Hiking can be a truly fulfilling experience that takes you away from the hassles of everyday life in the city. While you might have heard interesting stories about great hiking adventures, it might be a bit difficult for you to try out the same, and especially if you are just starting off. Well, hiking doesn’t need to be that hard even for a beginner. Here are five useful tips you should know to help you kick it off like a pro.
1. Choose the Right Company
As hiking is more of a social thing than something you would do as an individual, finding the right company will go a long way in making your hiking trip amazing. In fact, one of the best ways to become a great hiker is by linking up with other people who enjoy the thrill and excitement just as much as you do. Of course, for a beginner, you might not be fully aware of the challenges that lie ahead, but the feeling of being among friends you can rely on is good enough to keep you going. You’re also bound to notice that other hikers, whether professional or beginners like you, are very warm, welcoming, and considerate towards beginners because they too received an equally warm welcome when they began their journey. The “right company” can be literally anywhere. You may know one or two people from your local community who love to take morning runs. Such can be great for a first hike.
2. Stay Hydrated
One of the biggest challenges that you might face as a newbie hiker will be coping up with the slightly demanding lifestyle hikers are used to. Walking for several miles with the sun shining literally above your head can dehydrate you faster than you think, which is very dangerous. Whereas other hikers will be generous enough to offer their water, it is good practice to carry slightly more water than you require as a beginner. This is essentially true if you didn’t have someone to give you a heads-up of the things that are required before you go out hiking. As a rule, you should consider having at least one liter of water which you should drink from every 2 hours of activity. It is worth mentioning that the need to rehydrate will vary from person to person, but if you do find yourself consuming more water within that 2 hours, you should limit your intake on your next bottle of water and come with more the next time you go hiking. You should also be aware that your intake will depend on the weather.
3. Find the Right Shoes
Ever gone for a road trip in the wilderness with car tires suited for the city? It would be totally chaos. The same goes for hiking as well. You want to choose shoes that provide you with enough comfort while also protecting you from the harsh terrains that you are most likely to meet while hiking. Your choice of shoes will equally depend on the type of trail you had chosen from the beginning. If you went for a well-maintained trail that has few obstacles, then it would be wise to go with lightweight shoes so that you don’t tire easily. However, if you are to go hiking on rugged trails that are filled with rocks, supportive boots would surely be more ideal as they would offer you greater protection. Other than the general type of boots you should get, you need to consider the comfort levels of the shoes. Perfect-fitting shoes that have enough breathing room for your feet would be a great place to start.
4. Pack the Essentials
If you just joined the pack without prior knowledge about what to carry, you might be puzzled about what to include in your bag. While you know that you are going to need water throughout the trip, it might not be common knowledge that you should equally carry something like a flashlight or first-aid supplies. This is because first-time hikers tend to look at their immediate problems and overlook at worst-case scenarios such as being marooned in the hiking trail because the weather suddenly changed. As such, it is wise that you include things like a compass and a map to help you with navigation, some extra clothes in case you are forced to spend the night, lighters and candles for illumination, some extra food, and an emergency tent. Even though you might not need them, also consider carrying sunscreen and sunglasses. It would be much better to have them in your backpack and not use them than suffer when you need them because you didn’t carry them.
5. Make it a Culture
It is very easy to forget the do’s and don’ts about hiking especially if you take months before going for your next hike. Ideally, hiking takes lots of practice and would probably involve you making some sacrifices here and there to sustain a hiking culture. However, the rewards, as your friends would probably tell you, are amazing. Not only do you get to be one with nature and simply enjoy the gift of life, you will also be building up your footwork skills and increasing your physical endurance such that when you are faced with a life-challenging situation like being stuck in an island without supplies, you can have a better chance of surviving than someone who has never experienced an outdoor challenge. With that said, you should generally look forward to hiking at least once in a week or once after every two weeks if you have a busy schedule.
All in all, there’s really nothing scary about a first-time hike. While there have been incidents where people were met with disasters on their first hikes, knowing a few of the tips we’ve discussed above could be great as they teach you about how to react in different kinds of situations. The one important thing to remember is to surround yourself with good company because it is far easier to work as a team than as an individual.