Hiking has two extreme consequences –it can either be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, or it can go horribly wrong. The difference between both the results, however, is just planning ahead and planning thoroughly. Go through the following hiking tips to ensure that you have an adventurous and fun yet safe hiking trip and that everything goes comfortably.

Ground Rules

There are certain ground rules that you should always adhere to. You should never go on a hike by yourself, especially if it’s a tough climb. You should always have a partner to take care of you in case of an emergency where either of you is affected. It is also prudent to purchase and carry a map and compass so that you do not lose your way in the wilderness. 

Make sure you look at the weather forecast before the hike and dress accordingly. Being too warm or too cold is not the most comfortable thing during a hike. Another very important thing to carry is water. If the weather is sunny, make sure you stock up on sufficient water, as it is very common for people to get dehydrated and collapse during the trek.

Most importantly, it is crucial to pack light so that there is nothing weighing down on your shoulders as you climb. Hiking is an activity best done without a lot of additional weight on your person. If it is chilly, take a few layers of clothing with you to keep you warm, and if sunny, make sure there’s space in your bag to keep all the layers you’ll probably remove.

P.S. Additionally, make sure you always have sunscreen, a towel, sunglasses and a basic first aid kit in your backpack. A flashlight should also be kept in there in case your hike takes longer than sundown.

About Safety

Understand that no matter who you’re traveling with, your safety will always remain your own responsibility. Therefore, it is important to follow the hiking trail and move where people already have. Shortcuts should be avoided, especially if you’re a novice hiker. Maybe you’d think that on paper the distance doesn’t seem like much, but paired with the height and heat the place possess, hiking can get pretty tedious and exhausting. Hence it is important to be conservative and always be on the safer side than to take a shortcut and save a few minutes.

Make sure you have no medical conditions that might hamper your hike. Problems in the back and knees, asthma, diabetes, other heart conditions, etc are examples of some conditions which might worsen in high altitudes. Consult your doctor if you have any of these conditions. Consider taking hiking poles along with you to ease your legs and transfer some of your body weight on the stick for your comfort. 

Make sure you carry a good backpack, which is sturdy, durable and lightweight. Make sure it is not too big or too small on you and doesn’t move around a lot as you move, as added movement can often cause inconveniences for you and the others hiking as well. For footwear, hiking shoes are the best option, however, if the hike is relatively easy, gym shoes would also work. However, make sure your feet do not develop blisters in the hiking boots, as then you might get stuck in an uncomfortable position in the middle of the hike where your feet hurt too much to move.

During the Trek…

Move at a comfortable pace. A good indicator of this speed is that you should be able to walk and talk while moving at this speed. Make sure you keep moving at a slow and constant speed because if you move fast, you get much more tired and you’ll be left gasping for air every now and then. Know your body and know when to take a break. Every 30 minutes or an hour, make sure you take a break of five or ten minutes respectively.

Make sure you’ve eaten before the trek, and are carrying food for consuming during the trek. Your snacks should contain both salt and carbohydrates so that you keep getting energy and your electrolyte levels do not go too low. Also, always remember to be a Good Samaritan and carry your trash with you and not litter the trail.

Keep drinking water, keep taking a small sip of water every 20 minutes or so. The important thing to remember is that you do not wait until you get thirsty. You drink the water before you get thirsty and keep drinking it.

Finishing Strong

Who’d have known you’d need hiking tips for finishing too? However, they’re extremely important as they can make or break your mood towards the entire hike. 

Remember hiking is a two-way journey, and it is as necessary –perhaps more- to return than to reach the summit. Pack enough supplies for both the ways and make sure you time the hike properly. Assume that it will take you twice as much time to go up as coming down. This way, you can time your entire hike, and position it in such a way that you reach downhill by, or preferably before, sunset. After the sun has gone down, visibility becomes a problem and you’ll have to carry flashlights with extra batteries so that you can make sure that you always have light.

Conclusion

Hiking is arguably one of the most rewarding experiences. The feeling you get when you reach the top is indescribably beautiful. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment in knowing that you’ve successfully finished this journey that you started. What would make this feeling more rewarding is if your journey to the top was comfortable and injury-free or not. Now that you’ve read all these hiking tips, we bet you’d have a fun, safe and comfortable hike too!

People sometimes tend to take hikes as an exercise, or a chore that they have to complete. They think of hiking as a means to get to see what’s up the hill. However, the focus is on the journey, which should be enjoyable and memorable. If the journey was good, the destination becomes that much better. We hope you have a safe hike!