Modern life has become stressful. As much as technology is struggling to make life easier, it has also led to lives full of distraction. Waking up to 20 messages on Facebook, 30 new tweets, and endless chats on WhatsApp for 30 days in a month can drain you of peace of mind and healthy living. One great way to break the cycle after switching off your smartphone data and keeping away from the social life is to go for a hiking trip. However, if you lack experience in hiking, there are high chances you’ll be wondering how to go about it. This article addresses some of the common things you need to consider before going on that getaway.
A great hiking trip almost always begins with a great plan. Of course, there are exceptions especially if you are a free spirit, but beginners will probably benefit from a good plan. This is because it allows you to accurately know what to expect from the entire experience.
This is the most essential element. You need to first know exactly where you will be heading for the actual hiking. You want to choose a route that will be friendly to you and your friends based on your overall hiking experience. This will require a good knowledge of:
- The difficulty of the train that you’ve set eyes on for the hiking trip
- The duration of the hiking trip as it directly relates to the supplies you will be carrying along for the trip
- The location of the hiking trail. Local hiking trails can be interesting for beginners but hardly offer the same kind of thrill compared to hiking trails that are far from your home
- The weather on that day/period of hiking
Also, you should consider obtaining passes or permits that will allow you and your crew to traverse different areas of the hiking trails. While there are hiking trails that do not require explicit access grants, it is always a good idea to find out from local authorities first.
A trip plan would also come in handy as it would outline the events that you are all focused to do during the hiking. Trip plans mostly explain your milestones for the period of hiking such as:
- When to take a break and have a snack
- When to engage in photo sessions
- How to tackle unprecedented events during the hiking
If you had all settled on long hikes, you would be happy to know that long hikes come in up to three styles that all have varying difficulties. They include:
- Loop hikes – They allow you to end up in the same spot you started
- End to end hikes – They require you to have two means of transport both at the beginning and end of the hike
- Out and back hides – This is almost kind of a blind hike where you hike to a certain destination and then retrace back to your initial location
Either style is ideal, but only if you and your crew are up for the task.
Supplies is an equally important aspect to consider before going for a hiking trip. You want to have more than enough supplies to last you for the entire hiking trip and even accommodate unexpected situations. It goes without saying that you’ll require a pair of high quality hiking boots, because only the easiest and shortest of trails could potentially be done with sneakers. For every other trail, you’re going to need to bust out the good stuff.
Common essentials to consider before a hiking trip include:
- Backpack size
- Tent size (if you will be spending the night)
- Cooking equipment
For clothing, you would want to stash enough non-cotton clothes for the entire trip. If you had planned for a 2-day hiking trip, carrying two extra clothes would be ideal. This also allows for cloth layering where you can wear extra clothes whenever it gets cold and remove them when it gets hot. While it is not entirely necessary, you could also consider bringing along socks, gloves, and hats. You also need to have a good pair of shoes for hiking. Shoes that are suitable for hiking need to be waterproof, allow your feet enough room to breathe, and be of the correct size.
Your backpack should also be big enough to carry a tent, sleeping bags, and a first aid kit that will cater to everyone involved in the hiking. Even though there isn’t a lot of emphasis on the quality of tents and sleeping bags you should get, you should choose products that won’t let you down, especially if your hiking trip will be long.
In as much as hiking trips are meant to be fun experiences, there is usually no guarantee that there won’t be a few mishaps along the way. For this reason, it is a good idea to ensure that you carry along things such as flashlights and an extra pair of batteries, raingear in case you went hiking on a day when chances of a downpour were imminent, and a swiss knife which has tons of uses during the hiking trip. As hiking trips are also about bonding and bringing togetherness, you should always strive to stick together and have an actionable plan if all of you get lost or stuck in certain sections of the hiking trail. Security should also be at the top of the list because danger equally lurks around when people decide to go for hiking. However, it wouldn’t be wise to become too self-conscious to a point where you are not drawing any fun from the hiking trip.
All in all, there’s generally a lot that should be considered before going for a hiking trip, but the most important thing is planning. This is because it enables you to outline exactly how you intend to have fun while using your resources in the right manner. Planning also addresses concerns that may or may not pop up during the actual trip, thereby preparing you for anything that may come your way. Ultimately, you should never forget that the number one rule is to have fun.