Hiking is a great activity to explore the outdoors either by yourself or with friends and family. Hiking can be good fun. It is also a serious way of working out. You can lose a lot of calories and feel refreshed.

If you have never gone on hiking trips before, the idea can be intimidating. Don’t worry, we have tips to help you plan a great hiking trip. Go through this guide that will tell you all you need to know before going on your first hiking trip.

Plan the trail

The first thing is to plan where you will go hiking. Choose a hiking trail. If you are a beginner, don’t go with difficult trails that are too long. Start small and enjoy your first hiking trip. Once you get the hang of it, you can move on to difficult trails. Once you choose the trail, do some homework about it.

Get a map of the trail and study it. This will help you understand how easy or tough it is. You can find many online resources easily. Plan at the rate of walking 2 miles per hour. If there is height, then increase the time by an hour for every 1000 feet. Also, choose a location to camp if you are going to hike for more than a day.

Check the weather

Just before you set out, check the weather. You wouldn’t want to get caught in a storm. Always plan your first hiking trip on a good sunny day with pleasant weather. If some rain is expected, you can always prepare for it.

Inform others

Always let others know when you are off on a hiking trip. When you hike in the wilderness, you may not have access to mobile phones. Let your friends and relatives know where you are, so they can contact you in an emergency. This will also ensure they don’t worry about you.

Pack for the trip

Packing is important. Pack light, but ensure all the essentials are available. The more you pack, the more weight you need to carry. You can end up becoming tired. There are certain essential things that are a must while going on hiking trips. They are:

  1. Water to keep you hydrated.
  2. Food, so you have the energy needed to move ahead. Trail mix, granola, nuts, dried beans, banana, and cereal are ideal foods.
  3. Navigation to help you continue the hike (map, compass, GPS, etc.)
  4. Extra clothing to protect you from the weather.
  5. Protection from the sun (sunglasses, sunscreen, hat).
  6. First aid kit.
  7. Flashlight or headlamp for illumination in the dark.
  8. Fire (waterproof matches, candle, lighter).
  9. An emergency shelter (tent, tube tent, etc.)
  10. Repair kit with tools.

You need a good quality backpack to keep all these things. Choose a backpack that is comfortable and does not strain you. Choose a backpack that has padded and adjustable hip belts. Such a backpack will sit comfortably and not put pressure on your shoulders and back.

Other things to keep include:

  • A camera (if you are a photo enthusiast).
  • A trash bag, so you can avoid throwing garbage (if you don’t get a trash can).
  • Cream or spray to keep away bugs.
  • Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, waste bags (in case you don’t get access to a toilet).

Dress appropriately

Dress for the hike based on the weather. Avoid cotton since it can get sticky. Wear a comfortable dress that is easy to manage. You can wear layers if it is cold. If you start feeling warm, you can always take off a layer and put it in your bag.

You need the best hiking shoes. This is very important, or else your feet will hurt a lot. If you are hiking on mild terrain, light hiking shoes are fine. For mountainous or snowy areas, you need rugged boots used for mountaineering. Backpacking boots having a solid sole would be good for all other areas.

Eat before you leave

Before you leave your home/hotel, have a light meal. Ideally, you must eat two hours prior to starting the hike. This will ensure you get the energy you need. It also will not make you too full to walk. Avoid too many proteins or fats, as they can make you feel sleepy. Healthy carbs like whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, and low-fat yogurt with fruits and vegetables should be preferred.

Pace your walk

Don’t be over-exuberant and start walking at top speed. You will get drained out soon. Start slowly and pick up the pace as you move. Listen to your body and walk accordingly. Take rest whenever needed.

Stock photos via Dreamstime.com