How-To Prepare for a Hiking Trip

How-To Prepare for a Hiking Trip

Jenna Yocum


Before you head out on a hiking trip, make sure you are prepared with the proper essentials. Everything from your shoes to your pack is important when going out hiking, especially for inexperienced hikers. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth, worry-free hiking trip.

Step One: Choose the Proper Gear.

Take note of the weather conditions where you are going hiking and dress accordingly. Winter may make is necessary to wear thermal underwear, thick socks, gloves, a hat, and a scarf in order to ensure that you will stay warm, but keep in mind that doing some hiking can work up a sweat, so make sure you have room in your pack for items you may need to take off. Also, be sure to choose appropriate shoes that are the right size and will help support your feet.

Step Two: Pick a Suitable Bag.

You are going to have to bring a few essential items on your hiking trip, so make sure you pick a suitable bag. If you’re interested, sporting good stores sell packs specifically for hiking with a built-in place for water and a long straw so you don’t have to stop to pull out a water bottle all of the time. Otherwise, sticking with and old-school backpack works just fine. Just make sure it is big enough for the items you want to carry and not so big that you’ll over pack or it will be too heavy.

Step Three: Pack your Pack.

Choosing what you are going to bring can seem difficult when everything seems important, but leave what you don’t absolutely need at home. I would suggest bringing the following: plenty of water, food/snacks, wallet, keys, camera, phone, small first aid kit (with band aids, sanitizing wipes, medication, and other essentials), a to-go container of toilet paper (for the women), and hand sanitizer. Sunscreen is also an important item to bring. If you are going on a relatively short hike, you might be okay with only applying sunscreen beforehand, but for lengthy trips it is best to bring along a travel size container. You may need a few extra items during the winter, but this list should cover the needs of a majority of hikers. Also, make sure you put your liquid items, like sunscreen and hand sanitizer, in a plastic baggie so nothing opens and ruins any of your other items.

Step Four: Planning a Route.

Planning out where exactly you are going can be just as important as bringing water. While you should leave yourself a bit of leeway room to change your plans, you want to make sure you know where you are going to reduce chances of getting lost. Besides, you can research the trails to see what each one has to offer and to make sure that the difficulty level matches what you can handle. After your route is mapped out, it is a good idea to tell a friend or family member where you’ll be going and check in with someone before and after your hike, especially if going alone. Even with a group, though, it is possible to get lost or in another dangerous situation, so having a buddy that’s staying in civilization could be helpful.

Once you have all of these figured out, you are ready to embark on your hiking expedition. Just remember to choose the proper gear, pick a suitable bag, pack it, plan your route, and have fun!



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