Hiking can be an enjoyable and relaxing adventure. But not knowing how to prepare for it can be rather stressful. Follow these steps to make it simple.

Hiking is a fun activity that allows you to relax and bond with your friends and family while experiencing the great outdoors. The best part about hiking is that it allows you to venture into unknown parts of nature where you usually cannot reach using conventional roads. This unique point makes hiking a must-have experience to destress and satisfy our wanderlust. 

As a completely safe outdoor activity during the pandemic, hiking is a great way to reconnect with your friends and family as well. However, you may be intimidated by the thought of preparing for hiking if you have not done it before. You might worry that you are not in the perfect shape to hike or that you might lose your way in the wilderness. So we have put together a few tips that will guide you to the essentials of preparing for your hiking trip – from packing for the trip to how to plan the safest route.

Things To Pack For Your Hike

Packing for hiking is one of the least arduous tasks as you are supposed to pack only the essentials. Be sure to pack light, choose a good backpack (check out this list of affordable outdoor backpacks for ideas), and go through the list below to know what to pack.

Tools To Navigate

It’s important for you to be aware of your location and where you are headed at all times. It is also better for you to know where the rest areas, emergency exits, and campsites are located. We recommend that you carry a compass and a map even though you might have a GPS. This way, at least, you will be able to navigate your way out in any situation.

Adequate Food And Water

Adequate drinking water is a must when hiking. Be sure to pack enough drinking water with you on a hiking trip because you need it for your body to perform as required. You need to be adequately hydrated before the trip and be sure to keep sipping water throughout the day. Also, be sure to pack a few extra snacks so that you can all enjoy the moments of rest along the mountain streams. Some great snack options include bananas, nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, whole grain tortillas, and nut butter.

Protection From Rain

You cannot tame the weather; it might be responsible for thwarting even the best-laid plans. As rain and thunderstorms can’t be predicted, it is best to pack clothes to protect yourself from the rain. Also, include layering items or lightweight ponchos so you can adjust to any nasty surprises due to weather changes. 

Safety Items

If the trail you are taking is well-maintained and easy to navigate on foot, you don’t need to be too concerned about your safety too much. That being said, you should always include a whistle, a firestarter, and a flashlight to help prepare you for any unforeseeable circumstance. You can use the whistle to call for help, the flashlight will help guide you in dark conditions, and the fire will keep you warm and can be used to signal for help. You must also pack a small portable first aid kit that includes bandaids, antibiotic ointment, bandages, bug bite or blister treatment, allergy medications, and gauze pads, along with whatever daily medication you need.

Toiletries

If your hike takes you to remote areas without access to restrooms, you need to prepare for the bathroom breaks. For this, you need to pack hand sanitizer, waste bags, toilet paper, and other items you require. You might find a few wicks, spiders, bees, and mosquitos on your hike. Don’t let them ruin your hike – pack an insect repellant that you must reapply frequently.

Protection From The Sun

You need to pack a broad-spectrum sunscreen that provides at least 99 percent protection from ultraviolet A and B protection. Without it, you will be prone to get sunburn from Ultraviolet radiation. Even shaded wooded areas can give you sunburn! You also need to carry a good pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from the UV rays. Between the hours of 10 a.m to 4 p.m, it is advised to hike on trails shaded as the sun is strongest at this time. If you sweat a lot during the hike, you need to reapply the sunscreen every 2 hours (and don’t forget to keep hydrating).

What Should You Wear On A Hiking Trip

Your overall hiking experience will largely depend on what you wear on the hike. Choosing heavy clothes will make the experience uncomfortable on a hot summer day, but shorts will not go well in areas with poison ivy or mosquitoes. Here are a few pointers on choosing the right clothes for your hiking trip.

Pants

Depending on the temperature, you should choose breathable pants, allowing you to both keep warm or cool. Comfort should be the critical deciding factor when choosing pants – that is why you should avoid denim. So it’s best not to pack your favorite pair of jeans for the hike. For the winter months, choose clothes with layers to keep you warm. Wicking fabric will be ideal for hiking pants – be sure to wear leggings beneath it to keep warm. 

Shoes

To have a great hiking experience, you must have the right hiking shoes. If your terrain is mountainous or snowy, choose rugged mountaineering boots. For mild terrain, you can pack backpacking boots that have a solid sole. It is best if the shoes are made from breathable materials like nylon and polyester as they are lightweight and easier to break into. On the point of breaking in new shoes, you should avoid doing that during the hike. Wear and walk in your new shoes ahead of time to break them in. For a challenging terrain, you can choose full-grain leather boots, which are very durable. High-cut boots will give you greater balance and support if you are hiking on challenging terrain. If you need more ankle support and weed protection, you can go with mid-cut boots. If you are a beginner starting on well-maintained trails, you can choose low-cut boots that are lighter. 

Ultimately it is essential to set aside your worries and have a relaxing and hike and take in the great outdoors. You don’t need to rush anything; just explore at your own pace. Make this time about reconnecting with your family and friends and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.

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