Hiking For Beginners

hiking for beginners

Hiking is a great way to get outside, exercise, and connect with nature. If you’re new to hiking, it can seem intimidating, but with a few tips and tricks, you’ll be ready to hit the trails quickly. Here’s a quick guide for hiking for beginners.

Hiking For Beginners

Start Small

As a beginner, you don’t need to tackle a 10-mile (or more!) hike on your first trip. Start small and work your way up. Look for easy hikes 2-3 miles long with minimal elevation gain. Local parks are a great place to begin.

Check the Weather

Before you head out, check the weather forecast. Hiking in the rain or snow can be dangerous, so plan your hike accordingly. Also, the weather can change quickly. What looks like a nice day for a hike could become problematic.

Dress Appropriately 

Wear comfortable, breathable clothing and sturdy hiking shoes or boots with good traction. Dress in layers so you can easily adjust to changing temperatures. Pay attention to the weather. Getting too hot or cold can negatively affect your health and make your hiking experience less enjoyable.

Bring the Right Gear 

In addition to proper footwear, you’ll want to bring a backpack(the Osprey Hikelite 18 is a great day pack), a map or trail guide (for short hikes, your phone will probably work), sunscreen, insect repellent, and plenty of water and snacks. Remember a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes from the sun. Also, bringing a compass and basic first aid with you is a good idea.

Know Your Limits

Listen to your body, and don’t push yourself too hard. Take breaks when necessary, and turn around if you feel uncomfortable or tired.

Leave No Trace

Hiking is a great way to enjoy the beauty of nature, but it’s important to leave the trail as you found it. Pack out all your trash and respect wildlife by keeping a safe distance.

Hike with a Friend

Hiking with a friend can be more fun and provide an added level of safety. Make sure someone knows your planned route and expected return time.

Learn Trail Etiquette

When hiking on a trail, be aware of others around you. This hiking etiquette list from the National Park Service is a great starting point for learning trail etiquette.

Reading More

Now that you’ve started hiking, it’s time to think about becoming an official backpacker! Check out our guide to the essential backpacking gear you’ll need.

About The Author

Zach Graft is the founder of Pack & Paddle Expedition Co. He has decades of experience in the outdoors including hunting, fishing, camping, and backpacking. Learn more about Zach here.

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