Welcome back hikers. This week’s blog post will focus on providing hiking tips for beginners. If you’ve been thinking about picking up hiking as a hobby or sport, but aren’t quite sure what it requires, then this is the blog post for you! We’ve broken the tips down into several sections for your convenience. Let’s get going!
When it comes to hiking, endurance is particularly important because beginners tend to overestimate their own stamina. This can lead to several problems when hiking, as there is no public transport in remote areas such as forests or mountains. This means that, should you abort your route before making it back to your car, you are unable to return. Beginners in particular should therefore heed advice on endurance when hiking. The route planning should be adapted to your own limits in order to minimize the risk of not being able to complete your hike. When in doubt, take breaks and move on at a slow pace, especially when hiking in mountainous terrain. It is also important to not underestimate the altitude difference.
If you are on the road for a long time, you should pay attention to wearing the right clothing when hiking. Jeans and shirts, or similar “everyday clothing”, can restrict movement and are often poorly air conditioned. This means that if you start a hike with a cotton T-shirt, you run the risk of catching a cold because the sweat is not absorbed and becomes cold over time. Planning how warm the clothes need to be, does not only depend on the weather at home. Temperatures can be cooler in the forest, and it can also be unexpectedly warm on the mountain. It is therefore important to check the weather of your desired destination before choosing your hiking outfit. It can also be particularly important to wear functional underwear in winter. Therefore, tips on clothing when hiking always depend on the location of the hiking area and the weather.
The Right Footwear
The right footwear is also a factor in ensuring a successful hike. It is important to find the right pair of hiking boots for each type of hike. Hiking shoes are not always cheap, but they last a long time and are robust in all weather conditions. When buying shoes, it is important to bear in mind that the feet can swell up after long walks. Therefore, they are better bought in the afternoon or evening, when the feet are slightly thicker, as opposed to buying them in the morning when your feet are at their smallest. If you are looking for shoes for difficult terrain, you should pay attention to a high and stable shaft, whereas in flat areas, low walking shoes are more suitable as they allow for more flexibility. In addition, the shoes you purchase should be waterproof and breathable. You should also be diligent when it comes to cleaning and caring for your hiking boots, so that they can remain in good condition for as long as possible.
Even if you buy the right hiking shoe, you are not protected from annoying blisters on your feet. However, there are tips against blisters when hiking that can be observed during preparation. The shoes should fit well and be laced tight. This prevents the skin from rubbing constantly with too much air. In addition, new shoes should be worn in before the first long hike. Comfortable functional socks will also help to avoid blistering.
What to Pack
The luggage should be chosen correctly, especially for the first hikes, and should not be too heavy. Of course, nothing should be missing in your luggage. In order to be prepared for clothing changes you’ll need a shirt, a rain jacket, a hat in the winter, and sunglasses, especially in summer. A small towel should also be in every hiking backpack. This is suitable for drying off in summer and as a base in winter. Other important things are your cell phone, money, ID, and a small first aid kit.
Food and Beverage During the Hike
If you plan on going on a longer hike, packing the right food is essential. If you are able to take care of yourself, you won't have to rely on restaurants or supermarkets when planning your route. It is advisable to start your day with a protein-rich breakfast. However, you should avoid eating large quantities and fatty foods. Bread rolls and easily digestible fruit, such as apples or bananas are ideal. In addition, when hiking, especially as a beginner, you should take plenty of water with you and drink large quantities regularly on the hike to stay well hydrated and thus productive.
The weather can often be a problem when hiking, not only for beginners, but also for experienced hikers as well. A weather app is therefore a good way of keeping an eye on the weather during and before the hike as rain and storms can come quickly. The thunderstorm warnings are a very important feature of the weather apps for hiking. There are also hiking apps available that include a weather function. This can help prepare for hiking easier for beginners.
The Right Route
You should prepare your tour planning well when hiking. Your route will depend on endurance, time, and weather conditions. Hiking apps and websites offer a list of suitable routes based on these factors. They can also provide information about special features, such as how to get there and when there are opportunities to take breaks. For beginners, tips regarding the number of miles are particularly important when planning a route for hiking. This depends not only on personal stamina, but also on the gradient of the path. One app that is highly recommended is AllTrails, which can be downloaded via the app store.
Now that you’ve read up on some basic tips for beginners, start planning your hike for our Hike Your Hood virtual challenge! We will take a closer look at some of these tips within the next few weeks, starting with what to wear on a hike in further detail next Friday. Stay tuned!