If you’re about to embark on your first hike, there are many things you should do to prepare ahead of time. While this certainly means packing all of the essentials, such as a compass and first aid kit, it also means knowing what to expect and do while on the hike. To help make sure you’re prepared and have a great time on this exploration, the information below can be of help. Use it to arm yourself with all that you need to know to make your hike an experience to remember! In turn that could lead to many more hikes and unique experiences in your future.
1. Footwear is Important
The footwear you choose for your hike is one of the most important details of the entire exploration. Not only should they be comfortable but they should also be weather proof so your feet aren’t soaking wet if a sudden rainstorm hits. To make sure you choose what works best for you, do research ahead of time on different brands and styles. Once you know what’s the right choice for you, go and try on shoes in person to see how comfortable they are.
Tip: Wear your hiking shoes at least once before you wear them out so you can break them in.
2. Plan Your Route
One of the most common problems for first time hikers is getting lost because they’re not familiar with the route they’re on. In order to avoid this for yourself, it’s recommended to pick your route ahead of time. Old fashioned maps are generally the best to use, as most phones won’t have service when you’re out in the woods. However, don’t forget to use your phone or the internet as resources to mark out routes beforehand.
3. What You Wear Matters
Even if the weather is nice, it’s recommended to wear pants to help protect your legs. However, zip-off pants are a great alternative if you want to have the versatility of both shorts and pants in one. In addition to this, it’s important to wear breathable socks, a hat, and an athletic shirt that will help wick away moisture. Is it going to be cold? Don’t forget a lightweight jacket.
4. You Need a Backpack
Even if you don’t pan on hiking for a long time, a backpack is going to be essential. Fortunately these come in lightweight designs so you won’t be adding a lot of weight to your body as you walk. Make sure this is made of lightweight material and packed with only essentials, such as a water bottle, first-aid kit, jacket, and a fully charged cell phone.
5. You May Need a Parking Permit
The last thing you want to see when you get back from your hike is that your car has been towed because you didn’t have the right permit. To avoid this, check with the park or the city to see where you can park and which permits you need ahead of time.
6. The Weather Will Change
Even if it’s supposed to be a nice day when you first leave for your hike, the weather could always change. This is why it’s so important to bring at least a few necessities with you in your backpack. Most of these items, such as an emergency blanket, do not take up space and can end up keeping you warm in case a cold front comes in.
7. Try Geocaching
Geocaching is great for first time hikers because it adds a lot of excitement to the journey. If you’re new to this, it means finding hidden objects that other hikers have hidden using GPS coordinates from various geocaching websites. Just write down the coordinates before you go out and you’ll have something fun to look for!
8. Try Cooking
If you plan on going on a long hike, try doing something new by cooking on the hike! There are many websites that have creative recipes and ways to cook that you can use to expand your culinary skills. If all else fails, s’mores are always an excellent go-to.
9. Watch Out for Bugs
Even with protective gear and bug spray you aren’t guaranteed to be free of bugs when out in the wilderness. This is why it’s so important to check yourself for ticks periodically and to pay attention to any areas where you feel like you’ve been bit. Last but not least, shower when you get home to make sure you clean up from any outdoor dangers.
Being out in nature hiking is one of the many pleasures in life. It’s so easy to get caught up in your achy feet, bugs bothering you, or the heavy backpack you’re carrying, so make sure that you take a pause and enjoy what you’re experiencing.