Improper gear, poor terrain, and inclement weather can contribute to a negative backcountry experience. One of the most important and overlooked pieces of gear is footwear. When considering the type of footwear, an individual needs to consider where he/she will be traveling. When traveling on a groomed trail (common in state parks and forests), many individuals can wear a lightweight hiking shoe or low profile hiking boot. When the demands on the hiker increase due to a more remote and challenging terrain, a heavier boot with an aggressive tread may be needed. In addition, boots with high leather sides offer proper ankle support, and can reduce the risk of injury. When traveling on snow and ice, select a boot that is waterproof and crampon compatible. Crampons are sharp metal spikes that attach to the soles of boots to provide extra traction when traveling on ice and snow. One should use demonstrations coupled with verbal description to ensure that the crampons are properly applied. Contact your local outdoor outfitter for more information or see the reference section.