Hiking is a great outdoor activity, but people don’t always know how to get started if they’ve never been on a nature hike before. There is a little more to it than simply going for a walk in a park. You need to know what to expect on a trail, what kind of gear to have with you, and how to behave when you are hiking. Whether you’ve never been on a hike in your life or you want to get back into it after some time away, here are a few things to remember if you want to get started.
Have the Right Gear
Hiking doesn’t require a lot of specialized gear, especially when you’re starting out with shorter and easier trails. You do need good footgear, though. Any shoes you wear should have a good grip, and they should be tight enough around the ankles to not slip off but not so tight that they rub and leave blisters.
As for the rest of your outfit, it’s best to dress in layers. Your base layer should be made from a moisture-wicking material in case you sweat, your middle layer should keep you warm, and you should have an outer shell such as a coat in case of rain or snow.
Finally, take a smaller backpack if you’re going on a day-long hike. A smaller backpack with a water bottle, a first aid kit, a change of socks, a map and compass, and some snacks shouldn’t encumber you too much, but it’s a must when you’re in the wilderness all day.
If you’re just getting into hiking, you’ll most likely stick to shorter and easier trails at a nearby park. While there isn’t much to worry about from these places, you should still do some research to know what to expect. Will you have to deal with hilly terrain? Is there any wildlife to watch out for? Are there any closings where you want to go? Check with your local park board to learn all of this about your trail of choice.
Stick to the Trail
Once you’ve started your hike, it’s important that you stick to the trail and respect other hikers. Leaving the trail could upset the local wildlife and damage the ecosystem, and you want to give other hikers that you might encounter plenty of room. Also, never leave any trash around. Nobody likes to see empty trail mix bags and energy bar wrappers when they’re trying to enjoy the outdoors.