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10 Hiking Essentials, Including the Best Hiking Compression Socks

[disclosure]

Recently, my friend realized that where I’m from (Arizona), temperatures regularly hit above 110 degrees. She was shocked, especially since she knows I enjoy hiking. She was appalled that I’d hike in that kind of weather. And, well, the truth is – I don’t hike in that weather. It’s unsafe. But winters in Arizona are perfect for hiking. Now that I live in Utah, though, hiking can be a year-round thing – when done right and with the right equipment. So here are 10 hiking essentials for wherever you live, including the best hiking compression socks.

Hiking is a fun, awesome, safe family activity - as long as you're prepared and aware. So make sure you and your kids are ready for it with these 10 hiking essentials, including the best hiking compression socks out there. #hiking #outdoors #activities

#10 Wear the Best Hiking Compression Socks

When you’re hiking, your legs are taking quite a beating. Especially if you chose a hike with a good sized incline! Wearing some good hiking compression socks will help you hike happier while keeping the recovery to a minimum.

Now, where do you find the best hiking compression socks? You’re going to want hiking compression socks that breathe, don’t cause blisters, and give you the support you need. And that can mean trying out several different kinds of compression socks – but to save you some time, here’s my top 10 list of favorite compression socks for nurses. However, I’ve worn many of those while hiking, and they work great.

However, if you don’t want to read yet another article, here’s the takeaway: my favorite compression socks for hiking are my pink and gray striped compression socks. The blue and gray ones are a close second, though!

Now, let’s make sure we’ve got the other hiking essentials covered.

#9 Take a Flashlight

It’s darn hard to hike when you can’t see! I remember one failed night hike in particular. It was during my college days. A group of friends wanted to go see the sunrise from a particular ridge, and I tagged along after a long shift at a restaurant where I was working at the time. Being sore wasn’t the problem, though. It was that my flashlight gave out part way into the hike. I, and another gal who took pity on me, were forced to turn back. It was while I was stumbling around in the dark that I tripped and injured myself.

It was then and there that I swore to always take a backup flashlight!

#8 Always Pack a First Aid Kit

Coming in at #8, always pack a first aid kit. And I’m not saying that just because I’m a nurse! Bumps, bruises, bug bites, and blisters are common when hiking. I’ve also seen a few run-ins with poison ivy, dehydration, and fatigue. A well-packed first aid kit is often the difference between a miserable hike – and one that teaches others to love hiking, too.

#7 Taking Kids Hiking? Take a Carrier, too!

If you’re taking little kids hiking, then you need to take a carrier. Or a stroller. But since most hikes aren’t generally designed with a stroller in mind, a carrier is a very handy thing to have! We’ve got two carriers – this Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 backpack carrier (though we bought it for about $175 at Costco) and an Ergo 360 Mesh Carrier.

The great thing about the Kelty is that it’s a framed backpack, distributing the kid’s weight evenly, making hiking with a kid a breeze. It also has enough space for the rest of our gear, which is a nice perk. We tote the youngest child in that – then if the toddler gets tired, we get the Ergo out of storage from the Kelty and can tote him around safely, too.

#6 Pack a Fire Starter Kit, Just in Case

Getting lost sucks, and nobody really plans on getting lost. But if you did get lost, being able to start a fire would be handy, wouldn’t it? We’ve got some waterproof matches in the backpack, just in case. Because if we’re prepared, we won’t need them, right?

#5 Don’t Get Lost: Plan Your Route, Take a Map, and Use Your GPS or Compass

When it comes to hiking, it’s important to plan your route. Because as that Cheshire cat says, if you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t much matter which path you take. Unless you’re hiking and you want to get back to your car, of course. Then you probably ought to keep track of where you’re going.

Take a map. Know how to use it. Because while using your GPS is awesome, sometimes it can lead you astray – even stranding you in the middle of nowhere. So be smart, okay? Have backup maps. Take a compass. And if you have to mark where you’re going, do so responsibly.

And if you’re local, here’s 5 awesome hiking trails in Utah courtesy of Jen and The Search for Imperfection.

#4 Kids or Not, Take Food

Always. Take. Food.

