Guest Post by: Hannah Parker
If you’re planning a hiking day trip or weekend-long trip for the first time, you might feel lost on what to do. What are the right shoes to wear, what is the best time of day to go, and what type of trail should you go on? These are all questions you might be asking yourself right now. Lucky for you, we’ve put together a list of answers to all the important questions.
Photo by: Samuel Clara
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Train Before You Go
If you’ve never gone hiking before and are planning a trip, you might be a little out of shape. No judgment here! Hiking can be a very vigorous activity if you aren’t used to it. Not only are you exerting lots of energy from beating on your feet, but you’re also climbing uphill.
If you’re planning on going on an easy trail for your first hike you probably won’t have to worry about training. But if you want to test out a medium to difficult trail, you’ll want to be prepared. Before you go on your hike, try going on a run in the mornings every couple of days during the week.
Also try doing some weight bearing exercises for your legs. Climbing uphill can be strenuous on your legs, and if you don’t have enough muscle built up, you can seriously hurt yourself. Make sure you are physically ready for the trail you choose to go on.
Your physical safety is your first concern when you’re hiking. If you want to make the most of your first hiking trip, you want to enjoy your hike, not feel painfully weak.
Buy the Right Hiking Equipment
Unfortunately, Converse and Vans aren’t cut out for hiking on rocky trails. A pair of good sneakers will do just fine on an easier trail.
But if you’re thinking about a harder trail, you’ll want to invest in some hiking boots. Making sure your feet are comfortable and have the right support while you’re hiking. This is vital for a good hiking experience.
No one wants to come home with aching feet and scuffed up sneakers. Invest in some good quality hiking shoes that make your feet feel good, something like these Columbia boots, for your future hiking adventures.
Photo by: Holly Mandarich
Now hiking boots aren’t the only thing you need to worry about. Making sure you’re hydrated during your hike is also very important. Sure, any old water bottle will do the trick for this, but if you want to have crispy cold water during your hike? Try investing in a Hydro Flask.
Hydro Flask keeps your beverage cold for up to 24 hours. Now you might be thinking, why would I want to spend so much money on a water bottle? Well even if you aren’t planning on being a regular hiker, you can use Hydro Flask in everyday life. It keeps hot beverages warm for up to 6 hours. It’s basically like your very own water bottle/coffee mug in one, which is awesome to have on cold mornings on the trail.
Find the Perfect Hiking Trail
Depending on where you live, you might not have many hiking sites nearby. Wherever you live, google search the best hiking spot nearest to you, or check on alltrails.com
After you find a couple nearby spots, check out hiker reviews of these spots. You want to make sure other people enjoyed the trails before you embark on your hiking adventure. Read through and see if any previous hikers have any tips for a successful hike on the trail. Also keep an eye out for any mentions of a good time of day to hike.
You’ll also want to see if there’s an official website for the hiking spot you’re most interested in. If there is, check out the level of difficulty of the trails. Make sure before you go that there is trail that’s right for you. If you’re looking for an easy hike, you don’t want to go to a site that only offers difficult trails. Do a little research beforehand so that your trip will be perfect.
Find the Perfect Time to Hike
After doing a little bit of research, pick the date and time that you want to go on your hike. If you’re planning on going on a difficult hike, you might want to ask a friend to join you for safety precautions. Also, make sure you check the weather before you pick a date. You don’t want thunderstorms or a tornado blowing through while you’re in the middle of a hike.
This might seem like a no brainer, but after you’ve done all the necessary steps to get there, enjoy yourself! Be adventurous, let yourself get absorbed in the experience—safely, of course.
By this point you’ll be in shape, have all the right equipment, be on the perfect trail, and have the perfect day. You prepared well for this hike, so make the most of it. Take breaks when you need to. Stop and take in your surroundings. Let your endorphins kick in and breathe in the sweet fresh air of the outdoors.
Hannah is a writer for trekbible and dreams of being an investigative journalist, or maybe a world traveling videographer, or perhaps the next voice of NPR; basically Hannah wants to be a multimedia journalist. Her voice is too big for her small body so she likes to stand on tall surfaces and shout very, very loudly. Hannah has many passions (some including poetry and the occasional chicken nugget or two) but is always searching for her next hobby.