I’ve been fortunate enough to go hiking quite a bit this Summer, certainly more than I usually do, and I’ve loved it. One of my favourite hikes was to Murphy’s Point in Canyonlands, it was an easy 3.6 mile hike but we had it completely to ourselves!
After arriving in Utah’s largest National Park for sunrise at Mesa Arch, (which was a serious let down due to the cloudy morning), we headed for the visitor’s centre to chat with the rangers about the best hike for our 1.5hr window of time before we needed to hit the road.
He recommended Murphy’s Point, an easy out and back hike that had a suggested time of 2hrs. It was fairly flat, so we were able to pick up the pace and make it back to the car in just over an hour.
The views over the Canyon were incredible, and it felt so special having the whole place ourselves. We couldn’t believe no one else was out on the trail, although I have since read that Canyonlands is Utah’s least visited National Park. I can’t believe it, I would say it was my second favourite park (after Zion!).
I put together a super quick video of our hike. Let me know what you think, and don’t forget to subscribe to my Youtube Channel.
My Current Favourite Hiking Kit
For both Kilimanjaro and Utah, I mixed in a lot of my regular fitness gear with proper hiking kit. I didn’t want to spend a huge amount of money on long sleeve tops etc when there was plenty of running kit in my wardrobe that would work just as well. However there were a few key pieces I did get for my trips.
North Face Fleece
I wore the Glacier Half Zip North Face fleece from Millets every single day on Kilimanjaro, so much so that my tent mate, Katie, and I made a joke out of my ‘new’ jumper most days. I also brought it to Utah and wore it a lot, including by the campfire to make s’mores and spilt melted marshmallow on it. I’m pretty classy.
This fleece is amazing, I opted for the black version to make it look as stylish as a fleece realistically can look. It’s so warm and comfy, the size 10 was big enough to wear over a number of under-layers, or just one t-shirt as a slouchy jumper.
I was recommended these by my friend Laura, as one of the most flattering versions of zip-off trousers. Millets very kindly provided me with three pairs of Craghoppers trousers for my trip; a pair of straight black ones, navy zip-offs and a fleece lined pair of black trousers for summit night. Warning, these trousers do come up quite large and with the added stretch, do expand as you walk. Or maybe I just lost weight hiking for 8hrs a day and only eating carbs/chocoalte…however I often found myself hoiking up the trousers.
They were incredibly comfortable, and fitted around the leg to provide a little bit of style, unlike most hiking trousers. But most importantly, they were functional. They stretched to allow me to climb up rocks, they were tough wearing when we climbed down on all fours/our bums, and had plenty of pockets for snacks and lip balm.
I wore very old, very worn in hiking boots for our Kilimanjaro trip and got away with zero blisters, luckily. However, I wasn’t too keen to lugging those boots out to Utah, so instead brought some Asics trail trainers and a pair of the Teva boots.
I wore the Teva boots for our trip to Zion National Park, in particular for their ankle support and grip when climbing Angel’s Landing, a notoriously scary hike, and they held up brilliantly. I would say that these are more ‘urban hiking’ boots, and I wouldn’t take them on really muddy or technical hikes, but they worked well for the rocky, paved and easy trail conditions I tested them in.
I picked up this amazing Eddie Bauer rucksack at the outlet malls on our way to Utah. It is really lightweight and folds down into one of the pockets – perfect for travelling or bringing with me to uni. Tom and I often have to bring a rucksack with us on holidays for any activities we’re doing there where a handbag is not appropriate, i.e. cycling or hiking. When we climbed The Pitons we had to borrow our bus driver’s rucksack!
I used my Mum’s fancy Berghaus rucksack on Kilimanjaro (similar here), that actually was a little bigger than I needed, but was perfect in terms of fit. It had back support, a waist strap, and plenty of pockets.
I’m looking for a great quality hiking jacket for the autumn/winter months, do you have one that you’d recommend? What are your favourite brands for hiking gear?