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Hiking is a fun, relaxing way to experience the great outdoors with friends and family. When you go on a hike, you get to explore places in nature that the ro cannot reach. Leave your worries about time, work and other stressors far behind and reawaken your sense of wonder.
There is nothing like reconnecting with friends or loved ones on a journey through nature. Rest assured — there is a hike out there for everyone. Hiking is not a race to the finish line, but a low-impact workout that is about enjoying good company and immersing yourself in the beauty of nature.
Hiking offers many health benefitstoo, including help with weight management and stress reduction. Physical activity also decreases the risk of heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. If you are ready to start hiking, you are making an excellent choice for your overall well-being. Plus, getting started is easier than you might think. In this guide, you will find everything you need to start hiking, from packing essentials to how to prepare for a day hike. With a little planning, you can enjoy a safe, comfortable and pleasurable hike. A successful hike is simple when you have the right tools and a positive mindset.
The first step is knowing what to pack, so you can feel great all day and keep your energy levels up. Packing for a short hike does not require too much. After all, you will be carrying everything with you during your hike, so the lighter you pack, the better. However, you will need a few essential items if you plan on hiking all day. Here is a hiking gear list to use as your packing guide :. What you wear on your hike will have a ificant impact on your experience.
The wrong shoes can lead to sore feet and a short hike. Similarly, heavy pants can be uncomfortable on a hot day, but shorts do not provide the best protection against skin-irritating plants and insects. Here are some tips on what you need to wear for the most comfortable hiking experience. The best pants to wear for a hike are those that are breathable and help keep you cool or warm depending on the temperature.
Above all else, you want to wear pants that are comfortable. Your favorite pair of jeans may be fine for a short, casual walk, but for longer hikes, they can be uncomfortable. In the winter, jeans alone will not keep you warm, and in the summer they absorb water and are slow to dry.
Plus, they will make you hot and the heavy seams could lead to irritated skin. In the winter, the trick is to wear layers to keep warm. You might put on leggings or long underwear beneath a pair of hiking pants made of wicking fabric, which keeps you dry and comfortable. In the summer, avoid shorts if you plan to hike in the woods. Instead, wear a pair of lightweight pants to better protect yourself against skin irritation or bug bites.
Choosing the right pair of hiking shoes is vital to a successful hike. With so many different shoes to choose from, how do you know which pair to wear? Here are a few factors to consider to make your decision simple:.
In general, beginners are usually safe going with a more light-weight and comfortable pair of hiking shoes. However, once they build up their skills and are ready for rockier terrain, it may be time for heavier, more supportive boots. In addition to pant and hiking shoes, here are a few more clothing-related tips to ensure happy hiking:. When you hike or engage in any physical activity, you Who wants to go hiking this weekend need to consume more food and water than you usually would. Your body needs fuel before and during a hike to replenish your energy, and you also need food after a hike to help your muscles recover.
The American Heart Association recommends eating two hours before exercising. In addition to plenty of water to help you stay hydrated, your pre-hike meal should include healthy carbs, such as:. Although protein is often associated with a workout, you want to avoid loading up on saturated fats and proteins before a hike, as they take longer to digest and could make you feel sluggish.
Instead, focus on consuming easy-to-digest complex carbs. Protein is best consumed about 20 to 60 minutes after a workout or strenuous hike because it will help repair and grow your muscles. Just remember, these are only general rules — the most important thing is to do what is best for you and your body. As a beginner hiker, you may not feel the need to drink much water. Whether your hike is easy or strenuous, it is always a good idea to stay hydrated by frequently taking small sips of water during your hike.
Aim to drink at least 32 ounces before hitting the trails, and bring enough to drink about 16 ounces for every hour of hiking. If you plan a hike that is less than an hour long, you may not need to take food. Otherwise, keep your energy going by eating 50 to calories of carbohydrates every half hour.
Looking for healthy hiking snack ideas? Here is a list of snacks that are lightweight, nutritious, non-perishable and easy to eat while walking, but also enjoyable during moments of rest:. The scent of nature and the feeling of fresh earth beneath your feet, the soothing sound of a babbling creek Who wants to go hiking this weekend a world free of schedules, s and obligations — are you ready to go hiking? By this point, you are probably excited to immerse yourself in nature, but you might still feel a bit nervous. How do you plan a hiking trip everyone in your group can enjoy?
Where do you begin? Usually, planning a hiking trip is easy — especially with the abundance of online resources available.
Remember to consider these factors, and you will be ready to go:. However, here are a few final tips to keep in mind:. Most importantly, set your worries aside and plan to have fun, relax and enjoy the great outdoors. You could hike at a trail near your home for 20 minutes, or spend a few days hiking with friends from a KOA campground. The choice is yours. If you are excited to hike, explore and leave the world behind, bring your friends and family to KOA. KOA Campgrounds are great for beginning hikers and experienced hikers alike, including friends, families and couples.
Toast marshmallows under the stars or participate in other campground activities. KOA Campgrounds offer many lodging options for nature-lovers, families or anyone with an adventurous spirit. Hiking Tips and Tricks for Beginners A successful hike is simple when you have the right tools and a positive mindset. Here is a hiking gear list to use as your packing guide : Tools: Make sure to bring a map, compass or GPS for your hiking trip. When you know what to expect, you can plan other details better and enjoy the hike without worrying about getting lost.
Adequate Water: Water is perhaps the most important item on your hiking gear list. Without enough water, your body cannot perform at its best. Make sure to hydrate before the hiking trip and sip water throughout the day. Whether it is cold or hot outside, an adequate water supply should always be a priority. Adequate Food: You want the hiking experience to be as fun as possible, and everyone is happier when their bellies are full.
