The Ultimate Hiking Guide for Beginners. All You Need to Know Before Going on Your First Hike!

Posted on January 24, 2020

Hiking is one of the most beautiful sports you can take on, and it has incredible benefits for your entire body. Walking up and down the mountain exercises most big groups of muscles in your body.

In short, it is one of the greatest sports for outdoor enthusiasts.

Your legs, arms, back, and stamina will benefit from taking up hiking as a regular activity and practicing it often. Hiking also relaxes and helps your mind get rid of stress and all contaminations of modern life in the city.

Breathing clean air and being surrounded by nature at its purest form for days at the time can really ground and help you live a better life. Like every sport, hiking is beautiful and super healthy. It requires certain gear and precautions to keep it a fun experience and avoid dangers.

If you are about to set foot in this beautiful world of hiking, you are in the right place; this guide will teach you everything you need to know.

I will tell you all I’ve learned the hard way in several mountain trails around the world so you can spare the painful part and sink in the experience. Ready to go? Let’s get started then!

Find out where to hike based on what you want 

The first thing you need before starting to buy gear or do anything like that is to know what you want to accomplish and where you are going to go do it. There is absolutely nothing you can plan or buy before you know where you are going, how long, and what you want to accomplish. 

This first question is, “what do you want to accomplish?” because there are several reasons to take on hiking as a sport. Let’s break it down into different answers:

Peace of mind

Hiking is an excellent way of escaping the modern world and all its problems. You likely forget about routine, your boss, the office, and all the mundane worries of your mind when you wake up hearing the birds with those shy rays of morning light going into your tent.

Yes, hiking gives peace of mind. In my experience, it makes me feel very small compared to those giant rock formations that have seen generations come and go for millions of years. Opposite to what you might think, it was a beautiful feeling of comfort taking some of the importance out of my ego. For peace of mind, I recommend long trails in nature.

Fitness

There was a study that the well-known PLOS One Journal published a short time ago about hiking as a sport that was revolutionary in its findings.

They took two groups and mimicked hiking inside a controlled area with indoor treadmills. A second one did the same length in a natural path outdoors. The results indicated that the workout out in the wild was harder, more physically demanding but also perceived by the participants as easier and more fun.

In short, the fact that outdoor hiking is very physically demanding but very enjoyable makes it a great way of exercising without feeling it as a burden. For fitness, I recommend short and demanding trails nearby that you can finish on the same day.

 Landscapes

The third big thing to accomplish with outdoor hiking is seeing some of the best landscapes in your life. Yes, the best thing about sightseeing while hiking is to experience nature in all its brutal, magnificent, and humongous magic.

I can’t describe with words what it feels like to wake up very early in the morning and to walk in the dark to see the sunrise at a remote viewpoint. The mix of colors between red, orange, and white makes sunrises in the mountains just unique.

Adding to that, the feeling that you got when you walked to the viewpoint, and it was an effort is of reward: nature is rewarding you with that breathtaking sight because you earned it. For the best sightseeing, I recommend mountain trails, the higher, the better (keep it close if you are a beginner, Everest is a long way up).

If any or all of these three reasons to go hiking answer your “what to accomplish” category, then you are on the right path.

The good news is that by achieving one of them, you will be achieving the other two too. For example, seeing those fantastic views that require long walks will make you fit and take other problems away from your head.

What’s your level?

This is a great question to ask yourself before starting out. The answer to this question must be sincere because you will be betting your life on it many times.

If you are a beginner who has never really hiked and are going for your first trip, it is vital to take more safety measures than needed, just in case. If you are a well-versed, experienced hiker, then you can just take these pieces of advice and use them as a checklist that you are not forgetting about anything.

What is critical to define according to your hiking level is the track you are about, to begin with. For example, if you haven’t been in a hiking experience before, try to find trails that don’t involve any real climbing or complicated terrains and try to enjoy the wonders of made-trails.

