Hiking is a great way to discover nature and a favorite and popular outdoor activity. The great thing about hiking is that it can be done by anyone at any level. With a little preparation, you can take on the trails with some of your new friends for a lifetime of adventure. Whether you’re just starting out or already know your way around, here are some helpful tips to make life easier along the trail.
Knowing what to wear is one of the most important things you should do in preparation for a hike. The trail guide will have a list of clothing that is recommended, but it might be different for everyone. It’s important to know your limits and think about what may happen during your hike. If the weather is unclear and you aren’t sure if it will rain, it’s best to layer up.
One of the most important pieces of clothing for a beginner is a good pair of hiking boots. They should be comfortable, easy to hike in, and waterproof. Some shoes are designed specifically for hiking, so make sure you get something that works for your feet.
Be sure to look over your equipment at home before you head out with it. It’s a good idea to bring a light jacket, water filters, maps, and first aid kits. You might prefer to bring some snacks as well. Check that all of your equipment is in good working order. If you are carrying more items than you should, consider reducing the amount of weight you are carrying on your back.
You’ll need something to carry your gear in like a hiking backpack. When hiking, it’s important to carry all of your gear on your back, so look for something that is comfortable. You want something that fits properly and is adjustable. Make sure that it’s easily accessible and keeps your back from hurting while hiking.
It’s a good idea to wear hiking boots with ankle support. If your boots aren’t comfortable, you won’t be able to enjoy your hike. The boots will protect your feet from hazards such as tripping over tree roots, and also give you more stability on the trail.
Now that you know what to wear and bring, it’s time for the actual hike. It’s important to have a plan. Decide on the best time of day for the hike. If you’re planning on hiking during daylight hours, consider getting up early or planning a picnic for later in the day. Also think about weather conditions before you go out, because weather can change quickly in the backcountry. Make sure your cell phone has enough battery power to reach someone quickly if you get in a situation where help is needed.
Try to avoid getting lost and enjoy the journey. You should also be prepared for emergencies. Make sure you know what to do if you slip and fall, get lost or injured, or have to deal with a poisonous snake or insect bite.
Choosing the Perfect Hiking Trail
Choosing a hiking route is essential when you are a beginner hiker. You want to choose a trail that’s not too short or too long, but perfect for someone just starting out. The goal is to enjoy the experience and see if it’s something you would like to do more of in the future.
When you do get to the trailhead, take some time to stretch your legs. This will help you get limber and prepare you for the hike ahead. It’s important to be well hydrated and to have eaten some calories before you start hiking. Don’t overdo it on your first outing, and try to take frequent breaks.
If you are comfortable with the idea of camping while hiking, that will certainly add some excitement to your adventure. Camping makes it easier for you to enjoy the great outdoors and can even make your hike more memorable.
Tips for Choosing the Perfect Hiking Trail:
- Try to choose a trail that ends at a way point, or campsite.
- Make sure you know where you are going when hiking outside of town or camp sites. Always carry directions with you in case of an emergency.
- Try to avoid hiking alone. If possible, go with someone that knows the area very well and is also comfortable with hiking in a new place. Know your own limitations and those of your hiking partner, as well as each other’s limits.
- If there are no water sources along your route such as streams, lakes, ponds or springs, take a drink before starting out to prevent dehydration.
- It’s best to hike in the early morning or late evening when it is cooler. The middle of the day can get very hot.
- Bring food and extra drinks along with you for a successful hike. You can burn more calories hiking than you think! Be prepared with an energy-packed snack for when you need a boost.
- Wear comfortable hiking boots that are broken in and will keep your feet dry on the trail, as well as provide traction for slippery areas or creek crossings.
Choosing Your Hiking Gear
Clothing: The weather will be an important factor to decide what clothing to wear or not wear.
- Long sleeved shirts and long pants are a good idea. It’s also important that they fit properly. If you have long arms, you may want to consider short-sleeved options as well for extra versatility.
- Hiking Pants: You want a breathable pant that is designed with hiking boots in mind, such as hiking shorts/pants or nylon/cotton short-sleeved pants. Make sure that the pants fit well with your boots. You don’t want them hanging lower than your ankles, you should be able to put them on and easily zip them up over your boot, or vice versa. If they fit very tight, then they may not be comfortable.
- Hiking Socks: Cotton socks can dry out quickly when wet. They also heat up when hiking in the morning sun so cotton short-sleeved socks are preferred over long ones. The main idea is that the socks should fit snugly with your boots.
Hiking Backpack: A large backpack is a good idea. You should be able to carry everything you need for the whole hike without overloading yourself. If you are going camping overnight, then you should be able to carry the essentials plus your gear. Overloading your pack makes it more difficult to hike with, less comfortable, and also increases the chance of injury.
Hiking Poles: Hiking Poles are a great help to you if you have any knee or ankle problems. They can also assist you up steep hills and on slippery surfaces. They take some of the pressure off of your knees and ankles so that your joints don’t get as sore when you are done hiking.
First Aid: It is a good idea to bring something that can help you. The best first aid kit is one that you have made yourself, or one that includes the items you would want in a first aid kit. Be sure to bring anything necessary to treat an injury, such as pain medication or anti-inflammatories. There are also some over-the-counter things that can be helpful for minor injuries such as aspirin for headache and ibuprofen for cramps.
Common Rules for the Trail
- Keep dogs on a leash to prevent them from running up to others and biting.
- If you take your dog hiking with you, please be sure to pick up after them and carry along bags for the waste. This is a very common rule at trailheads or in campground areas.
- Be courteous to others by noisily clearing your pack straps, and making as little noise as possible. If you are hiking alone, please be aware that other hikers may be resting, sunbathing, or daydreaming. Be quiet so they can enjoy their time in the woods undisturbed.
- Always leave the trail as you found it so others can enjoy their hike as you have.
- Never hike alone, always have a hiking partner with you.
- Pack out everything that you pack in, even if it is someone else’s trash.
Etiquette of the Trail
Yes, even in the great outdoors and in backcountry there still are some ‘nice to knows’ that should be followed. First, uphill hikers have the right-of-way. Second, bikers yield to hikers. Third, hikers yield to horses.
Wrapping Up: Hiking for Beginners (A Complete Guide)
The sport of hiking is enjoyed by many people around the world. The paths in the wilderness are truly an extension of our personal and spiritual connection to nature, and sharing this landscape with others is a rewarding experience.
Hiking is another great way to meet new people and do what you love to do. If you are a newcomer to this wonderful sport, the trip to your first destination can be a bit intimidating. Just try it out. This is an easy way to see if hiking suits you. Pick out an area that looks calm and relaxing and go for it, it doesn’t matter where or how far.