Hiking is one of the best outdoor activities. It can be extremely enjoyable if it is well planned in advance. Whether you prefer going for an epic journey or just a walk in the woods, planning is an essential element that will make the hike a real success.
Below are a few smart tips you can use to make your hiking trip fun and safe.
1. Share your plans
According to several hiking experts, sharing your trail plans with those closest to you is very important — especially if you’ll be hiking alone. You need to inform them when you will start as well as the time you’ll return.
This keeps them in the know so that they can send help in the case that you’re not back on time. You will be more comfortable while hiking because you know that your close friends and family members know where you are.
2. Ditch the cotton
It is advisable to wear a quick-dryịng, performance-fabric base layer that won’t chafe, then top it with a merino long-sleeve shirt that is not only breathable but also warm, even when it’s wet.
This means you will be okay if it rains while you’re out hiking. In short, do not choose cotton simply because you like it, but go for something that increases your comfort during harsh weather conditions.
3. Test your gear
Before going for a hike, it is very important to be sure that your gear is in good condition. Take your time to do a trial run on everything in order to be sure that all is well. What would it be like if you go hiking only to realize that some of the stuff in your pack is not in good condition? Pretty disappointing in the best scenario. That’s why testing your gear before going for a hike is very important. Make sure your backpack does not get heavy and you have at least one extra pair of good-quality hiking boots (for long-distance hikes) to keep yourself on the safe side. Carrying the optimum gear is essential.
4. Stock up on food and water
A good thumb rule here is one pint of water for every four miles or two hours, and 1.5 pounds of food per day. This ensures that you do not run short of the essentials while you’re out having fun. If you’ll be hiking for more than a day, then make sure you pack enough protein bars, nuts, jerky, and extra H2O. Alternatively, you can consider taking water purifier tablets of your choice, just in case you run short on water.
5. Carry a repair kit
You should also carry a repair kit containing anything necessary to repair trail gear, including duct tape, a Swiss army knife or multi-tool, shoelaces, scissors, needle and thread, rope, wire, etc. This helps ensure that your hiking gear stays in good condition, which helps ensure an amazing experience.
6. First aid supplies
Before you go out hiking, make sure you have a first aid kit with essential items. Although everyone has different medical needs, a basic kit should at least have:
- Bandages and gauze
- Small roll of medical tape
- Alcohol wipes/providone iodine
- Antibiotic ointment
- Non-latex gloves
- Antihistamines (for bee stings or bug bites)
- Eye drops
- A card with personal and contact information for each hiker
- An epipen (in case anyone has a serịous allergy)
- Snake bite kit (if you’re hiking ịn an area with poịsonous snakes)
- Bear spray (if you’re hikịng in an area with bears)
- Any personal medications
7. Stay safe
While on the trail, you ought to respect the environment and remain vigilant to potential dangers. One of the basic safety rules is not to touch, pick up, or eat any fruits, plants, or flowers along the way.
Get to know safety precautions if you’re hiking in an area with poisonous snakes, mountain lions, bears, or other potentịally dangerous wildlife. Protect against insects and bugs by keeping your skin covered with long sleeves, hats, and long pants tucked into socks. Alternatively, you can use bug spray while avoiding strongly-scented skịn and hair products.
8. Mind your trail manners
Although the trail can turn out to be a rough-and-tumble place, it has its own code of etịquette as well as unspoken or unwritten rules. In the case that you encounter other hịkers on a narrow trail, the one going downhill should stop and allow the one going uphill to pass.
Also, do not leave trash along the way. You should carry all trash with you and dispose of it at designated spots. You should also stick to the trails in order to maintain the integrity of the path, as well as stay out of animal habitats. Lastly, do not interfere with trail signs and markers, and make sure your cell phone is silent to be respectful of other hikers.
Featured photo credit: Jake Melara via images.unsplash.com