Doing something for the first time in life broads horizons of the thinking and ruin stereotypes, and first hiking is not an exception. Every mountaineer remembers that excitement and intriguing feelings before the very first outdoor adventure.
However, many people quit their first hiking even before it starts. In this article, we decided to figure out reasons why some people put off their first hiking trip year after year. And to prevent the tendency of postponement, we prepared an actionable guide to plan your first hiking trip mindfully.
What Can Prevent Your First Hiking?
Unfortunately, many brilliant ideas and wishes do not turn into actions. When it comes to hiking, people can find so many reasons to put off climbing mountains of their dreams:
- “I’m too busy now (this month, this year, etc.)!”
- “Sorry, I can’t afford it. It’s too expensive for me now!”
- “I have to take care of my relatives instead of fooling around!”
These are only three of many possible excuses, which make so many people forget their dreams of hiking mountains. Sure, everybody can have important stuff, lack of money and beloved relatives who are sick, but don’t allow the mock business ruin your hiking plans and the enjoyment of your life!
We have met so many homebodies who told they were not prepared enough for their first hiking. In their minds, every hiker has to be similar to Bear Grylls who dares to venture his life to survive in the wild nature.
It’s true that survival skills are essential when hiking but not all of them are compulsory when hiking for the first time. Also, you can learn a lot in practice. So, you should not be lazy and too severe to start hiking.
If you opened this article in search of confidence and essential information before the hike, you had done the right thing. Let’s make a plan for your first mountain adventure to avoid undesirable emergencies and enjoy like never before.
1. Plan the Route
Planning the first hiking route is extremely important. Why is it so? On the one hand, if the trail is too flat, you might be bored very soon. On the other hand, steep routes can scare you. Both options lead to misunderstanding of hiking and might cause reluctance to go hiking in the future.
That’s why you have to map out the route carefully. Look for hiking trails that correspond to your level of sports training. When you are not sure about some obstacles on the way, it is better to contact experienced mountaineers for advice.
Travel Tip: do not plan the most ambitious hikes from the very beginning. Start slowly, and put off climbing Everest for some of your further hiking trips.
Think about every small detail of your hiking. How many available days do you have for the hiking? What distance are you able to pass daily? Necessarily include time for relaxing and food intake into your daily schedule.
It is also important to consider some time reserve and backup plans if something goes wrong.
Just in case do not forget to notify your family and friends about your location. The more they know, the less they worry about your safety.
2. Don’t Go Hiking Alone
Hiking with a company is safe and fun. No wonder, many world known companies consider outdoor trips as a perfect team building activities. Consider to book a tour in a decent travel company or at least invite your bosom friends to join.
Although you may be impressed and inspired by fearless solo-climbers, it is not recommended to go on the very first trip in the mountains all alone. Hike in a team with skilled mountain climbers if you have this chance. It will bring you an incredible experience and improve your own hiking skills.
When hiking in a group, pay attention to everything and try to learn as much as you can. With this knowledge, you will be capable of organizing your next hiking trip independently.
3. Check the Weather Forecast
When planning hiking, keep the seasonal availability and weather conditions in mind. Many easy trekking paths for beginners turn to be extreme or even prohibited to climb in the low season. Checking the availability as well as the weather forecast before hiking can prevent plenty of undesirable consequences.
No matter how brave and trained you are almost nothing depends on your will and skills in case of a natural disaster, such as an avalanche, thunderstorm or rockfall.
Try to find information about emergency cases on the trail to decrease the possibility of misfortune.
Be prepared for the severe weather conditions. Always include a rain cover to your packing list, make reliable insurance and save emergency numbers to the nearest rescue center just in case.
Increase your awareness to decrease the possibility of an emergency!
4. Pack Your Backpack Mindfully
Think over every item you are going to put into your backpack. Keep in mind that you will carry that all on your shoulders throughout the hiking trip. In case if you rucksack is too heavy or its size is not suitable for your dimensions, your belongings will turn into a burden. If you do not intend to hate your hiking trip from the very beginning, do packing mindfully. Learn more here on how to pack your backpack.
First, get-to-know the full list of the mountain gear necessary for your trip. For example, if you decide to save on the sunglasses, probably it will turn to vision problems on a glacier.
Don’t take cumbersome and warm coats when preparing for hiking. Always remember the principle of an onion – take different layers of your mountain clothes. The mountain weather changes very often so that you will change your layers pretty often too.
The number of the layers should depend on the particular climate conditions of the hiking area. Though hiking in the summer is the best for the first time because the weather is pretty quiet and does not require you to take a lot of warm clothes with you.
