If you’re new to outdoor hikes and are really scared about that next trail, we’re here to help. Mother Nature has a lot to offer, and being in the wild will help you think more positively, as well as increase your general well-being. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of hiking/ backpacking tips for beginners so you can really feel at home in the wild.
This is the first thing on our list because packing wrong can ruin your trip. Taking too many things, and stacking them badly in a poorly chosen backpack can give you all sorts of aches and pains. That leads to bad sleep, which equals bad mood and less stamina.
The first thing you can do is getting the proper backpack for your journey. Depending on where you’re going and how long your trip will last, you can choose the appropriate size.
It’s obvious that you shouldn’t get a small pack, but don’t get one that’s too big either. You’ll be tempted to fill it with unnecessary equipment. And if that doesn’t happen, your gear will move and slosh inside.
The right way to pack is by placing the heavier, bulkier things at the bottom, like your sleeping bag. Next are the things you’ll only use around camp, followed by clothes and food. The gear you need handy should be placed in the pockets, and a rain jacket can sit comfortably on the outside of your pack.
Get the right equipment
You should only carry the necessary stuff. Of course, you should still take some precautions, like a flashlight even if you’re not planning an overnight stay, or a compass although you have a GPS.
But in regards to clothes, you should keep your equipment to a minimum. That entails getting versatile items, like long pants with zippers that can be transformed into shorts. Or a rain jacket that can be made into a tarp in case of an emergency.
Also, choosing the best multi-tool should be on your priority list. You don’t just need a knife, you might also require a screwdriver, a mini-flashlight or a place to store your waterproof matches.
Our main advice is to get all the essentials for survival: a first aid kit, a water purifier, waterproof matches, flashlight, phone, map, compass and some energy bars.
Learn to dress
Dressing for success when you’re hiking creates the right mindset. You don’t want too many clothes that weigh heavily or inconvenience you, but you also don’t want to feel cold.
So the key here is to dress in layers, which you can remove or add depending on the weather. Just remember not to get anything made from cotton, since this material absorbs moisture and increases heat loss. The best materials are polyester and merino wool since they’re light, moisture-wicking and resistant.
You should also get a large-brim hat to protect your neck and face from the sun, as well as a pair of sunglasses. Remember to put on sunscreen, regardless of the weather, and grab a bottle of bug repellant too.
But shoes are a top priority too. So make sure they support your ankles, cushion your soles and have a toe reinforcement. You’ll probably be going up and down on the trails, so you need your feet safe.
Can’t enjoy being outdoors if you don’t take it easy. If you don’t have a good fitness level, some higher-difficulty trails might not be right for you. Also, remember to walk slowly when going up or downhill, and take frequent breaks.
Having enough water and some high-calorie snacks is essential to ensure your energy levels are high. But if you take these breaks often, you’ll find that food tastes better and that you can enjoy your experience.
You can take a couple of snapshots or a few carefully staged photos of the trees, grass, rocks or insects around you. That’s because getting to know Mother Nature leads to you falling in love with her.
Meet new people
It’s an unwritten rule that hikers should be friendly to each other. If you stay overnight at a bigger camping spot, with tourists from all around the world, you can meet new, inspiring people.
You can discover new things about other places, tell stories or learn new hacks that will make your hiking trip better.
Or, if you’re going alone and aren’t any other new people around, you can use the time by rediscovering yourself. Use the time to read, meditate and look around. You might be surprised at what you find out about yourself.
Enjoy the night
Imagine all the cool things you can do if you spend the night. The first thing is building a campfire, which is always a great occasion for storytelling and reminiscing, as well as cooking marshmallows.
Another good idea is to take night photos of the wildlife or do some general observation. And what can be better than marveling at the thousands of stars visible to the naked eye at night? The Milky Way has a lot to offer to beginner astronomers and this is definitely food for the soul.
However, to do all that you need to get the best night vision for your purpose. Even if these activities aren’t your cup of tea, you need night vision as a survival tool.
Speaking of survival and emergencies, some people can’t enjoy a hiking trip because they’re scared of getting lost or injured. But there’s nothing better to ease your mind about that than learning some survival skills.
Before backpacking, learn how to build a shelter, how to find water and how to use the triangulation method to find your way back. Plus, learning new abilities is fun and challenges your little gray cells. And if you’ve packed your emergency equipment, you’re all set.
The best advice we can give you is to keep an open mind and stop stressing out. If you’re prepared with the right equipment and knowledge, just go with the flow and allow yourself to actually relax.
But we’re curious to hear from you. What scares you the most about being in the wild? What are you looking forward to the most? The comment section is just below.