Heading out on a hike can be an excellent opportunity to enjoy nature, see new places, and have fun with your loved ones – or focus on yourself. Wherever you go – deep in the mountains or closer to home – you can have an unforgettable experience.
However, to make the trip as enjoyable as possible, you need to research the location and pack appropriately. Forgetting even one essential item can end in a disaster. Make sure to plan in advance, be prepared for weather changes, and try to have fun. To help you avoid any potential problems, we’ve consulted Kandoo Adventures (a tour operator specializing in trekking) and created a short guide – here you’ll find everything you need to remember.
Get a Map
A map is essential for every journey. Even if you don’t have much experience in hiking, you should still get a detailed map of the area you are going to. The map will help you reach your destination safely, find camping sites, water springs, and other important landmarks. However, you also need to have a compass. Download one on your phone or use a special app, or buy a compass separately.
Check The Weather Forecast
Even if you are planning to hike in your local woods, you still need to check the weather forecast. Depending on the location and time of the year, hiking can be very different. Even small changes can make a big difference. If the temperature is too hot and high, you should take extra water and make sure you hydrate yourself regularly. Remember that cold weather can also be dangerous. You need to pack waterproof clothes and other necessities for the bad weather.
Take Some Snacks
Have some energy bars, nuts, granola bars, and other tasty snacks in your bag. Hiking can take a lot of energy, and you might be too exhausted to make dinner when you are back home. Your food should also be healthy and easy to carry.
Bring a Phone
Taking your phone along is a great idea if you are going hiking – you can use it for maps, GPS, and as a camera. It’s also good to have a phone if you end up in danger and need help – calling for help is much easier than sending a message or using the smoke signal (though this is also a good option).
Wear Proper Clothing
If you are doing hiking in the winter, you need to wear proper winter clothes. Even if you are planning to go on a day hike, remember to wear woolen clothes – it will keep you warm and protected from the cold. Whatever you choose to wear, make sure that it’s comfortable and easy to move in.
Take a First Aid Kit
What if you twist your ankle or something else happens? You should have a first aid kit in your bag as this will save your trip and put your mind at ease. Your kit should include Band-Aids, small scissors, tweezers, gauze pads, ibuprofen, antihistamine (for insect bites), gauze rolls, and more.
Have Some Cash With You
Even if you are going on a short hike, having some cash with you is important. You might need an emergency phone call and not have your phone with you. You might also want to buy something tasty from a local shop or buy some souvenirs for your family.
Bring a Whistle and a Flashlight
If you need help in a hurry, whistle loudly and flash your flashlight in different directions. This will attract the attention of people around the area, and they’ll be able to help you.
Check Your Shoes Regularly
Check your shoes before each hike – they might be great for walking on your city streets but not for hiking mountains or forests. High-quality hiking shoes should be durable and comfortable and have thick soles with sturdy laces. Make sure that these shoes will support your ankles and protect them from injuries.
Keep an Eye Out for Poisonous Plants
Even if you are planning to hike on an easy trail, make sure that you know what plants are poisonous in the area. Some plants are safe in certain areas but deadly in others. Make sure that you don’t step on any of them as they can cause blisters or allergic reactions. For example, in California, poison oak is a problem – it grows all over the state but is especially prevalent in Northern California’s forests. It is characterized by three leaflets which are usually green but can be red or purple as well. The oil of this plant can cause an itchy rash which can be dangerous for people who have sensitive skin or who are allergic to poison oak sap, so make sure to avoid them!
Hiking is great fun; you get to explore the great outdoors, have adventures, and keep yourself fit. However, the secret to a successful trip is all in the planning. If you are not adequately prepared, it can result in a trip that, at the very least, might be unenjoyable and, in the worst-case scenario, put you in danger. Follow our ten tips, and you’ll be guaranteed a pleasurable and safe hiking trip.
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