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3 Useful Hiking & Backpacking Tips

3 Useful Hiking & Backpacking Tips

If you’re a fan of nature and the great outdoors, chances are you’ve probably done some hiking, trekking, and/or backpacking at some point. The reality is that, despite the threat of global warming and the ever-changing landscape of the earth, more and more people are interested in outdoor pursuits in which technology and the ‘always on’ culture is almost completely forgotten about.

Although high in physical exertions, hiking can be a relaxing activity where you explore the great outdoors through footpaths, hills, country lanes, forests, fields, and more. The spirit of hiking lies in being able to bring people to the natural environment, and to know the heritage and reserves through the use of trails.

It’s a pursuit that is good for both the mind and the soul, alongside being good for the pocket, while opening ourselves up to new experiences, memories, and situations in which our adventurous spirits can feel free and plentiful. So, if you are that kind of person, here are some useful tips you must know before your next adventure.

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1. Choose the adequate travel partners or group

Have you heard the quote, “If you really want to get to know a person, you must travel together…?” Well, this couldn’t be truer. If you are traveling for an extended period of time, or in close proximity with someone, you get to know the good, bad, and the ugly of someone’s personality. While you don’t always have the luxury of choosing your travel partners, if you can, try to invite good friends you are comfortable with, or at least companions you know.

2. Select the right clothing and essentials

If you are a novice hiker, you may not be aware of what the essentials are, so it’s always best consult with someone who does or who can point you in the right direction. There are plenty of guides online that will give you the foundations and more.

When it comes to clothing, wear things that are predominantly made of synthetic materials that keep you dry as you start to work harder and sweat more. If you prefer to use pants (which is the most recommendable option), it should be made of durable, quick-drying fabrics such as spandex or nylon; that way, your legs will be protected from some of the hazards, and will keep you warmer when the temperature drops at night or in more extreme conditions.

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Making sure that you have boots that are durable, comfortable, and appropriate for those kind of conditions (like waterproof materials for example) is an absolute MUST! Remember that wearing the wrong boots or shoes could leave your feet aching and give you serious injuries. It can be surprising just how many ligaments and muscles there are in our feet that are susceptible to injury in the wrong shoes.

Something that can definitely help when leaning more towards hardcore trekking is a hiking stick or pole. When you use them, your upper body shares part of the workload of hiking, which also provides exercise to your forearms, arms, shoulders, and chest for a true whole-body workout.

To complement the clothing, there are some backpacking essentials that will keep you on the right path whatever the conditions:

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  • Navigation (map and compass).
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • A headlamp or a flashlight.
  • First-aid kit or supplies (pills, bands, rubbing alcohol).
  • Hydration and nutrition.

There are statistics surrounding people getting lost without being fully prepared, so it’s always better to prepare for the worst than just hoping for the best.

3. Know your destination

Essential to your plans is researching and understanding location, the weather, and terrain before you leave; if you want to add that extra layer of security, you should also invest in intermediate gear. Hiking and backpacking should be enjoyable, but you should also be prepared and aware of everything.

As with many other sports and activities, hiking has different difficulty levels: The low difficulty can be a one-day hike on level ground. A medium difficulty hike that might include spending a night camping, having some steep slopes, and carrying a more loaded backpack. A high difficulty hike may require prior experience, as well as carrying a tent, sleeping bag, heater, high calorie foods, and even being accompanied by an experienced guide.

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You also need to remember that when you are out embracing nature, you should always ensure that you do as little as possible to disturb the environment or ecosystem that you are sharing on your trip, and leave the location as you found it, something championed by the Leave No Trace initiative.

When you plan your trip, check out the options for tours and guides, like Big Wild Adventures who offer Yellowstone backpacking tours in an environment that is not to be taken for granted with its difficulty and danger, but also its natural beauty.

The important thing here is that you need to make this experience something exciting that invites you to come back and do it again. There are a large number of trekking and hiking federations and groups who organize mountain activities and walks all around the world. These activities are regulated by a series of safety standards, environmental protection rules, and professionalism, and their goal is to let you enjoy your life plentifully discovering almost every place in the planet.

Featured photo credit: backpacker.com via media.backpacker.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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