If you love being away from the city, walking up to the hills and experiencing the nature in its best form, then you should go hiking. Hiking is beneficial for your physical and mental health. It is a combination of a workout and a fun activity to plan with your friends and family.
Going hiking for the first time can be confusing and a lot of questions can arise in your mind. Thus, in this article, I will list out 8 essential hiking tips for beginners. Experienced hikers may also benefit from the tips below, so read on to know them.
Also, take a look at this article about clothes you need to pack for hiking.
Best Hiking Tips for Beginners
- Get A Hiking Gear
Hiking footwear, clothing and other gear aren’t a lot or complicated but are very important. You need to choose the right type of footwear which can stand enough beating. As you will be on your feet throughout, a lightweight and sturdy pair of shoes or boots will help you in walking with ease over rugged trails.
Apart from carrying a backpack with your hiking essentials, make sure you wear appropriate clothing. Your clothing choice should be decided based on the weather, hike location and distance.
You must go through the website Outdoor Federation to learn more about hiking gear and tips so you can hike efficiently.
- Choose The Right Trail
Find and choose the hiking trail which meets your needs and fitness levels. There are several online and offline sources which help you in finding various trails in accordance with the trail distance, difficulty, location, directions and many other things. The type of trail is one of the main determinants in making or breaking your hiking adventure.
As for a beginner, you should start with a small duration trail with low elevation. Once you’ve gone hiking twice or more, you can choose to hike at a longer distance with varied surface and more elevation.
- Pack Safety Essentials
Being outside away from the comfort of your locality is no treat. Safety gear is probably the most important hiking essential for both beginners and experts. You should start preparing for your hiking trip by packing proper safety supplies, such as a first aid kit, sunscreen, insect repellent, ointments and more.
- Memorise Your Map
If you want to enjoy your hike, then you must be familiar with the trail, understand the map of the trail and be able to navigate the surroundings with the help of electronic navigation.
After choosing your trail, get the map of its area and print out its copies. Study the map to find intersecting trails, water sources, lunch spots, danger zones, landmarks and more. It is best to memorise the map, by doing this you won’t get lost in the middle of your hike and even if you do, you’ll know where to go.
- Go With Experienced Hikers
Carrying a safety kit does not completely guarantee a safe hike. Going on a hike alone could be dangerous especially if you are a beginner. It is best if you go with people who are experienced hikers. Doing so not only motivates you, but it also ensures someone could perform first aid on you, keep you safe from danger zones and guide you through the trail.
Also, you should let someone who isn’t on your hike know your whereabouts and how long you will be on a hike. You could carry a location tracker with you which lets you call for help through satellite. This also ensures your safety just in case something bad happens.
Going with a hiking partner or partners and informing your family/friends before the trip are essential safety tips for beginners.
- Check Weather Forecast
Imagine planning a hiking trip and cancelling due to bad weather. Not only does it ruin the fun, but it also delays planning the next trip. Bad weather on a hike could be the biggest risk and danger.
That is why it is extremely important to always check the weather forecast of the week your hike is planned. Trail availability also depends on the weather, as some trails are not accessible during snow and rains. Plan your hike accordingly and be prepared so you won’t be stuck in a difficult situation due to unexpected weather changes.
- Take Enough Food And Water Supplies
Beginner hikers due to lack of experience either overpack or under pack food and water. Hiking involves a lot of walking so you must take your calories seriously and always keep yourself hydrated. Dehydration becomes a problem when on a hike, thus you must drink at least half a litre of water every hour of the hike.
The amount of food and water consumption depends on several factors, such as the hike difficulty, weather, your age, weight and body type. If you don’t know your calories per day, it is best to pack extra food and water.
- Know Your Hiking Etiquette
Lastly, whether you are an experienced hiker or a beginner you must know the basic hiking etiquettes. Don’t contaminate the water sources, litter the trail or harm the environment in any way. Carry a trash bag to throw all your waste in, then dispose of the bag properly in a waste bin. If you light a campfire, then be aware of the surroundings and don’t burn off the greenery.
Being considerate of other visitors and wildlife also essential, keep the trail area litter free for other hikers.
Hiking is a fun and exciting adventure, follow the above essential tips to make your hiking experience safe and smart. Be aware of the environment and wildlife to ensure a hiking trip which won’t harm others for your fun. And in no time, you will be planning your next hike.