Top 4 Hiking Tips for Beginners
All will agree that the most common, popular, inexpensive and fun activity available on all campsites is hiking. No doubt, other activities are fun too. But hiking doesn’t need any special skill (although beginners may require a little training), nor does it require any special gear. Still, it offers optimum joy to the hikers, perhaps because it takes them close to nature and reduces their stress. What’s more, being a low-impact exercise, it offers so many health benefits. If all these facts have intrigued you enough to start hiking, here are some helpful tips for you.
1. Get Training
You may wonder if you need separate training before hiking or hiking will automatically train you. Well, if you consider the following factors, you may want to get trained before starting your hiking adventure.
- Hiking for the first time might be significantly challenging, no matter how easy is the trail you’ve selected
- Being inexperienced, you may have to face aches, pains and injuries
- You may be exhausted if your body isn’t prepared for physical efforts
You can of course get trained on a hike itself. However, it may not be a smart approach, if:
- You carry one or more tires around your waist
- You always feel exhausted while walking up hills
- You’ve a history of pain or injury (such as back pain, shin splints, hiker’s knee, plantar fasciitis etc.)
In such situations, it’s a good idea to get fit, pain-free and strong, and then start hiking.
Get strength training and weight training, perform cardio workouts and most importantly get recovery training. Recovery training will reduce the risk of pain and injury, muscle soreness and stress, and help sleep, and will make you more adapted to the training.
Joy To Be Free has a range of exercise equipment which will help you build fitness and strength, along with various types of hiking and camping supplies. Check it out!
2. Start with an Easy Trail
Now that you’ve trained, you’re strong. But still you haven’t hit the trail. In that case, it’s best to choose a trail that is easy. It should be shorter than the distance you can usually walk on a level or paved surface. If you take an hour to walk on 3 mile (5km) flat terrain, you may take thrice that while climbing up a hill.
Take help of hiking apps to choose an easy trail. These apps contain routes, maps and elevation profiles of popular hiking routes. They offer elevation profiles which will make it easy for you to check how much uphill and downhill you’d have to go along the trail.
3. Carry Essential Hiking Accessories
Although hiking needs fewer items to complete successfully, it’s a good idea to carry certain basic hiking accessories that can be useful to you in the wilderness. These include:
Backpack: Whether you’re hiking for a short or long distance, a backpack is a must-have. You may not choose a very elaborate one that can carry a tent and sleeping bag; but you will need one that can hold basic items like food packets, water bottles, rain gear, gloves and socks. Look for a sturdy one and preferably with a lot of pockets to organize things, loops and clicks for attaching things for a quick access, and padded straps.
Although it may not be waterproof, it’d be better if it’s water-resistant.
Clothing: You may underestimate them but clothes can be a lot of help to make your hiking comfortable and fun. Many companies design shirts, pants, hoodies, shorts and jackets specifically for hiking. They are designed to make it easy for you to climb, sit down, stretch and reach out for things without restricting your movements or tearing.
Look for clothing made of breathable, moisture-wicking, stretchable and quick-drying materials with zippered security pockets and reinforced seams. Some companies even manufacture hiking clothes that are treated to provide protection from sun and even insects.
If you’ll be hiking in an area with tall grasses or other tick-infested area, wear a long pant instead of shorts in such areas to reduce the risk of being bitten.
Don’t forget to include a hat in your supplies to protect your head from the sun.
Hiking Shoes: Hiking shoes and hiking socks are very important for a hiking adventure. They should be comfortable so your feet won’t ache at any point of time while hiking. If they are new or you haven’t used them for long, break them in.
Water Bottle: A good water bottle is an essential on a hike. Of course, you could buy bottled water at the store; but you’ll feel hot and unpleasant just within an hour of your hiking. (Also bottled water isn’t quite great for the environment).
Filtration capabilities aren’t necessary for day hikes, but a couple of insulated, reusable water bottles are a must-have.
Bandages: It’s great if you can carry a complete first aid kit. But if you cannot carry one, carrying bandages can be a life-saver. They are useful in the event of scratches, cuts, burns and blisters.
Another item that can be a lifesaver is an elastic self-adhesive bandage wrap. It can be useful if yours or some other member’s ankle or knee gets twisted, which can happen quite easily, particularly if the trails are rocky or traversed by tree roots.
Smartphone and Power Bank: Your smartphone can be an immense help to you. It can serve you as a trail guide, GPS, wildlife identifying tool, camera, first aid manual, flashlight and a tool with which you can quickly summon help!
To keep this very helpful tool always charged, don’t forget to carry a power bank. Of course, it will help you charge not only your phone but your other electronic devices.
Bug Repellent: A bug repellent is essential while wandering in the wilderness to avoid unpleasant incidences of insect bites.
Multi-Tool: A multi-tool is useful as it can provide you knife, scissors, and other cutting tools in one compact packing. In the jungle, it can help you to cut wood, ropes, branches and so on or even pull out thorns from your skin.
4. Stay Safe
You may wonder if hiking can be dangerous for you. However, the truth is that it’s not! You just have to know your limits and use your common sense.
- Check weather forecasts before starting and carry the appropriate gear.
- Save yourself from dehydration by carrying enough water.
- Let someone know your whereabouts and when you’re going to return before you start hiking so they can take necessary action if you don’t check in on time.
- Keep maps, compass, GPS instrument and the likes ready to help you navigate and be found in case if you’re lost or are injured.
So, are you now ready to start your new hiking adventure?