4 Essential Tips for Hiking "Newbies"

4 Essential Tips for Hiking "Newbies"

One of the best parts about camping is the ability to be active in the great outdoors! One of the easiest ways to do that is to take a hike. No, we don't mean that as an insult, so don't click away yet! Hiking is actually a great way to get exercise while exploring your campsite and its surroundings all at once.

Of course, the basics are simple. Essentially, you're just walking. But, immersing yourself in the full camping experience can mean that you take hiking to the next level. It can also take your workouts to the next level, but we'll save the cardiovascular benefits for another blog.

If you're new to hiking and want to make sure you've got the right gear and the right mindset, look no further. We've got four useful tips you can use before you hit the trail to make the most of your experience. Before you know it, you'll be a hiking pro. So, slip on your cargo shorts and let's learn more about what you can do.

1. Start Small

One of the biggest mistakes beginners make when they set out to become hiking enthusiasts is choosing a trail that is too long, too big, and too hilly. It's always better to start out small with your route. You'll be able to have a better gauge of your overall fitness level, and you should be able to tell in a relatively short amount of time if hiking is the right activity for you. Sometimes, the phrase 'go big or go home' doesn't always apply.

2. Check the Forecast

There's almost nothing worse than planning out a perfect hike, familiarizing yourself with the trail, only to be caught off guard by bad weather. Start checking the forecast about a week before your trip. Then, continue to check it every day, even up to a few hours before you plan on hiking. Keep in mind that in some areas of the country, weather can change in a matter of minutes. Knowing as much as you can about the upcoming forecast will keep you from getting all wet. No one likes soggy boots.

3. Pack What You Need

There are different schools of thought when it comes to what you should pack on a hiking trip. The good news? You'll probably have most of the gear you need with you already at your campsite. As a good rule of thumb, here are some of the most important things you should bring with you on your trek:

  • Sunscreen
  • Some type of navigation (not your phone – signal may be weak)
  • First aid kit
  • Extra clothes
  • Extra food
  • Extra water
  • Emergency shelter (this could be anything from a pop-up tent to a garbage bag – get creative!)

4. Dress for Success, Not to Impress

Just because you went to your local sporting good's store and bought up all their hiking gear doesn't mean you'll be fully prepared to hit the trail. Hikers need to dress for function, not fashion. Avoid cotton clothes as they stay damp for long periods of time. Instead, go for synthetic materials whenever possible. Dress in layers from head to toe. You can always take layers off, but you'll be happy you have extra clothing if the temperature drops.

Finally, wear the right shoes and socks. These are the two most important pieces of your hiking wardrobe. If your feet get wet and cold, you could be in for a lot of discomfort, and you could even put yourself at risk for things like blisters or even toenail fungus. Wear socks that are warm and breathable, and waterproof shoes/boots whenever possible.

We hope these tips have given you a little more peace of mind, whether you're about to go on your first hiking excursion or you're just looking to improve your trekking experience. Happy trails! 

Apr 30th 2018

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