Usually the first thing people do when starting out as a hiker is day hiking but for most of these people, their goal is to become an overnight hiker and traverse long beautiful scenery while camping in remote and sometimes inaccessible locations. This goal can at first seem hard to reach but all it requires is good planning, preparation and training which can slowly build you up to becoming an overnight hiker. If you have ever wanted to give overnight hiking a shot then follow our few steps to getting you on your way.
When is the right time to make the move?
Before you start to make the move to overnight hiking from day hiking you should first ask yourself are you ready for the move to overnight hiking? If day hikes no longer excite you or you are looking for a challenge then the time might be right; alternatively you could be finding it hard to truly connect with nature and get away from the city and overnight hiking is something that allows you to fully disconnect and discover more of what nature has too offer. No matter what reason you have for making the move you simply just need to make sure it is the right time for YOU and it's not just because you are being pushed by your hiking buddies or feel obligated to make the move so people see you as a ‘real’ hiker (Day hiking is hiking too!).
1. Understanding what’s involved
When making the move to overnight hiking you need to know what’s involved in undertaking your hike through outlining the hike you plan to do. Knowing what terrain you will be walking through, gear you will need to take, food you will cook and campsites you will stay at will go a long way to helping you plan and understand what you need to do to get started.
2. Planning for your goal
Once you know the outline of your hike it's time to start the planning stage which is arguably the most important part, especially for someone who is planning their first overnight hike. Make sure you know where you are walking, gear you need, food, water sources, emergency exits, campsites, peaks, and snack and meal stops. Knowing you hike and planning it in detail can help first time overnight hikers avoid problems when they get out on the trail to hike and allow more opportunities for risk free adventure.
3. Train your body
Now you know your goal and the plan that is going to get you there you need to start to look at your own physical abilities and assess if you are up for this adventure you want to take on. Doing consecutive harder day hikes can be one great way to train your body for these overnight hike conditions without needing to go out and do it straight away, this also allows you to build up your confidence with something you should already be very familiar with.
4. Prepare your gear and find a friend
Just as you should prepare your plan and your body, you should also prepare your gear in preparation for your adventure. One of the major deterrents for people to start overnight hiking is the cost of the gear needed to set out on these adventures, one great way to lower this cost, gain valuable experience and stay safer on the trail is to team up with a current overnight hiker. Hiking with someone who is experienced with overnight hiking can make planning far easier and this intern will make your hike far safer as they know exactly what you need to plan for, they will most likely also have some of the gear you need, lowering the cost of doing your hike.
5. Go for your first adventure
Once you have done your planning, packing and got your mates ready for an adventure with you, you can set off on your adventure into the bush. Setting off on your first adventure can be a big undertaking so don't hesitate to take your time and learn from others who may be more experienced in overnight hiking and can offer insights that will assist you in growing as an overnight hiker much quicker than you otherwise would.
So hopefully now you have a better understanding of the steps that need to be taken in order to move from day hiking to overnight hiking. Overnight hiking for the first time isn’t easy but the more you take on the challenge of the outdoors, the more you will learn and grow as a hiker and make it simpler to take on these challenges in the future.
Written by Josh Welch