A beginner’s guide on how to prepare for hikes

This upcoming spring calls for warmer weather and with warmer weather, you’ll be wanting to do more activities that involve the outdoors. Hiking is a great activity that can keep you active for a couple hours. It can be a rigorous activity that involves walking long distances and it can require you to go walk in steep places and upwards but the views can be worth it at times and breathtaking. You get to intake the fresh air of nature throughout hiking and everyone needs to get outside sometimes.

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If you haven’t tried it, here are some important ways how you can prepare for a long day of a hike ahead. Understanding these things and being prepared will make your hike adventure more convenient and less of a hassle to deal with.

  • Plan out where you want to go hiking and look at maps of where the trails are.

You can go locally in your state to do your hiking or you can go outside of your state, whatever you choose, try to get familiar with the place more. Sometimes when my friends and I drive for our hikes, it’s easy to get lost and after a while, the GPS stops working because of the loss of reception. We usually asked locals who are walking around for their directions but it’s better to have a printed map ahead of time. Sometimes there are booths or information centers for hiking destinations with maps of their own they can provide. If there is one, make sure you can go there first to get more information and your maps.

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  • Invite at least one friend to come with you.

It’s better to share the experience with someone you love and trust, so bring someone to make your experience or first-time experience worthy. Plus hiking alone can be dangerous because you never know who you will come across and there have been incidences in the news about people disappearing from their hikes. It’s much more safer to have your back be watched with a friend.

  • Wear supportive and comfortable sneakers or hiking boots for the hike.

Avoid wearing open-toed shoes and shoes with hardly any support on its soles. There are sneakers that are meant for hiking, you can also use your gym sneakers, but hiking boots are the best type there is. Also, wear comfortable thick socks that will not fall loose. If the hike is really long, bring an extra pair of socks you can  change into. Your feet will get sweaty and may itch from the sweat and heat combined.

Merrell Women’s Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe,Smoke,8.5 M US
  • Bring a backpack or a fanny pack.

Light backpacks and fanny packs are recommended. If you want to carry some food and your camera, bring a backpack instead but if it’s not a really long hike and all you need is water and to put your minor necessities in somewhere, use a fanny pack instead.

  • Water will be your best friend for a hike.

Carrying a water bottle is essential because you will get tired, sweaty, and thirsty. Instead of the standard plastic water bottles, you can pack your water in BPA-free water containers, where they range from different sizes. To keep your water cool throughout the hike, it’s best you keep your water in insulated bottles. Warm water isn’t bad but I prefer cool water for activities on hot days.

KINGSO 17oz Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle Perfect for Outdoor Sports Camping Hiking Cycling Black
  • Wear comfortable clothing gear for your hike.

On days where it’s very hot and you’re planning to hike on those days, wearing a tank top or sports bra with yoga or athletic leggings is good enough. Shorts are okay but you’re more in risk of scratching your legs if you accidentally fall over or if a rock hurts you from walking against it. Plus, annoying bugs like mosquitos and gnats love the sense of human skin and more human skin = attracts them, which leads to my next point. But if you want to layer up, make sure you wear layers of clothing you can easily take off and tie around you or can fit when folded into your backpack.

  • Spray some insect repellent before your hike and wear sunscreen.

As I said before, you don’t want mosquitos or gnats to be attracted to you but with nature, you will have to deal with the living things that live outside there, so spray some insect repellent spray before and if it’s sunny out, don’t forget to wear sunscreen.

  • Wear a fitted hat or sunglasses.

Fitted hats are good to keep your  hair away from your face while you’re walking or it can be good to block the sun out of your eyes. Sunglasses work too but personally, I like seeing things and nature without the added darkness through my lens.

  • Pack some snacks or sandwiches for your hike.

You don’t want to pack food that you need to re-heat (where would you get a microwave anyways outside???) or to refrigerate. Simple snacks like trail mixes, which are the best and also gives you the added benefits of energy, are great. Sandwiches, where you can eat cold or hot, are also great to pack. These are both light foods.

  • Pack some first aid kit supplies.

You don’t need to bring a whole kit of first aid supplies but a few bandages, tweezers, antiseptic wipes, and antibiotic ointment will be fine to carry inside your backpack. It’s good in case a fall happens or you cut yourself.

  • Most importantly, pace yourself and make sure you’re conditioned enough to do hikes.

If you’re already active or try to keep yourself active through other physical activities, then challenging yourself to a hike won’t be as difficult as your body will be able to handle the distance. Also, remember, it’s normal to be out of breath or start to feel your thighs and legs hurt, especially if you’re walking upwards a mountain or hill. It will be sore, probably even the next day, but any physical activity and the adrenaline that comes with it is good for your body. And remember: pace yourself and wait for your friends to pace themselves too.

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Share these tips with a friend who you want to take hiking or someone you know who wants to try it but haven’t yet. 🙂

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