Hiking is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the outside world. Moved by your own two feet and carrying only what you need for the day on your back, you can explore the beauty of nature at whatever pace you’re pleased with. And, with a little preparation, it’s an activity that almost anyone can do.
If you’ve fantasized of hiking, but have yet to try it, it’s time to get out there. Just follow these actions:
- Find a hiking companion.
- Pick a hike
- Gear up
Find a Hiking Partner
If you have buddies who hike, ask them to get you on a trek. Most people are pleased to share their expertise, let you borrow gear and introduce newbies to their preferred trails.
If you don’t remember any hikers, many towns have hiking clubs that always plan outings.
Hiking alone: Experiencing the outdoors by yourself can provide you a sense of independence and adventure that are hard to get elsewhere. But it can also be intimidating and lonely at moments. If you’re new to hiking, we suggest finding a companion to keep you company. That person will also be there to lend a hand if you happen to get hurt. If going individually is your only option, then begin out with short trips to popular hiking destinations and make sure someone always understands where you’re going and how long you plan to be gone.
Take a Hiking Route
There are some easy ways to discover a hiking trail that will meet your requirements:
- Guidebooks and sites are great sources because you can get all the stats you need: trail hardness, distance, elevation gain, roads, water sources, trail features and whether dogs are permitted. Sites often display recent trip records that may give you a sense of current way conditions.
- Word of mouth: If you have someone who likes to hike, ask them to suggest some places for you.
- Talk to locals: Communicate with a local hiking organization or call a ranger station in the place where you want to hike. Rangers usually have up-to-date trail qualifications and are skilled at suggesting hikes for all skill levels.
Tips for Taking a Hiking Route
Before you start your search for the perfect hike, it’s important to think through a few points, such as:
- How much time do you have: Do you have a few hours or a full day? The amount of time you have can decide where you go. Don’t neglect to factor in how long it takes to get to and from the trailhead.
- Your qualification level: Honestly, evaluate what kind of shape you’re in. You need to have a fun time out there rather than suffering through a long, strenuous hike that you’re not qualified for. If you’re not interested in the aspect of your life, don’t be confused: There are hikes for everyone.
- Distance: Think about how many miles and hours you’re easy hiking. A normal walking pace is about 3 mph, but your hiking pace may be slower than that, depending on the area, elevation gain, and how much weight you’re taking on your back.
- Elevation gain: The number of elevation gains on a hike is one factor that defines the difficulty. With a bit of practice, you’ll come to understand how much elevation gain you can easily handle and what is too much. If a way gains 1,000 feet in one mile, that is supposed to be quite steep for a reference point. Also, a common recommendation is that for every 1,000 feet of altitude gain, add one hour to your journey.
- Time of year and weather: Some ways won’t be available in early spring because they’re covered in snow. If it’s fall and the sun is setting earlier, plan equally so you’re not caught out after dark suddenly. Always monitor the weather forecast before heading out so you can prepare and pack appropriately.
- Logistics: Some hikes require a bit more planning. For example, if you end up doing a hike that begins and finishes at different places, you’ll need to alternate cars to your start and endpoints.
Choose Your Hiking Equipment
One of the best points about hiking is that you don’t need a bunch of high-tech equipment to get out there. With a few basic items for the trail and a sense of experience, you’re ready to head into the forest.
The Ten Essentials
Begin by making sure you’re taking the essentials, a few examples you can view at Shelf. This is a set of gear and clothing that all hikers should carry whenever they walk onto the trail. The set includes navigation, sun protection, insulation, illumination, first aid, fire, repairs, nutrition, hydration and emergency shelter.
Footwear is one of the essential things you need to take, and it’s a very individual choice. Some hikers favor supportive over-the-ankle boots, while others enjoy lightweight trail-running footwear. The terrain you’ll be walking on can also influence your decision. Lightweight, low-cut hiking footwear may be fine on well-maintained trails without many obstacles, whereas strong shoes may serve you better on a rugged trail with rocks, roots and streams.
Whatever you want, make sure the boots or shoes are well broken-in and suitable for long distances. And use wool or synthetic socks, not cotton.
What to Wear Hiking
Prefer clothing made of quick-drying, moisture-wicking fabrics, such as wool or polyester. Avoid cotton, which needs a long time to dry when wet. You can consider of clothing as separate ways:
- Next-to-skin base covers: Made of wool or polyester, base layers are most powerful in cool to cold temperatures.
- Hiking layers: These combine nylon and/or polyester pants, T-shirt, sun shirt, sun hat.
- Rainwear: It’s wise to take a waterproof coat no matter the weather forecast. If you’re foreseeing wet weather, bring the rain pants along, too.
Of course, you necessitate a pack to carry your Ten Essentials and any other gear.
For small treks on trails close to home and on days with nice weather, a daypack with a range of about 15–20 liters provides enough space for water, a few snacks and a lightweight clothes layer.
Food and Water
As a novice hiker, it can be tough to know how much food and water you require, an excellent general advice for how much to eat is 200–300 calories per hour. About a half liter per hour of moderate action in moderate temperatures is a good starting point for water intake. These amounts depend heavily on various factors, such as the intensity of your hike, the weather, your age, your sweat rate and your body type. As you gain more knowledge, you’ll get a better sense for just how much you need.
It’s constantly a good idea to carry a bit extra food and water in case your trip takes longer than expected.
Water treatment: Many hikers carry all the water they will require for a day hike. But, if you anticipate needing more than about 3 liters, that can be pretty heavy. By filtering and using water from backcountry streams and lakes, you refill your water bottles or hydration storage and reduce your load.