommendation: Promising “There is no good enough,” the American Rum Privateer out of Ipswich, Massachusetts, is a perfect, reliable, and locally made rum great to get you through your trek. The rum is produced and sold in state, so be sure to grab a bottle before you head to the mountains to ensure your rum is from a great New England company!


Your Guide to New Hampshire Leaf-Peeping

It’s that time of year again! The weather is cooling off, kids are going back to school, and the leaves are beginning to change. If you’re lucky enough to be living in New England for this fall weather, then you have plenty of places nearby to go leaf-peeping. This guide will help you capture the very best spots in New Hampshire, the epicenter of New England’s fall colors.

The Great North Woods

The Great North Woods’ leaves are the first in the state to turn and peak. If you are in the area or are looking to visit, the “week of peak” lasts from October 2nd through October 9th. Take Route 3 up through Pittsburg and Colebrook to enjoy colors from the road. If you’re looking for hiking trails, visit Dixville Notch State Park or John Wingate Weeks Historic Site to soak in the amazing colors. Visit around dusk to catch the golden light hitting the trees!

Credit: Hannah Wohltmann
Credit: Hannah Wohltmann

The White Mountains

The White Mountains attract thousands to hike and take in sweeping views of the leaves! The “week of peak” this year is October 9th through October 16th. Taking a drive up the Kancamagus Highway, from Conway to Lincoln, will leave you breathless, as you see the vibrant colors contrasting against the mountains behind them. There are plenty of photo opportunities: panoramic views, covered bridges, and waterfalls.

If you’re looking for an easy hike through the Presidential Range, Lookout Ledge offers incredible views of Mount Adams’ and Mount Madison’s foliage. Lookout Ledge Trail is the most direct route to the summit, at about 1.3 miles with an elevation gain of around 1,000 feet.

Chocorua Lake offers a great opportunity for leaf-peeping by water in the Whites. Bring your kayak or canoe and paddle out to put yourself in the middle of it all!

Credit: Hannah Wohltmann
Credit: Hannah Wohltmann

Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee

The Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee region in western New Hampshire’s “week of peak” will be around October 16th through October 23rd. Begin your drive in Claremont and follow Route 12A along the Connecticut River. You will pass old barns and covered bridges – a photographer’s dream! From here, travel Route 11 east towards Lake Sunapee or ride to the top of Mount Kearsarge at Rollins State Park in Warner.

Lake Sunapee is another great place to leaf-peep in western New Hampshire, as it’s the state’s fifth-largest lake. Break out your boat, and enjoy the array of colors surrounding you!

Credit: Hannah Wohltmann
Credit: Hannah Wohltmann

Lakes Region

The eastern side of New Hampshire – the Lakes Region – offers spectacular views of leaves peaking – not only from the roads and mountains but further reflected in the area’s many bodies of water. The “week of peak,” similar to the Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee region, will be around October 16th through October 23rd.

Driving through Holderness or Tamworth Village is beautiful any time of the year, and the leaves make it better! There are also many smaller hikes in the Lakes Region, including the ever-popular Mount Major Trail in the Belknap Range. Mount Major offers views of Lake Winnipesaukee, the surrounding Belknap Mountains, the Ossipee Range, and part of the White Mountains. If you’re looking to enjoy the leaves around Lake Winnipesaukee, take a cruise on the M/S Mount Washington!

Credit: Hannah Wohltmann
Credit: Hannah Wohltmann

Monadnock

Southern New Hampshire takes a bit longer to peak, but when it does, it’s always worth it. The Monadnock region peaks around October 23rd through October 30th. A suggested driving loop would be to follow Route 32 south through Swanzey to Route 119 in Richmond, and then follow Route 119 through Fitzwilliam, where you can pick up Route 12 and travel north to Keene. Another great drive is following Route 101 from Marlborough to Peterborough, or taking Route 10 from Keene north to Gilsum.

For hikers, Mount Monadnock is a moderate trek with 360-degree views encompassing all six New England states at the top, and will help you capture the fall foliage beautifully!

Credit: Hannah Wohltmann
Credit: Hannah Wohltmann

Merrimack Valley

The Merrimack Valley region offers plenty of beautiful drives for people to enjoy the leaves peaking! This year’s “week of peak” will be around October 30th through November 7th. Route 101 through Bedford, from the Bedford Village Inn to the Amherst line, is a great way to catch the rainbow of leaves this fall. Route 111 through Salem and Windham also has plenty to offer. Or, as another option, take a drive around Henniker, Hopkinton, Concord, and Bow.

Credit: Hannah Wohltmann
Credit: Hannah Wohltmann

Seacoast

Last to peak but certainly not least, the Seacoast Region offers leaf-peeping opportunities in their “week of peak” from October 30th through November 7th. There are many places where you can experience foliage in this area: Drive along Route 101 east or Route 1 north along the coast, take a walk through College Woods in Durham, NH, or visit Odiorne State Park to hike the trails. Adams Point is another great place to soak up the colors right on the water. Wherever you are, Seacoast has plenty of places to enjoy, especially later in the fall season.