And if you’ve got kids, be smart. Take extra food – and make sure it’s stuff that they’ll actually eat. When one of my kids went through a “I’m only gonna eat crackers!!” phase, we brought lots of crackers. And then we had to bring extra juice – and planned for extra potty breaks. It’s a vicious, vicious hiking cycle. Good thing it’s worth it, right?

#3 Bring a Poncho, an Extra Layer of Clothes, and lots of Sunscreen

We usually bring a light jacket when we go hiking, because kids get cold – and so do I. But be aware of where you’re hiking and what the weather can do there. Then, be prepared for the unexpected as best as you can.

Then, remember to wear sunscreen. And if you’re going for a long hike, bring the bottle of it so you can reapply it later. Sunburns are no fun, y’all. So wear a hat!

Melissa Ringstaff, in her article 7 Safety Essentials for Hiking, recommends bringing a coat and an extra pair of socks. 2 pairs of compression socks, perhaps?

#2 Bring a Friend and Share Your Plans with Someone

Growing up in Arizona, there were so many stories on the news about people who’d gone hiking alone – and then didn’t make it home alive. More often than not, they succumbed to heat exhaustion or heat stroke related to dehydration because they didn’t account for the heat. However, there were also plenty of stories where investigations determined that the story could have had a happier ending if only the person had let someone know they were going hiking first.

Please hike safely, y’all. This one strikes home, having lost a cousin to the mountains of Arizona.

#1 Always Bring More Water Than You Think You’ll Need

Finally, the #1 most important part of hiking (I know – it’s even more important than wearing hiking compression socks!) is taking enough water. In fact, bring more water than you need. If you’ve got too much at the end of a hike, it won’t hurt you. But if you run out of water on a hike… well, that can hurt you.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke sneak up on you like no other. I’ve experienced heat exhaustion – and it’s not fun. And they can sneak up on you, even on a short walk. My sister lost a friend who went for a short, several-mile hike in the Grand Canyon. So bring plenty of water – even on a short hike.

Hiking is a fun, amazing activity. Be prepared, be safe, and have lots of fun! What other hiking essentials do you take with you?

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9 Baby Shower Gift Ideas: Gifts for Baby, Mom, & Dad

While our compression socks are amazing, they’re not exactly a great gift for a new baby! They are, however, great baby shower gift ideas when it’s a gift for the mom-to-be! So let’s make sure you’re all set for the new bundle of joy – and let’s get you some great gift ideas for any and all budgets.

And hey, if you wanna snag mom some of our pink and gray striped compression socks or our blue and grey striped compression socks to add to the gift, that’s awesome.

Whether you need some gift ideas for mom, dad, or baby, these will get a great reaction at the baby shower! Bibs, books, baskets, and more all complete the perfect gift basket for the new arrival - and their family.

Baby Shower Gift Ideas for the Guest of Honor: the baby

Okay, so baby gifts are super popular. There’s a ton of ideas everywhere. But some of my favorite baby gifts were the handmade ones – ones that came extra soft, extra cuddly, and full of love. So here’s a link to a whole bundle of DIY baby shower gift ideas and patterns.

Gift #1: Easy DIY Baby Shower Gifts by Texas Crafty Kitchen

And if you aren’t a sewer? Get a pack of white onesies. You can never have enough of those, I swear!

Gift Ideas for the Mom-to-be

Okay, so I know that the baby shower is technically to celebrate the baby… but I assure you mom will appreciate being thought of! And as baby makes his or her appearance, mom will love being pampered by whatever gifts she’s given. And here’s a variety of gift ideas for new moms, moms with kids, stressed moms, and moms who have a c-section. Because, having a baby is plenty hard. Having a c-section, too… that’s just rough, y’all. Let’s be sure to send that mom a gift basket, a nap, and lots of chocolate!

Idea #2: Unique Gifts for a New Mom by Logger’s Wife

#3: 10 Gift Ideas for the Stressed and Overwhelmed Mom by Mommy’s Bundle

Gift Idea #4: How to Make the Ultimate Post C-Section Gift Basket by Gym Craft Laundry

Idea #5: The New Mom Survival Guide by Parenting Chaos

#6: New Mom Gift Basket Ideas by Spaceships and Laser Beams

Awesome ideas so far, right? I definitely would have liked several of those when I had our first child.

