Whether you’re looking to find a way to get more active on your own or you’re looking for something to do while traveling with friends, going on hikes can be invigorating, a great workout, and can help you see sights that you never would, otherwise. However, they can also be tough work, especially if you get into them unprepared. Here, we’re going to look at the steps you can take to make sure that your hikes go as best as they can and you get the most out of them.
Make sure that you’re fit enough
While there are hiking trails for people of different fitness levels, the truth is that if you’re in better shape, you’re going to have a much easier and more enjoyable time of it. There are plenty of exercise tips that are specific to helping you get your body ready for hiking as best as possible. Of course, you can always build yourself up to it by taking gentler hikes, at first. Even hiking is great cardiovascular and strength training. Just make sure that if you are training by going on lighter hikes that you warm-up and cool down on either end, stretching to avoid any injuries that can set your progress back some.
Get a good idea of the weather
The weather that you can expect is going to play a huge role in how your hike goes. There are some spots that might become legitimately impassable if it has been raining all day and, similarly, you should make sure that you’re equipped and aware if the sun is going to be beating down on you hard all day. To that end, you can use apps like https://setapp.com/apps/forecast-bar to make sure that you always have the most accurate predictions on the weather on hand. It’s best to be prepared for both rain and sun, but if you can spot ahead that the weather is going to be particularly bad, you can postpone your hike til a safer time.
Get to know the trail
You shouldn’t be fully unfamiliar with a trail the first time you attempt to take it. For one, if you don’t know where you’re going, it’s easy for the hike to end in disaster. You can look for hiking guide books and maps online, but one of the best resources you can access is your local hiking club, if you have one. These will be fantastic sources of information on different trails and can help you get a good idea of what to expect. Furthermore, know if there have been any extreme weather phenomena, from heavy snow to hurricanes to extreme rain and windspeeds. All of these can alter the conditions of the trail even if they happened months ago.
Pack everything that you need
Ensure that you don’t leave without checking that you have all of your hiking essentials packed. First of all, you will want a decent hiking backpack to make sure that you can carry it all. These backpacks are designed not only to be spacious enough to keep everything that you need but also to fasten to your body in a way that distributes the weight as best as possible. There are plenty of lists like https://bearfoottheory.com/day-hiking-essentials/ that can give you an idea of what you should be packing, too. Additional layers (in case it starts to rain), a first aid kit, and plenty of water should be at the very top of the list.
Get your boots on
Going on a hike primarily involves a lot of walking and climbing. A lot of that is going to be done on some pretty rough terrain. If you take a standard pair of sneakers on some of those tougher hikes, your feet are going to feel it before long and you might end up battering your footwear into an unusable state. If you’re serious about taking up hiking, then you really should be investing in some real hiking boots. These offer the support to make sure that your foot doesn’t cramp up or support your body improperly, as well as the thick soles that can take that tough terrain with little to no issues. If you’re not willing to invest in hiking boots, then it’s recommended that you take only the gentlest routes available.
Practice using some poles
You would be mistaken in thinking that walking poles are only for older people or those that might have trouble maintaining mobility without them. They are designed for just about everyone, especially if you’re climbing up or down steep inclines. Walking poles like those at https://www.pacerpole.com/ are designed to provide extra support so that you don’t have to strain your legs quite as hard while climbing, to provide balance so your chances of slipping or falling are much reduced, and even to reduce the pressure on your knees while you’re going downhill so you don’t have as large a risk as injuring them. They might not be needed for the easier hiking trails, but it’s worth taking the time to get in some practice with them.
Know when you should turn around
You might want to persevere and conquer the trail even if you’re starting to feel tired or getting aches in your legs. However, there should be a time when you’re ready to stop. Don’t rely on the notion of carrying a cellphone or radio and being able to call, because that won’t always happen. If you start to get exhausted, if it starts getting dark, if you have no water, or if you have suffered a cut that isn’t healing well, then it’s time to head back. Don’t underestimate the wild’s ability to put you in real danger.
Hiking can become a wonderful hobby to pick up, but you must always ensure that you prepare to the best of your ability. Otherwise, you can not only make your hiking much harder and less enjoyable, but you may even endanger yourself.