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Hiking for Beginners, The Essential Tips

Written by Ronald Owens

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Posted on August 10 2019

Unlike walking on a track or paved trail, hiking involves so much more. Hiking can take you so many places, mentally, physically and emotionally. Of course, these are the very things that make hiking so enjoyable!

Hiking is an excellent low-impact workout. For someone who does not enjoy spending hours in the gym. Hiking is a great way to take advantage of the physical and mental benefits found in traditional exercise. From reducing anxiety to preventing osteoporosis, hiking is an outdoor activity delivering benefits beyond beautiful scenery and fun. As you begin your hiking journey, follow these tips to make your first treks successful.

  1. Research the trails before you go.

Once you have selected a trail, get yourself a map of the area and review the path. Pull it up on google earth. Read any blogs or articles you can find about your trail. There are some excellent online resources available. Find out everything you can. Look for places to stop and enjoy nature. Find a great place to stop for lunch. Most of all understand the trail. Are there intersections, can you walk a loop to get back to your starting point. Just have fun and enjoy.

 

  1. Start small and choose the right trail for your fitness level.

Pick a trail shorter than the distance you can normally walk on a paved surface. Pay attention to the time required to hike the trail, try for a pace of roughly 2-miles per hour. Next, add an hour for every 1000 feet of gain in elevation expected. Your research from step one would have given you this information. After you’ve been out once or twice, you’ll have a good idea for what distance and elevation changes you can handle.

 

  1. Pack the essentials.

I have listed 10 essential items and systems that should be taken and used on your treks. These are the items and systems you should pack to stay safe while adventuring the outdoors, including facing a potential overnight stay. Depending on the length and remoteness of your hike, expand or minimize each system. For example, on a short summer hike near services, a compact emergency blanket would be fine. However, a remote winter hike would require a more extensive survival system. Here are the 10 essential items and needs to consider:

Ten Essential needs

  • Navigation (map & compass or GPS)
  • First-aid supplies
  • Hydration (extra water)
  • Nutrition (extra food)
  • Emergency shelter (tent/plastic tube tent/garbage bag)
  • Insulation (extra clothing)
  • Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candle)
  • Sun protection (sunglasses & sunscreen)
  • Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
  • Repair kit and tools

This list may look intimidating, but once you customize it to your liking and hiking needs, it won’t be so bad. Many of these things are what you’d pack for a picnic in the park.

 

  1. Keep your pack light.

Okay, now that you know what to pack, PLEASE keep your pack light. What I mean is to opt for the lightest form of each item on your list. For example, a travel size tube of sunscreen instead of the 6-ounce tube. A small first-aid kit. Lightweight electronics.

 

  1. Pack out what you packed in.

The beautiful trails we love will only stay beautiful if we care for them. Take a minute to read the Leave No Trace Seven Principals and follow them. It’s up to every outdoor enthusiast to take care of our natural spaces.

By using these tips, I hope you’ll get out hiking this season. Leave a comment to share your hiking adventures or great places you hiked; I want love to hear from you.

 

  1. Have fun.

Take a friend. Take a lot of pictures, plan a family hike or a group hike. Get everyone you know out into nature. The outdoors should be enjoyed by everyone. Have fun on your next great outdoor adventure!

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