Do you live close to vast, outdoor scenery, or do you like to spend your downtime visiting mountains or forests?
Whatever your jam is, there’s a reason hiking is considered as one of the most popular activities for travelers looking to get their blood pumping.
You don’t need a copy of ‘Hiking for Dummies’ to get started, but you shouldn’t set off on a hike without being prepared.
Here are 5 tips for setting out on a hike that you should be prepared for.
Determine Your Fitness Level
How far can you hike in a day? If you’ve never been on a hike before, you shouldn’t plan to hike up Kilimanjaro on your first attempt.
Find some hiking trails near to you that won’t present much of a challenge, but will give you a chance to condition your body and judge your current level of fitness.
The less of a challenge, the less likely you’ll be able to injure yourself starting out. From there, you can advance to more challenging routes.
Try out hiking areas that give you a varied, but comfortable, path to navigate. Areas with high-quality bridges, such as the ones offered by Bridge Brothers, are likely to be well maintained, meaning you’re even less likely to injure yourself.
Pack for All Conditions
Like any outdoor activity where you might find yourself a long way from a rescue at short notice, you shouldn’t leave without packing vital supplies.
Include some vital bits of technical equipment, such as a GPS locator or locator beacon for emergencies. Pack a map of the area and a compass to allow you to find your way if you get lost.
Don’t forget some spare clothes and camping supplies if you find yourself outside longer than expected. Some emergency tools, like a pocket knife and a torch, should also be included on your supply list.
A first aid kit should be considered essential. If you or somebody else in your party is injured, you’ll want to be able to patch things up.
Before you set off on a hike, you should check the weather forecast to judge whether the conditions are suitable.
Like Goldilocks, you don’t want to be too hot, but you don’t want to be too cold, so dress appropriately for the weather.
Choose functional over fashionista with strong, synthetic and water repelling clothing. Layers work best for hiking, as you can add or remove them as the conditions change.
Don’t forget to wear a pair of comfortable hiking boots with socks that help to avoid blisters.
Are you thinking about hiking in the winter? Check out our winter workout clothes guide to help you dress appropriately for the weather.
Don’t Forget Your Fuel (Water and Food)
You wouldn’t set off on a road trip without a full tank of gas. Why treat your body any differently?
You’ll need to pack enough food and drink supplies for your hike. Whatever you think is necessary, add more.
Hydration is essential, especially if you find yourself outdoors for a long period of time, so be sure to pack enough water to last you several days if necessary.
As for food, think sensibly.
You want to avoid spikes in your blood sugar, so go for protein energy bars, nuts, and fruit. Pack some PB&J sandwiches, too, for the right mix of protein, sugar, and carbs.
Know What to Do in an Emergency
It’s important to know what to do if you find yourself in an emergency.
First, stay calm and assess the situation carefully. If there are injuries, consider how bad they are. If moving isn’t an option, stay put.
Don’t forget to follow the US Forest Service’s STOP policy to keep yourself safe. Activate any locator beacons you might have and, if you have working cell reception, make an emergency call.
If it’s looking like you might be outside for a while, ration your supplies and build yourself a suitable shelter to await rescue or before you attempt to move on.
Hiking for Dummies? Hike Like a Pro in No Time
Hiking isn’t just a way to stay fit, it’s a way to develop your passion for nature.
You won’t need that copy of ‘Hiking for Dummies’ we mentioned to set out on your first hike. Pack your essentials, dress appropriately and don’t push your body beyond its limits just yet.
While hiking is something that beginners can enjoy, pace yourself. With regular trips on your belt, you’ll be hiking like a pro in no time.
Looking for other ways to stay fit? Then check out our fitness articles for some fresh inspiration.