Hiking isn’t a gentle stroll. It’s about strength, balance, endurance and mostly perseverance. Avid hikers will know this but let’s get back to basics and explore some of the things to keep in mind if you are planning to go on a serious hike.
Appoint a team leader
All hikes require someone to be in charge of the group unless of course, you’re doing a solo hike. Appoint someone that is familiar with the area and has hiked the trail before.
This person or someone in the party needs to carry a first aid kit with the correct supplies in it in case something was to happen on the hike. It is also the leader’s responsibility to ensure that all those on the hike have the correct gear and equipment to take with.
The team leader also has the responsibility of checking the weather updates before a hike and making sure that the group is prepared for any change in weather during the hike. You cannot always assume that the weather report will be accurate so planning is vitally important.
Plan your water requirements
The most important thing by far is your water supply. Depending on the length and level of your hike will depend on how much water you need to take. Here planning is vital too. Experienced hikers tend not to take too much water but as we’ve said careful planning is required especially in dryer conditions where water sources are few and far between.
Remember to take small steps
If you are an advanced hiker you will know that it’s all about the footwork. Where you place your feet is very important and can make you more or less efficient depending on how you do it. It can take quite a number of years of training to know where to place your feet naturally without having to think about it but don’t despair, your body will soon get used to moving in a more efficient way.
It’s also important to hike at a consistent pace – don’t start off too fast. Hiking at a consistent pace is the key to success and don’t forget to take 10-minute breaks and snack often. Good snacks to take along include cheese with crackers or some nuts. Small portions of protein will keep your energy levels up and ensure that you don’t get a dip in energy which will slow you down.
It may not seem like something that is important particularly if you are hiking in milder weather but the UV from being exposed all day to the sun can cause some serious damage to your skin if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Search for decent wide brim hat and find a sun protection cream with as high an SPF as you can find. If you are sweating you need to reapply the sun protection cream regularly to ensure you don’t burn.
One thing all experienced hikers know is that wearing lightweight, breathable and waterproof clothing can make a huge difference to your comfort during a hike. Don’t skimp on this aspect – spend a little more for good quality gear that will last and that will work in all temperatures.
Don’t forget your feet
We cannot stress this enough – look after your feet while hiking. This means keeping your toenails nice and short, so you don’t get ingrown toenails or have your nail falling off from the pressure of being squashed in your shoe. Air your feet, shoes and socks every day to make sure that they dry completely. Wash your feet after a long day as well as your socks.
Photographic equipment can be a tricky thing to arrange and depends on the length of your hike. You’ll need a lightweight camera with a good long battery life that isn’t too fragile and can take a bit of movement from being carried in your backpack.
A trail camera is often a good idea here, especially if you are camping over on your hike. They’re sturdy and once setup, you can capture some great imagery of animals moving around. Feed that game provides some in-depth reviews of various trail cameras should you wish to get your hands on one!
On that note, happy hiking!
To read more on topics like this, check out the world travel category.