The importance of Hydration

Hydration with Mallorca HikingWith the Spring weather upon us and perfect conditions for taking that excursion into the countryside – it is important to remember to carry sufficient water with you. Today’s tip from Mallorca Hiking concerns adequate hydration

Never underestimate your water requirements. The slightest bit of dehydration will cause a decrease in your physical performance. If allowed to deteriorate further, it can lead to much more serious problems. Start with easy walks to understand your body’s individual requirements. The average person should consume a minimum of 3 quarts of water per day especially when walking energetically (which is definitely the case on some of our hikes in Mallorca with peaks of up to 2000m above sea level). Also important to bear in mind is how much of your walking route is shaded – the more open and exposed, the more water intake you’ll need.

Hydration function in our bodies:

Our bodies are composed of about 66% water. Fluid and electrolyte balance is a major function of homeostasis (which is our body’s ability to maintain its internal environment as it adjusts to challenges and stress). If our bodies are able to adjust to these challenges a healthy balance is maintained. Proper hydration is important for cellular metabolism, blood flow and our physical performance.

Hydration bladder with Mallorca HikingLack of water can lead to muscle cramps, major headaches, fatigue, heat exhaustion and heat stroke so it’s important to ensure this vital ingredient is always high on your preparation list for long walks.

For those of you looking to hike or take longer walks on a regular basis, there have been some superb accessories hydration bladder with Mallorca Hikingdeveloped for maintaining your hydration easily. Hydration packs have almost become a ‘must have’ accessory for hikers worldwide – we quite often pass fellow hikers with a tube running from their rucksack with a mouth piece clipped to their shirt. These hydration “bladders” fit conveniently into any rucksack pocket, as the bag adapts to it’s surroundings. A pipe then runs from the backpack and can be attached to your shirt or jacket collar. Regularly topping up your liquid intake is made super easy – no more stopping, unpacking, unscrewing, repacking etc – just lean forward and drink!

WATER BOTTLE TIP

If you take traditional water bottles as part of your hiking hydration system, invest in some good quality 1 litre bottles (Nalgene is a recommended brand). They have wide mouths and are easy to clean, secure lids that are attached to the bottle (lids don’t drop  in the dirt), and they are sturdy enough to take some abuse in your backpack.

How to calculate your fluid intake needs when walking

The best hydration strategy for hikers is to ensure you stay fully hydrated. This really needs to start about one week before your hiking trip. Good hydration is especially important for the two to three days prior to your trip. Two litres is the minimum daily intake, but remember hiking is a physical activity and through perspiration, exposure and climate you can become dehydrated very quickly.

HIKING HYDRATION TIP

Never pass up an opportunity to fill your water containers while hiking. Always start your hike with a full load of water and don’t depend on the availability of water at some future point on the trail – you may end up disappointed and heading toward dehydration…

Signs of Dehydration:

The following tell-tale signs of dehydration may help you react earlier and begin rehydrating sooner. As a rule of thumb if you are feeling thirsty you are already dehydrated. Other signs include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Weakness
  • Unclear thinking
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Dark yellow urine

Try and remember these simple guidelines when planning your next hike – particularly as the weather is improving and temperatures are steadily increasing.

For further tips on preparing for a walking trip, read through some of our other helpful articles:

10 After Hike Recovery Tips

Practice Makes Perfect

Top Tips – Preventing Blisters

Wonderful Walking Facts

Happy (Hydrated) Hiking!

What to pack for a 4 day hike… (With no bag transfers!)

How to pack for a 4 day hiking trip

Victoria

Hi everyone, I’m Victoria and I’m the newest member of the team at Mallorca Hiking.

Having recently returned from a trip to South America, mostly spent hiking around a handful of Patagonia’s National Parks, I like to think I have a few useful tips I can give to help you pack for a 4 day hike. The mountains of Mallorca may not be The Andean Altiplano, but there are a number of essentials any hiker needs when setting off for a few days hard walking.

It’s worth bearing in mind that although Mallorca has over 300 days of sunshine annually, temperatures can vary hugely between day and night-time. In the Autumn, the weather is a blissful 18-25 degrees Celsius during the day but nights can drop to 6 degrees. Winters are mild, with an average temperature of 14 degrees during the day and 4 degrees at night. I’ve therefore included a list of some warmer gear to take with you too.

