Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, these hiking tips will make sure that you don’t just enjoy your hike, but that you also make the most of it.
- Bring enough water. I’m sure you’ve heard this tip before but it’s my number one tip for a reason. If you’ve never been hiking and run out of water before, consider yourself lucky. For those of us like myself who have gone on several hot hikes and miscalculated my water intake, I always make sure I have more than enough. Even if you don’t need as much as you bring, you never know when someone else may be in need because they didn’t bring enough water. A good rule to follow is to bring 1 liter of water for every 2 hours you’ll be hiking. If it’s a hot day, consider bringing a little more to be on the safe side. You can go a lot longer without food than you can without water.
- Tip number 1 brings me to my next tip: food. Pack easy, healthy snacks on your hike to ensure no one gets hangry on the trip and that you have enough energy for the hike. Some great snack ideas are protein bars, healthy trail mix, apples, dried fruit or beef jerky. Stay away from foods that go bad quickly, can melt in high temperatures or food that might get squished under all that water you’re carrying. You might also think about packing a light lunch such as a sandwich depending on how far you’re hiking and how hot it is. My go-to sandwich is peanut butter & jelly on hot days since they don’t need to be refrigerated; however, they do tend to get a little squished if I’m not careful.
- If you haven’t realized it by now, you’ll need to store your water and food somewhere on your hike. This brings me to my next tip: bring a backpack. The type of backpack you choose is up to you but make sure it’s comfortable for long journeys. If you’re traveling with someone else, you might even get lucky enough that all your stuff fits in one bag and you can convince them to carry it. 😉
- Research before you go. This doesn’t mean you need to extensively research everything about the hike but it is handy to know where to park, if there are entrance fees, what the weather will be like, how popular the trail is on a given day, and general directions to ensure you are fully prepared. I’d also recommend printing out a map if there’s one available.
- Take a camera. Or an iPhone or Android or something that can capture nature’s beauty. Don’t forget to enjoy the scenery in the present but you’ll want to have pictures for later so you can share with others what you saw and reminisce of the beautiful landscape.
- Wear good shoes. Good is a fairly vague word and this is for a reason. Some hikes you can hike in tennis shoes or Nikes and others you need broken in hiking boots (think Half Dome). This goes along with researching before you go. If the trail is paved, you can get away with tennis shoes but if the trail is uneven, muddy or steep, you might want to think about investing in a good pair of hiking boots.
- And finally, have fun! Hiking can be strenuous but the views are almost always worth it! Don’t forget to take in all the nature around you and enjoy being out in the wilderness.