We are really happy to see eager adventurers ready to start their new journey in the Transylvanian mountains. Therefore we have prepared a list of the 3 most essential gear that you need to have with you in any of our activities.
The boots are one of the/ if not the most important element of your gear when you go hiking. There are a lot of elements to be taken into consideration when choosing your hiking boots. But there are few basic elements we recommend to have no matter what type of boot you choose.
First of all we recommend a 3-season (spring, autumn, winter) pair of boots, which are the most ideal for the weather and terrain in Transylvania but also in most mountain regions around the world. The ideal boots provide ankle protection when walking on rugged terrain; they keep your feet dry in heavy rains or when you need to cross shallow rivers (waterproof); have good adherence on most terrains; provide the foot with the ability to breath, thus keeping the foot dry and warm. Most waterproof boots have a so called “breathable membrane” that can can be find under the names: GoreTex, SympaTex, E-Vent, etc.
The base of the boot must have good/high resistance to abrasion and long hiking. At the same time it must have good adhesion to all surfaces found in the mountains. The base is usually made of durable rubber, but it is reinforced with various materials that absorb shocks, increase adhesion or lifetime.
The backpack represent one of your best hiking companion, helping you carry all your gear throughout your adventure. The hiking backpacks have a lot of characteristics, and our friends from BackpackerLife offer a great in depth description of them. We will provide the basic features backpacks should have according to their size (liters)
Small backpacks (10-20l) – they are used for short hikes, generally from the cabin to a nearby peak or in short summer hikes. They come only with shoulder straps, the hip straps being unnecessary because of the small weight they carry and the outer straps for gripping tools (trekking sticks, isoprene, etc.) are few or nonexistent.
1 day hike backpacks (25-40l) – these backpacks are used either for a full-day hike or for technical hikes (mountaineering, winter technical hike). Depending on the purchased model, they may have different features such as straps for fastening the walking sticks, special hidrobagging compartment, straps for the isopren or rope. There are also variants with or without the hip and chest straps.
Multi-day hike backpacks (40l +) – this is a backpack in the true sense of the word. Used for many days, it is the most versatile type of backpack. It is generally provided with several compartments, some of which have the main compartment divided to provide storage for the sleeping bag. They have the hip strap, which has the role of distributing a large part of the weight on the hips and the chest strap so that it can be properly tightened on the torso. Depending on the model purchased, it may have the following items: extra small compartments for things that need to be handy on the lid, side and front of the backpack; top and bottom straps for fixing tent, isoprene; straps and side pockets for attaching sticks, axes or skis; pockets for water or thermos bottles; waterproof pockets for map or phone. Chain loops usually present on the back of the backpack are called “daisy chains” and can be fitted with X-shaped elastic (or sneakers shoelaces)where various pieces of equipment can be attached: sleeping bag, tent, isoprene, sticks, etc.
There is only one universal rule that can apply for all seasons mountain clothing gear: NO COTTON. The main reason behind is that cotton cloths absorb moisture and water and keep it caught between the fabric fibers, so the clothes dry out hard and do not keep the heat. We will not go into further details but you can find more about “Why cotton is bad for hiking?” in this blog post
What we recommend are clothes made of synthetic material (nylon, polyester, acrylic fibers, etc.). They do not retain moisture, are light and dry quickly. Another good material, especially in the cold season, is wool. Recommended will be merino wool, which is a very soft wool. It absorbs less water than cotton fibers, so it keeps its thermal insulation properties. Besides, the wool does not retain unpleasant smells, so you can use the same clothing for more days. The only downside is that wool dries slower than synthetic material
For hikes in the cold season we recommend the 3-layer approach:
- the base layer – absorbs sweat from the skin and eliminates it. It is composed of tight clothes, preferably with a wool content for thermal insulation.
- the insulation layer – composed of one or more pieces. The polar is a good material for the intermediate layer because it offers efficient thermal insulation. Puff is also a good choice as long as it is not compressed (if it compresses, it loses its isolation properties).
- protection layer – against moisture and wind. As required, this layer is a jacket or pair of pants that resists water and wind.