Are you preparing for your first hiking trip with your friends? Alright, you have decided you want to go hike a mountain and you don’t know what it cost and the preparation time it takes. Hiking is an excellent low-impact workout that offers multiple physical and mental benefits such as reducing anxiety, preventing osteoporosis. Hiking is an outdoor activity that delivers benefits that are both scenic and fun. It is true that hiking is not like walking on a treadmill or paved path as it involves more and sometimes unpredictable and memorable situations. To make your hiking trip a success, here are 10 essential tips that a vital for beginners.
1. Give yourself time to prepare – Start training by doing exercises you enjoy. The more you enjoy something the more motivated you will be in doing it. For example, if you love swimming or yoga, then add it to your exercise plan. It is believed that once you start having fun, then you will enjoy your training. Also, think of joining a walking group as it comes with great benefits like making new friends and also helps provide motivation to get out and train. Go through social media to meet people who join walking groups.
2. Familiarize yourself with the trail – As you have selected the trail, get a map of the area and review the reports and data along with your group. Check online as well for excellent resources. Take note of any intersecting trails where you could possibly take a wrong turn. Choose a trail where you can end it beautifully with a view on a lake or peak.
3. Check the weather – The weather can be unpredictable which is why it is essential to always check the forecast a few days ahead of your hike as well as few hours before. Checking up on the weather forecast helps you pack and dress accordingly and change your plans if need be. It is better to reschedule if there are thunderstorms in the forecast.
4. Inform your closed ones where you will be – Write down the exact location of where you will be and where you are planning to go next. Better give a copy of your trip to your family members and friends, just in case. Tell them when you will be back and when they should be worried and call for help. If you are running late, do check in with everyone!
5. Function over fashion – While on hiking, forget about looking fashionable and think more of being comfortable. If you are caught wearing the wrong shoes or clothes, then forget hiking! It is better to leave the jeans and fashion boots at home and also skip cotton clothes. Go for wool and synthetic, moisture-wicking clothing as it provides warmth and dries up quickly in cold conditions. Wear light hiking shoes with synthetic or wool socks to prevent blisters. Don’t forget to pack extra clothing just in case you need it. If possible, opt for something that will block the wind too.
6. Pack the 10 essential things – There are 10 essential things that you have to take with you when you are going hiking and they are:
- Navigation (maps and compass)
- Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
- Insulation (extra warm clothing)
- Illumination (lamp/flashlight)
- First-aid supplies
- Fire (waterproof matches/lighter)
- Repair kit and tools
- Nutrition (extra food)
- Hydration (extra water)
Though this list is never-ending, it will be easier once you tailor the art of hiking without any problem. Remember to pack light so that your bag does not feel like another body weight that you have to carry around.
7. Use hiking poles – Hiking poles can help support you if you feel a little bit unsteady. The poles are like two extra legs and slow down your momentum going downhill and serve as a stair rail support on the way up. Poles help keep you healthy as it disperses the workout to your entire body by taking the pressure off your knees. Make sure you use two poles though as one pole would eventually hurt your back and disrupt your body symmetry.
8. Drink and eat well – Always remember to keep yourself hydrated! It is very important to drink water before, during, and after your hike. Carry enough water in your backpack to combat dehydration. It is better to avoid caffeine and alcohol as it won’t get you far. To fuel your adventure, remember to take some good snacks to keep you strong. Bring in the carbs and protein so you don’t end up with dizziness, low blood sugar or fatigue. Don’t forget your victory snack to have at the end of the trail!
9. Pace yourself – Pick up on a pace and keep that during the entire trail so that you don’t feel tired quickly. You have to go through all day, so keep the pace and save your energy for later.
10. Leave no trace – Being outdoors is wonderful! It is for everyone and you should respect it. So learn and practice Leave No Trace principles on your hike. Pick up your trash, leave the trail in a better and cleaner state than you found it. While others are trying to find peace, don’t go on listening to music on high volume.
Here it is, happy hiking!