One of the best parts about hiking is that anyone can do it. Young or old, athletic or not, hiking allows you to go at your own pace and enjoy nature while working out. Although hiking may seem to be pretty straight forward, walk up a mountain, turn around a walk down… Duh? It is always important to prepare yourself for what you’re getting into. This is exactly why I wrote this post for beginner hikers who want to get out there, but also want to know a little more about this amazing and rewarding activity. If that sounds like you, then read on!
Before You Go:
1. Research The Area: It’s best to know a little about the area you will be hiking in before you head out. This way you know what to expect and aren’t caught in any sticky situations.
2. Find A Hiking Buddy: Venturing out into the outdoors is always safer with a friend, especially if you’re a beginner. I’m sure you will be able to convince someone to explore what nature has to offer with you!
3. Pack Snacks: Hiking is hard work! And being away from civilization means you want to have some food just incase. It also gives you a chance to take a break and snack while admiring the views.
4. Layer Up!: You want to have several layers of clothing on for your hike (even if it’s a warm day). Sometime’s it gets cold on the top of a mountain and there’s nothing worse than being chilled in the wind!
5. Hiking Poles Aren’t Only For Old Ladies: Hiking poles can be extremely handy for all hikers, but especially for beginners. They help you keep your balance and can take some of the load off of your legs. Don’t bash em’ until you try em’.
6. Get The Right Shoes: If you want to get into hiking more, please, please, pleaassseeee invest in some nice hiking boots. They don’t need to break the bank, but they do need to fit so they will protect your ankles on those slopes!
7. Tell Someone Where You’re Going: Have you seen the movie 127 Hours? Yea… You want to tell someone where you’re going so they know where to go if you don’t return home.
8. Bring Bear Spray (or something along those lines): If there are predators in the area that you will be hiking, it is always best to carry bear spray or something of the sort. You probably wont ever use it, but I know it makes me feel more confident.
9. Check The Weather: If it’s going to be stormy or extremely windy, maybe choose another day to go on your hike.
10. Bring a Backpack: Even if you’re just going for a short hike. You can keep your water bottle and snacks in there and free up your hands.
11. Pack Your Backpack Correctly: Heavy and bulky items on the bottom (tent,extra food), things that you will be grabbing more often at the top (camera, raincoat). Keep your water bottle in the side pocket.
12. Don’t Cheap-Out On Gear: You don’t need to buy the most high end stuff, but don’t get the cheapest version either. Unless you want your stuff to fall apart after a few hikes.
13. Have Emergency Supplies: Including fire starter, a first-aid kit, extra food, a flashlight, and a satellite phone and extra battery if you will be out of cell service. Search for emergency hiking kits online for more gear ideas.
During The Hike:
14. Start Hiking Early: It’s best to get out there early! This can help you stay out of that midday heat, and keep you from getting lost in the dark.
15. Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew: Start out slow.If this is your first hike, start with something short and easy.
16. Remove Layers Before You Sweat/Get Cold: Start out with several layers. If you start to get sweaty, take off a layer or two. If you stop for a break and start getting chilled, put layers back on. This is the best way to stay comfortable and not soak your clothes through while hiking.
17. H2O is IMPORTANT: Hiking is hard work! And just like any other form of working out, you need to stay hydrated.
18. Leave No Trace: We need to protect the planet we live on so please, DON’T LITTER! Nothing is worse than going on a hike and seeing someone’s garbage along the trail. Don’t be that guy.
19. Take Breaks: There’s nothing wrong with taking a break on your hike. These breaks are the perfect time for you to drink some of that water and eat some of the snacks you packed! It’s also a good time to get some of those candid camping shots for your Instagram.
20. Look Behind You On The Way Up: Especially if you aren’t following a trail. Going up the trees will look one way, but coming back down your surroundings can look very different. If you look behind you every once in a while, you’ll be less likely to get lost.
21. Zigzag On The Way Down: This trick is a lifesaver for your knees. Going down can be harder on your body than going up. Zigzagging can help this be a little easier.
22. Walk At A Comfortable Pace: If you set a comfortable pace, your body can get used to the physical activity you’re doing more easily. This will allow you to fall into a comfortable speed and enjoy your hike much more!
After You Return:
23. Stretch It Out: Hiking may not always feel like the craziest workout, but it is still hard on your body! Stretch at the bottom of the mountain, or at least when you get home. Your body will thank you!
24. Keep Drinking Water: Even if you drank water the entire hike, you probably still didn’t drink enough. For the rest of the day continue hydrating your body. There’s nothing worse than a dehydration headache after a long day outdoors.
25. Celebrate Your Awesome Hike!!!: Yay! You went outdoors and hiked up a mountain! That’s so totally awesome! You better be excited about it!
If you want to learn more about the hikes I do in the Yukon, click here! And if you’re planning on getting into the hiking lifestyle, Pin This Post for later!