Preparing to set off for your first long hike is exciting. Whether you are about to embark on a multi-day trek or just a short day hike, there is a lot to consider before you set off. When looking for beginner’s advice on hiking, you may feel overwhelmed by all the information available on the web. Some tips might seem like common sense but it’s easier to see that from the comfort of your home. These are just some ideas to get you thinking about how to prepare for your hiking adventure.
Find a Group or Club to Hike With
The fastest way to become a good hiker is to hike with other people because it’s fun and motivating. If you live on the Atlantic seaboard there are many regional chapters of the Appalachian Mountain Club that lead frequent hikes you can join. The same goes with the Washington Trails Association and the Sierra Club on the west coast and throughout the country. Meetup.com is also a tremendous place to find local hiking groups, meet people, make hiking friends, and plan your own hiking adventures.
Hike once a Week at a Local Park
Day hiking takes practice and conditioning if you want to build up to more strenuous and challenging hikes. Try hiking at least once a week at a local park, either by yourself or as part of a group. Elizabeth from The Home Makers Journal says, “You’ll develop your footwork skills, get practice planning hikes, test out new gear, and build up your physical endurance. It doesn’t matter where you hike, as long as you hike. Make it easy on yourself and find a nice park with a few trails that isn’t a big distance from your home.” If you keep the barrier to going low, you’re more likely to go.
Learn to Hydrate Properly
Beginner hikers often don’t carry enough water on hikes. Plan on carrying about 1 liter for every two hours, although this can vary based on time of year, weather conditions, your pace, body weight, and the difficulty of a hike. Learning how much water you need in these conditions is an important skill, so pay attention to what your body needs. This can be done quickly and easily with a great hiking backpacks.
Find Comfortable Hiking Footwear
Finding comfortable footwear that doesn’t cause blisters may take you a while. Focus on finding hiking boots or shoes that work for you instead of putting up with ones that hurt or fit poorly. Be patient and keep trying ones until you dial in footwear that works. Everyone’s feet are different. Boots, midst, or trail runners: it doesn’t matter which you choose. They are all have advantages and disadvantages.
Learn How to Read a Topographic Map
Learn terrain-to-map association so you can identify the landforms you see outdoors in order to find your position on a map. This is an even more basic skill than using a compass and one that you’ll use much more frequently.
Volunteer to do Trail Work
When you become a hiker, you join a community of people who love the outdoors and hiking. Volunteering to do trail work will help you understand how precious our hiking trails are how important their preservation is for future generations.
This guest post is written by Elizabeth Plumb from www.thehomemakersjournal.com. She loves sharing travel adventures, tech gadgets, recipes, parenting struggles (success).