If you are planning a hiking trip, you want to enjoy the whole experience. You want to have fun while keeping fit, enjoying the outdoors and creating great memories. You do not want to go out there and start dealing with issues that you would have taken care of in advance. So, here are ten things to know before hiking.
Hiking has many benefits
Hiking is a perfect way to get away from the real world which has many challenges of bills, internet, work, chores, mortgages, debts, name it. When hiking you get to interact with nature directly and get to have a peace of mind. You get to view different combinations of vegetations, flora, and fauna. It is a great way to learn about your beautiful world. You get to visit new places and explore mountains, hills, valleys, waterfalls, national parks among others.
Besides that, hiking has many health benefits. It refreshes your mind while exercising your body. In hiking, you will encounter narrow paths and steep climbs, which is a great way to exercise your body, feet, and legs. You get to exercise different muscle groups, burn calories thereby improving your blood flow system. Please start hiking by picking a hiking activity that is a good challenge but not too strenuous.
Hiking is a very affordable activity and a perfect way to bond with friends and family. Doing a simple neighborhood hike does not require much investment. You do not need to buy any sporting equipment or hire a trainer. In addition, it is a great way to get make new friends both online and from your local community. What’s more, it is a great dating idea.
Hiking is versatile
There is so much adventure and exploration in hiking. Hiking is an activity that fits people of all ages. The hiking activity you choose depends on how much time you have on hand, your budget, your health, and your tastes and preferences.
You can go hiking in your local area, or you can do it in a far away destination. Hiking trails are diverse and can fit people of all ages, income brackets and fitness levels.
You can do camping while trekking, you can visit different countries or continents and explore their destination. You can plan to climb the highest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest. It all depends on you. Because hiking is a versatile activity, you get to abseil, mountain climb, camp, walk among others activities.
You need hiking gear
It is important to be comfortable on your hiking trip. You need to have all essential hiking gear if your trekking is to be successful. The first thing you need to check is whether some of the items you already have like water bottles, backpacks, socks, sports shoes can be converted into hiking gear. So that you only get to budget for what you need but don’t have.
Plan to invest in a good navigation device. You need maps, compasses, and a GPS unit. Physical maps are important as they act as a back-up to your phone or GPS unit. A GPS unit is very essential because it has all the features of a map, and a compass but when going on short hiking trips, your Smartphone GPS system will do.
Avoid cotton materials. For tops, shirts or t-shirts, choose wool or a combination of wool and polyester because they hide odors, they are light, they breathe well and keep moisture away from your skin. Get yourself enough pants and shorts for hiking. But the choice of whether to wear pants or shorts largely depends on the weather. Pants are ideal for protecting your legs if your hiking route is likely to have overgrown vegetation.
You need a nice pair of shoes that can withstand the pressures of steep climbs. The shoes need to be comfortable, light in weight and well fitting. Check if your current sports shoes have a good grip and use them for hiking. Avoid wearing new shoes on a hike because most times they cause blisters.
Remember you need a jacket that is waterproof to protect you from the rain, strong enough to shield you from the wind and light enough to be carried. You can use a windbreaker before you buy a hiking jacket. Other essential hiking gears are a back-up, sunglasses a hat or cap, a tent, a lighter, a flashlight among others.
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You need a first aid kit. Some of the items needed are your own personal medication, sunscreen, antihistamines in case of bug bites, bandages, antibiotic ointment, a snake bite kit and insect repellants. Remember to write down a card with all your personal information and put it in the emergency kit.
The Importance of joining a hiking community
A hiking club will expose you to a community of people sharing the same passion. Some will be seasoned hikers, and some will be beginners. You will get an opportunity to learn from the veterans, get mentored and it is an excellent opportunity to share your experiences and make new friends.
Planning a hike is not complicated
You don’t need to get intimidated by the whole idea of hiking. You can start hiking in a simple and manageable way. Hiking is simply exploring your world using your two feet. It can be a simple walk in the park, you can explore the hills in your neighborhood, you can go camping with your family or friends among other ideas.
Hiking is about adventuring and doing something you have never done before outdoors. If you have never camped, why not plan your first camping trip?
What is important in planning your hike is selecting a trail, then picking a hiking date. Then when the day of hiking nears, prepare to get everything you need for your hike. You need to pack enough water, food, and snacks. If you are hiking with young children or your dog, then plan to pack enough food, drinks, and snacks for them too.
Since you will be carrying your backpack everywhere with you, it needs to be as light as possible. But don’t compromise on the essential things you need on your trip. Ensure you have everything that will be required for the trip and have extra food, medicine, and water.
Plan to Start small
Even though You plan is to become a good hiker, remember that practice makes perfect. It will take you many months of being outdoors to become an expert. Start small, browse the internet for hiking trails for beginners in your area and start with those trails. After mastering those trails is when you can try harder routes.
Do your research well
Never head out unprepared. Check out everything you need to know about the hiking trail that you have chosen. Know the distance, flora and, fauna in the area, do they allow dogs, water resources, picnic sites, campsites, waterfalls, whether the place has internet, the weather to guide you on how to dress among other things.
Share your hiking plans
Have an accountability partner to check on you on your day of hiking. Tell them where you will be going and what time you are expected back. Ask them to get alarmed in case you fail to get back by that time.
Observe Universal Hiking Etiquette
The universal hiking etiquette is about respecting other hikers and protecting your environment. Print out the etiquette and understand it. Remember that the most important hiking rule is to ensure that you leave no trace.
Review your hike, share photos with others and plan the next hike
Check how much you liked the trek and plan to improve your next one. If the distance you did was too long, maybe next time plan on reducing it. If you carried too many snacks, you could cut down a little on that. Remember better to have extra supplies than to run short. If you got injured or blistered, remember there is always a next time. Tomorrow is another day for hiking.