Making it too hard on yourself from the first experience can have the absolute opposite effect than the one you might be thinking of; it will not make you stronger, it will put you through unnecessary danger and effort.

Going solo

The answer to the last question can help you answer this one as well. It is essential that you understand that going solo might mean spending hours alone and going through some of the most beautiful places you’ve ever seen and not being able to share it with anyone in real-time.

It also means that you will have to take all the things you need by yourself instead of sharing the load. If you get lost, you’ll be alone, the same if you fall and get hurt or any other inconvenience you might have on your trip. 

On the other hand, it will be close to a meditative state to be walking in silence through a forest path. You get involved in the secrecy surrounding you, feel the breeze, and let it have a powerful effect on your nervous system and your brain.

Many people come back from a long hike with new conclusions and ideas about their lives just by being exposed to that meditative state of mind. 

This being said, my personal recommendation is not to go solo, at least not the first time you take on the adventure. Plus, if you go to a tourist place, chances are you’ll never be really alone, you’ll meet people and make friends on the road for sure. 

One final thing, if despite this advice you are going solo, always let someone else know where you are going and let them know that you’re OK.

Going in a group

My recommendation is to always hike with a hiking companion or a group of people. This is a delicate thing too because if the group is too big and diverse, there will be people going at different paces, and it can get a little competitive or annoying, depending on your skills.

I remember making the 4-day Inca trail get to Machu Picchu in Peru with a big group of differently-skilled people and having that small competitive bug in me and hearing more experienced hikers being bored with us beginners dragging them down. It wasn’t a big thing, but it was something that affected the experience for them and for us negatively.

Try to be with hikers that are at your same level and don’t try to outdo anyone; hiking is not a race. It is about enjoying the environment and pushing your fitness moderately. Yes, it is nice to have a little healthy edge with whoever you are walking with, but it is infinitely better to compete with someone in your own league than out of it. 

If you go with the right group of people, you’ll upgrade your experience hugely and make it an everlasting joyous memory. I’ve made some of my best friends spending hours walking down the Nepalese Himalayas and the Peruvian jungle, just to name a couple.

Whether you are going solo or with a group make sure you know how to behave in the outdoors to preserve the environment and make it an enjoyable hike for your fellow hikers. If you are a happy dog owner and you want to go hiking with your dog we have some tips for hiking with a dog here.

Find the right hiking trail 

Speaking of the Nepalese Himalayas and the Peruvian jungle, in order for you to find the right path to have your hiking experience is very important.

Going for too much too soon can prove to be much worse than you think, especially in the beginning. You might end up feeling that “it’s not for you” or that it is “too hard and boring.” Hiking is like everything else in life, like any other sports; you will not be Phelps the first time you dive in a pool or Brady the minute you walk into a football field.

There is a learning curve to hiking as well. Try to start slow, find the beginner’s tracks you can do, and go for them fearlessly.

The right track for beginners should be:

1. Not too far:

This is the first thing to bear in mind: don’t try to go hiking to the other side of the globe for the first time. How so? Because you should try and make it more familiar and avoid adding one more handicap to an already tricky endeavor as it is to go hiking. So, find out if there are beginners’ tracks close to your city and start there.

2. Not too long:

Going for too many days at once the first time might be a little overwhelming and end up ruining your experience. There are several things that get worse with days like blisters and tiredness; hence you should try to go for less than a week on your first adventure. I would recommend three to four days max.

3. Not too risky:

Don’t take unnecessary risks, at least at the beginning. Don’t worry, there will come a time in which you also can take that selfie hanging from the wire with your cool helmet and the fantastic background.

In your first incursions, try to choose established paths at touristic places to be surrounded by other hikers and also because it is easier to find more info online that can help you deal with it. Try avoiding paths that include climbing if you are not well-versed into it.

Don’t worry about the picture element. Taking the selfie at the summit will have a significant effect on your Instagram followers too.

