Start Hiking: Complete Guide for the Beginners!
Hiking is one of the most underrated activities out there. Not only does it provide great exercise, but it also lets you explore new places without having to worry about getting lost. If you’re thinking of starting hiking, these tips are for you. In this blog article, we will explore every aspect of how to start hiking!
The Different Types of Hiking
Essential Hiking: This type of hiking is perfect for beginners who want to stroll through the woods. The trails are well-maintained and often have scenic overlooks or gentle streams for checking out. There’s no need for heavy gear, so this option is great for people with limited mobility or who don’t want to carry anything on their backs.
Day Hiking: Try hiking if you want an easy hike with exciting scenery. These trips usually last around 3-4 hours, but because there are so many shorter trails in the area, it’s easy to mix and match different hikes to fit your schedule. You might see scenic vistas or cliffs along the way, but you won’t experience extreme elevation changes or rugged terrain. This is great if you want to start hiking!
Trail Hiking: If you’re looking for an adventure that will test your physical and mental limits, trail hiking is what you need. These trips can be incredibly rigorous – going up and down steep hills, through dense forests, and stream crossings – so make sure you have plenty of stamina and gear before starting! However, trail hiking is the way to go if you’re up for a challenge.
Outdoor Adventures: If you’re looking for a day trip that will leave you feeling exhilarated and empowered, an outdoor adventure is a perfect option. This type of hike usually involves a combination of hiking, camping, and backpacking. So you’ll need to be comfortable cooking your meals outdoors, carrying your gear, and sleeping in a tent or on the ground.
What To Take On A Start Hike
Before setting out on your hike, orient yourself by consulting maps and compasses if necessary; start by following any discernible trail markers or obvious animal tracks until you reach a suitable place to camp for the night. When choosing an overnight spot, be sure to consider both safety precautions as well as environmental factors.
When it comes time to hike during daylight hours, use common sense when navigating through unfamiliar territory. If there are trails available where you plan on hiking, stick to them as much as possible—this will help avoid getting lost and provide easier access back home if needed. While hiking, keep an eye out for hazards such as slippery slopes, dangerous wildlife encounters, and fast-moving rivers or streams.
In addition to carrying appropriate gear for the conditions, wear a helmet, sunglasses, and sunscreen when out in the sun. And finally, if you do get lost, don’t panic—stay put and wait for help to arrive. By following these tips, you’ll be able and prepared to start hiking safely!
How Much Gear Do You Need For A Start Hike?
• Hiking Boots or Shoes: You’ll first need proper footwear. A good pair of boots or shoes will protect your feet from rocks and roots on the trail and provide cushioning when walking long distances. Ensure the boots or shoes have a sturdy construction and wick moisture away from your feet so they don’t get too hot or wet.
• Maps & Compass: A map is essential for finding your way while hiking and keeping track of your progress. A compass can help you orient yourself in unfamiliar territory. Be sure to bring maps and compasses if either one becomes lost or damaged.
• Food & Water: It’s important to remember to bring enough food and water with you on your hike. Pack snacks, enough water for each day of hiking, and plenty of meal bars or other lightweight snacks if necessary. Carry sufficient supplies in emergencies, such as getting lost or stranded overnight.
• Shelter: When planning your hike, be sure to account for possible weather conditions, including rain, thunderstorms, high winds, and possible heat exposure. Bring extra clothing if necessary to stay warm and sheltered during these conditions. Consider bringing a tent if you’re unsure about weather conditions ahead of time.
• First Aid Kit: A first aid kit is essential for any hike and is especially important for beginners. Include supplies such as bandages, antibiotic ointment, insect repellent, sunscreen, and water purification tablets. Make sure to have a map of the area where you’re hiking in case you become lost or need to find help.
Tips to Start Hiking Safely
1. Choose the right trail: Choosing the right path for your hike is essential. Check the map and consult with locals before beginning your hike. When in doubt, stay on well-known trails.
2. Respect wildlife: Don’t approach or disturb any animals—including bears and mountain lions—while hiking. Leave them alone, and they will leave you alone. Suppose an animal does seem alarmed or aggressive. Back away slowly and calmly without making any sudden moves. Hiking through dense foliage can also surprise predatory animals and lead to an attack; stick to open areas when possible to avoid surprise encounters.
3. Stay hydrated: Make sure you drink plenty of fluids while hiking—especially if you are going uphill. Dehydration can lead to headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and even fainting spells in high altitudes. Carry enough water for your hike, and be prepared to refill your bottle at any convenient water source.
4. Know the signs of heat exhaustion: Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, a dry mouth, nausea or vomiting, dizziness or lightheadedness, unsteady gait, rapid breathing, slowed heart rate, drowsiness, or coma. Stop immediately and take a break in the shade if you experience any of these symptoms during a hike. Drink fluids and electrolytes (such as sports drinks) and rest until your symptoms have subsided.
5. Stay cautious on steep slopes: Steeper slopes can be dangerous if you’re not careful. Watch your footing and use a handrail whenever possible to help keep yourself safe. If you do fall, stay calm and stay still until help arrives.
How to Prepare to Start Hiking
There’s no definitive answer to this question, as the gear you need will depend on your fitness level, the terrain you plan on hiking, and the time of year. However, here are some basics that most hikers tend to pack:
A good pair of sturdy shoes;
- Hat or sunscreen;
- A water bottle;
- A map or compass;
- Some snacks and a lunch.
First Steps: Planning your route and trailhead location. If you’re starting, it can be helpful to scout out a few potential hikes in your area before you commit to anything. Once you’ve located one or more trails that interest you, it’s time to start planning your route. Start by finding out the distance and elevation gain of the trailhead.
Then, use online mapping tools like Google Maps or MapQuest to determine how far the trailhead is from your current location. Next, estimate how many miles and hours of hiking you’ll need to complete the trail (remember that elevation changes will add up!). Finally, make a rough estimate of how much food and water you’ll need for each day of hiking.
Now that you know what gear to bring and what route to take, it’s time to pick up a copy of Trail Maps USA! This comprehensive guide covers every map needed when hiking in America—from National Forest maps to topographical maps of individual trails.
If you’re looking to start hiking, our guide has everything you need to know. We’ve covered you, from tips on choosing the right backpack to nuancing the skills required for beginner hikes. So whether your goal is to explore some of Ontario’s beautiful wilderness or want to get out and move a bit more, our hiking guides are perfect for you to start hiking!