The key is not to pack too much! A huge heavy backpack will not make for fun hiking- you don’t want to jeopardise your holiday for the sake of three spare pairs of shoes…

Many of the essentials I’d recommend may be obvious, but perhaps there’ll be a few surprises too. I’ve also included ‘specialist’ items, which I’d advise you to consider buying as they helped make my hiking trips that much more enjoyable!

Kit List:

  • what to pack for a 4 day walking trip

    Platypus / Camel Bak hydration system

    Backpack- For a 4 day hike, a 35-55 litre backpack is ideal. It’s not necessary to have a backpack any bigger than 55l, as all bedding and towels are provided at your chosen accommodation, even if you’re staying in one of the island’s refuges. I’d recommend choosing a backpack with a padded hip belt to ensure the majority of the weight is carried on the hips.

  • Fully-charged camera- It’s better to bring a fully charged camera, as a recharger just adds extra weight to your pack.
  • Spending money- For dinner each night as well as picnics and other irresistible local delicacies along the way…
  • Platypus Hoser/CamelBak hydration pack 1.5-2 litres*- My No. 1 item. It’s hands free, reusable, easy to pack, and most importantly it helps to keep you constantly hydrated- a major consideration when hiking in Mallorca. See our previous blog post on the importance of hydration.
  • Walking poles*. They help when climbing uphill but most importantly, they help take the weight off your joints when going downhill. Walking poles are available to hire for 5 Euros per day from Mallorca Hiking.
  • Head torch*- Just in case you get caught out in the dark; or to go to the loo at night if you’re staying in a refuge…

In the winter, if you’re walking at high altitude, you may be surprised to hear that a woolly hat and some light gloves are also really welcome.

Snacks:

what to pack for a 4 day walk in Mallorca

Trail Mix Bar

My favourites are:

  • Trail Mix- nuts and dried fruit. Trailmix is great to eat for slow-burning energy and it’s light to carry. My favourite mix includes almonds, raisins and dried cranberries. For a 4 day trip, I recommend bringing a freezer bag-sized pack.
  • Muesli bars. Also high energy and nutritious (and unlike chocolate they won’t melt!). Bring 2-3 muesli bars per day.

But the good news is that if you’re doing Mallorca’s long distance hike, the GR221, there are quite a few opportunities to stock up along the way, so you don’t have to carry supplies for the duration of the trek.

Toiletries and Basic First Aid:

Sun cream, 1 loo roll, plasters, blister plasters, insect repellent, ibruprofen, Imodium, toothbrush and toothbrush holder (for the head of the brush) miniature toothpaste, chapstick (including spf 15 is best), deodorant, feminine hygiene products.

I would also recommend packing ear plugs if you’re a light sleeper, and particularly if you’re staying in a refuge where you sleep in dormitories. You never know how noisy your fellow hikers may be!

Clothing:

  • 3-4 lightweight t-shirts*- (one can be used as nightwear).  Polyester/elastane-mix t-shirts are ideal as they are light-weight and quick drying. They can be bought at any good outdoor shop (see shop reference list below)
  • 1 pair of comfortable walking trousers* or sports leggings. Zip off trousers are great as when it warms up you can zip off the lower leg to convert into shorts.
  • 1 pair of shorts*- preferably lightweight, quick-dry walking shorts. Do not bring denim – it’s heavy to carry and takes ages to dry!
  • 1 pair of lightweight trousers/long johns/leggings – for nightwear

    what to pack for a 4 day walking trip in Mallorca

    Ready for the GR221!

  • 3 pairs quality walking socks*- Merino wool or merino/polyester-mix walking socks are ideal as you don’t have to wear two pairs which saves on space, and they keep your feet dry and cool.
  • 3 underpants
  • (Women) 1 sports bra – much comfier to wear when walking.
  • 1 pair of quality walking boots*, preferably worn-in prior to the holiday as new boots are more likely to cause blisters
  • Cap*
  • Sunglasses*
  • Rainproof/windproof jacket (and possibly also over-trousers depending on the time of year)*- Preferably Goretex. It’s always advisable to bring a waterproof, as even if it’s unlikely to rain it’s useful as an extra windproof layer.
  • Lightweight fleece* for layering
  • Flipflops/indoor shoes- For evening use, bring flipflops or a lightweight pair of shoes, e.g. canvas plimsolls. It’s heaven to shed your walking boots for a few hours in the evening!

