Have you always wanted to give hiking a try but have no idea where to even start? While a walk in the park is one thing, going on a wilderness hike on an unknown trail requires a lot of vigilant planning and care to ensure its success.
For those new to hiking, the whole process can be a little daunting. Everything from your clothing to the hiking trail needs to be carefully selected to ensure you have an enjoyable day. Here are eight simple tips to get you started on your adventure, so even the most amateur hiker can feel prepared.
Before any sort of planning can occur, figure out how much time you’d like to put aside for your hike. Whether you have the whole weekend to plan something great, or just a few hours on a Sunday morning, this will determine the type of trail you should aim for.
Just with anything in life, practice makes perfect. Hiking isn’t something you can dive head first into and attempt a three-day journey without any prior experience, even if your fitness levels are good. Your first hike should be short and without any tricky terrain, and as you build your confidence and skills you can try to tackle something more challenging each time.
Comfort is key on a hike, no matter the length or where your trail leads you. As weather conditions can change quite drastically and the need for preparedness is key, consider wearing layered clothing. This way you can subtract or add items as you wish, keeping you covered for all types of weather.
Keep yourself protected from the sun and insects with long sleeved items, insect repellant, and sunscreen. Your hiking shoes are just as important, and it pays to invest in a quality pair of specialized hiking boots made just for the occasion.
No matter the length of hike, you should aim to pack lightly for your journey. As you’ll be carrying your supplies around, it makes sense to not go overboard and take anything too heavy.
Just the essentials including food, water, first aid supplies, maps, and communication devices should do it. Once you’re ready for longer hikes, you can divide up between your party the essential supplies for cooking and sanitation.
The food choices for hiking are extremely important, as you’ll need something that can provide long lasting energy while also tasting good.
On a longer trip, you’ll need to pack enough food to last, ensuring that it’s easy to prepare, compact and nutritious. Small treats such as chocolate can provide a much-needed morale boost on both short and long hikes.
Your hygiene and sanitation are extremely important in the wilderness, so don’t assume that being outdoors means the rules are relaxed. Be aware that when hiking you should take extra caution to be hygienic, including taking bathroom breaks away from the trail and cleaning up after yourself when necessary.
When you get home from a hike, take a hot shower to remove any possible poison from plants and do a thorough body check for any ticks or other insects.
Respect is one of the most important elements to hiking, whether it’s a short trip or a week long trek. Respect your fellow hikers and clean up after yourself, and respect the environment by reducing your footprint and never leaving a mess behind.
Never take anything with your from your hike, only your memories, and ensure you left the area exactly as you found it.
For new hikers especially, it’s important to let others know of your intentions and hiking plans before you head off anywhere. Even if you’re just planning a short trek in your local area you should give someone a map of the region and a timeframe for when you intend to return.
Use government sites to receive regular updates about possible restrictions and regulations in place at national parks, and respect the rules.
Once you’ve had a few successful hikes up your sleeve, you’ll be better equipped to deal with longer and more strenuous treks. As you learn more about the world of hiking and what supplies and know-how can be beneficial to you, you can cater your hikes to suit your preferences in terms of what you pack and where you explore.