Bring along extra snacks so you and your hiking companions can enjoy long moments near a mountain stream. Clothing and Rain Protection: Sometimes, no matter how much you plan, the weather proves the forecast wrong. You cannot always predict a sudden storm or rain shower, but you can prepare for surprises. To solve this problem, pack a lightweight poncho or dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes easily.
Safety Items: If you are hiking an easy, well-maintained trail that sees a lot of foot traffic, you may not be as worried about safety. No matter what you anticipate your hike to be like, you will want to include a firestarter, a flashlight and a whistle in your safety kit, so you are prepared for any situation.
A fire can al for help and keep you warm, a whistle calls for help and a flashlight will guide you in the dark. First-Aid Kit: Build a personalized first-aid kit, which might include blister treatment, bandages, tape, antibiotic ointment, gauze p and any medications that you or your companions may need. Multi-Purpose Tool or Knife: Another hiking must-have is a knife or multi-purpose tool. You never know when you might need to cut fabric to make bandages or even just open a stubborn package of trail mix. A knife can also come in handy if you need to make a fire.
If possible, aim to hike on shaded trails between 10 a. Always wear both shoulder straps, and make sure the backpack rests close to your body and high on your back. Backpacks with padded, adjustable hip belts are great for hiking, as they take the strain off of your shoulders and back. Trash Bag: Pack a trash bag to keep the trails you trek beautiful, clean and free of garbage.
A zippered plastic bag is perfect for containing wrappers and other trash until you get back. Be sure to help younger hikers dispose of their trash properly. Bug Spray: Ticks, bees, spiders and mosquitoes are some of the insects you might encounter on your hike, depending on where you go, the time of day and the season. In buggy areas, you can use DEET insect repellent. Be sure to reapply frequently. DEET is not suitable for small children, so choose an alternative like citronella spray for the. Toiletries: If you plan to hike far away from public restrooms, prepare for bathroom breaks by bringing toilet paper, hand sanitizer, waste bags and any other necessities.
What to Wear Hiking What you wear on your hike will have a ificant impact on your experience. What Pants to Wear Hiking The best pants to wear for a hike are those that are breathable and help keep you cool or warm depending on the temperature. Choosing the Best Hiking Shoes Choosing the right pair of hiking shoes is vital to a successful hike. Here are a few factors to consider to make your decision simple: Terrain: If you plan to hike on mild terrain, light hiking shoes should work just fine.
However, if you are going to traverse tough mountainous or snowy terrain, you may want to invest in more rugged mountaineering boots. If your hike falls somewhere in-between, backpacking boots with a solid sole can handle a range of landscapes. Material: Synthetic materials like nylon and polyester are breathable, easier to break in and lighter-weight. Split-grain leather boots are made half with leather and half with synthetic material, which means they are still breathable. Full-grain leather boots are heavier and less breathable, but extremely durable.
Cut: Low-cut boots are similar to running shoes — they are lightweight and suitable for beginning hikers planning to trek well-maintained trails. Mid-cut boots offer more ankle support and protection from weeds and other trail-side hazards.
Meanwhile, high-cut boots provide the greatest level of balance and support and are ideal for hikers planning to go off on more challenging terrain. No matter the type of hiking shoes you choose, keep these tips in mind: Lace boots snugly to prevent movement and blisters Wear wool or synthetic socks to protect against blisters and insects Always break in new shoes before heading out on a hike Look for shoes that offer excellent support Bring a blister kit just in case Waterproof your hiking shoes if possible Make sure you have plenty of wiggle room for your toes Ensure your boots fit snugly around the ball of your foot and that your heel will not move around Try on the hiking shoes with the socks you plan to wear to get an accurate fit Other Hiking Clothing Tips In addition to pant and hiking shoes, here are a few more clothing-related tips to ensure happy hiking: Dress in layers Bring a hat Wear tall socks for extra protection Avoid cotton because it holds moisture Opt for light-colored clothing, which helps you see ticks and other bugs more easily 3.
What to Eat Before a Hike When you hike or engage in any physical activity, you generally need to consume more food and water than you usually would. In addition to plenty of water to help you stay hydrated, your pre-hike meal should include healthy carbs, such as: Whole-wheat toast Low-fat or fat-free yogurt Whole-grain pasta Whole-grain cereals Fruits and vegetables Brown rice Although protein is often associated with a workout, you want to avoid loading up on saturated fats and proteins before a hike, as they take longer to digest and could make you feel sluggish.
What Food to Bring Hiking As a beginner hiker, you may not feel the need to drink much water. Here is a list of snacks that are lightweight, nutritious, non-perishable and easy to eat while walking, but also enjoyable during moments of rest: Trail mix Dried fruit Granola bars or granola Bananas Who wants to go hiking this weekend butter, nuts or seeds Dried or freeze-dried vegetables Whole-grain tortillas Dried beans Cereal 5. How to Plan Your First Hiking Trip The scent of nature and the feeling of fresh earth beneath your feet, the soothing sound of a babbling creek and a world free of schedules, s and obligations — are you ready to go hiking?
Instead, check online before you hit the trail. The web is full of excellent hiking websites with helpful information that allow you to search for trails near you. Many of them Who wants to go hiking this weekend indicate whether a path is easy, moderate or difficult.Who wants to go hiking this weekend
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Hiking Tips and Tricks | How to Plan and Prepare for a Hike