NB: Sometimes, if you know you’ll be staying somewhere that you can wash out a few things overnight, you can actually get away with packing a bit less – always good news ;-)

Where’s best to buy the gear?

All the items above marked * can be bought at UK outdoor clothing shops, for example:

In Mallorca, the main place to buy good walking kit is Decathlon and of course Bestard makes some awesome hiking boots! Also good for outdoor kit is Es Refugi in C/ Sindicat, 21, 07002 Palma de Mallorca, Phone:+34 971 71 67 31. Sorry there’s no link but their site doesn’t seem to be working at the moment.

If you’ve got any questions, please don’t hesitate to send them my way. Either leave a comment here or contact us by email. Also do take a look at our previous blog posts with tips and advice about kit.
Happy hiking!

Walking with babies and small children on Mallorca

Walking with babies on Mallorca

Picnic break with little baby in nature

Every day there is a growing request for information about where you can go and hike or walk bringing your baby or little child with you on Mallorca. The truth is in fact that there are many places that you can walk with your kids to enjoy the magic nature of the island; either by carrying them in different types of carriers or by letting the child walk by him or herself. If you are well prepared and using common sense, you can bring your little child almost anywhere into nature on the island. There is however quit a few things you need to keep in mind before heading out for an excursion with your little ones, here comes a list one some of those things:

Know the total distance & type of terrain

Be completely sure on the distance that you are planning on doing and the type of terrain. Many walkers in all ages have been surprised by Mallorcas stony terrain; the stones are many and they are everywhere! Bear in mind that there is a huge difference for a 2- year old walking on a more or less flat earth track or asfalted little backroad compared to “coastering” on rocky stones or jumping from stone to stone on a very uneven surface. On the later option mentioned, a lot more time and energy is consumed and this needs to be taken into account. Many times there are several different ways of arriving to a location – be sure to choose the option that suits your whole family the best and most importantly; make sure you know where you are going either by asking, using a good map or contracting a guide. Its also wise to have a good think about were you are actually going, if you’re not sure which routes are suitable for going with kids, then have a look the walks we have graded as easy walks (green boot) – they will give you a realistic idea and perhaps some inspiration.

Keep a track on time

Walking with your children in Nature

Parents hiking on Mallorca

As mentioned before we all know that it takes more time to take small steps than bigger “adult” steps. Sunset happens pretty fast on Mallorca throughout the year, and its is not the most pleasant experience to get caught by darkness without a flashlight, perhaps on your way back from the beach. To avoid this be sure to check when the sun goes down locally and keep a track on time.

Be well equipped

First of all consider carefully how you are going to carry your child keeping both your and your babys comfort level in mind (padded bandoliers, sunshield etc). For smaller babies we have been very satisfied with carriers such as “ergobaby”, “manduca”, “babybjörn” and similar brands and we were using this type of carrier for all kinds of walks until our son was more or less 1 year old. The time one type of carrier is used depends on several things though, most importantly the babies weight. We did experience that these kind of carriers tended to get too warm from time to time here on Mallorca, as  you carry the baby very close to your belly or back. Later on we got a babycarrier where the baby sits in a separate “seat” on your back from the brand Deuter (Kid Comfort) and this is the one we are currently using. It has got a handy sunshield that can be taken off and a pocket where you can carry other things apart from the child. You can find a huge variety of this type of baby carriers on the market in all price levels and be sure to check the second hand offers before you by a brand new one.  There are a few other things you should consider bringing before you get into nature with your small children, for example; a small headtorch is inexpensive, it doesn’t weight much and it can come in handy more than one time during your trip. A little first aid kit bag can save you from a lot of hazzle, be sure to complement it with your own details. We have also found it very useful bringing some kind of soft, light weight, easy-to-fold and well isolated pad that you can use for changing diapers, for sitting on, or for your baby to have a small nap on. Last but not least, do not forget your own equipment! If you wan’t to be sure of not leaving anything necessary at home, then have a quick look at our kit list.

