Hiking is an activity with many benefits. When you go hiking, you get an opportunity to be outdoors. Your mind gets refreshed, and your body gets exposed to low-impact exercises.
Best of all, it is a quite pocket-friendly activity depending on the itinerary. It is also an opportunity to learn new things as you explore new places. What’s more, it can be a social activity where you get joined by family and friends or other hikers.
Planning a hiking trip
How to plan a hiking trip largely depends on what is on your itinerary. The hiking route is what will determine how long it will take you to plan your hiking trip and how much it will cost you. Another important factor that will determine how to plan your hiking trip is whether the hike is a day trip, or you will need to stay overnight. What’s more, a hiking trip that will only take a couple of hours and where you will only take snacks, with no major meal is the simplest hike to plan.
However, if you are being joined by other hikers, then the logistics become a bit complicated. You have to agree on the itinerary first and foremost, before planning the rest of the details.
Here are factors to consider when planning a hiking trip
The first thing you need as a hiker are various hiking items. You need to have comfortable hiking shoes that won’t cause blisters, water bottles, a back-pack, a first aid kit, a hiking jacket (an insulated jacket), hiking pants and shorts, rain jacket, hiking socks, a bandana, cap or hat, a GPS with preloaded maps and an electronic compass, water purifiers, sunscreen, and sunglasses.
Besides that, you also need a tent, a flashlight, a lighter, waterproof bags, lunchboxes, about four kitchen knives, toilet paper, your contacts should be in the first aid kit, a whistle, sleeping bags, enough warm clothes ideal for hiking, and for dressing in layers. For hiking, snacks stock up on dried fruits, nuts, and bars.
On a hiking trip, you need navigation tools to guide you to know where you are going, to be able to guide you back home and to always give you accurate data of where you are. In that case, you need maps, a compass, and a GPS.
After investing in a GPS, learn to use a GPS and also discover how to read topographical maps before you go for your hiking trip.
Your health comes first
You need to protect yourself from getting sick and from UV rays. Make sure you apply sunscreen, and please wear a pair of sunglasses. You also need to be able to treat yourself or those on your trip in case of minor ailments.
Ensure that everyone carries their personal medicine. The first aid kit should contain remedies for snake bites, bug bites and bee stings. It should also have bandages and other emergency medical aid items and drugs.
Planning a day hike
A day hike involves picking a hiking trail that is not a long distance from your home. Find a park with hiking trails near your area. Get the park’s guidebook and maps. Do your research well. Get to know the distance to the hiking trail. Get to know all the hiking trails in the park and choose a trail for a beginner hiker. Try to limit your hike to not more than 8 miles as a first timer. If you plan to take your children or dogs with you, then plan for them. For dogs, check if the park allows dogs.
Invite a friend or family member to join you. One day or two days before your hiking trip, buy your snacks and food for the hiking trip. Inform a member of your family who will not be joining you on the hiking trail about your hiking plans. Share with them your hiking plans and ask them to check on you to ensure that you will return back home safely.
Request them to call for help if you will not have returned home by a certain time. On the day of the hike, take your back-up which should have enough water, a first aid kit, food, drinks and lunch and go for your hike. Make sure you have enough dried fruits, nuts, and bars. Let your GPS unit guide you to the starting point. Also, equip yourself with a physical map of the park.
Planning an overnight stay
Your first step to planning an overnight stay trip is to select a hiking destination. Remember that as soon as you have an itinerary, you need to take days off from work. But such trips are better planned during vacation time or the weekend.
Because you will be hiking, choose a hiking trail depending on what you and your group are capable of completing. If you did a hike recently, it could guide you. As a general rule, try not to exceed 12 miles of hiking per day.
Then plan accommodation logistics. If you will be camping, then book a camping site. Ensure that you have paid camping or accommodation fees in advance and you have a booking slip to avoid any kind of inconvenience. Have yourself and your group prepare for the hiking trip by purchasing all the supplies you will need for your overnight stay. Ensure you pack everything you need for an overnight trip and pack your food supplies appropriately.
Do your research of the hiking destination. First and foremost check attraction spots in the park including waterfalls, hills, mountains, rivers, lakes, scenic sites, flora, and fauna, etc. Also check temperatures, the weather, internet connectivity, where you can buy fuel, water sources, also check the nearest shopping center from the park among other details.
On the day of the trip, ensure you have spare batteries for your smartphone and your GPS. Make sure you have a physical map of where you will be hiking.
Get a family member who will not be on the trip and let them keep checking on you until the day you return home. Start out on your hiking journey by using your GPS to take you to the hiking starting point. Have fun and remember to take a lot of videos and still photos.
You may love to read: The magnificent Florida hiking trails: Discover 10 hidden treasures
Ensure that you have a good camera with enough memory to take as many photos as possible. Share your hiking experience with your friends and family and remember to geotag photos to indicate where you took them. Have fun during hiking.