It’s easy to get caught up with life. To spend most of your time indoors, in front of the TV, just waiting for the night to come so that you can start a new day, doing more of the same.
That works for some people. It might even work for you, but there’s more to life than being a couch potato.
I’m here to introduce you to the amazing world of hiking for beginners. Of spending quality time, with quality people, in nature.
The great part about hiking is that you don’t need a lot of experience, a lot of money, or a lot of gear. You just need time and the willingness to exit your comfort zone.
Why is it a fun activity?
Well, you’d be hard-pressed to single out the only reason.
Exploring nature, being in charge, observing the wildlife, there’s a little bit of something for everyone!
It’s also a great way of getting or staying in shape.
Let’s take a look at some of the main advantages.
Connecting with Friends.
Hiking is a great way to spend time with your friends or family.
We need and crave social interaction. That’s just the way humans are hardwired. It should come as no surprise that spending time together with others in nature is amazing!
Staying in Shape.
Hiking is a great low-impact cardio activity! Hiking will help you burn about 500 calories an hour. And, even if you don’t care about the calories themselves, it’s still a great workout!
Nature, Nature, Nature!
If you’re a nature-lover, it should come as no surprise that hiking is probably going to be quite enjoyable to you. You’ll certainly be amazed by the natural life, the trails, the waterfalls, or just the simple yet much missed pollution-free air!
Hiking is a great activity to get into if you’re on a budget. The bulk of your investment will be in footwear and clothing.
What gear do you need?
It depends on whether you’re going on a one-day hike or a multiple-day hike.
But since we’re talking about just picking up hiking for the first time, let’s stick to the essentials.
What beginner hiking gear do you need?
You’re going to need a backpack, weather-appropriate clothing, hiking boots or shoes, a first aid kit, a knife or multi-tool, and enough water and food to last the entire trip.
Pro-tip; make sure your backpack is big enough to carry everything you need. It’s important to think ahead when buying it.
Your clothes should be warm. That doesn’t mean you’re packing one big sweater, and you’re all good.
Think layers. You need to be able to easily take things off without being cold all of a sudden.
How to start hiking.
You have to start small. Here are some tips for beginner hikers that will get you on your way, safely.
Taking on more than you can handle is an easy way to end up injured. You need to look up beginner-friendly trails and think about whether or not your body can handle them.
Once you’ve picked a trail, it’s time to get to know it. Get a map of the area and figure out how the hike would actually go. Is the trail a loop? Could you make a potentially dangerous turn by mistake? These are all things that you should consider when planning.
Never leave for a hike without checking the weather.
Imagine being in the middle of a hike when a thunderstorm starts. It doesn’t sound fun, does it?
Check the weather before you commit.
Last but not least, ALWAYS tell someone where you’re going. It’s crucial that you tell your hiking plans to someone who’s not on the trail with you. This way, if something does happen and you don’t show up back home, help can be sent your way.
You’re pretty much set! It’s time to start planning your first hike!
What time of the year is best for starting hiking?
Spring and summer times are obviously ideal if you’re a total beginner.
That being said, fall works great as well, especially considering the breathtaking views you’ll be getting.
As a general rule of thumb, as long as you’re not in a very warm part of the country where winters aren’t harsh, it’s best to stay away from winter hiking unless you’re more experienced.
We’ve gone over most of what goes into hiking, from what the advantages are, to the gear you need, to how to organize your first hike.
Let’s finish things off with a handy checklist you should consult before heading off!
- First Aid Kit
- Map & Compass
- Knife / Multi-tool
- Rain Poncho
- Phone Power bank
- Sunglasses / Hat
Some of these might be more of a personal preference than a must-have, but they’re good things to have, just in case.
It’s up to you whether you want to add or subtract from the list.
Hiking is one of the best ways to start enjoying nature more. It’s all-around one of the best ways to enjoy life more.
Start planning; adventure awaits you!