Hiking is one of the great outdoor activities that we are able to indulge in. It is a way that most of us find adventure and explore. An outlet for some and a hobby for others, people can hike any time of the year, with the right equipment of course.
Use some common sense. Don’t go someplace you are not prepared for and make sure you have a way to get back. The following will be for a single day hike only and not for overnight excursions.
Too many people think it’s okay to go on a hike wearing board shorts and flip-flops. Yes, you might be spontaneous or romantic but this is a great way to get lost, stuck, or injured in an unreachable location to emergency services. You really need to be wearing at least decent clothes to go hiking in.
Now, don’t go to a Columbia and buy a ton of expensive boots and shorts. I mean it’s your choice, but you definitely don’t need to. Wear shoes that you are comfortable walking long distances in and that have decent grip. Be sure they fasten and aren’t slip-on.
As for clothes, where what it comfortable. If you know you’ll be in thick brush, wear pants, or if it’s going to be really hot, wear shorts. Plan around the weather and terrain and you should be fine.
Believe it or not, you should bring a little food on your hiking trip. Though you may not plan to be out long, it takes a lot of energy to hike and you might be out longer than you originally thought. Now you don’t need to bring an entire meal, but a few healthy snacks are always nice to have. A simple homemade trail mix or protein bar should suffice. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water too. One bottle is never enough, trust me.
Certain tools just make hiking easier and more fun. Who are we to turn down making things easier? The first thing to come to mind is those little stick things. You know what I’m talking about right? Those little poles that have fancy grips and look like two tiny ski poles you see all the pros using. Well, you don’t have to purchase those expensive poles, but there are some savvy alternatives.
A sturdy stick or thrift store ski pole work great in place of hiking poles. Not only do they help with balance and climbing, but they can also serve as a quick weapon if nature attacks. Speaking of attacks, it’s always handy to have a pocket knife with you. They serve a variety of purposes well beyond fending off nature, like whittling a little wooden statue of yourself.
In addition, you should also bring a flashlight, emergency blanket, and some type of first-aid; you’re new to wood whittling after all. Bring a map too if you are going someplace you’re not familiar with. It’s easier to get lost than you think.
Just in Case
If you’re a fan of caution and preparedness, there are some things you could bring to push you over the edge of being ultra-prepared. Emergency sleeping bags, ponchos, and tents can be found online if you feel like you might have to spend the night unexpectedly. They also have water purification tablets and straws if you think clean water will be scarce.
These things are especially cool as they allow you to take absolutely disgusting water and make it drinkable. With either though, I think boiling the water first if you can is recommended, not necessary, but definitely recommended. You can also bring some rope with you which will come in handy for a makeshift tent or to help with small feats of climbing.
Other than that, I think you’ll be fairly set for your first hike. Remember to start out with light hikes. You’re looking for a pastime, not an expedition. It’s important to work your way up to more difficult trails and paths. I would even recommend joining a hiking group online or in your city. It’s a fantastic way to get new friends and great tips.
So, why don’t you stop reading this blog and go for a hike? It’ll be fun, get you outside, and expose you to a whole new world. Then you can come back in and read more blogs… 😉
A: B. Delamater