Tips for First Time Hikers

Before setting off on a hike, whether it is a short hike or over a few days, there are many things to think about.

Planning is Important

Before embarking on any type of activity planning is the first step.  For beginners the first thing to look at is finding a trail.  Along with great horse racing betting opportunities, the Internet has many ideas, as do travel magazines.

Checklists are also important, and what food and equipment will be necessary is something you need to consider.

A great way for beginners to get into hiking is to join a hiking group.  There are many forums and blogs where beginners can find information on clubs in their areas.  These groups often organise group hikes all around the world.

Planning includes planning your route and studying the map to find the best and safest route.  Also look for places to get water.  Also look at the weather forecast for the hiking area; it is not a good idea to hike in bad weather, especially for beginners.

Being Safe

Staying hydrated is very important and not having enough water can result in dehydration, which can in turn result in hypothermia or altitude sickness.  A map and a compass are two important hiking tools.  Hikers must learn how to use both.

With improvements in technology a hiking GPS is very useful, but remember to recharge the batteries.  It is important to use sunscreen and pack in a hat and sunglasses.  There is nothing worse than getting sunstroke on a hike.

Unfortunately accidents do happen and having basic first aid knowledge and a kit will be very helpful.  Always carry a change of socks in case your socks get wet, as this will prevent blisters, which can be very unpleasant.

Taking regular breaks, 10 minutes for every hour, will help remove metabolic waste that builds up.  In case you may have to spend longer than expected on the trail keep extra food.  Always let a friend or family member know where you are going and how long you expect to be gone for.

What to Pack

When going on a hike, dress in layers.  This ensures that you will always be warm and dry.  If hiking overnight practice pitching the tent and lighting the stove to make sure that everything works.  There is nothing worse than being stranded without shelter and warmth.

A lightweight backpack is better for day trips and when doing shorter trips from the campsite.  It should be able to carry a camera, enough water and sunscreen.  Important items such as a first aid kit, torch, food and map should be easily accessible.

Water collected in the wild may need to be purified so bring along tablets or a pump purifier.  Being prepared for bad weather is vital, it may rain, a good quality waterproof jacket that is also breathable is an important clothing item.

When starting out it is best to start with shorter hikes that are still close to civilisation in case something goes wrong.  Walk at a pace that is comfortable, this will ensure that you are able to complete the hike and prevent exhaustion.