Going on your first hiking trip is definitely exciting. But while it’s great that you’ve decided to try something out of your comfort zone, it’s also important that you prepare properly before your first hiking trip, and if you’re planning to sleep outside, get good camping info and start reading.
So, before you head out and check out the wilderness, let’s go over how you should prepare for your first hiking trip. And what’s better than listening to someone who’s been already through the process. So to best inform yourself on how to choose essential gear, prepare and pack, also check out this beginner’s guide to backpacking put together by highly experienced hikers.
Let’s go over the most commonly forgotten things done by newbie hikers so you don’t get in an unwanted situation.
First off, make sure the trail you choose is suitable for you.
As this is going to be your very first time that you’ll be going to go on a hike, it’s important to spend some time and find yourself a suitable, moderately challenging trail.
Spend a day or two researching local trails online. Facebook hiking communities can also be of huge help, as you’ll see people that have actually been on these trails. That’s important, as you’d want to have a real look at the difficulty of the trail.
Once you’ve found a couple of choices, try and see what people are saying about it. Is it good? What kind of equipment you’ll need? And so one are all questions that you’d want the answer to.
Then, it’s time to check the weather.
Ok, you’ve got the trail of choice, you most likely know the day you’ll be hiking, so now what’s left for you to do is to make sure the weather will be suitable for hiking.
Although it’s a small thing to do, many people who’re new to the whole hiking and camping thing forget to check the weather and are often caught redhanded in the wild. And that’s not a situation you’d want to be in as a noobie.
Your phone has a fairly reliable app, and you can find numerous websites that provide good information about the weather in the territory of the trail that you’ll be hiking.
And make sure you have all the important phone numbers saved.
As you’ll be hiking in a park, it’s important to have all the important emergency phone numbers saved in your phone.
Often times the local authorities will have a hotline for hikers to call if needed. Those can be found on county websites, or just by getting in touch with the local authorities and asking for the number.
And make sure you share your plans with someone.
You’re going out in the wild. As everything can happen, make sure you’ve told someone your exact location, when you plan to leave, when you plan to return and also regularly check-in.
You’d be surprised by the number of times that people are reported missing, but they just forgot to share with close ones that they’re going on a hike without cell coverage.
So, skip yourself the fake emergency and write down the coordinates, days of leaving and returning. And don’t forget to check in regularly.
Last, but not least, make sure you bring enough food and water.
Once again, you’re going into the wilderness. While it may be a visited trail, make sure you have enough water and food in your backpack.
Also, make sure to avoid drinking any caffeine and alcohol as they’ll dehydrate you. Also, make sure you pack enough nuts, jerky and peanut butter, as they have enough calories and energy to keep you going if you have to spend more time than expected in the wild.
Bonus tip: Make sure you get a battery pack.
And no, you don’t need it just so you can browse Instagram. Grab a good battery pack so you be sure your smartphone has enough juice in case you need to make an emergency call.
On top of that, drastic temperature changes can drain your phone battery quicker than you think, so keep that in mind.
All in all, preparation is key to enjoy a good ol’ hiking trip. Make sure you’ve got everything you need, plan thoroughly and inform a friend or a family member where you’re going and when you plan to return.
Also, don’t forget to bring yourself a blanket, and put on some comfortable shoes as you’ll be in for some bad time if you decide to go with your sneakers.
And make sure to leave no trace after you. Keep your trash with you and even try to pick up plastic if you stumble upon them while hiking.