We’ve all been there in a situation like this; you’re looking forward to relaxing on your Saturday, but on Friday night, you get an invite to spend the next day hiking with your friends. We prepared 5 easy summer hiking tips for you to make your weekend memorable and enjoyable!
When someone who is inexperienced gets asked this question, they may second-guess themselves.
- Are the friends more experienced?
- Is it going to be hard to keep up?
- Will you need to buy fancy gear?
Have no fear!
With these summer hiking tips, your summer hiking experience will be anything but dreadful! You may even enjoy it!
Research the proposed trail
Firstly, you will want to research the proposed trail and find the answers to the following questions.
- Will there be elevation gain or will it be flat?
- Is it out in the open or is it in the forest?
- What will the weather be like?
- How far will you be walking?
A simple google search will yield the answers to most of these questions. This information is useful to know because it will help you paint a picture of what the day will look like. It’s better to know what you’re getting yourself into, and you can always refuse if you aren’t prepared for the distance, elevation, weather, etc.
Evaluate gear you already have
Next, take stock of the gear you currently have. First and foremost, what condition are your shoes in?
The quality of your hiking experience can and will be determined by how comfortable your feet are.
If you have sturdy running shoes and don’t hike more than once or twice a year, you most likely do not need to spend any money. If the requests to go hiking keep coming in on a regular basis – we all have that one friend – then buying a pair of sturdy hiking shoes can be a great investment. Talk to an associate at your local outdoors store and get to know the reputable brands. Also, make sure you buy shoes tailored to you, for example, if you have plantar fasciitis you would want to invest in particular pair of shoes designed for plantar fasciitis, since hiking can be hard on your feet.
The first time you step onto the trail with proper footwear that is designed for the very activity, you’ll wonder how you ever did without them.
Besides shoes, make sure you have these items handy as well: Hiking Essentials
The second most important item on your gear list is your backpack. This isn’t the time to be bringing out your old shoulder-strap book bag that you used to put your textbooks in. Again, if you have a pack that you wear often that can handle a good amount of weight, you should be in good shape for a hike.
If you feel you can’t possibly proceed into the world of hiking without buying a new backpack, some hard truths will follow. Some things you should never buy cheap. A hiking backpack is one of them.
You will need something that you can trust to hold all of your items and that you know can handle some good wear-and-tear. This is another purchase that will require a good conversation with an associate. Google reviews also can be a lifesaver here. This is not a matter of sorting the search results by price, but remember, your few extra dollars on a high-quality backpack will make all the difference. It will pay for itself if it can outlast the cheaper alternative you were considering.
Now that you’ve got your plan and gear in order, let’s talk about trail etiquette. Being a good neighbor to your fellow hikers and Mother Nature can save the environment and put you and others out of harm’s way. A good expression to remember is “pack in what you pack out”.
In other words, do not litter! Even if your waste can be composted, the smell can attract all sorts of animals, including bears, coyotes, wolves, and mountain lions.
Next, do not vandalize! The outdoors is a place we all come to enjoy natural beauty. The world around us is a source of mental rejuvenation and inspiration. This means you do not, under any circumstance, commit acts of vandalism such as graffiti, tree chopping, aggravating wildlife, or unnecessarily disturbing the earth.
Finally, ensure you are keeping yourself and others safe. Hiking is an incredibly rewarding experience, but it comes with its dangers. You or your friends can get hurt, fatigue can set in, or even medical emergency. It is up to you to plan accordingly. Bring a first aid kit, extra food, and water, and be prepared to take on extra weight to lighten someone else’s load.
Hiking will become a less daunting activity when you follow these tips. As you get out and do it more, you’ll begin to recognize the good habits of other hikers. By planning correctly, having the right gear, and practicing proper trail etiquette, you are contributing to the growing community of outdoor adventurers!