Hiking for novices looks intimidating, but there is not a lot to it. One does not need to have any specific skills for hiking; need to walk and identify your location. This is a great way to put yourself out in nature, recharge yourself and get a great workout. The guide here will provide you all the essential hiking tips for beginners to make the hike fun and safe.
Pick Hiking Gear For Beginners
The thing about starting to hike is that there is no requirement of any specialized gear; you will primarily work with things you have. A common mistake beginners make is to wear regular clothes and jeans, which will get heavy if they get wet or sweaty. Wear your workout clothes that are made for being active. Tights or long pants are excellent to ensure that your legs do not get stuck up on bushes during the trail. Similarly, full sleeve shirts can shield you from elements. Still, you may roll the sleeves up when it’s hot. Also, shoes are essential. A pair of trail runners or sneakers is usually the best bet. Next on this list are your backpack, snacks, water, and additional layers. Finally, be ready for rain or the heat to fluctuate.
Leave No Trace
Someone guessed it would not matter if you leave anything dirty on your trail. Whatever you have decided to do or not to do, respect other hikers and the hike itself. In brief, this would mean:
- Be considerate of other hikers (no loud music, etc.)
- Don’t throw and litter fruit peels.
- Don’t disturb your surroundings (breaking branches, etc.).
- Don’t leave the official trial.
Our outdoors is enduring a resurgence, and that’s great; still, there are a few ugly downsides. Become a steward of nature and a champion of the outside. Suppose everyone is using the trails with responsibility and support for the ones supporting nature. In that case, it implies extra funding for trails and parks, which suggests many hiking options for every one of us. So, if you leave poop bags and empty water bottles on the trail, they will get close.
Select A Beginners Hike
The most common mistake beginners make is they overdo it. They choose a hike that either has a lot of climbing or is too long. If you are starting, select a hike below five miles with minor climbing. So, if you wish to get on a lengthier hike, create a training plan. Do some extra miles every week and make the target distance. Do not forget to view your total climbing on the hike. Five miles is a lot different than five miles uphill. There are many excellent resources to discover a trail. You can find that on many websites. You will have to get to know the hike before going. Go through a trail guide, understand what you can expect about the turns and the duration it will take. You do not need to memorize everything. It would help if you had an excellent overview of what you can expect.
Understand The Map
Do not only rely on any smartphone application to know your location. You require a paper map also.
Understanding where you are going is the main thing to enjoy the hike. A blend of paper and electronic navigation is an excellent route for all beginners.
- Read the guide, study your map, and have an accurate idea of what you can expect.
- If it’s raining, throw them in a Zip-Lock bag.
- Print out the hiking guide and map.
If you use any application, you might also need to ensure that you get the offline maps. It will ensure that you can access the map if you do not have a network connection. Put the phone in airplane mode before hiking. When your phone does not get the network range, it will drain much battery as it searches for an available signal. Keeping in airplane mode (with location services or GPS) will save you a lot of battery. So what should be the use of GPS for beginners? Use that as a backup. Try to use the maps and guide to navigate.
Plan and then start early to avoid the mass. First, start the hike early. The more you deal with it, the more groups will be there. Conversely, if you are terrified to hike solo and need some groups on the trail, start at an expected time. This might get difficult to park, but you will get a company. Next, check the climate. If you are hiking to the top of the mountain, check the requirements on the hills. In the end, check for Twitter feeds and park websites before you are going. Sometimes trails and parks are closed for some reason. Nothing similar to driving for a hike only to see that it is closed.
Don’t get to the trail to see that you will require a permit. Always do that homework. Every hike needs some prep work when it is taking a bit more time. Some trails need a permit (considered in the guides). When you do not feel so sure if you will require one, give a call to the park office, and it will clear up everything. They are often obtainable and accessible before the hike. And it might look like common sense; still, you have to check your weather before hiking. If the weather is looking crazy, wet, or nasty there, you must hike some other day. And be extra cautious about the weather on hills because the weather there can be completely different from the nearest town. Even when it is not going to snow, the paths might be closed due to snow due to any forecast. Always check all the local websites for road blockages. Many roads might get closed during the entire season. It would not harm to give a call to the park before leaving as well. Give them a call, tell the people there about the hike you’ll be doing, and then ask if the trails are clear. Many people have made the blunder by traveling for a few hours to go on a hike, only to see that the trails have been closed for some reason. Sometimes bad weather or trail work will change situations.
Watch Your Feet
Many of the rattlesnake bites happen when they are stepped on unintentionally. They can blend very well in dirt trails. Not anything to actively get worried about, still a good reason to give attention to your steps. This will sound obvious; you will get surprised by the number of people who have to be rescued due to their twisted ankles. One significant risk you usually have on a simple hike is walking at the wrong place. It would mean tripping on a root, slipping on a rock, twisting your ankle, or stepping on poisonous wildlife. Just be careful of where you walk, mainly if you are tired, chatting, or have headphones on.
Here is one more great tip that is easy and would surely save the life in the case. All you have to do is, tell someone when and where you will be hiking. It is as easy as a text message with a hike webpage, mentioning that you will be back at around what time. In case anything wrong happens, it will improve the possibilities of being found.
If you have any device, you might even put a breadcrumb all over your way to the hike so that your family and friends will be able to follow those in real life.
Hiking Is Not A Race
If you are rushing or going fast, you will miss many opportunities to discover natural beauty and wildlife. When hiking, the steady one is much better than fast. It is known that beginners who start their hike at a breakneck pace only blow up in the end. Conserve energy, particularly on a longer hike. You can never know in what situation you will need to use that energy later. For instance, if you take a long trail or get lost, you will need the energy to help it. This is about your safety. Plan to finish the juice in the tank. Similarly, if you are hiking with people, stay with your group. There are many hiking gatherings where some people went off from the starting mile. So, when you are hiking together, then stay together. If you decide to divide into groups, start planning for intervals (like trail junctions) where your group will meet. There is nothing worse than not knowing where some of the parties are on the trail. That is a sure-fire way not to get to your destination or turn your day hike into one terrible night hike. As we are saying, hiking at a relaxed pace is also an excellent way to get that all soaked in. Enjoy your outdoors, enjoy fresh air, put an eye on wildlife, and enjoy.
Don’t Fear Getting Lost
If you believe that you are lost, first, you have to stop. Go through the guide and look for anything that looks or sounds familiar. And if not, then backtrack until the surroundings match what has been described in the guide. Losing track in hiking happens to people like us all the time, so it isn’t that big of a deal. Backtracking can solve the problem 99% of the time. Still, if you are backtracking for a long time and still can’t recognize anything, then you should stop. Check if you have a signal in your cell and if yes, then call 911. You may also send a text to 911; it is available in a few areas. If there is a GPS rescue beacon, then immediately hit the button without overthinking. You may try yelling HELP at frequent intervals. And if you are in an open area, hang some shiny clothing for aircraft. Try spelling out HELP with rocks and sticks on the ground. Also, if you get cold, pile dead leaves over your body will help you keep warm. Hikers have lasted 8-10 days without water and around 60-70 days without food. Reminder, a GPS rescue beacon is a sensible investment.
Hiking is a great adventure everyone will enjoy. And for anyone who is a newbie, letting you know that it is not that big of a deal as it seems. Still, there are various risks involved in hiking. Beginners must know every risk involved and also the solutions to them. You don’t have to have any course or specialty to hike. Just know about all the essential things, and you will appreciate being out there.