Walking with babies

Walking with children

Bring the “just in case” stuff

When bringing small children into nature with you, its recommended that you have a good thought about what you are bringing because you don’t want to find  yourself carrying any extra weight and neither do you want to be in the situation where you think “I should have brought that”.. Bring a little bit extra food and snacks, enough water for everyone, 3-4 diapers per child, one complet set of extra clothes and perhaps a small light quilt. If its summer then be sure to not forget sun lotion, swimmers (if you are going near the sea) and perhaps goggles if your child is used to wearing them. If your child is walking by him/herself, it might be a good idea to bring a “small surprise” that you can take out and give to them if they run out of energy or motivation for continuing walking; fruit, dried fruit and chocolate are classic “decoys”. In the end the most important thing is that you and your child can be able to enjoy your outing together, and if you are not sure on how to set up this by yourself, just contact us and we will come back to you with a tailor made day-plan that suits both your and your babies needs. We would also very  much like to hear about your point of view and experiences when it comes to hiking with babies on Mallorca so please feel free to join the debate on our facebook page.

Mallorca’s gastronomy during hiking (part two)

jamon serrano

In our last blog post we where talking about what to bring when you go for a walk and giving suggestions and tips on delicious local food and products. Here comes the continuation on the same topic.

Pa amb oli” is the way local people from Mallorca call a slice of bread with tomatoes, olive oil and salt. This is the local sandwich base, which can be topped with other food or eaten directly as the 4 ingredients are already very tasteful. The best thing to do while hiking is to prepare it during one of our stops: cut some bread slices with a foldable knife, cut some tomato slices (the tomato should be a big one!) and then add virgin olive oil (local gold) and salt. A fresh “pa amb oli” is something that all locals go mad about!!

Dry cured cuts of meat are among the best toppings to a “pa amb oli”. Typical dry cured meat from Mallorca is made of pork meat, salt and spices. The most popular types that are eaten without cooking are sobrassada (orange soft paste that can be directly spread on a bread slice or bread cookie), paté (orange soft paste made of pork libber that can also be spread on a bread slice or bread cookie) and camaiot (grey and white color, cut in slices). These are the fatty and “unhealthy” part of the meal, but in small quantities they are just delicious if you like meat. It is common to also complement the “pa amb oli” with other Spanish dry cured cuts of meat such as Jamón Serrano, fuet, chorizo, salchichón… We recommend you to buy from small producers in order to maximize quality and authenticity. Majorcan cheese

There are many cheese producers in Mallorca, bringing lots of different products to the market. Cow and sheep cheeses are the most usual, though there are some excellent goat cheeses as well. Native red sheep are farmed to produce excellent and original flavors. There are ecologic producers who use traditional methods and reach excellent results (normally a bit more expensive than bigger producers). Curing and aging processes directly affect consistence, texture and taste of each cheese. We do not recommend bringing fresh cheese when hiking unless you bring a well functioning/long lasting cold bag. Cheese is a source of animal fat, protein, vitamins from group A, B and D, as well as minerals like calcium and phosphorus (great for our bones). It must be eaten moderately, but when you are hiking it is always nice to cut some slices with your foldable knife and enjoy its fantastic flavors, alone or combined with a “pa amb oli”.

 

Bakery products from Mallorca, both salty and sweet, normally contain pork fat. They are not healthy products eaten on a regular basis but it can be interesting to bring some of them ‘cause they are delicious and provide a caloric boost that can be needed when you have a long way to walk. “Coques” (sort of cold pizzas with only vegetables on it) with paprika, onion, tomatoes or parsley are crunchy and oily. “Panades” are round pasties filled with cooked lamb meat or bacon, onion and peas. “Cocarrois” are long pasties filled with cooked vegetables, including raisins. These pasties use to be typical Easter food, but nowadays they are baked the whole year around; they are very convenient to bring to an excursion because they last more than other bakery products. If you like sweet stuff (or you are longing for a sugar kick), then you must bring some ensaïmada, a round spiral inflated dough powdered with sugar, sometimes filled with sweetened apricots or other ingredients (cream, chocolate, etc.). There are other typical sweet baked products like “coca de patata”, “bunyols”, “crespells” and “robiols”, but easy on the sugar and fat.

panades

In terms of drinking, we always recommend to drink mineral water (preferably from Mallorcan springs). Freshly squeezed natural orange juice can be sometimes acquired in some hikes as there are some rural houses which prepare them for you in the very moment.

