The beginning of hiking can be a bit confusing. Some will tell you that hiking includes tents and night trips. Others believe that it is only for hiking.
Often novice hikers are faced with questions such as “what about bears!? Then there is a classic problem, what kind of food to take with you, how to fight against rain and how to light a fire.
Many of these skills are very alien to beginner tourists or those who want to start. However, do not worry, because we will teach you how to start hiking – the easiest way.
Preparing for a hike
Proper planning and preparation for the next hike is the link that unites your experience. Experienced tourists start by choosing a destination, and then assess the necessary needs and skills for their trip. This is how we will do it:
- Choosing a place
When you are just beginning to travel on foot, it is important to choose a place that you find interesting. However, keep your expectations reasonable. Avoid areas that may be difficult, such as deserted areas or particularly remote areas. Consider choosing an area where the terrain is relatively flat to avoid the difficulty of increasing altitude.
- Equipment and skills
Some tourists can afford the luxury of living near the magnificent trails with mild weather. Others can live in a desert climate or areas where rain is part of daily life. Think about where you will be traveling on foot and decide if you need any unique equipment or skills to be safe and enjoy the hike.
When it comes to equipment, think about the need for water purification. If you enter a particularly dry place, you may need some extra water. Of course, if you think you need a lot of water, using a hydration package is a good option. Plan ahead!
- Check the weather
This does not mean that it is worth seeing if it will rain during the hike. Reasonable changes in the weather are an integral part of outdoor camping and should be expected, so make sure you’re ready. To be ready for unfavorable weather conditions means to carry with you everything you need for camping, such as a raincoat, and know how to keep your sleeping bag dry and safe to avoid overcooling!
What is more important than checking the daily weather is to feel the general average conditions in the area where you will be traveling on foot. What are the average high and low temperatures in the area at this time of year? Is the climate cold and humid or hot and dry?
These nuances will have a huge impact on your final decision about what kind of camping equipment to take with you, how much and what layers of clothing to pack. Having a functional understanding of the weather in the area where you will be camping, as well as what it means for your decisions, is crucial for a safe hike.
- Talk to the locals
You will need the best maps, up-to-date information and local information before you go hiking. If you have any unanswered questions about seasonal circumstances, such as weather, road closures or rules, it is best to call local park keepers or residents of the area.
Choosing Camping Equipment
Although you can start anywhere, I will choose the right path to find your first hiking backpack. Keep in mind that factors such as budget, purpose and preferences play a huge role here. I still recommend to minimize the weight as much as possible and look only for the essentials.
For bulky, heavy or coarser loads, you may want to consider a backpack with a built-in waist belt and a stronger design.
What is important is what you wear on your feet, lighter – better! I usually recommend hiking boots over your shoes, because rarely do you really need extra protection. Sneakers for men and women do not differ much from style and size.
I prefer synthetic mesh boots, which are waterproof, as a rule, you don’t need them, because the water will just fall on the cuffs of the shoe. The boots do offer some extra benefits of supporting the ankle and greater protection against water.
Modern hiking boots for men and women are not just bulky boots that come to mind. They are mainly made of leather and synthetic materials that are lighter and more comfortable.
Also a good pair of hiking socks will be of great importance for the comfort of your feet. Look for hiking socks made of merino wool. It keeps your feet well dry and counteracts bacterial growth.
For men and women there is a huge variety of travel pants, which can be very confusing what is really important.
One of the features that I consider important is convertibility, i.e. hiking pants where the legs unbutton to create shorts. They are ideal for summer hiking, where it is cool in the morning and warm during the day. This saves you the trouble of carrying both.
For hiking shirts, I would recommend a dry shirt that provides UV protection. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s free and breathable so you can be dry and cool. I like long-sleeved shirts where the sleeves can be rolled up and secured in place and a pair of front pockets can be useful, but I rarely keep much in them.
It is important to note that a course of emergency medical care can be of great benefit to your safety and confidence in your trip. You will quickly find that many tourists have completely different opinions about what you need for the first aid kit.
Some of the most important items in my medical kit are moleskin, gauze pads 4 × 4, ibuprofen and antiseptic ointment.
I also included some hand ointment for dry skin application, super glue for the most unpleasant situations and some other basic consumables. I don’t recommend that everyone wears these things, but this is the place to start thinking about what’s important for your needs.
If you are looking for a ready-made first aid kit, you can buy them from a pharmacy. It is extremely important that you fail the first aid kit before each trip. Know what is in it and how to use it!
We have already mentioned raincoats several times, so let’s talk about it. During the summer heat in warm climates, when you can only go hiking at noon, raincoats may be completely unnecessary.
When we really need a raincoat, it helps protect us from the dangers of wind and water cooling. At any time when the combination of wind and water can cause dangerous cooling effects on the body, a raincoat is mandatory!
Many tourists believe that hiking sticks are designed only for elderly people. I will tell you that they are useful for all people of any age. They are especially useful when climbing steep slopes and especially when descending. They have been proven to help reduce fatigue and muscle tension. A pair of lightweight binoculars for hiking can be useful not only for sightseeing, but also for sightseeing.