Let’s Not Forget Dad: Gift Ideas for Him

For our seventh gift idea, let’s make sure dad isn’t left out. And this one, well, it made me giggle. Because while it’s probably a stereotype, it’s sure seemed to be a true one! My husband always uses our kids as weights – and they love it. And while the book is labeled as “for dads”, I’m sure moms could use the exercises in it, too.

Idea #7: Finally a Baby Shower Gift for Dads! Baby Barbells: the dad’s guide to fitness and fathering by Marvelous Mommy

Our last two gift ideas are things that can be added to any gift basket – they’re our compression socks.

#8: Pink and gray striped compression socks – perfect, pink compression for him or her

#9: Blue and grey striped compression socks – those baby blues look so good on you 😉

So whaddya say? Are you ready for that next baby shower?

What other great baby shower gifts or ideas have you seen? We’d love to know!

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Hiking in Compression Socks (with kids!)

I love being outside. Even with my pale white skin and ginger hair, I love being outside. I just wear lots of sunscreen!

And while it’s still this beautiful spring weather, I’m trying extra hard to get my kids outside, too. My sister-in-law and I met up for a visit to the nature center – a massive preserve that houses wild animals that have been injured and can’t be released.

So not only do we get to go hiking, eat a picnic, and see some awesome animals, but we get to have a lot of fun with family, too!

Hiking in compression socks – my new hiking must-have

After spending several hours hiking around the nature center on its trails (most of which were just glorified hiking paths) with 3 kids under the age of 5, a double jogging stroller, and a baby who refused to be put down, I was tired. I was exhausted! But I was glad for 3 things:

  • That jogging stroller was a lifesaver for the older two boys!
  • My Ergo baby carrier meant I could carry my clingy baby and still manage the other kids.
  • My compression socks that kept my legs going no matter what the terrain or tantrum.

Seriously. Those compression socks helped me stay on my feet. They made me wish I had some sort of compression shirt or something on, though, because my lower back was ON FIRE! But hey, baby wearing for 4 hours while hiking would give anyone a back ache, right? (that or I need to do more core workouts…)

Now, I have to admit that I was wearing my test pair of our NEW blue and gray compression socks – because hey, somebody has to test them!

Testing our socks by doing (and hiking!)

Sneak Peek at the New Socks
Sneak peek at the NEW design!

Now, I’m not the only sock tester. (A HUGE shout-out to all of our testers, by the way!)

So our socks get all sorts of activities thrown at them by our testers – soccer games, running, hiking, days at home with the kids, 12 hour hospital shifts, in the field on an ambulance, on planes, and more.

All of this means that we’re one step closer to having blue and gray striped compression socks available. And I’m **SUPER** excited about that. Because while I love my pink and gray socks, it’s sure nice to have another option for when I’m having a blue day.

Stay tuned… we’ll be having a GIVEAWAY soon. That’s right – you’re going to be able to WIN a FREE pair of your own blue and gray striped compression socks before you can buy them. Make sure you’re following us on Facebook for all of the details.

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Put on Compression Socks (without swearing)

My socks are too #*@^*!%@% tight!!

Have you ever thought this when trying to pull on compression socks? If so, you aren’t alone. I recently got some feedback from a buyer that their socks were too tight and hard to put on. And it reminded me of the first six months when I was wearing compression socks – it took me 5-10 minutes just to put my socks on!!

I don’t know about you, but ten minutes to put on socks is about nine minutes too many.

Here’s how to put on compression socks

The first thing you need to know with compression socks is that they’re TIGHT. (So don’t even bother just trying to pull them on like you do regular socks, because it doesn’t work that way!)

Here’s how to pull them on like a pro (and in less than 10 minutes):

  1. The first thing you need to do is pull down the tops of the socks down around the ankles, so that the inside of the sock is showing.
  2. Holding onto the doubled-over fold, pull the compression socks on up to your ankles. It should be relatively easy.
  3. Adjust the fabric around your ankles so there isn’t any bunching – bunching will lead to pinching!
  4. Pull the rest of the sock up to just below your knee.
  5. Adjust the fabric and the band at top as needed.
  6. Rock those socks.

