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Hiking is a fantastic way to get out into some good clean fresh air. It can be as beneficial as exercising in the gym, but it does help show you more of the backwoods and countryside.
You are free to do as you wish, you can stop when you want, and you can keep going for as long as you want to.
All you need to do is follow some useful tips before you set off on the trails unprepared.
All these hiking tips for beginners will show all you need to know about hitting the trails.
Should I Hike Alone?
Hiking alone can leave you to gather your own thoughts. You do need to consider personal safety. If you insist heading off by yourself, you do need to tell someone where you are going.
It is better to look for local hiking clubs, because you can team up with like-minded individuals.
If you wish to go for more extended hikes, then there are hiking groups who may venture off for a weekend trip. This are great ways to experience the outdoors while staying safe.
Picking the Best Hiking Route
It doesn’t matter which way you are going hiking, the route and amount of time on the trails will dictate what gear you will need for hiking in your backpack.
Two of the bare minimum will be a couple of water bottles, and a first aid kit. Dehydration and injury are the two main things that can ruin a good hike.
Once you have your essentials, you will need to plan your route.
When you are looking for hiking routes, the following needs to be considered. The trail length and difficulty as well as any ascents or descents there are.
You then need to check features on the trail and any possible water sources so you can fill up with water.
Unless you are with a club, and there are only a couple of you, the main thing is that you stay on the trail.
If you head off into the wilderness, it can be hard to find your way, and for anyone to locate you, should anything go wrong.
Hiking Things You Need to Know
When you are checking which trails to hit, you need to know the amount of time you have, and how much time the hike will take.
A short hike in most cases can be completed in less than half a day.
These will also determine your gear, and the standard of your hiking boots or footwear. A longer hike that takes most of the day will need to be started at a suitable time.
If you are not back when the sun begins dipping, you can find yourself in trouble.
There are a few things you need to think about on these longer hikes. Here they are broken into small sections.
Fitness levels – You may think hiking is like walking, but in reality, it is more strenuous. You need to choose a trail that matches your ability and stamina.
Elevations – You need to know how long it will take for any given hiking length. A good speed of hikers is around three miles per hour.
If you hit an ascent, this speed can slow, and the weight of your backpack will take more of a toll.
Elevations of 1,000 feet in the space of a mile can add one hour to the length of a hiking trip.
On these extended hikes, you do need a durable pair of hiking boots to give ankle support, and to stop any rocks from hurting under your feet.
Over the course of a strenuous hike, your feet will sweat, and good hiking boots will help wick this moisture away.
Every season comes with its own weather patterns. You can find many trails are shut during the winter because of local weather patterns.
Even open trails can pose a problem unexpectedly, so you do need to pay attention to the weather forecast for the area.
One item for seasonal hiking essentials for beginners are sunglasses. You will need them for protection in the summer, and if you are hiking later in the year, the sun sets earlier and can be in your eyes, and even in snow, you can start to suffer from snow blindness.
Hiking Gear for Beginners
There is some essential hiking gear you need, but it need not take too much to enjoy a day’s hiking.
Here are the brief sections for hiking gear for beginners.
This is crucial, and we saw that the longer the hike, the better the hiking footwear needs to be. Feet take the most abuse when they are in action for the whole day.
When it comes to hiking, manufacturers try to cater for different wants and needs.
You can get lightweight trail-running shoes. These are like regular running shoes, but are more durable and sturdy to deliver support underfoot.
The problem with these is they offer little ankle support, so when experienced hikers choose their footwear; they go for good boots, which extend past the ankles.
Keeping your feet dry is one of the major selection criteria.
Clothes for Hiking
This can make the difference between being comfortable or not. Don’t forget, hiking in jeans or other similar clothing is not a recommendation.
What you are looking for is moisture wicking and quick drying.
Cotton needs to be avoided because it feel wet until it dries, and this can take a long time. Polyester fits the bill when it sits close to the skin as it draws this moisture, and is fast drying.
After this, you need to think about layers because they play different roles. You have secondary layers. These protect you from the sun or are there to keep you warm in cool weather.
The next layer is an insulation layer. This varies depending on the time of year. Puffy vests or jackets are great because they are light and warm.
The last layer should be a rain protective layer. If you are not wearing it through the day, you do need to carry a lightweight waterproof jacket and possibly pants.
When you go on a day hike, the backpack you require can be far smaller than one where you go overnight. A backpack is more than just a bag where to stash your gear.
They need to adjust to fit your correctly, and they need to fit all your gear inside.
If you are taking a hike around local parks, then you can use a smaller backpack because you can leave out many of the things that are not essential.
However, if you are hitting the trails for a more substantial hike that will take you overnight, your backpack needs to accommodate your tent and your sleeping bag.
You can opt out of a tent and go for a hammock, but something comfy and warm to sleep in can make your experience all the better.
To accommodate all this, you need backpacks that hold around 30-liters.
Food and Beverages
One thing that can quickly weigh you down is your food and water. While you may think cutting back on what you take, it is better to choose the right kinds of foods.
Water on the other hand you must take. This is why it is vital to know where there are water sources on your hiking trail.
The best hiking tip is to drink lots in the morning and then only carry enough until the next water stop.
Foods need to be carb loaded, as they can deliver energy for long hikes. It is also a great hiking tip to take high calorie snacks.
Cracker, peanut butter, trail mix and seeds or dried fruits are light to carry, and are fantastic for a boost in energy.
You can take water purification tablets just in case there is no fresh water that is suitable for drinking.
Aside from all of the above, there are things like needles, thread, duct tape and a good knife. If there is an emergency, these can come in handy to repair things, or help patch a hiker up in the case of an injury.
Once you hike more and more, you quickly hone down what you need to take with you. You also understand how to read the signs for weather changes, and how to take part in leave no trace hiking or camping.
The great outdoors is one of the best places to explore, and it opens up another world of opportunities that are waiting for you, it’s also great for families too.
Follow these best hiking tips for beginners, and there is nothing stopping you from getting out there and doing it.