Once you’ve picked your trail, it is time to get ready for the trip. Let’s go through the essentials to make your hiking trip an incredible experience.

What to wear when going for a hike (Footwear, Clothing) 

Clothing for hiking is a significant factor. Taking the wrong clothing for a particular hiking experience can turn it from a dream to a nightmare.

For example, I remember being on my way to Tilicho Lake in Nepal and having my Reebok running shoes that I had taken with me the entire way and suddenly finding a huge patch of snow in the middle of our path. Yes, I went with my running shoes without crampons through the snow and ended up with my feet completely wet.

This made me be barefoot next to the lake while the sun was drying my stuff. I was fortunate it was a beautiful sunny day. Otherwise, I would have gone down with cold and wet feet. This is a clear example of how an inexperienced hiker can have a problematic setback with a very easy-to-avoid inconvenience.

The big shoe scenario

OK, now that I have opened this vast topic, let’s go right into it. There are a lot of specialized-media journalists, hikers, and enthusiasts who say that hiking boots are out of the question except for concrete paths and trails. For them, hikers should definitely wear some more comfortable footwear like trail shoes that are not only made for trail running. 

You shouldn’t avoid this topic and make a decision about it, so let’s not prevent it in this post either and help you make the wisest choice. 

Why hiking boots?

Hiking boots have been around since the beginning of hiking and will continue to join us in our adventures for years to come. There is absolutely no doubt about it. Now, the question is whether or not they are suitable for you and you should get you a pair or not.

Let me first give you my opinion about them:

PROS:

Hiking boots are great for your ankles.

When you are on a trail that is not flat, going up or down, you will realize that your ankles do most of the work. You will notice it, especially when stopping or slowing down on a downwards trail or pulling up from your feet to go up a cliff or a climb. Hiking boots will protect your ankles every time you really need them because they are designed to do so.

Hiking boots have a fantastic grip.

The soil of most hiking boots is made to have an extreme grip that will help you on musty rocks and gravel a lot.

Hiking boots are water and snow proof.

If I was wearing a pair of hiking boots like most of my travel companions on that Tilicho Lake ascend, my feet would have been dry and great by the time I reached the top.

CONS:

Hiking boots are heavy.

They are among the heaviest items you can take on a trip and also take a lot of space in your backpack. For example, if you were backpacking South East Asia as I was when I went to the Annapurnas and the Tilicho Lake, hiking boots would’ve taken at least half my backpack.

Hiking boots are very warm.

Hiking boots are designed to endure the mountain climate, and surfaces and hence are very tough, have excellent grip, and are very warm. This can be a massive con for them when you are hiking during the daytime in the lower parts of the mountain or lower mountains.

Why Trail shoes?

This is the next best thing when it comes to hiking. For plenty of people, hiking boots should be out of the question and replaced by this kind of shoes. You might have seen them plenty of times, many brands manufacture them; perhaps the most famous is Solomon.

I’ve worn those many times and here is my experience with them:

PROS:

Trail shoes are light.

This kind of footwear is made of really light materials for hikers to feel they are not wearing anything but have their feet very protected. Usually, they have a soil with an excellent grip that is weightless.

Trail shoes are very comfortable.

Just like hiking boots, trail shoes are made to be worn for many hours and kilometers non-stop. Trail shoes have another benefit in this sense that hiking boots don’t: they let your ankles free, and this is way more familiar than boots.

Trail shoes are water/snow proof.

This is something trail shoes, and hiking boots share: they can endure snowy or wet roads and come out the other way completely dry.

CONS:

Trail shoes don’t protect your ankles.

Because they are close to sneakers, they don’t protect the ankle of the person wearing them. You cannot feel the difference as you are walking on flat land, but you can really feel it when you are going down or up a trail, and your ankles are really working. There are few things that can end your hiking trip so abruptly as injuring an ankle.

Why running shoes?

