Hiking is a popular activity, with an estimated 34 million Americans hit the United States’ vast network of trails every year. While the country’s massive size affords outdoor enthusiasts plenty of excellent pathways to explore, you’re in for a rude awakening if you just think you can put on a pair of hiking shoes and go for a walk. Properly preparing for a hike is the only way to truly enjoy the experience.
Wear the Right Stuff
We have all heard the saying “clothes make the man.” Clothes also make the hiking experience. While hiking is a beautiful excursion, it is also exercise, and it can be a rigorous exercise at that. Prepare for this by donning a T-shirt that wicks away sweat and avoids cotton at all costs.
Since hiking is an outdoor activity that cuts through nature, you should also be prepared to wear clothing that protects you from various natural outdoor elements. Make sure you have sturdy hiking boots or shoes to give you a firm grip underfoot. Be sure to wear pants or shorts that can dry quickly in case you have to wade through water. Additionally, be sure to wear headgear like a sun hat to further protect you from the elements.
Things to Put in Your Backpack
Your backpack is your lifeline on a hike, but only if you have it packed with the stuff you need. Essential gear that you should have on hand include a map or map device, food, a first aid kit, safety items such as a light and a whistle, a multi-purpose tool, and sunscreen. These essentials should be compact enough for a day hike.
If you’re just planning on going on a one-day excursion, you should make sure the backpack itself is lightweight, and you should pack just what you need. However, if a multi-day hike is in your future, you need to be prepared to tote a more heavy-duty pack. You should also be ready to deal with a greater range of contingencies, such as drastic weather changes or extra emergency materials if (heaven forbid) things go really south.
Proper preparation for a hike involves gathering a lot of small-scale items.
Skipping any of them may hamper your ability to thoroughly enjoy your hike. Take the time to judiciously make sure all the proverbial “must bring” boxes are checked before you head out for your adventure. It’s a process you’ll never regret doing.