How to prepare for your first hiking? We have compiled a list of essential tips for beginner day hikers to help you do so. Knowing how to stay safe while hiking is important. A lot of things are learned by doing but learning how to hike for beginners shouldn’t be one of them. We want you to be as prepared as possible when you step out into nature so that you have a safe and enjoyable hike.
9 Essential tips to prepare for hiking
1. Make sure you let somebody know where you are going
Whether it’s a short trip to the park, a day hike, or backpacking make sure somebody knows where you’re going, what time you’ll be there, how long do you expect to be there, and a time to check in on you.
Even if it’s a spontaneous trip it’s super easy just to text somebody the info and go.
2. Start small and choose the correct trail for your fitness level
Recognize your abilities and the abilities of the people in your group and then pick a trail that fits everyone’s abilities and that you can all complete your hike safely.
3. Familiarize yourself with the trail before you go out
Know what the terrain is like, how long the trail is, where possible water sources on the trail are. Knowing what the trail is like before you go out will help you to prepare better for hiking.
4. Cut your toenails
I know that may sound a little funny but from personal experience, if your toenails are a little too long the way that your toes move and lay while you’re hiking they can cut into your other toes which can result in a painful experience.
Also on those constant downhills, your toes can push into the front of your shoe’s toe box and cause your toes to feel bruised. So not having short enough toenails when you’re out on the trail can actually result in a pretty painful experience.
So make sure you just trim those down before you go out.
5. Prepare for lack of cellular coverage
Don’t rely heavily on your cell phone because where you’re at may not have good reception or reliable cellular service. Consider bringing a personal locator beacon if you need to call for help.
If you are going to use your cell phone make sure to keep the battery fully charged. You can actually get a solar power or battery-operated charger off of Amazon at a reasonable price.
Searching for cellular coverage can actually drain your phone’s battery pretty quickly so maybe consider turning your phone off or on to airplane mode until you need it.
6. Respect the trail
There are actually four aspects to this.
- Leave no trace. That means do not litter. Pack out everything that you pack in and this includes your biodegradable items like fruit peels.
- Do not leave the trail. Leaving the trail could actually harm the sustainability of the trail and hurt the ecosystem and habitat around you.
- Don’t take anything from nature. Don’t disturb nature. Leave the animals where they are and don’t take anything from the trail or around the trail. Taking things that naturally occur can hurt the habitat and the ecosystem. Take nothing but memories and pictures.
- Be considerate of other hikers. Most people go out into nature to enjoy nature and it’s peacefulness and when you hear all the loud talking or playing of music that can actually disturb it. So I like to think of it as a library. Also being considerate includes moving to the side of the trail, not stopping in the middle of it, and letting other hikers that are faster than you go around you.
7. Knowing the local flora and wildlife can help you in properly prepare for hiking
Like I mentioned leave the animals alone and don’t feed them. Store your food in the proper containers, resealable bags, or a bear container if need be. Also if there are bears in the area make sure to bring some bear spray.
Also, be aware of insects and ticks. Repellent, netting, long sleeve shirts, long sleeve pants are the best ways to protect yourself from insect bites. Also, make sure to check your clothing and your body for ticks during and after your hike.
8. Check the weather before going out will help you to prepare better for hiking
You also need to know how to properly respond to a storm if it does occur. You want to check the sky throughout your hike to look for changing weather patterns and if a storm does occur make sure to turn back if you can.
Avoid panicking because panicking can lead to accidents and careless mistakes. Also don’t run because that could lead to injury from tripping or falling. If there’s lightning make sure to avoid tall solitary trees, water, and shallow caves or overhangs.
The best place to be in this scenario is within a group of trees that are around the same height and a low-lying area.
9. To better prepare for hiking, be aware of everything around you and where you are
When hiking it can be super easy to focus on your feet to make sure you’re not going to trip or fall and although that’s good you need to look around you and be aware of everything that’s around you.
That means using all of your senses. Listen, look, smell. Be alert. Not only is it safe for you to be mindful of everything around you it also helps you to enjoy your hike better.
When you’re aware of the nature around you you’re more susceptible to take it all in and enjoy that experience and that peace and that beauty.
10. Preparation is key
You need to be prepared when you go out on your hike. That means taking things like extra layers, a water purification system, a headlamp.
All right guys we hope you enjoyed the article and we hope that it helps you enjoy nature in a safe way. Thank you for reading. Happy Hiking!