There are plenty of physical and mental health advantages of hiking. It could help you get into better shape, improve your brain power, reduce stress, and so on. If you want to go hiking but don’t have proper knowledge about this, don’t get panicked. Here is the whole guideline for you below.
Despite being wildly unprepared, for any trip started me on the path toward some incredible outdoor experiences. But I do wish I had prepared known a little about packing before I took my first trip.
To help you get started on the right foot, I asked a couple of experts for their best packing tips for beginner backpackers. Here’s what they (and I) want you to know.
Hiking tips for beginners
- Get yourself prepare physically for hiking:
As a beginner, you should choose trails that match your recent fitness levels. Hiking could be a good exercise that helps you to get in perfect shape but if you don’t choose the right trail, you may not enjoy hiking or even may not do this again. Thus, your first priority would be doing physical preparation to establish awareness of your health and it could help grow the confidence level as well.
- Exercise and stretches for hiking:
You have to do some basic exercises and stretches and build up your strength. This means you could do yoga in the morning, go to the gym or even exercise at your home. If you could become active in your regular life, you could build your confidence and stamina. Don’t forget the fact that there is no need to be a serious athlete or marathon runner to begin hiking. Always listen to the pain signals of your body because this could be the best experience to know when you have to push the body or when you should turn back on big challenging hikes.
- Improving the lung capacity:
You may get out of your breath on trails and it is normal for almost all hikers. If you feel this problem is more uncomfortable and you want to control your heavy breathing, you should do simple exercises daily and try to improve lung capacity.
- Dealing with pains and aches:
As hiking is a hard task, it could make your joints and whole body achy and tired. If you have weak knees, you could prevent this pain by walking uphill and avoid calves or hamstrings that work against gravity. Try to keep the shin and knees vertical when walking uphill and it is best to use the calf muscles for moving upwards. Keep your hills flat on the surface and don’t try to make steps with your toes.
- Choosing a hiking trail:
Beginners often get confused when choosing the right trail. There are a lot of resources such as websites and apps that could give you plenty of information about trails. This may help planning out things like if you are allowed to take your pet, difficult levels, recent trail conditions, and where you could park. You should see reviews and photos on various websites to get some ideas.
Hiking should fit your level of skill and be enjoyable for you. Thus, choose the right trail that is manageable and clearly marked. While choosing the trails, remember things like weather, time, logistics, distance, fitness ability, and elevation.
- How you would navigate on trails:
You have to carry the trail map with you when hiking and also learn to read it. This is like a classic and important skill that every beginner should learn. Improve your skills on-trail navigation and you could boost your confidence level and be safe. It may take some valuable time to get familiar with the map. If you are going for a short hike, you could download the trail map to the smartphone but for long hikes, getting a map is the intelligent choice as your smartphone may die.
- Finding your hiking partner:
Hiking would be more enjoyable if you go with your friends instead of going alone. You should not be worried if you don’t find anyone. There are a lot of sites where you could join and find groups for hiking.
- Addressing your fear:
It is normal that you have fears about going outside in an unknown place. You may hold yourself back for fears like getting lost, ability or wildlife. Try to think positive always and let all your fears go. You could stay safe in the wild if you have proper knowledge about hiking. If you’re nervous thinking about your ability, pick up an easy trail that would not be demanding. Bring a hiking partner who is experienced before and adjust the route if needed.
Necessary gears for hiking
- Supportive daypack:
The first and most important gear is a daypack. You could pick your old backpack when you are starting out. There are some features of a perfect daypack that you should consider. A daypack for hiking should have a strong hip belt that would transfer your weight off the shoulders onto much stronger hips. It should also have a steadfast pouch for hydration reservoir that would allow you to drink using a hose when you are hiking and you don’t have to take it off.
- List of the essentials:
Make a list of 10 most essential things that you have to carry and that would work well and easily to adequate hikes. These ten things should cover all important things from water and food to circumnavigate tools, safety items and first aid kit.
- What you should wear:
You have to prepare yourself according to the weather of the place where you are going for hiking. You should know how to get dressed properly. Check out the forecast as the weather could change quickly and so, you have to prepare for facing the worst.
Good hiking clothes are moisture-wicking that means they move away the sweat and dry quickly. This type of layer is made of nylon, wool or polyester. Avoid wearing heavy or cotton clothes. Pack clothes that would suit you and the weather.
- Hiking shoes or boots:
As a hiker, your shoes or boots would be the most important thing for you. You should invest your money and time to find a perfect pair of boots that could fit in the foot and make you feel more supportive and comfortable. There is nothing that could make your hiking comfortable and enjoyable than a good pair of boots.
- Trekking poles:
If you want things to go nicely and smoothly, you should have a set of trekking poles. You have to buy a better pair of trekking poles that should be adjustable and lightweight for helping your knees while hiking. You could stay balanced as the weight distributes. They could be attached to the backpack easily so that you could go hands-free when needed.
- Always inform your family member or friends where you’re going and when they should expect your return
- Trust your own instincts and know the limit
- Check the forecast before you leave
- Stick to clearly marked trails
- Let a local agency or ranger identify the sighting
- Never run when hiking
- Always notice droppings and animal tracks on your trail so that you could access the animal types in that location
- Don’t be afraid because animals avoid humans naturally
Hopefully, you could understand everything in this article that I have described above. Follow the tips and start to plan your first hiking trip!