Finally, we sometimes like to bring some local red wine to do a small toast and savor this traditional beverage during our lunch break. But the wine culture in Mallorca is interesting and rich enough to write another blog-post…

Practice makes Perfect

Today we revisit the importance of preparation for a hiking or walking holiday. Following these simple, commonsense tips will help ensure you don’t have wasted days because you’ve taken on too much, or because you didn’t realise what is involved – especially if you are not a regular walker. Read on…

Regardless if you are a professional or a novice on a walking holiday, it is still really important to go on a lot of practice hikes before jetting off to your holiday destination. Practice walks serve many purposes: to test new gear and clothing; to know your walking and physical limitations; to master different walking conditions; all are important factors to understand before you embark on a series of long walks.

When starting your build up for your walking holiday, practice walks should start short and gradually increase, so you slowly “break-in” all those rusty muscles.

Pay attention to your body temperature. Use layers of clothing and remove/replace as your temperature increases and decreases on easier and more difficult sections of the walk.

Create awareness to sensations in your feet. Hot spots in your boots can turn into blisters, so stop and adjust your boots/socks/remove stones etc. If your feet get wet, stop to dry them and change your socks. If you are walking with a partner ensure both of you are comfortable about stopping each other if these re-adjustments are necessary. Remember: with walking, prevention is significantly better (and less time consuming/painful) than curing a damaged foot etc.

Keep your back-pack comfortably adjusted. Again, re-adjust straps if they have become too loose or are cutting into your arms. This may also be due to the contents not being well distributed. Try to keep the heaviest items close to your back. Try to create a set place for each item in your pack and return it to this place to maintain a comfortable walking position for your backpack.

Get used to having regular drink and snack breaks to maintain your energy levels. Little and often is much easier on your digestion and converts quicker into energy, as opposed to large meals which take energy to digest and can be uncomfortable for walking afterwards.

Your clothes are a key part of your comfort when walking for several hours, so practice walks will let you know how comfortable each item is. Trousers/shorts may rub on your thighs; upper layers may be too tight when you get warmer – all this can then be adjusted or rectified prior to flying off on your holiday.

Although none of our guided walks require large backpacks with sleeping bags etc (the luxury of boutique accommodation and good restaurants is more our style than tents and camp food!!) an awareness of your body and your clothing will make your holiday much more enjoyable.

A little preparation and thought and a bit of planning really help you get the maximum benefit and enjoyment from our holidays. We recommend these simple practice routines to all our clients – and you’ll be happy you did them when you arrive.

Hiking Poles

Hiking Poles Mallorca HikingContinuing with our recommendations and advice for the best Hiking Clothing and Equipment here at Mallorca Hiking - today’s article will elabourate on the advantages of Hiking Poles (also known as trekking poles, hiking sticks or walking poles). These practical accessories to walking and hiking trips are becoming a familiar sight.

A distant cousin to ski poles, they have many features in common such as rubber-padded handles and wrist straps. They often consist of two or three sections, and can be extended or retracted as necessary – some poles can even be retracted sufficiently to fit into pockets or backpacks when not required. They are usually made of lightweight aluminum or carbon fiber.

The primary use for poles is to give support and rhythm to your walking. They’re not really necessary on flat, smooth sections of your hike, but they can help to exercise your upper body if used continuously throughout a walk, and they help maintain an even speed. On uneven or rocky terrain and slopes, hiking sticks provide stability and support and they are particularly helpful for walkers with an injury, or weak joints or those who are susceptible to knee injuries.

folding hiking pole Mallorca HikingPoles are also very handy for a number of less obvious uses e.g. for checking the depth of water when crossing a river or marshy area; as a splint or to help carry a fellow walker to safety in the event of injury. There are even hiking poles that are designed to be the support for a tent thereby giving them a dual purpose, as well as reducing the amount you have to carry on overnight treks. So, there are lots of good reasons to take walking poles on your next hike.

