For new-bee hikers, the most haunting question on earth is “Where should I start from?”
With plenty of confusing online and offline resources for hiking, it is too easy to get distracted with unnecessary information and loaded with one hell of whimsically bought stuff.
With all our experience regarding this never-ending queries, we are here now, with their precisely chosen answers and an almost perfect (because NO ONE IS PERFECT!) guideline of hitting the trails right.
Now, we are going to breakdown each essential point you need to know about hiking:
1. How to Motivate Yourself to Go Hiking?
Why should I go on hiking? This one question must already have popped up on your mind. Is it just because you have a vacation and you have nowhere else to be?
Hiking is a bit like life:The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other…again and again and again.And if you allow yourself the opportunity to be present throughout the entirety of the trek,you will witness beauty every step of the way,not just at the summit”- Unknown
Or, all of your friends have already “been there, done that!” and you want to go with the trend? And even better, you are an adventure lover and there is nothing better than a “getting-on-the-nerves” like mysterious hill beauty!
Whoever you are, you can always find your motivation for those addictive mountain treks in any of these:
Books and magazines that will motivate you to lace up your hiking shoes :
They can be resourceful even for the most at-home introvert book worms.
Ranging from the descriptive psychological refreshment of mountain views and hiking destinations to the health benefits of hiking, they cover your routes, techniques and almost everything to know why you should love mountains.
For getting yourself some: Check out this best selling hiking and camping book. >> Click here
Are you a female hiker? Need motivation for hiking. This motivation list of hiking is just amazing and inspiring that will make you fall in love for hiking all over again.
Male hikers also would find the below motivation resource inspiring and entertaining.
>> Check it out
How to Find New Hiking Buddies or Make Hiking Friends Online?
Social media like Facebook, Instagram and twitter have taken the internet world by storm with continuously refreshing, happening events; together with their photos and videos.
Join them, open an account and follow the trending backpackers and hikers. You will eventually start imagining yourself on top of the world just like them!
Want to check yourself out? >> Click here
What are some Top Hiking Blogs to Follow?
To know all the ins and outs of any traveling guidelines, there is nothing better than some resourceful online blogs.
The best part is you don’t need to carry lots of books and magazines around you all the time; you can access them any time anywhere you get a good internet connection on the go.
They can enlighten you about anything from the tour maps to the ways of relieving hiking knee pain even.
Care to give it a shot? >> Check It Out
I hope you got your “why” answered!
2. How to Choose the Right Hiking Trails?
One needs to choose his/ her trails wisely. It’s unwise to let the excitement decide to go somewhere; no man has ever stepped before.
Choose your trekking destination according to your experience, taste, weather, budget, accompanying people and most importantly, your addiction level for discovering something new.
Make a bucket list of at least 30 trekking destinations to visit before you die and go on conquering them.
3. How to Stay Safe On a Hike?
Whether you are going hiking for the first or the 100th time, safety on a hike always comes first. If you are not prepared or cautious enough for your trekking trip, the excitement at the beginning can end up in pain.
You should ensure your security even before you are on the trail. Especially, if you are hiking in an area endangered by political conflicts or out in the wild amidst of ferocious wild animals.
Inform the local police or security service about your location and trail routes; ask for help whenever needed.
Check out this thru article on Hiking Security >> Click Here to Learn More.
Mistakes to avoid on the trail:
Follow common check-list for hiking preparation and make sure, you don’t miss a step.
Don’t choose a route you have no clue about as your first hiking trek. You can check this out to have a better view.
General survival techniques for HIking:
No matter how cautious you are, there can always be some unpredictable situation where you must know how to survive.
Hills are infamous for landslide, earthquake and risky streams. You can lose track of location and get easily lost in a desert hike. We are not trying to scare you off the game.
It just never hurts to have a little rehearsal of the actual problem beforehand. Try these and you’ll never regret!
4. Understanding Weather when Hiking.
It is something, you can’t simply control. What you can do is, staying all-hands-on-deck prepared for hot weather hike or be it the cold weather one!
Get ready for the rain too! Even better, you want to detect safe weather for hiking; we have it here for you as well. Check out this safe hiking weather guide >> Click Here.
What if I am already out there and have no time for safe-home-browsing? We got you covered with some weather specialist weather android apps too.
Don’t let the unpredictable weather ruin your weekend trekking trip ever!
You need to know your route before your feet are already on it. No one wants to get lost in the unknown. So, before starting your trip, do a little research on the trail you chose and its map.