 

New Hampshire is one of the most beautiful places in the world to see the leaves change, whether you’re driving, hiking, or just enjoying the views on the water. Have a happy and safe fall, and don’t forget to share your favorite photos with #goEast for a chance to be featured!


10 Tips for Great GoPro Shots in the 48 New Hampshire 4,000 Footers

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AS5WFKikTcw[/embedyt]

New Hampshire, home to the beautiful White Mountains, is one of the most underrated states. People travel from all around to hike, bike, swim, fish, camp, explore, and do so much more, but for many hikers, a common goal is to reach all 48 of the state’s 4,000-plus foot peaks. Doing so puts you among a growing list of AMC Club members. In 2014, I started my trek to 48, and even if I had little-to-no idea what I was getting myself into, I brought my reliable GoPro along every time to document this undertaking.

Hiking with my GoPro has inspired me to further my knowledge of photography and to share what I have acquired along the way. I still have more to learn, but here are a few tips that may help you grab the perfect photo in the White Mountains, in any season and in any weather.

GoPro Tips

1. Always keep your GoPro in its case

Only take it out to charge it up or clean the lens. I thought this was common knowledge, but I’ve witnessed countless people remove a GoPro to take some shots in the mountains. Doing so could mean you’ll scratch the lens or potentially drop the device in the process.

2. Follow GoPro on Instagram

They post a “Photo of the Day” every day, which can be inspirational but also give you more information about what you’re doing and what settings to shoot in. Before I hike each mountain, I go on Instagram to search where I’m climbing to see what to expect and to get ideas for cool shots.

3. Download the GoPro app onto your smartphone

GoPros come with built-in WiFi, so if you are shooting with a GoPro Hero 3 or newer model, you can see what you’re shooting on your smartphone. Some don’t come with a screen on the back, so by using this free app, you can make sure you get the perfect shot.

GoPro Tips

4. Invest in REAL accessories

Like most things, you get what you pay for, and I’ve gone through more cheap selfie sticks than I can count. They would break or fall apart, so eventually, I invested in a GoPro 3-Way Mount, and it has been the best accessory I’ve had to this day. This mount doubles as a selfie stick and a tripod, so whenever I hike alone, I can set my tripod down and snap away!

GoPro Tips

5. Anti-fog inserts are a must-have

When I bought my GoPro, I was fortunate enough to work with a salesperson who is also an avid hiker. He recommended I get the GoPro Anti-Fog Inserts in order to prevent water collecting between the camera and the case, which can completely ruin the photos. As a note, I have forgotten the inserts at times, and I was extremely disappointed when the photos didn’t come out. My very first hike with the GoPro and inserts quickly made it clear how helpful they are.

GoPro Tips

6. Time-lapse will be your best friend

I typically only shoot in this setting: I set my camera on 0.5-second time-lapse and let the camera do the rest. Whether I’m trying to get the classic mountain jumping shot, the perfectly timed one-handed handstand, or a great selfie, this is my biggest secret to timing those awesome photos.

GoPro Tips

7. Bring two batteries for the big hikes and winter days

If you plan on shooting things the entire way up and down the mountain, bring two batteries, as there are plenty of hikes that offer more than just views from the summit. When I hiked Mount Pierce in the winter, there was a beautiful waterfall on the way up, gorgeous snow-capped trees, and the summit itself. By the time I reached the top, my battery was running very low, but I was able to quickly swap it out and not worry that it would die. Cold temperatures can also sap the battery quicker than normal, so a backup is a good idea on winter days, too. For the best luck, keep everything, if possible, somewhere warmer, like inside a jacket.

8. Play around with the wide angle

GoPro’s signature is the wide-angle, fish-eye view that makes the photos and videos you shoot look awesome without even trying. I recently discovered that, when I am trying to take landscape shots, I could lessen the width’s degree. To do so, go to your GoPro’s settings and click on the photo settings. With a GoPro Hero 3, you can change your shot from 10MP/Wide to 7MP/Wide or 5MP/Medium.

9. Edit your photos directly on Instagram

I have tried so many different apps to edit my GoPro photos, but nothing has been better than downloading the photo from my GoPro to my phone, pulling it up on Instagram, and playing with the settings to get the perfect shot. Even if you don’t plan on Instagramming it, just put your phone on airplane mode for a moment and hit post. The post will fail, but you will then have your new perfectly edited photo sitting in your camera roll ready for whatever you need!

GoPro Tips

10. Have fun and be safe!

The best part about the GoPro is putting everything together, editing the perfect photo, and tricking your Instagram followers into thinking you’re super cool and adventurous. When I hiked Passaconaway, there were limited views at the summit, so I climbed up a tree with my camera to get the perfect photo. I didn’t think through getting down and had to toss the camera and jump from the tree. Moral of the story: Think twice before you try to go for the tricky shot. Know your limits, good luck, and happy hiking!