In this article we will give you some basic tips about how to go trail hiking. This is a very fun activity that requires a good physical condition but also clear thinking and good navigation skills. Going to see nature by foot has the distinct advantage of having plenty of time to marvel at each sight, contrary to times when you do horseback riding, biking or perhaps water rafting. These tricks and useful insights will help you to make your hiking trip a truly enjoyable experience.

Preparation makes perfect

We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to devote ample time to planning before you set off for your hiking trip. Design your route well in advance or choose from one of the pre-designed hiking trails that most popular destinations offer. If you don’t use a pre-made map, definitely be sure to use existing trails at least, and do not damage vegetation and terrain just to cut your own way through the wilderness. Be up to date about the terrain conditions, know what kind of climate you should expect and check the weather forecast up to the day before you leave. Pack the right kinds of clothes, ample food and a lot of water! Roughly estimate how long it will take you to complete the trip and prepare accordingly. Do not leave necessities to chance, because you will not be able to easily get them or replace them away from civilization.
M. Dolly Hiking Hellhole Canyon, Valley Center CA

Know how to navigate

Update your map reading skills before you set off. If you are using a map for a pre-made trail, make sure you are familiar with the different signs and labels that the map’s maker might have used. Usually, these maps do not have anything else on them but the trail you are supposed to follow. This has its upsides but also its disadvantages. Always keep a detailed map of the area with you so that you will still be able to find your way if you accidentally go off the trail. Always have a compass with you and know how to put it to use. However, in the end of the day, always use your common sense if you feel as though your gadgets are somehow misleading you.

Be in your best condition

Especially if you plan to spend a night or two on the trail, you should be prepared to carry a backpack and other equipment that can easily weigh 40-50lb. This is a very unusual strain on your body and requires you to be in excellent physical condition. Not only will you be walking on terrain that may slope upwards at times, but you will also carry a net weight heavier than what you normally weigh. Try to train yourself for longer trips by regularly exercising and maybe doing some light jogging with a backpack on. While you are hiking, do try to take some breaks to let your body recuperate a little. Have a light snack and use these frequent stops to drink some water!

Basic rules of trail hiking

There are some basic rules that you should adhere to at all times to keep safe. First things first, never ever go trail hiking on your own! If anything happens and there is absolutely nobody around to help you, your chances of survival are very low. Besides, it is a lot more fun to have someone to talk to while you walk. If you are with a larger group, remember that you are as fast as the slowest hiker. Do not be impatient and stick together. Never leave anyone behind. If you stop at a rest place or a campground, always clean up after yourselves and leave everything looking even a little cleaner than how you found it. Never panic if you feel like you got lost or left the trail. Use your good sense of judgment but note that sometimes the easiest method of finding your way back is to simply walk backwards until you can see that you have returned to a familiar trail. Keep calm and positive no matter what! Everyone will enjoy his or her hiking trip a lot more this way!

Summary

Hiking is a very special experience because it allows you and your fellow travellers to gain a new perspective on nature. It develops not only one’s physical condition but also trains social and group working skills, navigation and logic. It is a great team building program for families, friends but even for co-workers. It may seem as though there are a lot of rules to follow, but really, most of it is pure common sense. Just keep in mind that all these tips are there to help you to have the most fun and pleasure and the least amount of worrying or discomfort while you are on the trail. Happy hiking!

Feel free to browse through some our product reviews for tents and sleeping bags, read some more articles about great destinations and camping tips or check out our recipes section for some ideas on what to make if you ever get hungry on the way!

We are interested in your input. How do you plan a hiking trip? Share your tips, experiences or anecdotes below in the comment section!