For many people getting started on your first hiking trail can prove to be confusing. You will hear about how hiking involves overnight trips and proper camping gear. Some may even say that it is just backpacking.
The truth is that you will probably have to plan proper weekend trips to get out in the wilderness away from the urban surroundings. Therefore, depending on how far you are traveling from home, decide if you want to make a camping trip out of it.
Some things you need to consider as a hiker are what sort of food you should take, how you can start a fire, what to do when it rains, and the classic one: bears!
Don’t let this daunt you. Remember, hiking is not that difficult if you are up for the physical exertion.
Where Are You Going?
When you start hiking, it is important that you pick a destination that you know you are going to have fun at. That being said, it is equally important to be reasonable with what you are expecting of the destination. You want to avoid places that will be difficult for you especially as a beginner.
You should stay away from remote areas, and pick one where the terrain is not completely but relatively flat, this way you will not have to deal with major elevation gains on your first time hiking. It is also a good idea to stick to hiking during the day. You can venture on more enduring hikes for a second or third time.
What You Need
Many seasoned hikers are ones who have had the luxury of residing near amazing trails where the weather is temperate too. When a hiker is used to rainy conditions, they are better able to gauge their way around a soaked trail too. You should know what areas might get flooded and not set up the camp anywhere near it. What skills or special gear you need depends on where you are hiking and what activities you plan to do.
You will find many hikers have taken a medicine course for the wilderness. Not only is this impressive but helps you tremendously with your confidence during the hike. You may not take a course before you embark on your first trail but you should definitely think of getting one at some point in time if you visit hiking trails.
Water is the top priority on a hiking trip. If you know that you will be entering an arid place you want to pack extra drinking water. A hydration pack is a good idea too. If you are setting up camp, it is easier to get some sort of portable water purification equipment and get the water from a nearby source for a closer to the real wilderness experience.
Look Up the Weather Forecast
You should not just check to see if it will rain during the time you plan to take a hiking trip. You want to check changes in the weather that count outdoors and be prepared for it all. You should know how to shelter in the rain, how to protect your sleeping bag all night, how to choose the right canvas tent and how to prevent hypothermia.
Getting to know the weather also helps you understand what it would be like hiking, and what times of the year are suitable for you to go hiking at your desired destination. All of these things will play a major part in what you need to pack for the trip. Knowing that you are prepared is not only a safe way to hike, but you will enjoy it more having that peace of mind.
What Food to Take
You will find the option of pre-made meals for backpacking. However, you will find them not only expensive but without the nutritional value that you need. Packing your own food with portions you have prepared yourself is a great choice, and it gives you the freedom to customize the meals as you like.
If you are planning a short hike, don’t bother with too much food. Some hikers confess they get away with throwing anything from their pantry into their backpack. Freezer bags are an excellent way of carrying everything you might need. Just throw in dehydrated food items in a zip-lock bag, and hydrate them later when you are ready to eat by adding boiling water. That is all it takes, no cooking equipment required.
Never Buy Everything from One Place
Since it is your first time, it can get a little overwhelming to buy new gear, half of which you don’t even know how to use. Do not fall into the trap of relying on one store to get everything. Do your research before the salesman makes you spend tons of money for equipment you might not need with assurances of safety and recreation that it might not yield.
Fortunately, there are tons of good quality, affordable options for you. You can always get the major stuff from big brands that guarantee durability, but every shopping choice must be research-based.
Navigating Your Way
Before going out on the trail it is smart to make yourself familiar with landmarks and possible elevation changes. You can always invest in a topographical map to help you with this which you can study the day before the trip.
Compass is always a recommendation. Also, do not rely on gadgets that run on batteries. Look into good quality modern GPS equipment that is made to last and will not let you down in the wilderness. If you are going on an overnight camping or trip alone, it is also a good idea to tell your plan and the trails you plan to hike on to a friend or a family member in case of emergencies.
Jenny Harrison is a passionate technology and lifestyle blogger. She loves to get engaged with the readers who are seeking for home, lifestyle and tech related information on the internet. She is a featured blogger at various high authority blogs and magazines in which she shared her research and experience with the vast online community. Currently she is associated with White Duck Outdoors, an online camping tent shop that offers top quality canvas and bell tents and other outdoor camping gears. Follow her on twitter @MJennyHarrison for more updates.