Do you love adventures? Need a break from mundane life? Are you a lover of hills and treks? None of these? You simply want to accompany your friends in some trekking and hiking, and you have no clue about these daunting words? No big deals! We got you covered! Learn all the details on How to start hiking for Beginners in this article.
PS: Comments If you have any query. Also tell us how was your first hike?
Why should one go on hiking?
Hiking is a low-impact workout, an outdoor activity delivering benefits beyond scenic and fun. Studies show that it can relieve you from work-related stress, anxiety as well as strengthens your heart and prevents osteoarthritis.
It increases your depth of friendship, makes you a good team man, enhances your adaptation power in adverse conditions and makes you feel enthralled from within!
Top Hiking Tips & Tricks For Beginners.
Unlike walking on a treadmill or paved path, hiking needs little more, sometimes unpredictable, variables like weather issues, acclimatization problems, etc.
Once you get a hold of some minor things in head, these variables are going to make it enjoyable as well as memorable! Start off with these invaluable hiking tips to make your first treks successful:
Watch your steps!
Start with a hike a little shorter than the distance you can usually walk on a level or paved surface. To calculate the time required to hike the trail, figure a pace of roughly 2-miles per hour.
Recheck the elevation changes and add an hour to your calculated trekking time for every 1000 feet of gain. After you’ve been out once or twice, you’ll have an idea for what distance and elevation changes work better for you.
Know your trail:
Once you have selected a trail, obtain a map of the area and review some reports and data. There are some excellent online resources readily available. Find out if the trail is a loop, take note of any intersecting trails where you could potentially make a wrong turn. It is even smarter to look for a good lunch spot such as a lake or peak with a good view.
Keep a weather eye:
While planning for your hike, and again a few hours before, check the weather. It will give you valuable information on packing your bags and dresses. If the weather is forecast to be unwelcoming, it will give you access to change plans instead of getting surprised on the trail.
Plan your budget:
Well, cut your coat according to your clothes. Here, the clothes essentially stand for hiking gears, shoes, dresses, travel costs, first aid kits, tents/shelter costs, food, and possible adverse weather cost might be added. Don’t get puzzled on the trip, plan your budget ahead and stick to it.
Choose a lightweight backpack :
Buy a lightweight, comfortable backpack for hiking. Your gear, shoes will really add up as far as weight, so having a light backpack will allow you to have the proper posture and no painful pressure points. Backpack capacity is measured in volume (liters). Example:
- 1-3 nights = 35-50 liters
- 3-5 nights = 50-80 liters
- 6 nights+ = 70 liters+
- Buckle up wisely
When packing the backpack, pack it in the order. You don’t want all of your food and clothes buried under all of your gear, otherwise, you will have to take everything out every time you want a quick snack or get drenched in rain.
You can plan ahead by making a list of items you need and then when you will need them, and then pack accordingly. Plan a packing list the previous day of hiking and pack them accordingly.
“Carry as little as possible, but choose that little with care.” – Earl Shaffer
10 Essentials For Hiking.
The 10 essentials will be the game changer for your trekking plan. These are the things you should pack to stay safe in the outdoors, including facing a potential overnight stay.
Depending on the length and remoteness of your hike, you have the flexibility to expand or minimize each system. For example, on a short summer hike near services, a compact emergency comforter should be fine.
However, a cold winter hike might need something more extensive. Here are the 10 essential things:
Ten essential things for a trek
- Navigation (map & compass)
- Sun protection (sunglasses & sunscreen)
- Insulation (extra clothing)
- Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
- First-aid supplies ( emergency medicines, band-aids, antiseptic ointments)
- Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candle)
- Repair kit and tools
- Nutrition (extra food)
- Hydration (extra water)
- Emergency shelter (tent/plastic tube tent/garbage bag)
This list may look extravagant, but once you bring it to your hike, it won’t be that bad. Many of these things are usually packed for a picnic.
10 Things To Know Before You Go Hiking.
1. Choose the Right Shoes
You don’t want painful feet on a hike. Invest in quality hiking shoes and socks. This doesn’t mean heavy leather boots, there are a lot of “light hikers” available that require little break-in compared to the old heavy ones.
Also, don’t skimp on socks and for your information, please consider no cotton! Wool or synthetic socks should be onboard unless you want some blisters to pop up! Also pack some blister dressings in first aid box, just in case.
2. Dress in layers.
After your feet are taken care of, dressing right is the key to stay in comfort on your hike. Skip cotton anything, it gets damp and stays that way leaving you to feel uncomfortable with chafing. Instead, choose synthetics.
For being comfortable in changing temperature and weather, wear clothes in layers that can be added or dropped as needed. Lastly, take an extra warm layer beyond what you feel needed, preferably something that will act as a wind blocker too.
“There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” – Sir Ranulph Fiennes
3. Inform your emergency contact person.
Letting someone know where you are going is the simplest precaution that might save your life in case of adverse weather or any other emergencies. Always let someone know your travel plans, routes, and time frames before you are all set for the mission.
4. Be an early bird.
Starting early in the morning has its perks. You will have better sunrise views and good light for photography. In case of a warmer day, you can get a good amount of hiking in before it gets hot. There is more chance of seeing wildlife, as they remain more active at dawn.
You can avoid the usual traffic on the road and at the parking lot of the trailhead (popular traveling destinations fill up quickly and have small parking spaces).
5. Use a trekking pole.
Trekking poles increase your average hiking speed, reduce the impact on your legs, improve your balance, help you on treacherous terrain, and can be used as a weapon to fight off an attacking bear just in case you need it. It doesn’t hurt anyone to give them a try!
6. Stay hydrated.
Since you have to cover a long way while hiking, the first thing you need is a whole hydrated day. Take water purifying tablets with you and drink fresh water whenever you can. “A good rule of thumb is one pint of water for every two hours or four miles and one and a half pounds of food per day,” says April Sylva, a famous hiker.
7. Acclimatize slowly.
Acute mountain sickness can ruin a trip fast. Know the symptoms—nausea, fatigue, dizziness,—and how to prevent them. Spend a day or two adjusting to the change of height before you start. While on the trail, try to gain no more than 2,000 feet per day (net), and always attempt to sleep at a height that is lower than the day’s highest point.
8. Grab a bite whenever possible
Hiking is strenuous if you are on empty stomach. Having some light snacks in between breaks will come very handy. You can keep some fresh fruits, nuts, fiber-rich biscuits and granola bars for snacks with you. Instant noodles and pasta might also come in rescue in case of an emergency lunch or dinner.
9. Learn the basic first aids for Hiking.
You certainly don’t want to bleed out from an easily treatable puncture wound. Or walk on a broken leg that isn’t stabilized. Or asphyxiate from an allergic reaction that could have been treated with over the counter antihistamines.
Try learning some basic first aid techniques from online sources or from a paramedic, before you go on hiking. Because you never know when you get the opportunity to be ‘The Doctor’ for you and your teammates!
10. Trail manners.
On a narrow trail, if you encounter another hiker, the person going downhill should stop and let the one going uphill pass. Also, the “Leave no trace” adage means to take all trash with you, whatever you leave will be wastage for others. So, pack in whatever you bring out— even natural things like banana peels.
Last, but not least, stay positive and be co-operative to your teammates. Make friends as you go along. The new experiences you will learn while hiking as a first-timer will be a lifetime memory. I hope this helps in your journey! Bon-voyage!