5 Things To Do Before Your First Hike
You don’t have to be a wilderness explorer to undergo a fun and exciting hike!
In a digital age, more and more of us are looking to use the outdoors as a stress reliever and to escape from our busy lives. One study has even shown that activities such as hiking can decrease your stress hormones by more than 15%!
So to harness this incredible power for yourself, we thought we would break down 5 fantastic tips to consider BEFORE heading outside so whether you are trekking alone or with a friend, you can stay prepared, safe and in control!
Let’s get started so you can get hiking!
1) Footwear Is King!
You won’t be getting far on your hike without a good pair of shoes to help you along the way! Walking/Hiking shoes are important for no end of reason, not only do they support your foot and ankle, but will allow you to walk further, for longer and most are designed to adapt to any kind of climate and walking conditions such as:
• Rocky outcrops
• Mountain paths
• And many others
For a great ‘all around shoe’, we’d recommend something like an Altberg Malham, it’s sturdy, secure and will definitely help you through those muddy patches! We love this boot so much, we even featured it in our favourite boots for dog walking for those who want to bring their furry friends along for the adventure too!
When it comes to finding the right walking boot, it’s important to get your shoes fitted properly. Too loose and your feet won’t be supported, too tight and you’ll be in agony before you even set off! Read our guide on how to buy walking shoes that fit properly here.
2) What Gear to Take With You
Not only do we love outdoor gear, but after a long walk, you sure will too! A lot of our backpack essentials come into play here.
Now if you’re just heading out for a day walk, then a simple backpack will suffice. But if you’re really looking to be adventurous and are planning more than one trek this year, then consider looking into a reliable and sturdy walking day pack. These packs are not only designed to keep your kit safe, but also will help support your shoulders and back whilst trekking.
A great choice here could be something like an Osprey Daylite Travel. For something a little more heavy duty, or if you are particularly looking to camp overnight, you’ll definitely want a full hiking rucksack to allow for storing all of your kit. Something like a Mammut Ducan Spine 50-60 would be perfect here, allowing for even distribution of the backpack’s weight over the body. More freedom of movement for the hips and shoulders.
The next essential piece of kit you’ll definitely want is a lightweight, sturdy water bottle! The absolute last thing you want is to head out be in the middle of a field then realise you’ve left your water at home or even worse – You’ve used a cheap plastic bottle that has split and gotten all of your kit wet!
The wilderness is fun and all, but it still needs respect, that is why we ALWAYS recommend taking a first aid kit of some kind with you. This doesn’t have to be an all singing all dancing kit to suit every possible eventuality, but plasters, bandages and antiseptic wipes are a must!
For more on how to pack the perfect first aid kit, read our guide!
Don’t forget about the time too! Walking in the dark can be incredibly dangerous, make sure you know exactly when the sun is going to set and if you do find yourself walking at night, make sure you’ve got a reliable torch in your bag!
The final piece of kit is something that a lot of people overlook. Not only do we always recommend bringing a printed map of your trek, but a compass can really do some work! Whilst most smartphones have these options available, they’re not foolproof (as we’ll cover in a moment!) so having a physical compass and a printed reference map will make sure you’re always following the right path!
3) Tell Someone Where You’re Going
This is a BIG one and something you should absolutely do every time you head out on any kind of adventure, even if it is with a friend. If you’ve seen 127 hours, you’ll know why…
Whilst we do live in a digital age where it’s easier to get in touch with someone than ever before, phones die, signals get lost and devices break when you’re least expecting them to. The absolute last thing you’ll want to happen is a twisted or broken ankle then not being able to get in touch with someone.
Before any hike, show someone your route, roughly how long you think you’ll be and what to do if they don’t hear from you after a certain amount of time. It could just save your life!
4) Keep Warm
Obviously this one is dependent on climate and the season which you’re hiking in, but for those winter walking lovers out there, staying warm is essential!
Not only will having the right jacket keep you warm and dry, but it’ll make your time outside so much more enjoyable. Something like a Mammut Rime Inflex is a perfect choice that will cover you for almost any weather!
The same goes for those often neglected areas! Walking socks are essential for not only keeping your feet warm, but also provide another fantastic layer of support and comfort for your feet. Likewise, a decent pair of gloves and hat will go an awfully long way in keeping your journey comfortable, warm and enjoyable!
5) Stay Safe!
The final (and perhaps most obvious) tip we have for the beginner trekker is to stay safe! Being outside is fun and makes memories that will last a lifetime, however without proper respect to your surroundings, things can go south fast…
Does that river current look a little stronger than you thought? Maybe look for a safer place to cross. Are those rocky outcrops covered in some kind of slippy moss or wet? Keep your eyes peeled!
Finally, watch where your feet are going! Rabbit holes, burrows and other dips in the landscape are inevitable and can easily result in injury, so it’s important to stay vigilant!
There you have it, all you’ll need to get your first trek well underway! We love hearing about where our customers are travelling and where you’re heading next! Get in touch today on social media using the #ForTheOutdoors!