Tips for Beginner Hikers

Hiking BCHiking is a very accessible activity. That’s one of the things that makes hiking so great. An easy stretch of trail can be tackled by both children and older adults of varying levels of fitness. For the most part, you don’t need any special knowledge or skills to start hiking. Just grab your hiking shoes, pick a manageable trail, and be on your way.

Of course, having a few tips in your back pocket can definitely help you out on the trail. You will learn little tips and tricks of your own the more you hike, but here are some tips for beginner hikers to help get you started.

Take your time

You’re not trying to win a race. If you feel tired or hungry, stop and get some rest. Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy views, relax, and make the most of your trip.

It might take longer than you expect

Most beginner hikers are surprised how long it takes to hike a mile, especially on uphill sections. An average hiking speed is 3 miles per hour, or 2 miles per hour if you’re backpacking. Give yourself extra time when planning trips until you dial in your hiking speed.

Let others know your plans

Get in the habit of sharing your plans with a friend or family member. This ensures that someone knows where you are if you get lost or injured on the trail.

Don’t hike by yourself

Even experienced hikers can get into trouble when hiking alone. A sprained ankle, snake bite, or wrong turn are all that it takes to put a hiker in trouble. The buddy system makes sense on the trail.

Get fit

You don’t need to be an Olympian to go hiking, but physical fitness is important. The more in shape you are, the easier your hike will be, the more enjoyable it will be, and the less likely you are to get injured. Big changes in elevation and rough terrain require good cardio fitness, strength, and balance. Go for regular walks and hikes and gradually increase distance and whittle down the time it takes you to complete a hike. Fitness is especially important for day hikers who want to make the transition to backpacking.

Be informed

Know about the flora and fauna in the area. Brush up on things such as animal activity, native snakes, poisonous plants, etc. Familiarize yourself with the terrain – changes in elevation, river crossings, etc. – so you know what you’re getting into. Look into any other important information such as burn bans, weather forecast, trail closures, etc.

Learn trail etiquette

Greet other hikers, learn right of way, and know the dos and don’ts of hiking.

Your attitude matters

It’s not all rainbows and roses on the trail. Hiking can be hot, tiring, and at times, straight up difficult. A positive attitude and a preparedness for challenge are the best way to stay chipper while hiking.

Gear makes a difference

In addition to the outdoor essentials, you should consider investing in good outdoor gear. Outdoor gear can increase the comfort and quality of your experience. Good, sturdy footwear that fits is key for any hiker. Also invest in a good, well-fitting pack, and fine tune your layering system. We’re the people to see for any of your outdoor gear needs!

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