Walking poles are now also considered a fitness accessory with the growing popularity of Nordic Walking. This kind of walking / exercise can be done anywhere – including city streets – as a flat surface is the best for keeping up a good energetic pace. Use of poles ensures you get a full body workout, burning more calories without any major exertion. Nordic Poles come with detailed instructions on how to use them and even video tutorials.

Some walkers prefer walking with just one pole (the tradition for shepherds and gamekeepers for centuries,retractable poles mallorca hiking and commonly seen with beautifully carved wooden staffs). This still helps stability and support but for maximum benefit, we recommend using two sticks. Using a pair of hiking poles or trekking poles gives you the balance you need and takes more stress off the lower body joints. The grips and straps are designed so you can push down on them, but also for quick release if the pole gets stuck between rocks or roots.

Telescopic/Adjustable Poles or Fixed Length Poles?

One-piece poles are lighter and quieter, and are the best choice for nordic walking use. For trekkers, adjusting the length as you go uphill and downhill allows you to keep the correct angle and benefit from the fullest support. For traveling hikers, poles that collapse down to store or carry in your luggage or in your pack on the trail are very handy.

How to Walk With Poles

Believe it or not, there are at least three recommended walking methods with hiking poles. Each manufacturer provides detailed instructions on how to use their particular poles. We’ve uploaded some videos to our YouTube channel for you to see, listen and learn! It can take a bit of practice until you are using them to their fullest advantage.

Below we’ve displayed a selection of walking poles – click on each image to see more details. Hopefully now you know and understand a bit more about walking poles, which should help you when making a choice for your first purchase.

Layering your Clothing for Hiking

clothing layers for HikingWe’ve covered two of the most important items of clothing for walking holidays with our previous Boots and Socks articles here at Mallorca Hiking. Today we’re going to consider the rest of your walking attire and particularly the layering of clothes for comfort and adaptability to temperature and weather conditions.

When hiking you need to consider your clothes according to 4 basic categories. These groups are:

1. inner layer, 2. mid layer, 3. insulation layer, 4. outer layer.


1. Inner Layer (underwear)

As this first layer is worn against your skin it is important for both insulation and perspiration. Choosing material that has a wicking* function will ensure perspiration and sweat are transferred away from your body, keeping you comfortable during your walk. This inner layer/underwear also provides an extra layer of insulation. You will need an inner layer when you break into a sweat and the weather conditions are cool to cold.

Materials to consider for your inner layer are:

-   Cotton is not your best choice for an inner layer, since it absorbs sweat instead of wicking it away. Plus it takes a long time to dry, which will cause discomfort after a while.

-   Silk is very comfortable and light-weight, and it is an effective wicking and insulating material. However it is not very durable, and some silk hiking clothes require special cleaning (which is boring!).

-   Polypropylene is the original wicking material. It will wick moisture away and maintain a dry layer next to your skin. The material is highly elastic and allows unrestricted freedom of movement.

-   MTS 2® (Moisture Transport System) is a step up above polypropylene. It is durable and comfortable like cotton, and wicks sweat away from your skin. MTS 2® is available in a variety of “weights” for different conditions.

-   Capilene® is an ideal first layer for cold weather activities. It is also a comfortable polyester-based wicking fabric. It has a special chemical treatment that spreads sweat throughout the fabric so that it evaporates quickly.

2. Mid Layer

This layer of clothing is essentially everyday clothing, consisting of shorts and a short sleeved shirt, or lightweight long sleeved shirt and trousers. In good weather these can be worn alone.

Materials to consider for this layer are:

-   Cotton is a good choice particularly for warm-weather hiking clothing, which is most often the case in Mallorca. It’s comfortable, lightweight and it keeps you cool. Cotton is best for dry weather uses because in wet conditions it takes a long time to dry, and is an ineffective insulator.

-   Nylon is lightweight, durable and (generally) non-absorbent – you can easily find shorts, trousers and shirts made of nylon. It comes in many styles, and is good for both warm and cold weather. Most modern nylons are soft and comfortable against your skin.

