Tips To The Best Hiking Trips
Here are a few tips that are essential to making a hiking trip successful and rewarding. It is important to remember that hiking is usually done away from civilization, so assistance is not at your disposal. This makes safety and planning an essential part of your hiking trip that should not be overlooked.
Mapping out your trip is the first and most important part of planning. This will be the foundation to build your itinerary and your supply list, especially if you are taking a long multi-day hike. It is good to stick to well traveled routes like the Appalachian Trail because they are easy to follow and there are many campsites along the way. When you choose a location to hike, do your research. Many trails have information online or you can call the local ranger station for more information about what to expect. Rangers also offer services that can make your trip easier and safer. Some rangers have stations that you can check in with along the trail, and if you do not check in they may be able to contact a relative to make sure that you are ok. You will also need a map to plan where you would like to stay each night.
Make alternate routes that you can take if you would like to get off of the trail sooner than expected. Local towns often have buses than can run you to your destination for a fair price. If you are planning an extended hike for 5 days or longer, have a package mailed to a local post office along the trail at the halfway point. This will lighten the burden of carrying all the food you will require. Make sure to include an indulgence like candy or a favorite book to look forward to.
Planning for safety is easy, but is very strict. There is always room for a first aid kit and any medication that you may require. Plan for this. Also regular exercise before your trip is an important safety measure. Even if you are in great shape, you probably aren’t walking on various terrains for six hours at a time. Take long walks in the morning or evening one – two weeks prior to hiking. Exhaustion is the most common and most preventable problem to have on a trail.
Now that you know what kid of trip you have ahead, you can pack accordingly. A backpack with a frame is a must. Overnight bags or messenger bags will not cut it. Framed backpacks come is two forms. Exterior frame packs offer more weight support and versatility, but are bulky. Interior frame packs, also called soft packs, offer more comfort and are more compact, and are a favorite among female hikers. The other equipment you will need to bring are a water purifier, multipurpose tool like a Leatherman or survival knife, canteen, sleeping bag, a pot, first aid kit, compass.
There other items that make the hike easier, but these will get you along. There is a lot that nature can provide if you use some creative thinking. Kitchen utensils should also be included to your fancy. Clothing should be minimal to keep you comfortable. Undergarmets are important because you will be sweating more than usual and you don’t want to a rash to set in. Socks and such with a polyester mix are the standard for hikers because they are light and they evaporate water or sweat very quickly. Wet socks can make you feet much more uncomfortable.
When it comes time to choose food, make sure it is something you will enjoy. Sporting goods stores carry dried meals for every taste. They are light and waterproof, so there is no need to worry about them. When there is a group, it is easier to distribute the weight of other foods such as canned items. Snacks are a staple food for hikers because they are light quickly eaten on short breaks. Trail mix and peanuts are high in energy and satisfy hunger with all natural fats.
Lastly, personal items should be kept to a minimum. Playing cards or small nerf balls are very light items that can be enjoyed by a small group. A long book is a great way for a solo hiker to occupy himself when resting. A favorite hiker past time is simply using what you have got by whittling a way at a good piece of wood with a pocket knife. The key to enjoyment during a hiking trip is to do something that you are not accustomed to doing. This will make your experience unique and may drive you to plan more trips.