How to Prepare Yourself for a Hiking Trip

So, looking to go on a hiking trip? Great! Hiking trips are a great way to connect both with nature and with yourself, but in order for you to be able to reap all of the benefits that hiking offers, it’s vital that you take time in order to do your research regarding preparation.

All of that being said though, what are the most important factors that you need to assess before actually venturing forth? By reading this article, you are going to find out.

First things first – do your research on the trail

After you have decided that you want to go hiking and you are settled on a certain location, it’s crucial that you learn more about the trail before going. The sole reason for this is that it’s very hard for you to assess further preparation for a hike before knowing where you are going exactly and what you can expect on the trail.

Navigating a hiking trail on-site isn’t always as straightforward as you might think, which is why getting familiar with major aspects of the trail is going to go a long way when it comes to being on the trail. 

Check the weather beforehand

Weather conditions are one of the most impactful factors when it comes to hiking, so, you want to make sure that you understand what’s the weather going to be in order for you to continue packing and planning accordingly. Obviously, you aren’t going to wear the same type of clothes if you see that you can expect it to rain and if it were sunny all day (we do recommend that you always have a raincoat on your hand though).

It should also be mentioned that, if there were any major weather conditions recently in the place where you are going hiking, make sure to look at updates regarding your trail. In some cases, bad weather conditions may cause damage to different landmarks that are otherwise crucial for a hiking trail like, for instance, bridges and trail navigation signs.

person looking up in forest
Photo by Blake Cheek

Don’t forget to pack appropriately

After you have figured out the logistics, let’s talk about packing and what are the things that you need to focus on. Without a doubt, the first thing that you need to pack is a first aid kit. Next, it’s time to focus on navigation, and while you can opt for compass, GPS, and maps, these watches are able to show you your bearing, altitude, upcoming storms at all times. This makes them extra useful since they simplify navigation exponentially. 

You should also make sure that you pack your sunscreen, as well as a cap and sunglasses. Also, be sure to bring extra food and water, or even better, water purification devices. You might end up not needing them, but if you do, you’ll be grateful that you packed those.

Last but not least, bring a flashlight, matches as well as fire starters, and if you have some more space – a light tent that’s easy to set up. 

two gray and orange backpacks on gray rocks at daytime
Photo by Andrew Ly

Consider working on your fitness level

Hiking is a pretty demanding physical activity and hence should not be taken lightly. In order for you to enjoy the entire experience, it might be best that you consider doing some workouts weeks prior to your hiking trip.

We should also mention that assessing your physical readiness is extremely important when choosing a trail, especially if you are a beginner. Some trails might seem more exhilarating and breathtaking, but if upon your research you stumble upon the fact that the trail is hard, look for another trail.

Always inform someone of your whereabouts

When it comes to hiking, the mindset should always be hoping for the best, but being prepared for the worst. That being said, make sure that you share your exact trail route with a friend or a relative. Let them know when you are starting as well as when you are expecting to return. 

If anything happens to go wrong, this information is going to enable them to send aid your way in case you don’t turn up as scheduled. You might also want to consider bringing some extra emergency devices that can make it easier for others to track you during a potential emergency.

Be sure to dress appropriately

Having good footwear is so important that talking about this aspect would require a whole new article. Make sure that you do your research on footwear!

When it comes to clothes, avoid anything cotton since it tends to get damp quite easily, hence clinging to the skin and causing chaffing. Synthetic fabrics are your best option for hiking because they adjust to your body temperature and are able to dry way quicker than cotton. 

Lastly, make sure you dress in layers, you won’t regret it. 

In the end, it all boils down to understanding the most impactful parameters and doing your research on them in order to be able to manage any possible bumps on the road as smoothly as possible, as well as to enjoy all the wonderful things on a whole new level.

Without a doubt, safety should always be a priority, and overlooking that is just unnecessary gambling. And remember, if you stay ready, you don’t need to get ready in case you need to act immediately!