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Hiking is an incredibly rewarding activity that can help you stay in shape, connect with nature, and spend quality time with friends and family. Whether you are just starting out or have been hiking for years, there are always new tips to learn. Here we will share some of the most essential tips for beginning hikers – from choosing the right gear to staying safe while hitting the trails. So grab your backpack and get ready to explore!
When my twins were little, our family got pretty big into hiking. Every weekend we headed out on a hike with our oldest by our side and our twins in packs on our backs.
Sadly, hiking has fallen to the wayside as our kids got into soccer and other activities. That said, we hope to get back into hiking this year. In a way, we feel a bit like beginners again, with our twins now needing to make their way on the trail themselves, and a teen that would rather be on his phone.
I looked back on how we got into hiking the first time to think about what we needed to consider when taking our twins on their first major hikes. I am excited to share what we learned the first time and will be doing this time to get back into our favorite outdoor activity.
Keep reading to get tips for beginning hikers and you will be hitting the trails in no time.
Tips for Beginning Hikers
Getting into hiking can seem overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start. How do you pick trails? What should you wear? What should you bring? Don’t worry; we have all the answers.
Knowing the basics of hiking – from choosing a trail to selecting the right gear – can help ensure that your trips are safe and enjoyable for everyone involved.
By following some simple tips, such as wearing layers of clothing, bringing plenty of water, and being aware of potential hazards along the way, even beginner hikers can have a successful outing on the trails. With just a little preparation and knowledge about proper outdoor etiquette, anyone can become an experienced hiker in no time!
How To Choose A Hiking Trail As A Beginner Hiker
It is essential for beginner hikers to know how to choose the right trail for their outdoor adventure. There are many factors to consider, such as terrain and difficulty level, when selecting a path. To help make the process easier, there are some great resources available online and through apps that can provide detailed information on different hiking trails.
One of the most important tips for choosing a trail is to select one within your physical abilities. Before heading out, it’s best to get familiar with the terrain you will be facing by researching the trail ahead of time.
Websites like AllTrails and apps like TrailLink offer comprehensive descriptions of trails across North America, including elevation gains, estimated hiking times, and user reviews. Apps like Gaia GPS even allow users to download maps before they set off so they can track their progress while on their hike.
It’s also important to think about other factors such as weather conditions before committing to a particular path. Weather forecasts can provide important insight into potential risks associated with certain trails during specific seasons or times of the year.
Additionally, sites such as Hiking Project list details about any unique difficulties that may be present along popular hiking routes. Knowing this information ahead of time helps hikers plan accordingly and stay safe in any situation.
Overall, it is essential for beginner hikers to do their research and select trails that suit their individual abilities and preferences. By utilizing online resources and apps like those mentioned above, new adventurers can easily find trails that meet their needs without taking unnecessary risks or putting themselves in danger.
With just a bit of preparation and an understanding of what makes a good hiking trail for beginners, anyone can have a successful outing on the trails!
Tips for Beginning Hikers On Starter Trails
Hiking is a great way to get out into nature and explore its beauty. But sometimes it can be intimidating, especially if you are new to hiking or haven’t done it in a while. That’s why it’s important to start slow and ease your way into the activity.
Start by picking flatter trails that don’t require too much of an elevation gain or technical skill. You can also take advantage of beginner-friendly “nature walks” that many parks, trails, and recreation areas offer. These are usually shorter, easier routes designed for visitors who want to get some exercise without going too deep into the woods.
Once you’re comfortable with shorter hikes on flatter terrain, you can slowly begin to increase the intensity of your hikes. For example, try hiking more challenging trails with more elevation gain or adding some extra distance to your outing.
My family began by walking weekly on our city’s greenbelt, nature center, or other park paths. We then worked up to reserves with small or short inclines. Finally, we began doing longer, semi-steep inclined trails that were local to us before taking on bigger trails away from home.
As you become more experienced, you may even want to consider tackling longer multi-day backpacking trips over rough terrain. By gradually building up your strength and endurance, you’ll be better equipped for future adventures in the great outdoors.
Along with increasing difficulty levels when selecting trail routes, you should also make sure that you are wearing appropriate gear while hiking. Even if it’s just a shorter nature walk, wear shoes and clothing that would be suitable for more difficult terrain—this will help you get used to the gear before taking on tougher challenges in the future and ensure that you stay safe throughout your hike.
Start by selecting manageable trails and gradually increase their difficulty level as your skills grow; make sure to also always bring relevant equipment so that you understand how it works before diving into more demanding treks later on down the road.
What To Wear When Hiking
When it comes to hiking, the right apparel is essential for a safe and enjoyable experience. Whether you’re just starting out or have been hitting the trails for years, choosing the right clothing can make all the difference in your outdoor adventure.
The key to successful dressing while hiking is layers. Layering allows you to adjust your clothing depending on changes in temperature and weather conditions throughout your hike.
