After being cooped up inside for weeks during the pandemic quarantine, you’re likely eager to get out and reconnect with nature. Of course, boredom and isolation might’ve also added a few extra pounds that need to be walked off, too. A hiking trip can offer you everything you need to recharge your mind, body, and spirit. To get the most out of it, though, you need to plan ahead. Here are eight amazing tips to help you prepare for your next hiking trip.
- Decide The What And Where To Get Prepared
- Use Multiple Resources To Ensure You Have All The Necessary Supplies And Facts
- Avoid The Most Common Mistake: Running Out Of Clean Water
- Plan Your Trip With Purpose
- Adhere To Leave No Trace
- Have A Disaster Plan
- Start Small To Avoid Negative Experiences
- Dress For The Occasion
Decide The What And Where To Get Prepared
Popular hiking styles are day, overnight, summit, and long-distance. Each requires different skill sets, supplies, and prep work. The same thing goes for the terrain itself. Is the trail easy, staged, or technical, or will you be bushwhacking your own trail?
The most important component in hiking being a positive experience is to begin by picking a trip that suits your abilities, skill level, and endurance.
Once you’ve decided on a style, select a location and research the applicable rules and regulations. Some locations, for example, may require permits. You’ll need to know whether you can get the permit at the trailhead or must apply in advance online.
Use Multiple Resources To Ensure You Have All The Necessary Supplies And Facts
Your supply list will be contingent on the style and location you select. The longer the hike and/or more difficult the terrain… the more supplies you’ll need. Know the facts.
You can find many helpful hiking supply checklists online. Keep in mind that these are general guides, which is why you’ll want to use several resources to collect hard facts.
Talk to local guides, rangers, and operators about the environment and weather so you’ll know exactly what to expect and bring. Use helpful info from sites like AllTrails, which offers trails guides, user reviews, and a plethora of helpful planning features.
Avoid The Most Common Mistake: Running Out Of Clean Water
One of the most common hiking mistakes is not bringing enough clean water. This is a mistake that can turn an enjoyable hiking experience into a life and death disaster. So, know what you need and pack accordingly.
Determine the minimum amount of water your hike will take. Established trails will offer this in the guidebook. Otherwise, figure a half liter for every hour of hiking in mild to moderate weather and one liter per hour for extreme heat and humidity. That’s your minimum amount; it’s best to err on the side of caution by accounting for getting lost, stopping to rest or play, and so forth with an extra liter.
Drinking from rivers and streams, even when they look clean, is a recipe to end up with a parasite. Have a reliable water source plan to fulfill your water needs. Hydration packs like the Go Berkey Kit, are a convenient and easy way to bring multiple liters of water along with you on your hiking trip.
Plan Your Trip With Purpose
The physical, mental, and social benefits of hiking are extensive. While these are inherent to the activity itself, you can tailor your benefits with the right preparation.
For example, you’ve been confined and cut off from social connections during quarantine, right? So, you may want to get a hiking group together to reconnect with an overnight hiking trip. Perhaps, you’ve been tirelessly working from home and need a solo trail hike to filter negative thoughts, boost creativity, and disconnect from screen time.
Stop to ponder the goal of your hiking trip. What do you need from it? Factor that into your planning.
Adhere To Leave No Trace
These are minimum impact practices every hiker and camper should apply to their outdoor experiences. The goal is to leave wherever you visit as close to the condition as possible of how you found it by following impact-minimizing principles like looking, not taking; disposing of waste; respecting wildlife; and lessening the impact of your presence in nature.
Have A Disaster Plan
While hiking is beneficial and fun, it’s inherently something you should do expecting the worst case scenario. Accidents happen, and hiking is often done in remote locations with unfriendly terrain and unpredictable wildlife.
You may want to disconnect from technology, but that doesn’t mean you should be foolish in doing it. Bring your cell and an emergency locator for emergencies.
Always tell a reliable person your hiking location and expected time of return. Create a protocol where you will call that person to check in and out from hiking and what steps they need to take if they don’t get the call.
Start Small To Avoid Negative Experiences
You want to immense in nature after being cooped up, but don’t make the mistake of going too big, too fast. Let experience, not excitement, guide your planning.
If you’re new to hiking with a pack, for example, then jump on the treadmill with a pack or walk a mile on a track with it. You’ll find the added weight of backpack hiking is very different from hiking with a small waist pack for a short trail.
Don’t jump from a short one-hour hike to a ten-hour hike. Build your endurance and stamina slowly. If you’re switching from an hourly hike to an overnight hike, then you may want to hire a guide for your first trip to help you gain experience.
It’s also a good idea to start hiking locally first. You can slowly expand your geographical horizons as you become more familiar with your own skills and abilities and the technicalities.
Dress For The Occasion
Ironically, your clothing matters more in the solitude of the great outdoors than the flashing cameras of New York’s runways. Just the materials you pick can mean the difference in heat stroke or hypothermia and a safe hike. Cotton, for example, doesn’t insulate when wet and takes ages to dry.
Whether winter or summer, synthetic fabrics are always the best base layer. For winter, you’ll want a wool or fleece insulating layer. Windy and rainy environments will add a wind and rain-proof outer layer. Your socks should be hiking-specific to avoid blisters, provide impact-resistance, and wick moisture.
Choose your hiking boots carefully. Try them on with the socks you intend to wear to ensure a proper fit, and make your selection based on the type of hiking you’re doing. Day hiking boots, for example, are often designed for flex, not loads, and offer minimum support. Meanwhile, backpacking boots offer lots of high-cut ankle support and are designed to accommodate heavier loads.
Are You Ready To Hike?
Hiking is the perfect way to say goodbye to the pandemic quarantine. Reconnect and recharge, but don’t forget the above eight tips to ensure your hiking trip is all that it can be and safe. Happy hiking.