Hiking in nature seems pretty straightforward right. Ordinarily, it is but it depends on where you go and how prepared you are to complete the trail.
If you’re planning to go off-trail or on a long-distant hike, there are certain things you need to know before heading out into nature. Bear in mind, that a lot of nature trails can being you into contact with danger.
No matter whether you’re summit hiking, or venturing along an unmarked trail you can complete in an afternoon, you should be prepared for every eventuality.
Research Your Route
Knowing what to expect before you head out will make sure you are more prepared. Practically every nature trail has been explored before and people have written about it.
These accounts are highly insightful. Which route to take, the length of time it takes and whether there is a water supply along the trail informs you how to pack and what to look out for.
Be Physically and Mentally Prepared
Hiking is a physical activity which could drain your energy levels if you don’t have the stamina or mental strength to complete the course. Before heading out on a strenuous hike, put the time in to ensure you are fit enough to complete it safely.
Start your hiking preparations by walking locally on a regular basis – and whenever possible include hills and uneven terrain that exerts more energy than fast surfaces alone.
It’s also a good idea to carry a backpack filled with a reasonable amount of weight so that you can get used to carrying weight on your back over long distances. You should also practice exercises that help to improve your balance.
Kit Yourself Out
Hiking exposes you to all types of weather conditions so you need to make sure you have the right attire for the right time of year. A good pair of hiking shoes and moisture-wicking socks is the bare minimum.
If you’re not sure what items you need to properly kit yourself out for a walk in nature, check out the hiking gear that experts recommend.
Know What To Pack
The nature walk you go on will largely determine the item you need to pack. Most day trails only require you to take food, water, appropriate clothing, a trail map (don’t rely on Google maps), sunscreen and insect repellant.
Longer trails or multi-day trekking requires more planning and more packing such as a tent, sleeping bag and cooking equipment. This is another reason why you need to know your route and make sure you have the stamina to complete it.
A first-aid kit should be part of your packing essentials. Walkers are prone to injuries on their toes and feet so plasters are a priority.
Check The Weather
Always check the weather forecast before you head into the hills, particularly if you are in a region that is prone to rain and high winds. If you are tackling unpredictable terrain, check in with the park ranger to make sure the trail is safe. Some places are prone to flooding, felled trees, landslides and rock falls.
Tell Someone Where Your Going
No matter what route you take, you should always inform someone that you are going. If you should happen to fall, trip or even twist your ankle on uneven terrain, you want to be assured that a search party will come to your rescue.
Experienced hikers actually say to never go into nature alone for this reason. However, you often see lone walkers hiking on their own – but they usually stick to popular trails that receive a lot of foot traffic. If you’re going off-trail, it’s best practice to go in pairs.
Be prepared for Every Eventuality
You never really know what’s going to happen in nature so you should be prepared for as many things going wrong as possible. For example, take a torch even if you’re going on a day trip whilst it’s light. It is possible to mistime the trail or get held up and don’t make it back before dark.