Hiking is a popular pastime for those who enjoy the outdoors. It’s a healthy activity that can yield some breathtaking views, as well as provide some much-needed solitude from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
But if you’re new to hiking, there are a few things you should know before embarking on your first trail.
This article provides you with some basic hiking tips that beginners should know to ensure that they enjoy being in nature and success their workout session.
- 1 The 5 Hiking Tips For Beginners
- 1.1 1. Check the Weather Forecast
- 1.2 2. Pack the 10 Essential Gear
- 1.3 3. Choose the Right Trail
- 1.4 4. Don’t Hike Alone
- 1.5 5. Find a Camp for Ultimate Leisure
- 2 Some Thoughts in the End
The 5 Hiking Tips For Beginners
1. Check the Weather Forecast
You don’t want to end up in a dangerous situation while you’re hiking. The best way to do this is by checking the weather report and packing accordingly.
Before you go, check the local weather forecast. You want to know how much rainfall or snow you can expect so you can dress accordingly. Cold weather will also necessitate thicker clothing and better insulation for your tent.
And other thing: On weekends and especially on days when the temperature is already high, you should avoid hiking in the afternoon. The temperature can easily go up to over 40 degree Celsius, making it uncomfortable for you and also for your pets.
Weather forecasts can give you a good idea of what’s going to happen in the next few days and sometimes even in the next few hours. It is important that you check it regularly and don’t be surprised if you see clouds gathering and covering the sun.
2. Pack the 10 Essential Gear
You’ll be carrying everything you need on your back, so it’s best to choose a backpack that fits your body. The size and weight of your backpack can make or break your trip. Start with a small day pack that leaves room for water and snacks during the day, then grab an additional bag for overnight trips. And If you are not sure of what gear you need, here are some recommendation to choose from:
I) Hiking Boots
A pair of hiking boots is your best option for your outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking and trekking. Hiking boots will give you the comfort and support that you need to stay on your feet for long hours of walking. They can be made light and flexible, yet offer the support and stability needed for rough terrains.
And since you’ll be doing a lot of walking, it’s best to get boots that are comfortable right out of the box; broken-in boots can lead to blisters and other foot problems.
II) Climbing Shoes
If you are looking for a more strenuous hiking experience, climbing shoes are for you. Climbing shoes are also designed to have the right balance between safety and performance.
If you do not know how to climb, there are some easy techniques that can be used while you hike. For example, there are some small footholds at each hand-hold on most mountains so that you can get a leg-up without having to climb.
Another technique that can be used when you’re not sure whether you can climb a particular mountain is to ask someone who knows and let them lead the way.
So never forget to take some comfortable socks with your hiking boots & shoes.
III) Hiking Jacket
A waterproof hiking jacket is essential for hiking through wet weather or dealing with wet terrain. Many jackets are breathable nowadays, so they will keep you dry without trapping all your body heat inside. Should you encounter snow, a good pair of snow boots is also an essential. Without sturdy footwear, you risk injuring yourself on jagged rocks and fallen foliage.
If you are looking to have a more comfortable hiking experience, you might want to invest in a hiking jacket. Hiking jackets can be made from nylon or Gore-Tex materials which allows them to provide your body with the warmth it needs while being dry and stiff.
There’s no need for changing jackets during the day as most hiking jackets have a removable hood. Also, it is recommended that you don’t wear a jacket that is too warm as this can cause problems during the early hours of the hike.
IV) Hiking Pants
If you’re looking for a hiking companion that can keep up with the changing weather, hiking pants are a good choice.
Although most outdoor clothing companies produce hiking pants with water-resistant material, it is still best to avoid getting your pant wet if you don’t have any dry change of clothes to wear. Hiking pants usually have two long front pockets which allow you to get more storage for your necessities such as dry matches and a lighter.
V) Take Phone, GPS, Map & Compass
Most experienced hikers and climbers always advise that you should take a compass and a GPS with you when you go hiking or climbing. Aside from that, it’s also best to bring your map and cell phone with you.
A compass can be used to help identify important landmarks such as the nearest river, lake or waterfall. A GPS is good for keeping track of your location while a map can be used for planning routes and getting an idea of the surrounding area’s topography.
Make sure you have a phone or GPS to help you if you’re lost. Inclement weather can make satellite signals unreliable, so it’s best to take a map as well. If possible, know your general location ahead of time.
You should also bring a pair of hiking binoculars to use when you’re scouting for wildlife or to get an extra view of the surrounding area. One handy item that you can always bring is a digital camera, which can be used to capture memorable moments. For this job you can also bring American made binoculars, they are suitable for long lasting and rugged design.
