A Beginner’s Guide To Hiking
Hiking opens up a world of adventures and absolutely everyone should experience it at least once in their lifetime. Whether it be an expansive remote wilderness or simply the little forest next to your hometown, walking through nature strengthens your body as much as it cleanses the mind. Walking in nature is some of the best exercises you can do.
This type of workout is suitable for people of all ages, shapes, and sizes as there is a pace and a terrain to suit all fitness and ability levels. Depending on your personal fitness level, you can either go on a two-week trekking tour to climb the Mount Everest or you can merely enjoy a one-hour walk through some flat countryside. While you do not need any special training to prepare for your first hiking trip, you must definitely not set forth without some of the right equipment.
For those who always dreamed of exploring the world on foot but still wonder how to get started, here’s everything you need to know.
First and foremost, hikers always adhere to the rule “comfort trumps appearance”. Different body shapes come with different needs and challenges. However, your hiking clothes should always feature two essential criteria, namely breathability and elasticity.
If you have a strong tendency to sweat, it is particularly important that you opt for clothes made of permeable fabrics. Female hikers should furthermore rely on undergarments which help to stabilize soft tissue around the hip and breast area. In this regard, women with curvy figures may easily find a variety of tight and yet comfortable sportswear through the online shopping site of an inclusive clothing brand. Although men do not have to worry about the right sports bra, their skin equally suffers damage without professional gear. To avoid unpleasant itching and allergic reactions, you should stick to smooth and stretchy materials. Overall, the following fabrics have proven most suitable for fitness activities:
- calico (an environmental-friendly type of cotton)
Prepare For Any Weather
Your level of comfort depends not only on whether your clothes fit your body, but also on whether they fit the climate. While out in nature, you may always hope for the best, yet you should prepare for the worst. Without the proper clothes and accessories, blazing sunshine can feel just as unpleasant as pouring rain. Even if you cannot spot one cloud in the sky by the time of departure, you should still take a light, water-resistant raincoat with you. Likewise, never leave your house without sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat. Neither a refreshing breeze nor the occasional shade under a tree shields us from the damage that UV radiation inflicts upon our skin and eyes.
If you are bringing a smartphone, there are all kinds of great weather apps you can download to keep you updated throughout your hike.
Choose the Right Boots
“These boots were made for walking”
When it comes to footwear, hikers must again abide by the mantra “function before fashion.” Regardless of current weather conditions, solid and closed shoes are of paramount importance when you are exploring unpaved and steep territories. Even the most experienced trekking experts will eventually slip and fall if they depend on cheap sandals or sneakers. Apart from possible accidents, you also risk painful blisters when your shoes do not fit perfectly. Therefore, you should seek professional advice at a specialized retail store before you make a purchase. Once you have found the right pair, make sure to prevent skin abrasions on your feet by rubbing them with Vaseline and wearing socks without exception – no matter how sweaty you may feel.
Another tip is to make sure you “wear them in” before setting out on a big hike. I do this by wearing them around my home or maybe taking a little stroll down to the store in them to break them in and stretch them out.
When preparing supplies for your first hiking trip remember that less is usually more.
Just one pound too many can lead to severe back pains after hours of marching or climbing. Hence, you should think twice about any object that you want to put in your backpack. Many accessories which seem indispensable in everyday life have little to no value in the wilderness (VCR player and Sega Mega Drive for example). You do not need make-up, an extra sweater or elaborate cooking utensils for your lunch break. Instead, you will most likely come through as long as you take the following necessities with you:
- a sharp pocket knife
- food and water
- hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen
- rain coat
- band-aids and tissues
Those necessities which you cannot leave behind should weigh as little as possible. By way of example, pack nutrient-dense snacks such as cereal bars instead of vegetables with high water content.
If you are looking for the right pack to take on a hike, then check out our post about the best backpacks for hikes.
Last but not least, safety always comes first when you embark on a tour through unknown and rough terrain. Sometimes, a minor slip can lead to a deadly fall down a hidden ravine. Aside from injuries, dehydration ranks among the most common causes of a hiking tour turning into a tragedy. You should therefore adhere to the following guidelines at all times:
- Pack at least one additional bottle of water.
- Take a cell phone and a portable charger with you.
- Never separate from your group.
- If you go on a solo trip, make sure to inform somebody about your plans so that they can take action immediately if you will not return in due time.
Has this got you in the mood for hiking? Then be sure to check out our epic guide to the best hikes in Pakistan!