Are you tired of the humdrum, mundane life? If yes, then it is worth escaping the ordinary and heading to nature to dwell in tranquillity. While COVID-19 is forcing you to give planning an excursion a thought, your best bet can be taking a hike along with your family and closest pals.
Tips for the First Hike
While many people may want to negate hiking as an option, backpackers ask why not?
After all, hiking is a tremendously beneficial low-impact workout with a gazillion physical and mental benefits. From preventing osteoporosis to reducing anxiety, hiking is an outdoor activity that delivers benefits beyond fun and scenic ones.
And, if you have never hiked before, worry not!
One of the best things about this sport is that hikers don’t need experience or expensive gear for getting started. All they need is a strong sense of adventure, some time, and a little preparation.
With that said, there are some variables for lifting your spirits and getting stir crazy, and making your first hike successful. Let’s get going with discovering what these are:
Start Small and Search for a Good Trail Based on your Fitness Level:
The best you can do as a beginner is to find a local, short, and moderately complex hike and ensure familiarizing yourself with it. Embark on some online research about the best time to leave, elevation gain, and the distance you’ll be hiking.
Your best bet can be to read reviews of other people. Once you initiate, ensure to pace yourself, but never rush. You aren’t in a competition with anyone. Take your time and enjoy the beauty of nature.
After all, it’s not every day that you get the opportunity of leaving your workstation to witness views like these.
Check the Weather:
The weather can be highly unpredictable. Thus, check the weather forecast a few days before the hike before planning the trail destination and dates. Also, never forget to check the weather just before you head.
It is essential to use this information as it allows you to pack clothes accordingly. Sometimes, you may even have to change your plans (reschedule due to thunderstorms) if needed.
Make sure you tell someone the exact location of the place you’re heading and when you’re planning to return. Also, ensure letting them know when they must worry about you and seek professional help.
After all, you don’t wish to be involved in an emergency outdoors and be mad at yourself for skipping this simple yet crucial step. Are you running late? Well, do yourself and others a favor and check-in!
Pack the Essentials:
It is imperative to pack things to stay safe outdoors. And, while planning your trail, you can always change these depending on the season. Know that these things will become your best friend, so it is worth reading through with due consideration.
Some of these are:
- Navigation (maps and compass)
- Sun protection (sunscreen and sunglasses)
- Insulation (extra clothing)
- First-aid supplies
- Illumination (headlamp and flashlight)
- Tools and Weapons (knife, Crossbows, and multitools)
- Nutrition (extra food)
- Hydration (excess water and glucose supplies)
- Emergency shelter (plastic tube tent and garbage bag)
The chances are excellent that this list may appear daunting. However, once you tailor the same according to your hike, the process will be easy.
For instance, if you’re heading out for a short walk, consider taking a compass, map, and a PLB. However, you choose to leave behind the altimeter and GPS. While on a more extended outing, decide on the tools that will keep you safe and help you find your way.
When deciding about the factors to bring, consider difficulty, distance, duration, and weather for assistance.
So, think over your needs and the trail requirements, and get going with packing these!
- Function over Fashion:
Your hike will turn into a miserable experience if you’re wearing the wrong kind of shoes and clothes. Therefore, it is worth turning a blind eye to your ripped jeans and fashionable boots. Instead, go for moisture-wicking and synthetic clothing, and ensure to skip the cotton clothes.
Wool can be a way to go as it provides warmth and dries pretty quickly in cold weather. Choose apt hiking shoes with wool or synthetic socks for preventing blisters.
Ultimately, painful feet on the trail isn’t fun!
- Drink and Eat Well:
Drink as much water as you can, and this doesn’t sound like a broken record. It is vital to drink water well-ahead, during, and after your hike.
Experts trailers recommend drinking at least 32 ounces of water each day to combat dehydration. Also, avoid alcohol and caffeine as they will not get you too far.
You can also carry some snacks as they will fuel your adventure and keep you strong. Bring your protein and carbs so that you don’t end up feeling dizzy, experiencing fatigue, and encountering low blood sugar.
Some snacks that you can consider are:
- Banana sandwiches and peanut butter
- Trail mix and nuts
- Almond butter packets
- Protein bars
- Fruit Strips
Don’t forget to add your favorite victory snack, as it’ll be the snack for the end. You deserve it, after all!
- Follow Trail Etiquette and Leave No Trace:
One of the most beautiful things about the outdoors is that it’s for everyone. And, that’s the reason everyone must treat the outdoors and trails with due respect. Most parks impose restrictions on feeding wildlife, have rules for camping, and straying from marked campfires and paths.
Professional hikers suggest learning and practicing Leave No Trace principles. Thereby, pack your trash and ensure to leave it in a better condition than what you found it.
Ascertain to abide by the rules of the signs, respect nature and wildlife, and show consideration towards others. (P.S. never blast your music while the others are trying to enjoy peace).
- Know your Limits:
It is always better to start small whenever you’re choosing a hiking trail. Make sure to pay close attention to the difficulty level of the selected track. Also, be realistic about your limits.
Generally, the average pace is 3 miles per hour. However, you’ll have to add an hour for every one thousand feet of increasing elevation. Also, remember to choose a hike that doesn’t have too much height or distance.
After all, you never wish to be worse or stranded or sore.
These are some of the best tips to keep in mind while planning your first hike. Know that hiking offers tremendous opportunities for experiencing nature and spending quality time with your friends and family.