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Top tips for new hikers

  • Feb 8, 2016

As any seasoned hiker will tell you, there is a long list of inherent benefits and rewards that come with just a single hike. Hiking can be done all over the world at any pace or any time, and combines heart-healthy exercise with the great outdoors, offering a blend of physical and mental wellness.

Having said all that, there are a few caveats associated with hiking, and any first-timer would be wise to make sure they prepare before venturing off on a hike. Getting started is easy, but here are a few things to keep in mind.

Pick a trail
Taking a rewarding hike doesn't always necessitate a snow-capped mountain or old-growth forest. Most urban areas have an established trail network, and when planning a first hike it is probably wise to start small. This can be especially important for new hikers that are looking to build physical endurance and eventually embark on longer treks. A well traveled, pre-ordained path in a local park is a much more appropriate for a first hike than blazing a new trail up the side of a mountain.

Hiking is about exploration and getting some exercise, but there's a limit. Getting lost somewhere along the course of an eight-hour loop wouldn't be very conducive for establishing hiking as a new hobby. Picking a suitable route that is the right length and in a reasonable location is important to ensure that a first trip is a successful one. Hiking for just a few hours on a weeknight or for an afternoon on the weekend is much more appropriate for even veteran hikers, and it all begins with picking the right trail.

Prepare with the right gear
In the same way that a first-time hiker shouldn't expect to conquer the world in their first few outings, it isn't exactly necessary to bust out the sub-zero sleeping bags and flare guns right away. Bringing the right equipment is important nonetheless, especially items that are light-weight and multi-purpose.

In any season, hiking in layers is the best way to avoid discomfort or any potentially dangerous situations involving over-heating or hypothermia. A good backpack is perfect for storing your extra jacket, along with a reusable water bottle and a healthy snack. Likewise, picking light-weight, durable sneakers or boots is important for any hiker. 

Items like your digital camera or watch compass are great tools that help maximize the experience, but also serve another benefit.  Part of the appeal of hiking is that it can be a way to relax the otherwise over-stimulated mind, and bringing along the right tools allows hikers to put away their mobile device and still have access to helpful information. Having a cell phone is important should any emergency situation present itself, but the best way to enjoy a hike is with your phone in your pocket, not in your hand. Multi-purpose accessories are a great way to replace the utility of an otherwise distracting mobile device.

Get going
Because it is low-impact and low-cost, anyone interested in hiking has little excuse for not getting out there and giving it a go. Hiking can be enjoyed year-round, whether in the depths of a National Park or along the well-groomed trail of an urban green space. Likewise, it doesn't take expensive or cumbersome equipment to get started on a good hike.

Call up a friend, grab your dog's leash or just start lacing up your shoes. Hiking is a great way to get some exercise and piece of mind, and sometimes the toughest aspect for any first-time hiker is just getting up and going.

Don't get lost because your phone lost signal or ran of battery. When you’re headed for wilderness pack the ProTrek PRW3000-1A. With built-in compass, barometer, thermometer, and a solar rechargeable battery, there’s no need to rely on your phone to find the right trail.