What You Need to Know as a Hiking Newbie

First time Hikers

Hiking is a fun, low-impact workout that nearly anyone can do, and it also offers many mental and physical benefits. If you’re new to hiking, it might seem a little intimidating. If you’ve not been very active in the past or were only involved with structured activities like sports or working out in the gym, it can be intimidating to try something new.

But the great thing about hiking is that it can be straightforward to do and it’s free. It would be best to find a trail that you have permission to be on and start moving. Of course, there are some things that Camping Necessities recommend to every newbie should know to help them make the most of their journey and be safe while hiking.

So, let’s take a look at those things here.

Start Small

If you’re a hiking newbie, don’t try to do anything big and crazy on your first day. Take your time, start small, and soak up all the great things to see and do. Listen to your body and remember that you may not feel tired or sore until the next day, so don’t overdo it.

Learn the Trail

Another important step as a newbie is to learn the trail you are hiking on. Some of the best places to go hiking are local state parks, where you will find the trails marked and labeled, and there are maps to show where you are going. Most parks also level their trails so you can do Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced trails. Some will also have apps that you can download on your phone to help you find your way and learn more about the path you are hiking.

Use the Right Shoes

It sounds obvious, but you must have the proper footwear. The shoes you wear while hiking will keep you safe from injury and make it easier to hike longer distances. Appropriate shoes and socks will protect your feet while you’re on the trails and are an investment you want to make. Painful feet can completely ruin your hike. If you’re doing light trails, a good pair of trainers or walking shoes might do you just fine. For more challenging trails, you’ll want some quality hiking boots. But you don’t need big, heavy boots. You can look at the many types of “light hikers” available.

Check the Weather

It’s essential you know what the weather will be like before you go and understand that it can and will change. This is especially true if you are hiking up a mountain and the elevation is changing. The weather can be unpredictable, but park guides will know more about what type of adverse weather you are likely to face and can help you prepare.

Tell Someone Where You Are

You should never, ever go hiking without someone knowing where you are and when you are expected to return. If possible, you should always walk with a buddy or in a group. But, at the very least, you need someone who knows where you are and that you check in with them whenever you can and when you are safely finished with your hike.

Pack Properly

The same as great shoes and socks, sensible packing will help you have a more comfortable hike. You should bring many essential things with you, and when you pack correctly, you’ll be able to fit them all in and not feel like you’re carrying too much stuff. Some examples of the essentials you will need are items for navigation, sun protection, a first aid kit and supplies, nutrition, hydration, and insulation (extra clothing for layering).

Pace Yourself

Once you get a feel for hiking and you see how great it is, you may want to do more and more. That’s great but remember to pace yourself.

Clean Up

Practice the mantra “leave no trace.” This is important when camping, hiking, or spending any time in nature. If you plan to use a generator you would make sure it’s working before you leave for your camping trip.  The idea is to leave nature exactly how you found it. This means not veering off the path and trampling over any vegetation or plants, not leaving any trash behind, or littering anywhere in the hiking area.

Hiking is different from walking on a paved path, on a track, or even on a treadmill. It has unpredictable terrain, which challenges your muscles and body so that regular walking does not. There is also so much to see and experience that it’s good for the spirit and mind.

Will you try a new hike one day soon?