Hiking is a great de-stressing exercise that nearly everyone can enjoy. However, if you’re a newbie, being unprepared for what lies ahead can have severe consequences. Here’s a beginners guide to hiking with some tips to make your experience safe and enjoyable.
Determine Your Fitness Level And Choose A Trail Accordingly
First and foremost, it is very important to be physically prepared for a hike; hikes demand a certain level of physical fitness as some terrains can be quite challenging and/or exhausting. Even if you’re already in shape, it is recommended you practice going on a really short hike with your bag/pack on to condition your body. Furthermore, read up on some hiking books to acquire some backpacking knowledge, ask around and try to look up trails which are ideal for beginners; plan your trip before you leave home. Start off with short, easy hikes and work your way up to more challenging ones.
Find A Hiking Partner
Although hiking alone is the perfect mobile meditation, it can also be dangerous if something goes wrong. If you’re a first timer or beginner, it is highly advisable that you go with a partner or group of friends; hiking also makes for a great bonding experience.
For safety, survival and comfort, make sure you’re wearing comfortable clothing, appropriate shoes and are carrying a map, compass, flashlight, an emergency shelter (such as a tent, bivy, tarp or protective blanket), first aid kit, knife, ample water, snacks, sunglasses, sunscreen, a whistle, bug spray, matches/ lighter, raingear, extra clothes and last but not least, toilet paper. As for the snacks, you don’t need to carry a three-course meal with you; some protein bars and other high-energy compact foods will suffice.
ALWAYS Let Someone Else Know Where You’re Going
If you’ve seen ‘127 hours’, you definitely know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, it’s basically about a guy who goes on a hiking trip without telling anyone, falls and gets stuck into an inescapable gap between two rocks and eventually has to cut his arm off to make it out of there. Moral of the story; inform someone about your hiking location so they can alert the authorities in case, God forbid, something happens.