Updated: Apr 2, 2022
Trying hiking can be hard when you don’t know what your doing so here is 10 tips to help you start your hiking journey and build the skills for you will need to get yourself going.
1. Start Small
Hiking is all about going at your own pace and working at your level, just because you aren't ready for any big hikes doesn't mean that you shouldn't hike. Everyone has a starting point so it's always good to start small, overtime you can build on your skills and take on more challenges as you wish, always make sure to be prepared for a challenge and see it not as a sign you are not ready but a test to overcome, doing this can be some of the most rewarding things you will ever do when hiking.
2. Team Up with friends
There is no need to take on a challenge alone, teaming up with friends is a great way to get started with your hiking adventures, as a buddy to go on a weekend walk, it's not only a great way to get started with hiking but spend some time with friends that you usually would not be able to in a busy week. Having a buddy or friend come with you is a great idea for your first few hikes because if anything ever goes wrong you know you have someone to count on to back you up and get help.
3. You don't need all the gear
People often make the mistake that unless you have all the gear for hiking you shouldn't do it but this couldn't be further from the truth, if you're hiking for the first time, there is no need to have all the gear that an experienced hiker would have because for most day hikes, the packing is very simple and you will probably already have everything you need to get started at home. Always pack light and bring you water bottle in a small pack, to learn more about packing for day hikes visit this article.
4. Only bring what you need
Hiking is all about being minimalistic, your goal should always be to carry as little as possible and leave behind anything unnecessary, always try to keep it simple. Keeping it simple won’t only make everything easier when it comes to packing but less challenging because you will be carrying less weight on your back, keeping this weight to an absolute minimum will ensure that you have the most fun possible, especially on your first few hikes.
5. Snacks and Water
Hiking uses lots of energy and water, to combat this it is important to plan ahead with snacks and water breaks so that you avoid the effects of exhaustion and dehydration while out on the trail. A great tip to avoid this is to pack snacks in your pockets, when your walking it's best to have as many as you can as you can always bring them home later but not the other way round. In addition to keeping yourself stocked with food, make sure to take regular water breaks so you stay hydrated.
6. Always plan ahead
Planning is arguably the most important part about hiking, without a good plan for your hike you are not only destine to fail but might put yourself and others in danger, avoiding danger is always at the heart of planning and there are many ways we do this. One way we make sure we stay safe is to bring a map that is suitable for hiking, this means it includes contours and all tracks in the area. Always make sure to mark emergency exits on your map for ways to get out in an emergency and mark these in your fire action and extreme weather plans, having all these plans will make sure everyone is safe and help everyone to understand what to do in an emergency.
7. Respect the environment
Hiking is all about enjoying nature and the environment around you but to make sure that everyone can enjoy the same environment after you it is important that you take everything you brought with you back home. Keeping parks and waterways clean means yourself and others will be able to enjoy these magical spaces well into the future and parks services will not need to spend more on cleaning up our beautiful parks. When packing make sure to include a bag of some kind to put all of this in so that you don’t forget or accidentally leave it behind.
8. Stay on the path
Staying on the path is really important, especially if you're a new hiker or do not know the area you are hiking in very well, to help stay on the path and understand where you are on the track, you should always mark the trail you are walking along on the map clearly so you know where you are meant to be following. Leaving the path can be dangerous as leaving it without knowledge of the area can lead to you getting lost and being unable to make your way back, getting lost in the bush can be very dangerous especially if you're not prepared for cold nights and don't have lots of food.
9. Tell someone
Before you leave it's always a good idea to tell someone you are going, talk to a friend about where you are going, when you are going, who you are going with and when you expect to be back. Telling people you are leaving is important because if anything was to go wrong and no one knew that you were out hiking, nobody would be able to send help. Telling someone doesn't take long, in fact it can be as simple as a phone call but it can save your life in the case of an emergency.
10. Always Double Check
Finally, always make sure to double check before you leave, you never want to leave without something you need so always double check everything, make sure you have all your maps and plans, all your gear and are prepared for the hike ahead of you. Leaving something behind can have consequences that may put you danger or ruin your hike, making the weekend away no fun and a waste of time.
Hopefully now you have learnt some of the basic skills and tips to get you started on your hiking journey, applying all these tips will almost guarantee a good time but can never guarantee everything to go well because after all, this is hiking.
Written by Josh Welch