- Maps: Whether it has any safety place amidst the route or not, is of great importance. You will have plenty of online resources regarding trail maps, from which: we have chosen the best for you. Check it out.
The internet is out of rich on the high hills? No worries! Offline trail maps are there for you. Get your offline trails maps from here.
How to use GPS for Hiking?
GPS helps to track your location and keeps you from getting lost unnecessarily. It aids re-tracking an old hiking place with the landmarks like waterfall, campsite, river, lake.
A GPS helps to track average speed, distance covered in a trek and elevation change. If you have a GPS with you, your friends and family can easily track down your location and send you help when needed.
Why You Should take Compass on a hike?
Taking a compass on a hike might sound a little old school. But, it will always come handy tracking your direction and location when you don’t have a modern GPS system available or when the battery runs down. Watch it learn how to use your compass on a hike.
Best Tracking Apps for Hiking:
In this fast internet-led world, there is no longer any need to carry heavy-weight compasses and star-tracking device to know your trail and its location. Lots of handy android apps like this are available in the play store. Have an i-phone? Get it from here.
Want some more expert opinion? Choose from these 8 best hiking tracking apps.
Had every precaution, still, managed to get lost somehow? Ok! You made your point. Plant a tracking app on your phone and you are good to go!
6. How to Choose Hiking clothes & footwear?
Choose your dress wisely: considering the weather, environment, duration, and capacity of your backpack.
Dressing in layers is always a good idea so that you can add-on an extra layer if you feel colder or shed some of the weather demand is exactly the opposite.
You can get a more detailed idea about planning your hiking clothes from here. This can also be handy if you want to be more precise.
Got enough ideas about what clothes to wear and what not? It’s time to buy some. We have the entire shop for you!
How to Pick the Right Hiking Shoes?
No one likes to enjoy a hiking trip in painfully swollen feet with ugly blisters or stop every 15 minutes because of disturbing knee pain.
So, the choice of perfect hiking shoes is crucial. Your shoes must be a perfect fit for you, leaving enough wiggling space for your toes.
They should be light, breathable, and supportive to your ankles and knees; should be easy to clean and air-dry.
You will need different kinds of hiking boots for different seasons. Care to know why? Click here.
No need to get stuck between confusing options. Learn which one’s are the best! Check out these best hiking boots for men.
If you are hiking in the hot summer, here are some best breathable hiking boots for hot weather.
Hiking Socks: What kind of socks are best for hiking?
Shoes and socks go hands in hands when it is about supporting and protecting your feet from sand, dust, water, rocks and unnecessary wetness.
Sweaty and dirty feet are home to infected blisters and unavoidable hot spots. These can result from your dirty hiking socks.
They should be anything but made of cotton, breathable, with a snuggle fit; not having any wrinkles. It is better to have 2-3 spare pairs when you are on a multi-day hiking trip or the route involves waterways.
No time for fancy shopping? Order online and buy now.
7.Hiking Gear Guide. What to Bring On a Hike?
Trekking doesn’t mean just getting up one fine morning and running straight uphill the mountains. It takes a village to have a smooth hiking trip.
Hiking involves going up and down through uneven terrains, often deserts and the wilderness with heavy baggage. So, you need to concentrate on what you exactly need.
Backpack: How to Pack a Backpack for hiking?
Your backpack is the home of everything you carry on a trekking trip. So, you need to buy it according to your budget, duration of the trip, your body size, your fitness.
Moreover, it needs to have separate space for clothes and a hydration pack. A wet backpack is heavier at least two times.
So, it has to be waterproof to protect your personal things and food dry. Need a more specific idea about what you need? Want good value for your money?
>> Check it Out
Got all the suggestions you need? Buy ’em now!
Hiking Pole: What are the benefits of Hiking Pole?
Trekking poles reduce the impact of hiking on your ankles and knee joints, thus reducing the chance of getting severe hiking pain.
It helps your leg muscles relax and have better stability while you are hiking downhill. When your hands are getting tired, it facilitates the hands above the heart position and aids in better circulation.
It reduces the weight on your legs by 8 kg when you are hiking uphill. We can describe 100 benefits of a hiking pole, but, it is always better to hear from the experts. Let’s get you some really good trekking poles.
Hiking essentials: What to bring hiking?
If it is a multi-day hiking trip, it is likely to involve overnight stay on the hills. For a temporary stoppage, hikers need shelter as well.
Foldable tents and tarps are something you should bring on a hike. They should be easy to place and made of water-proof material. They are durable and can be used as a sleeping pad or sleeping bag too.