I wore running shoes throughout my Annapurnas experience for many of the fourteen days while my other footwear rested peacefully in my backpack. I wore my hiking boots eventually on the most complicated parts of the path, but most of it was on running shoes.

PROS:

Running shoes let your feet breathe.

Most running shoes are made for sweaty feet that are in continuous motion at high temperatures. Hence they let them breathe. This is a great thing for those parts of the mountain that you are walking in broad daylight for a long distance under the sun.

Running shoes have bouncing soils.

Running shoes are made for running, and this makes the soil bouncing-friendly. A bouncing soil (even with air bubbles in it) makes it easier for you to move down and up the trail with less effort.

CONS:

Running shoes are permeable to water and snow.

Because they let the hot air and sweat of your feet out, they also allow the water and moisture of snow to go in. Believe me, I can say it’s not a great experience.

Running shoes are not comfortable after many hours.

Because they are made for running, they are not designed to be worn for as many hours as you’ll be hiking for and might give you blisters.

The Bottom Line

Well, now that you’ve read the opinion of a veteran hiker who hiked wearing all these three different footwear styles in different situations for different mountains, it’s time to make a conclusion. My advice is to make a choice depending on the soil you’ll be covering. 

  • Take running shoes only if you are going for a daylight trail that won’t take you more than 4 hours walking a day. 
  • Go for the trail shoes if it takes more than 3-4 hours a day, and it is also for more than 2-3 days. 
  • Finally, take the hiking boots when you are going for higher grounds with lots of ups and downs and chances to get snow in the way.

What kind of socks do I need?

The socks that you wear are going to be in deep connection with your footwear and also with the weather you are about to face. 

·  Footwear – Running shoes require athletic, light, and breathable socks. The same thing happens with trail shoes. Hiking boots can do with taller, warmer socks to help the warmth and comfort factor.

·  Weather – The combination of light footwear and socks is a match made in heaven for daylight hiking in short trails, for more complicated situations and colder scenarios, hiking boots and thick socks are better.

 ·  Budget – You can always buy specific, expensive gear. Bear in mind that particular equipment is mostly for specific situations. For example, snow, extreme cold, and inclined surfaces demand more than flat terrains. Bear this in mind when on a budget or spend freely if you can.

What kind of pants do I need? 

Let’s say this: my favorite pants are detachable. Yes, they are not the prettiest, coolest pair of pants you can wear on a Saturday night, but hey! You are not trying to win a fashion show but to be comfortable to walk many miles. 

The good thing about detachable pants is that you can turn them into shorts and then into long pants again. I do not recommend buying those that have the warm part inside.

You can take off a jacket while walking, even a sweater, but not your pants. They have to be waterproof (which makes them windproof too) and very light to pair them with some thermal tights in case it gets too cold going up.

The fitting of this pant is going to be crucial. If you feel it awkward from the get-go chances are that after long hours on them, you’ll feel they are annoying. Besides, try to think that you might want to put some thermals underneath them and make them warmer, so they should give you enough room for that too.

What kind of shirt do I need? 

Shirts are another piece of clothing for which you have to let go of fashion and trends. I know it is very cool to go up the mountain and take that photo with that really fashionable shirt that has that band logo or phrase you love, but they are very impractical.

The best kind of t-shirt you can wear is the one that dries out really fast, and that will let your skin breathe while you walk.

I learned this the hard way in my Annapurna excursion. We would leave each town very early in the morning and walk until the early afternoon before it went dark and cold.

This means that many, many times, we would walk at noon. Going up the Himalayas, above the 4,000 meters, is kind of cold. When you have been walking in your regular cotton shirt in a windy situation at noon, you’re very probably completely drenched in sweat and hence, wet and cold.

My companion, this funny Spanish guy from Mallorca, was wearing a DRI-FIT shirt that would dry in a heartbeat and was always warm and dry. At the same time, I was always cold and wet.

Get proper shirts for hiking; spending that extra buck, you saved on socks here is a very wise choice.

