@borivera Thanks for reaching out!
We're so excited to hear that you are wanting to get into hiking! It is such a wonderful way to be outside, get some exercise, and even disconnect and re-center from the stress of day-to-day life. The great thing about hiking is that there are so many options to choose from, anyone can do it! That means that you can get started without having to invest a lot in gear up front, or you can totally 'geek out' on equipment for hours. Any way is the 'right' way!
To begin, we have some recommendations for resources on where to go:
- Hiking Project is an app/website that has thousands of hiking trails and lots of great user generated content.
- All Trails is another good online resource for finding trails.
- You can likely find some non profits and other organizations who could be great resources for locations around Texas.
In terms of gear/apparel that you need there is quite the spectrum you have available. You can get started with a pair of sturdy shoes and a water bottle or you can go all the way to a full-on overnight kit with sleeping bag, tent, pad, stove, pack, etc. Sometimes people use the phrase 'hiking' and 'backpacking' interchangeably but, generally speaking, backpacking is when you spend at least one night on the trail and hiking can typically be done in a day. That said, there are no 'rules' governing those terms. When you say 'hiking' are you thinking day hikes or were you wanting to spend the night out on the trail? The difference between the two will definitely impact the amount and kind of gear you'll need.
- In the beginning, we recommend a sturdy pair of shoes that can handle the rigors of the trails you are choosing (that could be a pair of running shoes or a rigid pair of hiking boots, depending on the trail).
- Clothing that can protect you from the elements (sun, rain, wind, etc) and is moisture wicking. Even in the warmth of Texas you can get cold if you're wet and unable to dry out. Cotton is comfortable but absorbs moisture and dries slowly so it can be a liability in the wilderness.
- Food, water, and other essentials and a way to carry them. Typically this is a small backpack and a water bottle, but you can also opt for a hydration bladder too.
We have some great Expert Advice articles about hiking that are worth checking out. Additionally, we have some folks here in the community who are from the Houston area and may be able to provide some ideas for you as well: @suzannesimpson @Wendtadventures @EthanG @RevJakey34 @TheRamblingHiker @JeffPPeters @REI-LizP
We have also had a couple of threads started here in the community that would be worth taking a look at:
- Houston Texas and surrounding areas
- Single night backpacking loops in Arkansas
- Surviving the Urban South
Hopefully this helps, thanks for joining the community!