Hiking is an outdoor activity that offers many physical and mental benefits. It is in fact a low impact workout that offers benefits from reducing anxiety to preventing osteoporosis. Hiking is also a fun and enjoyable activity. You also can explore the beauty of nature. But hiking is not just walking in the woods, it needs a lot of strength and endurance.
You need to prepare yourself before starting to hike, as there can be nothing more embarrassing than getting yourself in an awkward situation in your first hike.
This article offers all the essential tips on how to start hiking which you will need to make your first hike fun, adventurous, and most importantly safe and successful.
Before starting to hike, set your goal, write it down. And find a way to stick to it.
We can’t wait for you to get the first adventure of your life!
How to start hiking
Every tips and trick will be helpful to start proper hiking. Don’t miss any of them.
Build your endurance first, if you don’t want to injure yourself in your hike. Do some work out every day, and try to walk 3 to 7 miles 3 to 4 days a week.
2. Select how will you hike, in a group or alone?
If you prefer to hike alone, that’s a good decision, as it will give you some intimidating and alone time as well as give you a sense of freedom and adventure.
But we will suggest you hike in a group if you are hiking for the first time as it is safer. You can ask any of your friend who likes to hike to accompany you. If you like you can also join some hiking clubs that regularly plan outings.
3. Start small:
Always select a hike a little shorter than the distance you can normally walk. Do not make a mistake by choosing a hike too long or which needs climbing.
Figure a pace of roughly 1 mile per hour to estimate the time required to hike your trail. Find out your elevation gain and add 30 minutes for every 1000 feet of gain. Don’t worry, you will know your pace and what elevation changes work well for you after you have been out once or twice.
While hiking pick up a pace that is comfortable for you. Don’t try to rush or hurry, otherwise, you will end up getting tired and exhausted quickly.
4. Check the permits of the trail:
Check if your trail requires any permit or not. Give their office a call and ask about it!
5. Familiarize yourself with the trail:
Once you have selected your trail, get a map of the area you are hiking on, and review the reports and data. Find out if your trail is loop or not. Also, find a spot for having lunch so that you don’t have to waste your time while hiking.
6. Check the weather
Check the weather before leaving for the trail, as it will give you information on how to dress and what to pack.
7. Check if all the trails are open or not:
Before leaving for the trail, give the trail associates a call and know if all the trails are open or not. Sometimes for some reason like repairing or anything, your trail might get closed. So, if you don’t want to discover that while hiking, it is a good idea to call them.
8. Start early:
Always start your hike as early as possible, as it will give you enough time.
9. Tell someone about your hike:
Tell someone close to you about where you are hiking and at what time. Also tell them what time you might return, what time to worry, and call for help.
10. Emergency device:
Take emergency device like GPS tracker, and smartphones with you. You can also download a GPX file, load it to your GPS unit, and download your trail map for offline use.
Also, carry a paper map with you. You can download the trail map and print it. Don’t forget to keep the map in a Zip-lock bag to protect it from rain.
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11. Essential items:
Carry only the essential items you would need in your hike. Use a backpack to keep the items. Don’t have a backpack? You can check High Sierra Appalachian, it is extremely comfortable and an affordable bag. You also check Osprey Xenith 88, it offers a large storage area, though it is most expensive and a heavy bag. Try to keep your pack light.
Below is a list of essential items you can carry with you:
- Sunglasses, and sunscreen
- Extra clothing
- Headlamp or flashlight
- First aid kit
- Waterproof matches, lighter or candle
- Extra food and water.
- An emergency shelter like a tent and sleeping pad.
- Water filter, to filter water in case you run out of the water. You can check Sawyer water filters.
- Natural bug spray, ointments, or creams.
- Spray in case animals attack.
Prepare yourself for temperature up and down and if you want to feel comfortable. Wear synthetic clothes and try to wear clothes in layers, so that you can easily add or shed them to adjust to the temperature.
Always pack extra clothes with you. If you are expecting rain, wear a waterproof jacket.
Choose the right footwear to avoid ruining your hike with a painful foot. For short hikes, light shoes are best and for long hikes, heavy boots are best. Among hiking boots, Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX is the ultra-light and comfortable boot. You can also check Pacific Trail Shoes which is comfortable and a durable hiking shoe if you like.
13. Watch your feet:
Watch your feet while hiking for slippery rock or root, as you might fall and get a twisted ankle or step on poisonous wildlife.
14. Fear of getting lost:
If you get lost, check your surroundings for something familiar. If you can’t find anything familiar, backtrack until you find it. Check your phone signal and call for an emergency. Try yelling HELP, it will definitely work, don’t worry!
For the bathroom, go as far as possible so that the hikers on the trail can’t see you.
Always yield to the hikers, bikers, and horses.
17. Hiking with pets and kids:
If you are hiking with kids and pets, be extra careful and keep your hike short. Carry extra food and water for your pets. Stop frequently and feed them.
18. Leave no trace:
Always respect and take care of your nature. Take all the trash with you. Never through litter or food in the trail. Do not break branches or tear leaves and disturb others on the trail.
19. Stay with the group:
If you are hiking in a group, then stay with the group. Nothing can be worst then being parted from the group and getting lost.
20. Share your experience:
Share your experience with others. You can also share your hiking pictures and stories on social media.
At last thanks for reading this article, and let us if we have missed anything. Don’t forget to tell us how did your first hike go. Happy Hiking!