Start with a base layer of lightweight synthetic or wool material that will keep you dry and comfortable against your skin. Then add additional layers as needed – such as a long-sleeved shirt, fleece jacket, or waterproof shell – that are appropriate for both the environment and weather conditions at hand.
It’s also important to choose materials that won’t weigh you down; opt for breathable fabrics like nylon or polyester rather than cotton since they wick away moisture more effectively than other materials do.
Additionally, bring along an extra layer (like a light windbreaker) in case temperatures drop during your outing so that you stay warm even if caught off guard unexpectedly.
Of course, for short hikes, some of these won’t be necessary, so use your best judgment or read what other hikers have mentioned needing on the websites mentioned above.
What Gear To Bring With You On Your Hike
When it comes to preparing for a hike, it is important to have the right gear. This will vary depending on the length, difficulty, and environment of the hike. Beginner hikers should ensure they have all the essential items for a safe and enjoyable experience.
For starters, every hiker should bring plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized throughout their trail.
A reusable water bottle or hydration pack is a great option for longer hikes when multiple refills are necessary. If you plan on longer hikes where you may need to use natural resources to refill your water, be sure to bring a proven sanitation method, such as a LifeStraw.
It’s also important to bring energy-dense foods like energy bars, trail mix, or jerky that can provide quick boosts of energy when needed.
A good pair of hiking boots is also a great investment for any outdoor excursion since they provide extra support and traction on uneven terrain. They should be waterproof with durable soles to protect your feet from rocks and other obstacles you may encounter along the way. Brands like Merrell offer lightweight yet supportive styles that are perfect for beginner hikers. They also are great for those with wide feet.
I personally suggest going to a sporting or outdoors store such as REI or Cabella’s and trying on different boots before buying. When you find some you like, be sure to price compare between online sellers like Amazon.
For shorter, more groomed trails, cross-trainer shoes will do for beginners until you are ready and able to invest in a good pair of hiking boots.
Additional Items That You May Need When Hiking
Other gear you may need include a headlamp or flashlight in case you end up out after dark; a small first aid kit in case of an emergency; sunglasses; sunscreen; insect repellent; toilet paper; a map or GPS device; and a cell phone if possible (make sure it’s fully charged!).
If your adventure involves overnight camping, additional gear will be necessary. For example, you may require a tent, sleeping bag/pad/pillow combo, camping stove/cookware set/utensils for cooking meals outdoors as well as clothes suitable for colder temperatures if you plan on being out after sundown.
Fortunately, Amazon offers an array of products that meet these specifications so no matter what your needs are there’s something available to suit them!
At the end of the day, what you need to bring on your hike will depend largely on where you’re headed and how long you plan on staying but by following these basic guidelines beginner hikers can ensure they have all their bases covered before heading out into nature!
Tips For Enjoying Your Hike as A Beginner Hiker
I have loved hiking and have also been miserable hiking. And I am not talking about aching muscles. From overcrowded trails, poison ivy, ungroomed trails, and beyond, many things can ruin what would normally be a great hike.
Here are some top tips to help make your hiking experience enjoyable.
1. Hit The Trails Early
One of the best ways to avoid crowds on popular trails is to start early in the morning or late in the afternoon when most people aren’t out yet. This also gives you more time to complete your hike if it takes longer than expected due to unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather or an injury.
When hiking locally, we try to head out no later than seven in the morning. When hiking in popular tourist areas, we check the earliest trailhead parking is available, and plan to arrive moments after it opens. This was the case when we hiked Maona Falls on Oahu. We were so grateful we did this because the crowds coming up the trail as we went down were plentiful.
2. Base Hikes Off your Interests
When choosing a hike, base it on your interests. A flat hike around a meadow may not appeal to you, but maybe a hike with coastal views does. Knowing that you will enjoy the view, animal and plant life, and experience will not only make the hike more enjoyable but will help motivate you before and during the hike.
To find hikes that will interest you, you can use the hiking websites mentioned earlier, or simply google terms such as “waterfall hikes near ___.” Also joining hiking communities on Facebook, or other forums will help you find hikes you may enjoy.
3. Hiking with Kids? Make It A Game
If you are hiking with kids, and a bit worried about the idea of them getting bored, whining, or just not having a good time, try turning the hike into a game.
Create a list of items that they may see on the hike and turn it into a game of “I Spy.”
Hiking is a wonderful outdoor activity and an excellent way to explore the world. By following the tips mentioned in this article, beginning hikers have all the tools they need to start their hiking journey safely and confidently. From acquiring proper gear to dressing for the weather, now you can prepare for hikes with ease.
Don’t be intimidated by getting started – hiking is an activity that just about anyone can enjoy! Don’t wait any longer – lace up those hiking boots, prepare your pack and get out there today!