-   Wicking materials – wicking inner layers like MTS 2® and Capilene® can also be worn as mid layers as they help you keep dry and comfortable, and they provide good insulation.

-   Wool hiking clothes are perfect for moderate to cold weather. It’s available in long-sleeve shirts, trousers, sweaters, jackets and more. Important factors to consider with wool regardless of its insulation value, is that when wet it takes a long time to dry – and can be scratchy and bulky.

3. Insulation Layer

For hiking in colder temperatures add a lightweight, breathable insulation layer to supplement warmth from your first two layers.

Consider:

-   Wool – a great natural insulator but  remember the long drying time when wet.

-   Pile/Fleece is a better option than wool since it is fast drying and half as heavy. However, it is a porous material that “breathes” and it will provide only minimum protection from the wind. Newer pile/fleece clothing now have wind and weather-stopping liners built in.

4. Outer Layer

This layer is your protection against external weather conditions. These are items of clothing to resist rain, cold, wind, snow… You should always pack an outer layer with you in case of unexpected weather changes.

Selecting the correct outer layer, requires a good knowledge of the weather for the time of year and region in which you will be hiking.

-   Warm/Light Rain – Choose water resistant/breathable fabrics. These clothes will repel wind and light rain but are not suitable for heavy rain or very cold conditions. They are excellent for short trips in good weather. The extra breathability is good for strenuous activity.

-   Cold Temperatures and/or Heavy Rain – You will need waterproof/non-breathable hiking clothes. A popular type of clothing here is a poncho and waterproof leggings that you take along “just in case” there is an unexpected change in weather.

-   All Weather Conditions - To be prepared for most weather conditions, choose waterproof/breathable hiking clothes. These fabrics are breathable to a degree. They do not provide the breathability of water resistant/breathable fabrics, so sweat may build up during strenuous activity, but this is a good choice if you’re hiking in moderate conditions. Not specialised for one extreme or the other, they will provide comfort in a wide range of weather conditions.

Outer Layer Clothing Designs

This layer comes in many different designs targetting different uses. When purchasing an outer layer, consider all the additional features that are included, which may add extra functionality or added protection. Some features to look for are:

-   Adjustable Openings – You should be able to adjust the waist, cuffs and neck openings to tighten for bad weather and loosen for breathability.

-   Vents improve the breathability of hiking clothes. However, remember that the more vents you have the more you are susceptible to leaks.

-   Hoods – Any outer layer should have a hood to keep your head dry. Look for hoods that can be rolled up and/or folded away when not in use so they can be put out of your way.

-   Storm Flaps cover zippers, pockets and other openings to protect against leaks.

-   Sealed Seams are a must for any waterproof outer layer, but not necessary for water resistant clothes

Again we’ve included some suggestions and recommendations below for your layer choices. Choose wisely and consider investing that little extra for added comfort and durability. Happy Hiking!

*Wicking: Movement of moisture within a fabric by capillary action, usually along the filament surface, to where it can evaporate quickly. Refers to the ability of a fabric to move moisture (sweat) away from the skin to the outer layer of fabric where it can evaporate more easily thus helping to keep the skin dry. Used in activewear and high performance fabrics.




The Boot’s best friend

Hiking Socks Mallorca HikingBoots are our major protection against the outside world when walking. But we also have to consider protection to our feet from the pressure and movement of the boot against our foot. Hours of walking creates friction, and damp wet conditions can aggravate the situation.

Pressure points, sweat and general friction can lead to blisters, and your socks are your first line of defence against these problems. Correct fitting is very important to ensure they don’t bunch, create pressure and become uncomfortable. They must move sweat away from your skin (wicking). Forget cotton socks. Forget tube socks. Our recommendation is to buy wicking, anatomically designed walking socks, and your feet will thank you.

Where to buy them

Hiking and walking are very popular sports and pastimes now, so there is a wide choice of manufacturers of socks for all styles of walking. Here in Mallorca there are several specialist Walking and Outdoor stores where you can also get some great advice. Our recommendation in Palma is: Es Refugi, Via Sindicate 21, 07002 Palma. Amazon also has a vast range of socks on their website and we’ve put a selection for you to see below.