Once you fold them up, they get reduced to nothing. Here is how to use them for shelter. Want to buy some? Check this out!
Sleeping bags and hammocks:
A tiring all day trekking trip demands a sound sleep. Though it will not be like some comfy warm bed at home, it will serve the purpose well. Get some here and watch how to use them for sleep.
Tools & repair kit:
For setting up the tent or traveling inside the dark mountain tunnels, repairing your hiking gears; whatever the purpose maybe, you are going to need a bunch of tools and possibly a repair-kit for your hiking trip.
A headlamp/ flashlights with extra batteries, knives/ multi-purpose tools, heavy-duty hiking ropes, screwdrivers, portable chargers for your android and GPS tracking device are essential tools for any hiking trip.
If your budget permits, you can include a good gear-repair kit as well.
Camera: Why taking a Camera on a hike?
Whether you are going on a hike for the first or the 100th time, it’s always wonderful to bring some good memories and scenarios at home.
For many of you, traveling photography can be an addictive passion. To capture some really good shots, a good camera is a must.
They capture and process photos almost immediately and are often social media connected. So, you can stay on top of your selfie game even on the go!
8. Food & Hydration Guide for Hiking.
For a strenuous adventure like a day-long hiking trip, you’ll need lots of energy and stamina; nothing can serve you better than a well-fed, energized, hydrated body for that. So, concentrate on this and take the right amount of food and drinks with you, considering the availability of food and water on your trail.
What Food to On a Hike?
The food you take on a trekking trip must be dry-ones, easy to prepare and eat, providing a good amount of energy and necessary nutrients and faster satiety covering for the whole day.
Want a happy tummy mid-trek? Wake up your inner chef and prepare some delicious camping recipes. If you are not interested in giving so much effort on pondering over the food, we got you covered.
Click here and buy some to not run out of food midway. Want to grab some quick mid-day snacks? Glucose rich granola bars or chocolates and nuts can be a good solution for light hunger. Get some now! Some might like home-made sandwiches and noodles as well. In that case, you need to take a good thermal lunch box in your backpack.
How to Stay Hydrated on a Hike?
For hiking, you need to ensure proper and frequent intake of water and other energy-rich drinks to keep yourself energized and hydrated. It is crucial to know How much water to pack for a hike.
Otherwise, you’ll end up dehydrated, tired and get very painful muscle cramps in mid-day summer hike or an extreme desert hike. To calculate your hydration requirements, estimate the duration of your hike.
For every one hour of hike, you will need 2 cups of water to drink. The requirement can increase in extremely hot weather.
But, it is of particular importance in cold weather since you won’t even realize you’re sweating and dehydrating yourself. So, calculate accordingly and take more than sufficient water with you.
As a hydration pack, you can choose between water bottles and hydration reservoirs, whichever suits you better.
You can even have travel-friendly boxed water as well. In general, it is wise to choose something that fits your backpack well. If your trail has water source mid-way, even better.
Choosing the best Water Purification for hiking.
Take some good water purification systems involving portable UV-purifier or chemical treatments. Don’t forget about the electrolyte loss along with water. Mix them in your hydration pack and drink as you hike according to the direction mentioned in their packaging.
9.Hiking Emergency & first-aid kit Preparation.
No emergency situation appears with an alarm. So, you need to get prepared before it steps on your trip. Click here to learn how to deal with hiking emergency situations.
Emergency kit for Hiking.
Be it risky trail, desert or snowstorm, you are supposed to be ready with an emergency make-shift shelter like tent/tarp, lighter/ fire starter, whistles, bright flashlights, and high visibility safety jackets to be found and rescued if endangered.
Have two itineraries; one left with your emergency contact person and another in your backpack or car.
First-aid kit for HIking.
Hikers often encounter with common hiking injuries like cuts, scrap, abrasion, knee pain, dislocation of a joint, twisted ankle, diarrhea, dehydration, hyperthermia, sun-stroke, hypothermia, frostbite, etc.
But, getting a fully equipped medical professional out there is highly unlikely. So, you need to be your own doctor for a while if you or any of your teammates might need it.
Grab an affordable first-aid kit or arrange one from these according to your needs and budget. How to use it and when? Check this out!
Your first-aid kit must include some over the counter medications like painkillers, antiulcerants, and antiseptic ointments also.
Blister treatment kit for HIking:
Hiking blisters can turn your exciting trek into a nightmare overnight. So, grab a good pair of hiking boots, keep your feet dry and change your socks frequently.
