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9 Tips to Prepare For Your First Multi Day Hike

9 Tips to Prepare For Your First Multi Day Hike

Whether you have your sights set on hiking a national park or simply spending a long weekend on the trail, preparation and planning are both extremely important. Starting a hike without the proper food, equipment, medical supplies, and information can result in an extremely negative experience. At best, you’ll have a miserable time. At worst, you can put your well being at risk, even your life.

When done correctly, multi day hikes can be amazing experiences. You’ll see nature up close and personal, create memories, and possibly meet some interesting people on your treks. By following the 9 tips below, you can help ensure that your hiking trip is a success.

1. Research The Area You’ll be Hiking

Be sure you have accurate and up to date information on the areas where you’ll be hiking. You’ll want to know what to expect as far as weather, trail closures, and rules and regulations. Start by checking out the official information. This means visiting national park services websites, reading guidebooks, and learning the rules and recommendations put out by your local department of natural resources or department of conservation.

You can use that information to begin to plan your trip and map your hike. Your next step is to get the unofficial take on things. Look for community forums and discussion groups that have been formed by hikers and campers familiar to your chosen area. These are great sources for the kind of unofficial information that you won’t find through other sources. For example, experienced hikers may know of landowners along your path who will let you refill your canteen from their spigot or where some edible plants are accessible.

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2. Start Challenging Your Physical Limits

Packing around 30 to 50 pounds of gear is tough for a day. Doing it for two or more days, fatigue quickly becomes an issue if you aren’t prepared. Don’t wait for your long trek to see what your body can endure. Start challenging yourself today. Hit the gym and spend lots of time on the stair climber. Then, ask a trainer for help learning exercises that strengthen your core and your legs. You’ll need this in order to build up both strength and endurance.

On the other hand, be cautious. If you’re the bodybuilding type, you may be used to focusing on getting your gains at the gym. Now is not the time for that. If anything, consider trimming down a bit. It may help to focus on a workout routine designed for endurance athletes.

3. Take Special Care of Your Feet

It’s one thing to have to nurse a blister after a day of hiking. It’s a special kind of hell to deal with blisters and sore feet in the middle of a national park miles and miles away from civilization. Next to your brain, your feet are the most important body part when it comes to hiking. Take care of them.

Invest in a dedicated pair of hiking boots. Then, use them. Take them on several shorter hikes. You don’t want to start a long hike in a pair of boots that aren’t broken in. Next, buy several pairs of socks that are specifically designed for hiking and mountaineering. Merino wool socks are very popular amongst hikers these days. Here are some features that would make for a great pair of hiking socks:.

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  • They Provide Adequate Cushioning
  • They Wick Moisture Away From Your Feet
  • They Are Warm Without Being Overly Thick
  • They Are Breathable in Hot Weather

Some people recommend changing socks once daily. However, you should probably plan on changing more often if your feet sweat or if you are hiking in hot conditions.

4. Consider Investing in Lighter Gear

If you’re planning to hike for multiple days, you’ll have to add lots of new gear to your pack. This includes cooking equipment, sleeping bag, tent, and more clothing. That means adding more weight. You might be able to handle that for a day or two if you are in good shape, but it will take its toll as the days pass.

It  may be a good idea to invest the money in some lighter gear that is specifically designed for multi day hiking trips. You’ll be grateful, even if you can reduce  your overall load by just ten pounds.

5. Invest in a Good Navigation System

First, never start a hike without grabbing a copy of the trail map. If you have an equipment or battery failure, this could be a real life saver. You should also invest in a waterproof carrying case for that map. Having said that, it is more than worth the money you will spend to get a GPS system or app that is specifically designed for hikers. These durable pieces of equipment can help you navigate the toughest areas, and can withstand a lot of abuse.

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6. Make a Hydration Plan

When you plan your trip, it is of utmost importance that you make a plan to stay properly hydrated. Remember that you can’t simply throw a bunch of water bottles in your backpack. If you do carry water, it’s a good idea to invest in a hydration vest or belt. This allows you to carry the water you have more ergonomically.

Then, map out places where you can refill or otherwise replenish your water supply. If you aren’t certain that there will be potable water sources, it’s time to invest in a water filtration straw or purification tablets. If you are hiking in especially demanding surroundings, it may help to bring along some powdered sports drink mix.

7. Be Prepared to Pack Out What You Pack In

Good environmental stewardship is the responsibility of every hiker, camper, mountaineer, or backpacker. This mean that everything you bring along with you on your hike should come back off of the trail when you finish your hike. This includes food waste. Don’t leave it assuming that the animals will devour it. That’s not healthy for them, and it gives them a taste for human food which can be dangerous for them and other hikers.

8. Plan Your Meals to Optimize Nutrition And Avoid Waste

One good rule of thumb to keep in mind is ‘fresh food first’. If you have fantasies of roasting hot dogs over a fire, or preparing a camper’s breakfast with pancakes, eggs, and all the trimmings, that’s fine. Just plan your menu so that any perishable items are eaten first.

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If you’re thru hiking, fresh food may not be an option. Instead, you’ll want to rely on dehydrated or freeze dried foods. These are sold in packs at outdoor and camping supply stores. If you have your own food dehydrator, there are plenty of trail meal recipes online.

9. Have a Plan And Equipment in Place For Illness or Injury

Never hike without a proper first aid kit. If you are hiking long distances, you’ll want to invest in even more supplies than you would normally bring along. Also, bring cash with you. This will allow you to replace any times that you use up when you make your way into campgrounds or towns. Finally, if you decide to hike alone, please invest in a personal location beacon.

Overnight and thru hiking can be amazing experiences. Keep the tips above in mind so that you can get the most out of each hiking trip.

Featured photo credit: David Marcu via unsplash.com

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Elena Prokopets

Elena is a passionate blogger who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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