What kind of jacket do I need? 

Depending on the kind of trail you are about to do, a jacket can be utterly essential or not. First of all, a jacket needs to be very comfortable, and I stress VERY because you’ll be wearing it for many hours. Again, it is not a fashion show, but a mountain hike, you shouldn’t be trying to look cool but safe and warm. 

If you are going to a very cold climate, let’s say Argentinian Patagonia in winter to see the majestic Perito Moreno glacier, you’ll need a very warm, goose feather jacket to endure the harsh weather conditions. 

On the other hand, if you are going for a hike that involves a very wet, humid, and warm climate like the Peruvian jungle, you should focus on it being waterproof and very light.

To solve this matter, you should dress in what we call the “onion style.” This is a great way to prevent extreme temperatures (hot or cold) from putting you through a bad time.

If you are wearing layers, you’ll never be too hot or too cold because there is always something more to put on or take out. In this sense, great water and windproof jacket with a detachable warm interior is what I recommend the most.

Do I need a hat? 

Well, the answer to this question is a definite yes. If there is one thing you can’t control when you go hiking, it is the sun. Yes, the sun is a big factor when you go hiking that can really harm your skin.

The higher up you go, the stronger the sun will be and chances are you won’t be covered all the time and will be exposed to it during the worst hours, from 11 am to 3 pm.

Some brands commercialize folding hats that can easily be stored in your backpack and will take virtually no space of it. While being in Argentinian Patagonia, we went with a group all the way down to an island called Tierra del Fuego, the most southern province in the world.

It was a trail completely covered in snow with just some pine trees along the way. The sun was so bright when hitting the snow and above us that those of us who didn’t bring a hat and a good pair of sunglasses to the trail ended up with burns in the second degree.

We can say that I learned the hard way that even when the trail was the opposite of a tropical path, you need as much sun protection as you can get.

Besides this technical opinion, let me tell you they add some swag to that cool factor of being a hiker. Engage that cool factor and pick one you really like.

What kind of backpack do I need?

OK, now that you know all the clothing you need to take to your adventure, it is time to talk about what you are going to take with it. The wrong backpack can make your hiking a lot more complicated. Let’s go through some of the most important features you should look for and check:

·  Sturdy straps

This is the number one thing that can ruin your hiking experience: a broken backpack. If you have to go all the way holding one belt with your hand or your entire backpack from a handle as a regular bag, you’re going to be very annoyed.

If you have to spend an extra buck to get a good quality backpack with sturdy straps, don’t hesitate and do it. Once up the mountain, everything is exponentially more expensive, and sometimes it isn’t even a choice (you might not be able to buy a replacement down the way). While you’re there, make sure you check the zippers too.

·  Weight and size

You shouldn’t think of your hiking backpack as the same as your traveling backpack. You’ll be carrying your hiking backpack a whole lot more than your traveling bag. It should never exceed the 40 liters. Speak to the clerk or look for the online description saying “hiking backpack” instead of “backpacker backpack.”

·  Breathable back

Many modern backpacks are made of unique material in the back (behind the straps and the straps themselves) that lets air run through and dry fast. Remember I told you about the wet cotton shirt? The backpack is just the same case scenario.

·  Extra straps are great

Hiking backpacks have more extra straps than regular bags to be closer to your body and be more comfortable. Look for backpacks that will have shoulder, waist, and chest straps. Check that they are comfortable and that the waist strap is not fixed but movable to accommodate the movements of your body.

Once you have a backpack that meets all these requirements, try it on and fill it with some weight at the shop. Move around, do some stretching, and see how you feel. I don’t recommend you buy your hiking backpack online without trying it out first.

Also, pay special attention to the size, I saw many people who had porters take their backpacks because they were too big for them. The more spare space you have, the more chances you’re going to put unnecessary stuff in your backpack. Try to think “what is the smallest I can get away with” and go for it.