Okay, so now that your socks are on, you’re ready for your day. Rock those socks with pants, scrubs, pant suits, or whatever else it is you’re wearing. Me? I’m rocking my compression socks under a pair of yoga pants. Because that’s how I’m rolling today.

[Tweet “Rock your compression socks with pants, scrubs, pant suits, or yoga pants. Now go rock your socks – and your day. #cutecompressionsocks”]

Have you ordered your pair of cute compression socks? Then we’d sure love you to leave us a 5-star review here, on Amazon, or on Google+!

Don’t have your socks? No problem! Here’s the link to our shop so you can snag your pair now.

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Not every 30 minute workout is created equal

Back in the day, an early morning workout meant I’d jump on the elliptical for 30 minutes while watching a show (or listening to a book). I’d do some stretches, sure, but it was rough making it through the workout without feeling absolutely bored to tears.

I’d swap out those 30 minute workouts with strength training days. On those days, I’d lift my dumbbells and isolate muscles. I saw gains, but man alive it was slow. S. L. O. W.

And it’s super hard to keep up a workout series where you see very little progress.

Enter the HIIT 30 minute workout

HIIT doesn’t mean karate or some sort of self-defense. It’s “high intensity interval training.” There’s a wide interpretation of HIIT, but I’ve become a huge fan of strength training using a HIIT inspired format. In fact, if you want to see the *exact* workout that got me hooked on this method, give this a try:

Beginner body weight workout

It took me more than a week to be able to actually do the whole workout – without feeling like I was going to puke. It was awesome – and it wasn’t at all boring.

And I started seeing *immediate* results

Okay, so I didn’t drop 15 pounds in a month or develop a six pack overnight. But I did start losing weight and gained muscle. My youngest, who will be one later this year, suddenly seemed lighter. My clothes looked better on me. And I felt better. Oh, and I developed a love for protein shakes.

And seeing results? That makes it SO much easier to to stay motivated and keep going.

So seriously, try some HIIT strength training. The body weight circuits are a great way to work out a lot of muscles in a short amount of time – you’re using your break time to work a different muscle set rather than just sitting there.

Oh – and the best part about these body weight workouts? No gym or equipment needed. 🙂 (except some awesome socks, right?)

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Groundhog’s Day! Indoor workouts for me for 6 weeks

I don’t know if the groundhog saw *his* shadow, but I saw mine. I’m going to stick with indoors exercising for at least another six weeks!

And while I’m exercising indoors, some days I wear my socks during the workout. Some days I wear them afterwards. It’s nice to have options!

Working out during the winter means lots of indoor workouts for me. And that’s okay. Because it doesn’t matter where or when I work out - when I’ve got my compression socks to help me workout better, recover faster, and look awesome afterwards. #compressionsocks

Wearing compression socks during indoor workouts

When I do a hard workout, I love wearing my compression socks during the session. You see, it helps my exhausted little legs to have better circulation. That means that I can push myself just *that* much harder through some more intervals on the elliptical. Or I can do just *one* extra prisoner squat.

Sure, I’ll feel like passing out afterwards. Sure, I won’t be able to walk right for a few hours, but the exercise is doing me good. And having the compression socks on during the workout makes it that much better.

Or wearing them after the workout

Some days I just want to pull on my cotton ankle socks, work out as fast as I can, shower, and then pull on my compression socks. Those are good days, too. I still get in a great workout, I get to recover wearing my cute socks, and my legs feel better *SO* much faster with the extra compression.

It’s a great choice for days where I’ve got to run errands after the workout – that way I’ve got the extra support I need while I’m trekking around Costco with my kids.

Or just wearing them any time!

Does that mean I save my socks for workout days? Nope. If the fancy strikes me (or my legs are aching), I pull those suckers right on. Sometimes it’s just vacuuming day and I want to wear them while I vacuum. Or the kids want me to rock them for a dance party.

No matter when I wear them, I’m sure glad I’ve got them. But I’m *especially* glad I’ve got them after a rough workout like today. Ugh.

If you need me, I’ll be on the couch reading a book. Happy Groundhog’s day.