10 Important Hiking Tips
Hiking is one of the best ways to get outdoor, release the stress, and connect with nature. And preparing for a hike could be very exciting that you may bring a lot more than what is needed or a little less than what is expected. So, when preparing for a hike, what are the things that you should consider and should be in your bag?
Here are some useful tips to enjoy your every hike.
1. Plan your hike.
For beginners, do some research to find a suitable trail for you. You also need to familiarize yourself with the Dos and Don’ts. You may check out magazines dedicated for hiking, e.g. Backpacker Magazine, for references. Also visiting websites and forums would be good places to start. By taking the necessary precautions and preparations before starting your hike, you are setting yourself up for success and potentially saving your life if you find yourself in trouble while out on a hike.
2. Check the weather.
It is important to check the weather as you plan for your trip, this will give you valuable information on how to dress and what to pack.
3. Wear appropriate sock and footwear.
Hiking with the right sock and footwear can make a big difference in your hike. While choosing for the suitable sock, you may opt to wool or synthetic socks than cotton, since it can cause painful blisters on your feet. For your footwear, it is important to consider the type of terrain and the duration of your hike. According to American Hiking Society, for a short-day hike that doesn’t involve a heavy pack or technical terrain, trail shoes are great. While for longer hikes, carrying heavier loads, or more technical terrain, hiking boots offer more support.
4. Dress in layers.
Dressing in layers for hiking is an invaluable hiking tip for this will help you control your temperature and adjust for the weather. But remember: in choosing what you’ll wear, it is important to skip any type of cotton, it keeps moisture close to your skin and causes chafe. Instead, you may opt for synthetics. Also, always carry a hat. Lastly, pack some extra clothing that you think you’ll need, and rain gear, because the weatherman is not always right.
5. Pack the essentials.
These are the items you should pack to stay safe in the outdoors, including facing a potential overnight.
- Map, compass, and/or GPS – you don’t want to get lost during your hike, but just in case you’re too unfortunate to get lost, these will help you to find your way back.
- Sun protection (sunglasses & sunscreen) – well you don’t want to get blinded by the bright sunlight, or get sunburnt.
- Insulation (extra clothing) – pack some extra clothing that you think you’ll need and a rain gear because the weatherman is not always right.
- Illumination (headlamp/flashlight) – just in case you’re out later than planned, a flashlight/headlamp is a must-have item to see your map and where you’re walking.
- First-aid supplies – accidents could happen during hikes, and bringing first aid kits can save you or someone else’s life.
- Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candle) – fire can help prevent hypothermia, and if you get lost, fires are also a great way to signal for help. It is important to make sure your means of starting a fire are waterproof, so even if you drenched in unexpected rain, you can start a fire.
- Repair kit and Knife or Multi-Purpose Tool – These will enable you to cut strips of cloth into bandages, remove splinters, fix broken eyeglasses, and perform a whole host of repairs on malfunctioning gear.
- Nutrition (extra food) – Having enough energy is hugely important so that you can keep hiking throughout the day. Trail mix, nuts, chocolate, dried fruits and energy bars are all excellent examples of small, quick and energy-filled snacks.
- Hydration (extra water) – Staying hydrated is one of the most important things to keep on top of while out on the trail. However, you wouldn’t want to bring too much water as this can make your backpack heavy, or to bring too little water as this can cause dehydration. It would be a good idea to bring a means of purifying water, from streams and rivers should you find during your hike like water filtration system, or water purification tablets.
- Emergency shelter – in case your short-day hike turns into overnight, you will need this.
6. Keep it light.
Your gear or your backpack is where you’ll put the all the essentials you’ll need during your hike. Since the weight of your gear will be added to the weight you’ll carry around, you should remember to purchase a lightweight, comfortable backpack. It will allow you to have the proper posture and no painful pressure points. And don’t forget the rain cover.
7. Keep it organized.
It is important that you shouldn’t just shove all your things inside your bag. Having an organized bag allows you quick and easy access to everything that you need. You wouldn’t want your food and water be in the undermost part of your bag, would you? Just remember, when you remove something from your pack, make sure to put it back in the exact same place.
8. Tell someone where you’ll be.
Sharing your hiking plans with family or friends is a good safety precaution. It’s important that someone not on the hike knows the itinerary and what time to worry and call for help.
9. Get fit before you go.
It might be a shock to your system if you just go into a hike without preparation. Doing some daily exercise before going on a hike will help your heart and body to get ready for a vigorous hike.
10. Leave no Trace.
This means that no one should know that you have ever been there. Meaning, no leaving left overs and rubbish along the trail, and any marks on trees or damaging other structures. It would be nicer if you include a trash bag along with your things for the garbage you might see while you’re hiking. Adhering to this tip will help the trail to stay beautiful and for others to enjoy it too.
Taking these tips into consideration will definitely prepare you for the next time you hit the trail. Happy hiking!
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