In today’s hectic world, many people have turned to traveling for pleasure, especially in the last two decades, and hiking is widely seen as a great way to enjoy the wilderness. Others are driven to hiking because they wish to leave behind the trappings of modern life and just enjoy and appreciate nature in its unspoiled state (minus the crowds). Carrying all the necessities for a day hike or a multi-day trek can be a little bit of a deterrent, especially if you are hitting the trails for the first time in years. If this is your first time on the trail, here are some tips to help make your trip less hassle-filled and more enjoyable.
Getting to Your Starting Point
Many people choose to hike locally, so they can simply take their car to the trail head, or if they are going on a multi-day hike, they can park their cars in towns and villages along the trail, before beginning their trek. This is very convenient as you can just hop into your car, stop to pick up supplies and food, and then continue along your way. On longer treks you may wish to take a bus or train, or book your parking space in advance.
1. Organize Your Gear
No matter how long you’re going to be out, or how far you’re hiking, the key to a successful and enjoyable day (or week) is to plan ahead, make a list, and organize your gear. There is nothing more frustrating or nerve-wracking than setting off and realizing you’ve forgotten something important. It could be as simple as forgetting the tent pegs, or as critical as forgetting a map or compass, some matches, or even a flashlight. If you are going solo and are taking a multi-day trek, make sure you don’t leave anything important behind, or you may very well find yourself in a dangerous situation if you cannot find your way back to your base camp in the dark.
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2. Plan Your Route
Depending on your level of skill, you may wish to take a map with you while you are hiking, or you may not feel the need to have it with you at all times. You should at least decide on which trail you plan to hike, where you can stop to refuel with the most delicious homemade food and cold drinks, and what facilities are available in the areas you are planning to check out. It’s better to have a rough plan ready, rather than to simply head out, hoping things will sort themselves out.
3. Don’t Over Pack
As I’m sure we all know, hiking is hard work, and so it’s tempting to load up your pack with enough food and supplies for a week or more, but this is a mistake. Heavy backpacks make the task of walking several miles through the woods, up and down hills and trails much more challenging and tiring. You should carry a backpack that is no more than half of your weight, and some backpacks also come with hip belts to help distribute the weight evenly across your body. Hiking is also hard on your feet, so you should wear good hiking shoes that provide stability and support.
4. Maintain Hydration
It’s important to stay hydrated while hiking, especially on hot summer days. You may want to carry water with you, but always have a backup plan, just in case you run out of fresh water. It’s a good idea to replenish the water in your canteen before you venture out for the day, but always have at least one litre, and if you are hiking in a hot area, you should have at least two litres. Some of the best places to buy food and water along the way include supermarkets, convenience stores, and delis.
By remembering the advice in this article, you will be able to head out on a great hike with a lot less hassle. Going for a hike is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors with your family and friends, while at the same time taking care of your health. Also remember that hitting the trail while you’re abroad is a great way to see the beauty of the country that you’re visiting. So, why not use this article to prepare for your next hike? It could be the best decision you make all year!
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