Even if you end up with one or two hot spots/blisters, take care of them with a proper blister treatment kit.
Personal prescription medication: If you are already taking medicines for any particular medical ailment like bronchial asthma, epilepsy, hypertension, diabetes;
you should bring your own prescription medication along and take them as directed by your physician.
10.Sun protection & personal hygiene.
Sun Protection when Hiking
Hot summer hikes are welcome boards for stubborn Sun-tans and Sunburns. Extreme heat not only affects your skin.
It causes excessive sweating, dehydration, eventually serious conditions like Sunstroke. So, Sun protection is very much important. Take a good sun protective hat and one or two pairs of sunglasses with retainers.
Wear white clothes if possible in the day-time. Use sunscreen creams and lotions with high SPF.
Personal Hygiene: How do you stay clean while hiking?
Maintenance of good personal hygiene is extremely important if you want to end up your hiking trip in optimum health. To stay on top of your game, ensure proper hygiene with a good cleansing habit.
Wash your hands with travel size soap and water. Where water source is scarce, hand sanitizers can come handy. Toilet paper, sanitation towels (when there is no toilet), women’s hygiene essentials should be included in your baggage to meet the situation demands properly.
You should also carry some insect repellents to protect yourself from poisonous bug bites. Cleansing wipes are a good option for no rinsing situation. If you are hiking in an extremely hot summer, sweating is an unavoidable problem.
So, carry a good personal deodorant/ antiperspirant with you to get rid of unwanted bad smell.
11. How to Hike Safely?
The mountain trails are addictive, but not very easy to go along. Hiking needs some really good techniques and safety skills to be mastered.
Pitch your tent before: You don’t want to be a first-timer on the hills for this. Watch, learn and practice before you are on your way.
Prepare a fire starter for an emergency: Learning a little safety skill like starting a fire in rainy or adverse weather never hurt anyone. So, see how it is done before the trouble comes in.
Test your gears: Buying a load of hiking gear only to find them unusable on a hike can be very frustrating. So, test each and every one of them, before you start off. Watch how it’s done.
Avoid crowd when HIking:
You are going on a hiking trip to get away from your busy, crowded, scheduled life. So, choosing a hiking destination in a peak season, that’s likely to be full of crowd, is not a very wise decision.
So, take your pick on an off-season trip or choose a place, that’s far less crowded. Want to have some choices? Here you go!
Few More Tips to Hiking Safely.
Be punctual: In any kind of trip, being right on time for your schedule is extremely important.
You don’t want to procrastinate on everything that you end up missing your bus of the route. See the complete schedule of your trip and plan your tasks accordingly.
Stretch yourself before: Without a little warm-up, any exercise can be tiring, so, get some stretching exercises to prepare your muscles and body better for the main day. While you are scrolling on YouTube, watch some good stuff.
Keep your pace: No one likes to fall behind his team on a risky trail. So, start with a pace you can continue afterward.
Trying to outsmart your own energy level at the beginning is definitely not a good idea. Here is how you can get it going like a professional hiker.
Acclimate better: Acclimatization can be a real issue, causing changes in your blood pressure and heart rate. If you are planning for any mountain top, try leveling up slowly.
Spend a few hours at the same level before you change altitude. Read this and learn what you should do, if you want to be a professional mountaineer.
Use hiking poles efficiently: Use your hiking poles in short distance while going uphill, keep them longer on a downhill hike. Try using them at a 90-degree angle, when you are on even ground. Care to learn better? Click here!
What to do in a snowstorm while hiking?
In cold icy weather, hiking can be scary. Most of the new hikers should learn how to not panic and let the snowstorm pass smartly.
If you are hiking in winter and weather forecast shows chances of snow-storm, avoid the routes close to the cliff, layer up your clothes, wear visible jackets which can be seen through dense fog in case of emergency.
Read and learn more essential skills for hiking in the blizzard.
What to do in a sandstorm while hiking?
Basics of hiking in a desert involve dealing with an unexpected sandstorm. A hot summer hike in the desert is more strenuous than any normal mountain trekking experience.
How do you protect yourself from ticks while hiking?
Fight the bugs and ticks: Timing here is everything. If you are hiking through large swarms, avoid them in peak breeding season of the oriental insects.
Don’t roam around during dawn and dusk without the protection of a good insect repellent spray or fabric roll on.
Take shelter in a safe place or pitch your tent in an open and secured place.
How do you protect yourself from wild animals and Snake while hiking?
