Hiking will be a wonderful activity to undertake but for so many beginners, they don’t know where to start. Everyone talks about how hikers must be prepared for the elements but what does that actually mean? Beginners often get confused about hiking because they hear so much information from different sources. However, here is a brief hiking guide for beginners.
Start By Getting Knowledge
Educational centers throughout the year run short first-aid courses and classes. These classes can teach you how to deal with a variety of injuries from sprains and cuts to broken bones and fractures. This should be your starting point because hikers receive mostly minor injuries throughout their trails and you need to be prepared for dealing with these injuries. By reading up on potential injuries, you can learn how to deal with them effectively even when you are hiking alone.
Join a Hiking or Outdoor Club
If you live in busy city areas, it can be difficult to find fellow hikers but a good way to help get you a taste of what hiking is all about, is to join a club. Hiking or outdoor clubs help those interested in hiking by showing some hiking trails to test out and allow you to brush up on hiking techniques. Some clubs run hiking adventure weeks which may help get you started and you will meet fellow hikers also starting out.
Get a Health Check-Up
Before you start hiking, you should go to your doctor and get a full and frank medical check-up completed. This will allow unknown medical conditions to be discovered because when something goes wrong outdoors, you can’t call for help, you’re alone. It’s important to have a full check-up so that any condition can be diagnosed and you can get whatever medicines you may need while hiking.
Train for Hiking
Simply put – if you don’t train you won’t get far. You may be physically fit but without proper training you are likely to make it half an hour before tiring yourself out. In the months leading up to the hike, take up jogging or some other form of sports and train hard. Also, when you are on the hike, you must remember to stretch before walking and again while you take a break and after you have finished. This will help keep the muscles in good shape and alert for any activity.
Plan Your Journey Carefully and Leave Note With Family Members
No matter in which region you decide to head out to, you must carefully prepare and plan for the journey. This is important and when you have made all necessary plans, you need to tell people where you’re going. Leaving word with a family member can ensure you are going to make it home in one piece. If something should go wrong and you fail to check-in with them, they can alert search and rescue who can find you.
Use Common Sense
Sometimes, you need to be sensible and use common sense in certain situations. For example if you see the weather conditions changing and it looks unsafe to continue don’t continue. Common sense is telling you to go back and take shelter. Your instincts and common senses are going to help you more than you know because when the weather turns bad or things become too dangerous, they will tell you to turn around and go home.
Understand When Your Body Has Had Enough and Turn Back
Usually the body knows when it has had enough and can sense danger approaching. Whenever your body starts to tell you something is seriously wrong, whether it’s a gut feeling or some nagging voice at the back of your head, listen to it! Even if it means you don’t complete the trail, it doesn’t matter; you will have another chance later. Don’t put yourself into any further danger.
What Equipment Will You Need?
The type of equipment needed for a hiking trip will vary significantly. For example, if you plan a day excursion, you will need the basics – food and water, a first-aid kit, map and compass and ropes should you be climbing. However, for longer journeys the amount of equipment will increase.
For overnight and week-long hiking trips, you are going to require cooking equipment, tents, warm clothing, food, water, first-aid, hiking boots for all terrain, maps, and any climbing gear you may require. The exact equipment will vary from trip to trip. It’s important to note that while you don’t want to overload your backpack on short journeys you don’t want to under pack on longer journeys. Pack only what you need.
Get To Know the Areas You Will Be Heading To
When you are heading out on your first hiking trip or any trip in fact, you need to do some homework on the area. You will of course be taking maps of the local area but you want to know more about the region itself. Is it prone to flash floods or are there local dangers to avoid? Knowing your homework will keep you safe.
What to Do While hiking
First of all, you want to find a walking pace you are comfortable with. You don’t want to rush because you’ll tire yourself out within a matter of minutes. Instead, start off with a slow walking pace and see how comfortable you are with that and then if you feel able, increase the pace slightly. As long as you find a suitable pace that doesn’t tire you out quickly, you should find the hike not too tiring.
Also, you need to have a good posture while walking to prevent any back pain forming. Back pain will end your trip in a heartbeat because a heavy load becomes a lot heavier. You may find hiking with a partner to be best should you run into difficulties. This is really your own choice here, a lot of people will hike in pairs or groups but if you are really against it, that is your choice but be very careful.
While you continue on your hiking trip, you must be aware of where you’re stepping. You always want to ensure you have a solid foothold before taking a step. One wrong move could end everything so be extremely cautious and if hiking with a partner, look out for them too. Remember to rest occasionally or when needed and drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is crucial and of course, when you have any injuries see to them quickly.
Hiking throughout Year
Anyone can take to hiking trails whenever they like really as most trails are available throughout the seasons. However, the risk factors for each trail increases slightly for certain periods of the year. You have to take into account weather conditions and how safe it will be to use certain trails in the year. Some trails will be closed during certain months and some trails will be a lot riskier to use so be extremely cautious and wary of when you choose to set off on a hiking trip.