Pay particular attention when choosing your boots for hiking. They have to correspond to your terrains you are going to pass.
Sneakers are perfect for a light weekend-long hiking in the forest, while stiff boots are great for rocky landscapes.
When you are going to experience rain or snow during the hiking trip, your boot should be waterproof and have a hard sole.
If your hiking boots are new, you should wear them before the trip to walk around the city or in the forest. Your feet should be used to the shoes. Otherwise, it leads to calluses during hiking.
Whatever clothes you decide to put in your backpack, all of them have to be lightweight and practical. Leave your evening dress at home even if it convenient enough and you like it a lot.
Travel Tip: pack your backpack several days in advance to be sure everything can fit into one bag. Even better to test all your equipment during a weekend hike in the suburbs of your city. So, you will know whether you need to change something in your packing stuff or everything is fine.
5. Choose the Way of Cooking
When hiking your body requires a lot of energy and vitamins. Thus, a backpack full of snacks is not the best choice of nutrition. You have to cook to eat well.
There are several ways to cook food when hiking:
Evenings with long conversations at campfires turn active hiking into a memorable and enjoyable outdoor event. A fireplace is made not only for cooking food but also for the sake of coziness, warmth, and enjoyment. However, fires are not allowed in national parks as well as on most popular hiking trails. Abundant fireplaces eventually lead to the extinction of many wild plants and animals. Thus, you should ask for the permission first, if you decide to organize campfires on your way.
Gas Cooking Stove
This stove is the most convenient when hiking. It allows to heat the water in a short time, and it is lightweight.
Petrol Cooking Stove
Hiking enthusiasts usually take petrol or multi-fuel stoves when they fly to the other countries or continents. It is reasonable because it is not allowed to transport gas on the plane. However, you have to pack your petrol balloon very tight. Otherwise, all your stuff will smell the same as petrol.
A Stove in a Guesthouse
Apparently, it is the most comfortable option for those who decide not to go very far from civilization. If you stay in a guest house, probably, you will order your dinner there, but it is not obligatory. If the guest house has a kitchen, usually hikers are allowed to cook there.
6. Include Nutritious Food
Food is one of the most critical components when hiking. Every food product has to be nutritious, lightweight and delicious at the same time. Moreover, it has to include enough fat and protein.
Experienced hikers recommend to include these food products into your mountain diet:
As for vegetables, you have to dry them before the hiking trip. Then it takes more time to cook the dry vegetables but you can preserve them for many days, and they lose the most of their weight while drying
7. Consider Water Springs
Water is everything when you are hiking or doing any other sports activities. Think hard where to take water on your route because it is impossible to carry it for several days. Moreover, you have to refill your water bottle regularly to be sure it is fresh and suitable for drinking.
Remember this as a rule: never drink water if you are not sure whether it is safe or not. There are so many illnesses with severe consequences caused by drinking dirty water from unknown sources.
If you don’t have any information about the water spring, and there is no other opportunity to find water all around, you have to boil what you could see. Most bacterias are killed while boiling, so it will be relatively good.
Take specific tablets for water disinfection when hiking. They can kill dangerous bacterias, but they don’t reduce sediment, which can also be in the water.
Calculate a minimum necessary amount of water for your hiking group. Bear in mind that you will need at least 3 liters of water per person only for drinking and at least half a liter per person for cooking.
8. Learn How to Fix Everything
Remember: when hiking, you are face to face with nature. It means you have to find a way to fix everything off one’s own bat.
Do not forget to include strong threads and needles to your packing stuff for fixing your clothes. You have to know how to fix everything you take with you – from your hiking shoes to your cooking stove and specialized mountain equipment.
Furthermore, you have to know how to fix people’s health in case of an emergency. Always take a first-aid kit with you and learn how to apply for each medicine beforehand.
9. Workout Regularly
Hiking requires good physical shape, as well as it helps to pump up your muscles. To hike efficiently, you need to do sports activities regularly before the trip.
The best sports to prepare for a hiking trip are running, rock climbing, athletics, fitness, and cycling. However, any sports activity is right for your physical shape and allows you to hike with ease. So, sports help you to keep your muscles toned and overcome all possible obstacles easily.
Now you know how to plan your first hiking trip mindfully even if you have never done it before. You should understand that the more details you consider before hiking, the more fantastic trip you will make. Think hard your route, nutrition and packing stuff, do sports and be optimistic! Mountains are benevolent for those outdoor enthusiasts who do preparation seriously!