Beginner’s guide to hiking - Everything you need to know
Hiking is an outdoor activity that makes you workout while enjoying the outdoors. If you are set on undertaking hiking as an activity, use the following tips to enhance your hiking trip. Note that the tips are a beginner’s guide to hiking. Using the tips will help you stay safe, enjoy the hike and therefore you will want to enjoy hiking again and again.
Beginner’s guide to hiking
Acquire hiking gear
The first step in getting ready for your first hiking trip is to ensure that you have everything to guarantee you a successful hiking trip. Check your wardrobe, for hiking gear. If you don’t have any, then plan to acquire them.
Ensure that all the clothes that will touch your skin are made from wool or polyester but not cotton. Avoid cotton because it gets damp. Wool or polyester are lightweight, comfortable because they retain fewer odors and sweat. This includes the socks you will wear. Convertible pants should be preferred because if it gets too hot, you can zip off the lower portion.
Choose light shoes that are sturdy. Avoid shoes that can hurt your feet. Hurt feet will cut short your hiking trip. You need to have blister dressings on hand. Protect your head, body, and eyes from harmful UV rays by wearing a bandana, cap or hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. A rain jacket may help protect you from chills or the wind. Wear layers of clothes that you can remove and keep in your back-pack if it gets too hot.
Emergency items you need to have for your hiking expeditions include a map and compass, a flashlight, extra clothing, extra food, enough water, a tent as an emergency shelter, a first aid kit, and a lighter.
Other essential items you will need for your hiking trip include a GPS, a camera(if your phone won’t do) water bottles, a cute, sturdy backpack, a pocket knife, hand sanitizers, insect repellent, and water purifier(in case you run out of drinking water).
Decide if you will be hiking alone or with other hikers
To reap the maximum benefits of hiking will require you to try out different adventures. You can decide to vary your treks. Some treks you can go solo whereas some treks you can link up with other hikers.
A solo hike gives you an awesome opportunity to get lost in your world while enjoying the outdoors. However it is dangerous for a first timer, it can get lonely, and it is also intimidating. Until you have mastered hiking, hook up with other hikers or get a friend or your family members to accompany you. In case you get injured during hiking, you can assist each other. Check if your local area has a hiking club. Such clubs have planned hiking activities. Also check online for hiking groups in your area.
If you happen to join a hiking club, then you will take the first few months of being in the club to learn hiking from other experienced trekkers. The experience will enable you to gain confidence. Then you can go hiking alone with no fear.
In the unlikely event that you are not able to join a hiking club, then you may have to do hiking alone or with your inexperienced friends. If that is the case, then you will need to start with very short trips to very popular hiking spots.
Picking a hiking location
Start by browsing online for hiking spots in your local area. Check where your nearest national parks are located. Check the closest mountains in your region.
If your locality has several hiking spots, then you need to select your first hiking destination. Find out how much time you want to trek.
Do you have a full day or just a couple of hours? The other important thing to consider when hiking is your fitness level. Choose hiking trails that suit your fitness level.
Choose the distance depending on what you are carrying, is it heavy or light and the hiking terrain. In addition, check the weather forecast to know which trails are accessible which time of the year.
Get a friend or family member who is not hiking with you to check on you on the day you are hiking. Share your detailed itinerary with them. Set a “worry time” with them. Delays are expected due to bad weather, miscalculations of trekking time, injuries, but it should not go beyond the "worry time." If it does, it means you need help.
Hiking with Kids and Dogs
Kids of any age can join you on a hiking trip. If you are out with children, then choose a short hike. If you want your dog to accompany you on a hiking trip, first find out if dogs are allowed where you will be hiking. If they allow dogs, then pack enough food and snacks for your dog in a dog pack.
Packing for your hiking trip
What you will carry and wear will depend on the weather conditions and the length of the hike. Make sure that your phone is fully charged and if possible have a charging back-up like a power-bank or spare batteries. Pack all your packing gear in your back-pack.
If you are hiking the whole day, then you need to pack enough drinks, snacks, and lunch. But if you are out hiking for a couple of hours, then you need a few bites for energizing you. Remember that your body needs a lot of water to stay hydrated since you will be sweating a lot. Carry enough water.
You may read this: Top 10 Florida hiking trails
Enjoy your hiking experience
Dress appropriately depending on the weather. Remember to as much as possible plan your lunch and snack spots. Look for interesting spots with a good view, lake, river or waterfall.
Choose a comfortable pace that you can maintain your entire trekking trip. Have fun. Take pictures and videos. Enjoy your snacks and lunch. Enjoy the fresh air. If you are accompanied, have a great time together during rests and meal breaks. Practice sustainable hiking. Remember not to litter.
Hiking is a very affordable outdoor activity. You don’t want to be disappointed on your first hiking trip because of not being prepared with the right gear, bad weather or choosing a difficult trail. Plan your trip well to have success. Remember to leave no traces on your hiking trip but carry good memories with you. Enjoy your hiking.