Safety from wild animals while hiking: Hiking in the wilderness has both its perks and hazards. Being in the middle of wildlife demands some safety skills.
Staying away from home of ferocious animals is one of them. Choose your hiking destination accordingly, use the bear spray when needed.
Snake safety skills in the trail: Snakes are not usually interested in messing with human beings. Their attack is a defensive action to avoid undue problems.
So, when you are choosing a hiking place within a snake-prone area, make sure you are not agitating or throwing stones at them intentionally as a stunt. Even if you face one, let it pass silently from a safe distance.
Wear protective clothes or gaiters. Don’t put your hands anywhere out of curiosity unless you want to invite some snake infestation. Use trekking pole while hiking through deep forests.
You can keep snake defense spray with you and use it in case of an emergency.
What to do if you get lost while hiking?
You already know the precautions for not getting lost, even if you manage to do so somehow, the first thing to remember is “Stop!” Don’t move further than you already did.
Follow your way back if possible. Try to remember any significant landmark you saw. Locate your position through your GPS and compass. If still, you are unable to find your way around, don’t panic.
This is not the worst thing happening. Stay hydrated, without water you are not likely to get any better. Tired body and mind make poor judgments, so try to rest as much as possible to preserve your energy.
Try to find a food source nearby. If it is already dark, try to start a small fire, wear your high visibility clothes, and try to find a safe place away from wildlife. Check this out to have a better idea.
12. How to Increase fitness for Hiking?
Hiking is not as easy as roaming around the woods for a lazy walk. So, whenever your impulse says that you can slip into your hiking boots and grab a backpack to conquer the mountains, think twice.
One needs a certain level of fitness and stamina for having their heels over uneven terrains and hills for a long time. If you are overweight, shed some by hitting the gym and having a healthy diet routine.
If you are a first-timer for the mountains, start off with a day-hike. Prepare for it by walking on sands and muddy roads. Try balancing exercises like standing on a tennis ball or balancing disks.
How to build stamina for hiking in the gym?
Stepping up with weight can also help. Use park benches for this. Increase weight every 2-3 days until you reach the approximate weight your backpack has.
If you are already a fitness-junkie, step up your game with lunges, cardio, planks regularly for added stamina.
Having blister on hiking could ruin your hike and make your hike unbearable. To prevent having painful blisters on the go, this blister care protocol works like a charm.
For an overall idea of fitness training and building endurance for a happy and perfect hike. Follow the below complete guide.
13. Hiking with children & women.
It is not very unwise to wish to bring your family with you for better family time and refreshment. But, having women and children on the risky trails can definitely put some extra worries on your shoulder.
Or even better, you are a female hiker, so, there are some definite things you or your family need to know before you start. Concentrate on building up your physical stamina with some workouts that suit you.
You may consider hitting the gym for some weight-bearing exercises. Choose female-friendly hiking clothing and hiking boots that fit you well.
How to deal with your period while hiking?
For women, menstrual issues during a hike can be haunting if you are not prepared. Follow this to learn better before you are in trouble already. Carry your own urination device for safety from unwanted germs.
Consider taking safety precautions like whistles and personal locator beacon for your convenience. Have children with you? Learn from the experts.
14. Hiking for Elderly: Hiking Tips for Older Adults.
You can never be too old for loving the mountains. Hiking in your golden age needs proper fitness and skill alongside some safety precautions.
Eat a healthy diet to ensure having adequate nutrients, power through your muscles and joints for coping up with the strain and weight-bearing activity on the hills.
Take care of your heart with appropriate fitness training. If you are suffering from bronchial asthma, hypertension, diabetes or osteoarthritis, consult with your doctor before you go.
Take your routine medication with you in an added packaging. Set safety reminders on the phone. Inform your co-hikers about any specific precautions they might need for you. Care to learn more?
15. What are the Leave no trace hiking rules?
If you want to enjoy the greenness as it is, you must leave it as you found it. Be careful about damaging wildlife when you are setting campfire, say no to single-use plastics materials.
Don’t leave any garbage behind, even if it is as small as a banana peel. Pack your things as you go.
Don’t attack wild animals unnecessarily.
Ensure proper disposal of wastage. Be considerate to other hikers. Check this to have a clear perception.
Hiking is a wonderful adventure if you plan it accurately. We have almost every idea here, you are going to need on your first or 100th hiking trip. Let yourself fall head over heels in love with the hills without any worries anymore. Hasta la vista and best of luck!
If you have any queries, feel free to comments. We would love to answer and help quickly. Thanks for reading. Happy Hiking.