Thickness and Padding

Socks designed for walking are padded in strategic areas for your protection – heel, ball of foot, toes and in some cases the instep. Some omit the padding.

Double Layer Socks

Double-layer socks are a great solution for preventing blisters. They provide wicking and minimise friction. This is achieved by the sock layers moving against each other, rather than your foot moving against the sock. This is a a key preventative measure for blister prevention. WrightSock is a leader in this type of sock.

Anatomic Design

The best type of sock that stays in place and does not bunch, is usually one that is shaped to your feet. Designers have added to this with elastic or ribbing to keep them snug. Men’s and women’s feet differ in shape, so it’s best to buy socks designed for your gender.

Wicking Fabrics

Cotton is out! Wicking fabrics include CoolMax, Dri-Fit, Sorbtek… and there are many other brands emerging. Smartwool uses wool to extract moisture. Wicking fabrics are key to preventing blisters.

This may seem a lot of information about a simple sock – but when you’re walking for hours – the last thing you want is pain and discomfort – taking time to choose, and investing a little more in this vital piece of kit will pay dividends for your walking enjoyment.

Hiking Clothing – Boots are Made for Walking…

The anatomy of a boot Mallorca HikingToday we’re going to start a detailed breakdown of the best clothing to wear for hiking.

Hiking is walking, and walking is done with your feet – so this would be the obvious place to start!! Your boots are probably the most important part of your hiking kit – protecting your feet from all the damage the outside world exposes them to. Your choice of hiking boots will determine whether your experience is enjoyable or miserable, so read the rest of this article to help you make the right choice.

Hiking can be very physically demanding and nowhere more so than on your feet. Therefore, it’s crucial that you have comfortably fitting and protective, durable footwear. There are a number of things you should consider when deciding to purchase the correct footwear to suit you.

Are you a weekend walker or going on a full expedition?

Hiking boots vary in price – from the relatively cheap to the very expensive. If you’re intending to use your boots a lot, it pays to invest a little extra in higher performance, sturdy, comfortable footwear.

Your choice of boot should be determined by the type of hiking you intend doing. Hiking footwear can be broadly split into 3 categories:

1. Lightweight for simple day/overnight hiking. Boots which are designed for this type of hiking tend to be less supportive and durable than other boots but they are perfectly adequate for this kind of activity. Aiming more at comfort, cushioning and breathability, they are intended for short to medium walks over fairly easy ground.

2. Mid-weight hiking boots should be your choice if you intend carrying fairly light backpacking loads. They are more supportive and durable than a lightweight boot, but are still intended for fairly short walks over easy or moderate terrain.

3. Extended backpacking or mountaineering boots are the top end of the market – intended for carrying heavy loads through difficult terrain. Designed with more protection around the ankle and with added foot protection, they offer the very best in support, durability and protection.

Boot Materials

The material a boot is made of will affect its breathability, durability and water resistance. As long as these factors are all considered in your boot choice, the final decision is down to personal preference.

Generally nylon mesh and split leather boots are lightweight and breathable, which makes them ideal for warm to moderate weather (as in Mallorca). They tend to be easier on the feet, take less time to break in and are the lightest form of boot. They also tend to cost less, which helps. However, they can be less water resistant than other types, although some models feature waterproof liners, which can be just as good. They can always be reinforced with some waterproofing sprays, which we’ll cover in a future post.

The Right Size

This has to be one of the most important factors in choosing the correct boot (sounds obvious doesn’t it, but it’s not always that easy!). It’s better to try boots later in the day, when your feet have been active and they’ve expanded to their maximum size. Also bear in mind you’ll be wearing thicker socks – or even two pairs of socks – so take these along to your fitting session.

Try as many pairs of boots as you can – and don’t choose the boot because it’s the trendiest or your favourite colour – comfort and protection are the most important factors to consider.

Boots bought and already packed for your holiday?

Not just yet! Those boots need some walking in before you head off for your holiday. Breaking in the material and making your boots comfortable for extended walks will make your holiday experience so much more enjoyable. Read our article on Preparing for your Holiday to accustom yourself to your clothes and to get to know your body with practice walks.

If you have any other doubts or questions about choosing the right boots please feel free to email or call us – we’re happy to help and make recommendations for reputable boot brands.