VI) Carry on basic First-Aid Kit
Just knowing how to deal with cuts and scrapes can make a big difference if you get injured while hiking. That means carrying bandages, gauze pads, antibiotic ointment and pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. You may also want to keep antihistamines for bee stings or insect bites.
You should also know how to treat blisters, splinters, burns, cuts and other common injuries from hiking. Basic first-aid kits often come with items to address these needs.
VII) Take a Flashlight
Don’t forget to take a flashlight or headlamp in case the sun goes down while you’re still on the trail. It can make a big difference in your safety and comfort level. Or if you hikes for longer hours during the day, you may need a headlamp to see where you’re going and use your hands for other purposes.
VIII) Waterproof matches or lighter
Waterproof matches and a lighter can also come in handy when you need to start a fire to cook your food while having an emergency cooking kit, which includes dry rations and matches, will be good for emergencies such as starting a fire should the ones that you have get wet or damaged.
It’s best to bring food and water in a separate backpack so you can rest assured that it won’t be affected by the weather. While the weather forecast for your area might not be accurate, bringing a set of dry ingredients can give you a good idea of what kind of foods to bring along with you.
This will allow your body to have enough energy when you’re hiking or climbing long hours on the trail. You also have to consider that when temperatures start dropping during the night, your body will burn more calories when sleeping.
It wouldn’t be a good idea to go hiking in cold weather without taking your sun protection. A pair of sunglasses and a hat is also important for protecting your eyes from the direct sunlight when you are hiking long hours on the trail.
3. Choose the Right Trail
Before you head out, research the length and difficulty of the trail. Hiking is great exercise, but you need to know your limits. You don’t want to wind up too tired or too sore to enjoy the scenery. If you’re just starting out, opt for a shorter trail that doesn’t go too high up.
It is important that you choose a trail that you can enjoy and at the same time have a safe hiking experience. A hike on a flat terrain is probably not the best choice for those who are new to hiking.
Although there are some trails that offer some easy climbs, hiking on hills or some rugged paths will help you get a better understanding of what to expect from hiking. In addition, some hikes also offer great views – this is something that can be missed if you’re going on a paved path by the city.
This can help you get acclimated to the rigors of hiking without exhausting yourself.
4. Don’t Hike Alone
Hiking with your friends is a wonderful experience, but if you hike alone remember that it’s not easy and you could get lost or injured, it can be dangerous if you’re alone in isolated areas. Even roads can be hazardous for hikers, especially in the winter.
If you don’t have a hiking companion, you can still enjoy the beauty of nature as hiking alone can be very productive as well as relieving.
Hiking with a companion will allow you to have someone to talk to while on the trail and even help you carry your backpack if needed. Sometimes climbing together can also be a good way to create a strong bond between you and your partner.
If hiking alone is your choice, you should start this activity after you get familiar with the surroundings and conditions in your area.
Hike with companions even if it means hiking slower than usual. When more than one person hikes, they can help each other carry heavy items over difficult terrain or support themselves while climbing up difficult trails. Group hiking can be more enjoyable than hiking alone.
5. Find a Camp for Ultimate Leisure
After spending the day hiking in nature, you’ll surely want to find a spot to camp. This will allow you to rest and replenish your energy before tackling the next day of activities.
Camping will also allow you to have an intimate experience with nature. Ask around if there’s a good place for camping near your area or if any of your companions is familiar with an ideal camping site.
Tents are usually used when camping but there are instances where people just sleep out in the open with no tent at all. If you’ll be going camping in a location with a lot of wildlife, it wouldn’t be a good idea to sleep out in the open.
Choose your tent or sleeping bag based on your needs and preferences. A 2-person tent will be good for families while a 1-person tent is best for backpacking when bringing less things. However, if you want to save some space, a hammock can do the job, especially when there are mosquitoes around that you’ll need protection from.
When camping, you can also opt to carry a ground cloth with you. This is used to cover the tent when it rains or for any other outdoor activities that might cause your tent to get dirty.
Some Thoughts in the End
A hiker who knows what he is doing can enjoy it more.
A hiker who has no experience of hiking may find it scary or difficult to achieve the purpose of that activity.
A hiker knows best how to keep himself safe on the trails through which he goes through.
A hiker can be left completely alone on the trail. Nobody is around to help the hiker if he encounters a problem or an obstacle.
A hiker has to be well trained, and known what he intends for that particular trail all the time.
Hiking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and stay fit. Just be sure you know what you’re doing before you go. Follow my tips to make sure your hiking trip will be safe.