How much food and water do I need when hiking?

Depending on where you are going, most trails are filled with people selling food and drinks. In the most touristic spots, you’ll be a big part of the local economy and is always a great way to help locals buying from them. Yes, it is going to be more expensive, so it all depends on your budget. That being said, let’s go through the essentials and how to take them with you.

How much water do I need? 

One thing you cannot overlook is that you have to bring water with you. Going on a hike with no water is like jumping off a plane with no parachute: a crazy thing. So, that being said, you should always bring with you a 2-liters recipient and one more “emergency” liter of water. 

Every time you can fill your 2-liter recipient at a water spot, do it. Never be with your emergency bottle empty. Depending on the surface and place of the Earth you’re hiking at, water can be scarcer or more abundant. Regardless of that fact, you need to be able to give water to your body with all the walking, sweating and dehydrating you’re going through.

So, a two-liter bottle and an “emergency” one extra liter is the answer to that question.

This is how to store the water 

If you can bring a thermal bottle to keep it cold, you’ll pat yourself on the back for it later. There are some very light thermal bottles that come with a cap that can be hooked up to the outside of your backpack that are awesome and won’t take any space from your (small) backpack.

There are some reservoirs with a larger-than-life straw that can go from your backpack to your mouth that those are very handy too. This is if you have the extra budget; otherwise, water bottles are great.

We are going to go deeper into this further on, but try not to pollute the paradises you are going to with empty plastic water bottles, make sure you are using a reusable one at all times.

What kind of food to bring to the hike?

When hiking, you invest a lot of energy and need to get it back. The food you want to bring to your hiking is going to be high on energetic power.

Try to look for some highly-caloric and energetic packaged food in the smallest packs available so it won’t take half your backpack.

Usually, in places like Cusco, Peru, or Pokhara, Nepal, where hikers gather before taking off, you’ll find everything you need to go on your adventure. Yes, you are allowed to eat as much chocolate as you want (hooray!)

These are some of the snacks I bring on the road. Try to eat some real food whenever you have the chance; it is an excellent way to rest, eat tasty local food, and help the mountain economy.

  • Nuts
  • Fruits
  • Granola
  • Energy bars
  • Chocolate (snickers and such)

What other hiking gears do I need?

Is that it? Well, we covered the basics that need to have a spot inside your backpack, the backpack itself, the consumables (AKA water and food), and some accessories like your hat. However, you still need to bring in the add-ons.

Let’s go through them:

First Aid Kit 

In the case that you get hurt, a tree branch cuts a wound open in your arm, you catch a cold or a million other minor things, you need to have a complete first aid kit. My personal suggestion is to buy a hiker one. They usually come with all the essentials and also in a tiny package to be easily taken everywhere. Don’t forget to put some extra blisters treatment.

Map & Compass 

These two have to go together; otherwise, you are going to be just as lost as without them. If you are like me, you will bring these two besides the GPS in your phone just in case it decides to die. You can never be too prepared for the mountain, especially when these are virtually inexpensive and weightless.

Sunglasses

A good pair of mirrored sunglasses has to be among your equipment. I am not a fan of walking the mountain wearing them at all times because they modify some of the best landscapes in the world, but for moments of snow and sun reflection are a must. Remember that the cool factor is already on the hat, you can spare the glasses.

Bug spray

Have you ever heard about dengue fever? Well, there are many bugs in the world that can give you different diseases; protect yourself from them with bug spray.

Sun cream 

You really need some sun protection. Otherwise, you are going to be utterly burned and won’t be able to finish your trail in one piece. The hand that held my walking stick during the Annapurnas got burnt in the second degree, and it took months for that skin to go back to normal.

Light 

A headlight is a definite must! You never know when the night is going to fall on you, or you need to search for something inside your backpack when everyone else is sleeping. There are many situations in which it can be handy, so get one.

Fire 

By saying “fire” of course, I mean that you should take something to make it with.

