Hiking for Beginners [6 Essential Tips]
I know going on a hike for the first time can seem overwhelming.
I’m here to make things a little easier for you with my top tips for beginner hikers!
Day hiking is a great way to experience the outdoors, get some exercise, and even take a break from social media.
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE to experience nature. If you’re a beginner hiker, this post is for YOU.
Let’s start with a video on hiking for beginners:
TIPS FOR BEGINNER HIKERS
Tip #1: Tell somewhere where you’re going and when you’re expected to be back.
This is such an easy and quick thing to do before a hike. I know you might think that it’s not necessary for a day hike, but since it takes almost no time to do, why not?
It also provides peace of mind to know that when you’re out on the trails, someone back at home knows where you are.
If you’re nervous about hiking, this tip can help alleviate some of that anxiety.
Tip #2: Make sure everyone in your hiking group knows the hiking plan.
If you’re hiking with other people (which I recommend), make sure everyone in the group knows the route you’re planning to hike.
If you’re hiking with experienced hikers, make sure you’re an active participant in the planning and navigation.
It’s temping to let other more experienced people plan everything, but I really recommend that you make sure you also know the plan, carry a map, and be prepared to navigate.
If you get separated from the group for some reason, you need to know where you are and how to get back to the trailhead.
In addition, knowing the plan will help you mentally prepare for the distance and duration of the hike.
Tip #3: Check the weather right before your trip
Of course you want to check the weather before your trip, however, the weather can change quickly in the mountains.
Sometimes, if the area you’re planning to hike in is remote, it can be really hard to even find a weather forecast for that exact location.
That’s why it’s important to pack extra layers, and maybe even your rain gear.
When I go hiking in the mountains, I almost always bring my rain jacket, even if there’s no chance of rain.
If the weather forecast predicts crappy weather, consider hiking another day.
You don’t want to be out hiking in exposed areas during a lightning storm.
Tip #4: Be aware of local wildlife.
Do some research on the local wildlife in the area that you’re hiking.
For example, if you’re traveling in bear country, you might need to pack bear spray.
In the desert, there are rattlesnakes and so you might want to consider wearing high-top boots.
It’s important to know what animals are around, so that you can take additional precautions and know how to avoid them.
LEARN MORE: 7 Tips for Desert Hiking (that you NEED to know)
Tip #5: Carry the 10 essential systems.
The 10 essentials are the things you should carry on every day hike.
If something unexpected happens and you have to stay out longer than you thought, you’re going to be so glad you packed these things.
In short, the ten essentials include packing extra food, extra water, extra clothing, a knife, a first aid kit, a headlamp, a way to start a fire, an emergency shelter, sun protection, and navigation.
While this might seem like a lot for a day hike, I assure you that it’s not. Most of these things are very small and lightweight!
They won’t take up much space in your pack, and after a few hikes, it will become habit to pack them.
A lot of these items can be left in your day pack so they’re always there when you go hiking. For example, I have a headlamp just for day hiking that I always leave in my day hiking backpack.
Tip #6: Remember to look up.
Going for a hike is an awesome way to clear your head, get some exercise, and take a step back from social media and the demands of your to-do list.
I’ve noticed that a lot of beginner hikers spend the entire hike looking down at their feet.
This makes sense, because you don’t want to trip over something, but it also means that you’re not looking around at the scenery.
Make sure you stop a few times throughout your hike to take a deep breath, look up, and notice nature all around you.
Take this time to rest and recharge.
LEARN MORE: 5 Benefits of Time in Nature
I hope you find these tips for beginner hikers helpful!
When I first started hiking, I didn’t know what I was doing, and I learned a lot of these hiking tips the hard way.
I want you to feel confident and prepared on the trails, so if you have any questions about your first hike, ask me in the comments below.
See you out there,
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