Tips for the Trailhead

You set your alarm to beat the sunrise, and you’ve synchronized your coffee pot’s automatic timer. The car is packed, the tank is full, and you’re amped for a full day of hiking, or maybe even a week-long backpacking excursion. You race to the trailhead and hop out of the car, raring to go.

We know the thrill and the anticipation of a hike all too well. However, you should take a few moments at the trailhead to make sure that you’re not forgetting anything. Prime yourself for a good hiking trip with these tips for the trailhead.

10 essentials check

You don’t have to completely unpack your hiking backpack, or even do a complete check on all of your gear at the trailhead. Ideally, you did this at home before you loaded your gear.

However, if you tend to wing it when you pack for hiking, it’s a good idea to at least make sure that you at least have the 10 essentials before starting on the trail.

Carry your wallet?

You don’t really need cash, credit cards, or a driver’s license while you’re hiking in the woods. Of course, some people feel more comfortable having some legal tender or an identification card on them at all times. You never know what could happen.

Carry it or don’t. You won’t need it, but do whatever makes you feel most comfortable.

Key check

Always, always, always make sure that you have your keys, and the keys of the other vehicle if you’re doing a shuttle. The last thing you want to do after a long hike is deal with the fact that you’ve locked your keys in the car.

Leave a note

You should always tell someone where you’re going. If you haven’t told someone your plans you can leave a note with the basic details of your trip – destination and when you expect to return – in your car as a safety precaution.

Stash your gear

Other hikers won’t mess with your belongings, but leaving a vehicle in a remote location for several days is an open invitation to any strangers who drive by. Trailheads start to become known for easy pickings in some areas, and leaving your expensive outdoor gear and equipment in your car is like setting up a shop window with a sign that says, “Free”.

Avoid bringing any unnecessary gear, and lock any items you need in the trunk of your vehicle, or at least tucked away out of sight.


Limber up and get your body ready before you start hiking. This will help get your heart rate up, warm your muscles, and help reduce the risk of injuries while hiking.

Pit stop

If there’s a pit toilet or a portable toilet at the trailhead, take advantage of it. It could be a while before you have the luxury of a throne, especially if you’re going to be on the trail for a few days

Read signage

We’ve all done it. You spot the trail and barrel ahead without even glancing at the information board. It’s a really good idea to at least scan these boards to see if there’s any important information such as trail closures or warnings. It doesn’t take that long, and the information could be valuable.

Come see us at Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters in Fayetteville, Arkansas for any hiking or backpacking gear you need before your next hiking trip!

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