New! Click here for Checklist of Things to bring on a walk. It includes the information below and the second page has 12 checklists you can use for your next 12 walks. (From your browser window, Save As, and save it to a file you can find again,)
Since you will be walking outside, you should wear clothes. But this is California, so wear what you like. I suggest layers. At some point you will be too hot or too cold and occasionally that will happen on the same walk.
You’ll want shoes. On rough trails, hiking boots will serve you well. For most paved, trails athletic shoes should be fine.
I have walking poles, but I forget them and they stay snug in the car. Poles are handy though to help on the steeper ups and downs. You’ll be warned in walk description when that occurs.
In winter or at the coast, you may want gloves and earmuffs.
When it’s 95 degrees, there’s not much to keep you cool. Walk slowly, or get up earlier the next time and start out in the morning. Walking later in the day might provide a more comfortable temperature, but then the evening brings insects. They are one of the less enjoyable parts of being out in nature.
Sunglasses and hats are often needed. Applying sunscreen and lip balm before and during a walk may save the day. Band-Aids or a simple first aid kit. Tissue for runny nose.
Water and snacks are good. Watch, flashlight, compass. (Hopefully, my walks are too short and clear for this kind of gear. If you have to bring your cellphone, because you’re paranoid, please turn it off and don’t use it.)
As to backpacks, coolers, chairs, binoculars, cameras etc. — just remember the things you bring along will weigh twice as much by the end of the trip.
Some walking trails prohibit dogs and all walks require dogs to be on leash. There are a few dog parks where they can wildly run, but dogs don’t do wildlife much good.
A walking companion is golden. As in life, finding the right one is difficult. You need to find one with a similar pace, endurance and ability to stop and look at flowers, birds or scat. I hope you can find one who challenges and inspires you, but doesn’t drive you mad.
Bring your sense of wonder. It’s a beautiful world out there.