  • Waterproof matches
  • Windproof lighter
  • Alcohol and cotton

Whistle 

Many backpacks have a built-in whistle, especially those that are specially made for hiking. In the case that yours doesn’t, then you should definitely get a whistle. If you or someone else are in danger or lost, you need to be able to reach out.

We have a fantastic packing list for hikers divided into essentials (what you will definitely need) and “nice to haves” you can find this article here. Or you are interested in what hiking gear you need for your dog?

10 hiking tips for beginners 

Condensing all the information given till now, I am going to add a little set of small tips directed only to beginner hikers.

Check the weather

This is something you should do every time you are going on a hike: follow the weather and the tendencies at least a week before, so you know what to expect. Whenever you are in a multiple-day hike, check it always the day before and act upon that info.

Choose the right trail 

We’ve spoken about this at the very beginning, but I think it is important to stress it, especially if you are going to be in a hikers’ town like Pokara or Cusco.

You’ll always come across someone who is going to do a different trail that is cooler, wilder, and longer than yours. Don’t be carried away and put yourself in danger, stay grounded, choose the right trail, the beginners’ trail.

Tell someone where you are going 

Never, never, never leave without telling someone (friends or not) where you are going. This is a definite must. If you get lost, but you told someone else where you’d be, you’re way more likely to be rescued.

Keep track of it 

This is another great thing to do. Hikers, who are also writers like me, think that our best camera is a pen, but you can bring both and keep track of what you’re doing at all times. Reading it after some time can prove to be quite an experience.

Don’t pollute 

Well, I don’t have to explain or stress this one, do I? We are all citizens of the world, and keeping it clean is a shared responsibility. From the reusable water bottle to taking all your waste with you, it is a responsibility you shouldn’t avoid. Be a reliable, green, and responsible hiker, don’t pollute.

Keep it light 

We’ve been through this too, but try to make it as light as you can. Take only the essentials and, more importantly, take a small backpack that won’t let you take more than you need to with you. Every gram you take with you on your back makes a huge difference after the 6th hour of walking.

Learn how to read a map 

In case your phone dies, your backup GPS dies and you have no place to charge it, you need to be able to read the map you brought with your compass. Practice until you reach perfection.

Wear appropriate clothing (layers)

Don’t forget about the “onion style” we spoke about earlier on. When using the layered approach, you will never be either too cold or too hot.

Eat and drink well

Whenever you have the chance to eat local, tasty, and nourishing food, go for it. Also, bring some energetic snacks that will help you go through the day. Drink plenty of water; dehydration can make it very difficult to go on. 

Pace yourself

Hiking is not a race; it is a beautiful contemplative sport that can take you to some of the most beautiful places on Earth while exercising your body and calming your mind. Pace yourself, and you’ll never get hurt.

Before you start hiking, make sure you’ve checked everything on the list

Before you leave for the first day, make sure you can put a checkmark next to these items.

  1. You know how long it will take 
  2. Make sure you know where you will go 
  3. You know who you will go with
  4. You know you are fit enough
  5. You’ve told someone where you go 

Stretching and warming up exercises before and after you hike

Finally, warming up and doing some stretching exercises before and after your hike is a definite must not to hurt yourself. A cold set of muscles going into massive action for hours without preparation is not a good idea. These are the body parts you should pay attention to:

  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Back
  • Waist
  • Buttocks
  • Abductors
  • Thighs
  • Calves
  • Ankles

The brand Quechua explains the best stretching and warming-up exercises you can check out at their website here and here.

Conclusion

Taking up hiking as a sport can be a game-changer, a turning point in your life if it’s done the right way. If you go too far too soon or hurt yourself because you didn’t do it right, you might be missing out on incredible adventures in the future. The world is beautiful, vast, and waiting for you to put on those shoes and go see it with your backpack on.

Follow this guide, and you shall be safe and sound while discovering your new passion in life: hiking.

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