Hiking success is an elusive thing. One minute you’re feeling great and your pack seems light as a feather, and then the next you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders and there’s no end in sight. To help ensure that you hit that sweet spot of happy hikers, we’ve put together this list with some of our best advice for hiking success of 1000 steps pa!
1) Pack smart:
The first step to hiking success is getting off on the right foot with a well-packed backpack. There are a few essentials that we tend to carry in our packs no matter where we go:
The most important item you need for hiking success should always be the one you can’t forget — or go without. Water is crucial to your body’s ability to function, and you’ll need it for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. It’s also handy when washing your hiking clothes!
b) A map/compass
While GPS units can be handy (especially when used in conjunction with a cell signal), they’re prone to failure and expensive to replace. A good old-fashioned map and compass are reliable, providing you with a larger view of the area, as well as giving you the benefit of being able to follow trails previously mapped out by previous hikers.
2) Get your gear right:
The good news is that there’s some pretty amazing gear available for backpacking these days. For example, backpacks have gotten slimmer, lighter, and cooler in recent years. They’re also a lot more comfortable now. And it’s not just the design of backpacks, now you can have the best of both worlds — some models are made with breathable mesh, ventilation that makes for a lighter load and head covering unlike any other before.
3) Choose your route wisely:
When you’re out on the trail, there’s nothing more important than knowing where you’re going. If there’s one piece of advice to heed for hiking success, it’s this: don’t venture out into the wilderness without a map! (In fact, bring two just in case.) And make sure that you have some sort of physical reference as well — at least a compass (with knowledge to tell which direction is which). A GPS unit or cell phone can be useful as well if they come with mapping apps and other software.
4) Watch your steps:
Whether you’re hiking through a forest or a city, it’s important to look where you are going. When you step off the trail, you can easily get lost. This is especially problematic if there are obstacles like rocks, fallen trees, and even water to cause you to lose your path. If your path trickles down a hillside and feels like it might lead somewhere else entirely, be very careful not to follow it.
5) Learn how to dodge:
More than likely, someone out in the wilderness will run into someone else out in the wilderness. Even in remote areas, there’s a chance you’ll run into other people. The important thing is to be aware of your surroundings, and if other hikers are nearby, to watch carefully for them. If they’re out of sight (or if you can’t see them at all), call out a friendly greeting so that they know you’re coming — it’s better to take the time to avoid startling anyone else than it is to end up getting hurt yourself when someone else jumps in your way!
6) Find your compass:
As we mentioned before, a map and compass aren’t just useful but necessary for hiking success. These tools are the perfect combination of previous experience, knowledge of the terrain you’re on, and an understanding of where you are. These three things work in tandem to create a successful hiker — not only will they help you to find your way around, but they’ll help you to set goals and learn more about where you’ve been.
7) Be prepared for rain:
We love hiking. It’s a great way to get some exercise while enjoying nature and taking a break from the stress of everyday life in the city. But there are times when the weather just doesn’t want to cooperate. It’s always a good idea to have an umbrella handy on your pack, or better yet, a poncho. You may also find yourself hiking in heavy fog, where visibility is low but conditions are otherwise perfect! Be sure to have good rain gear during these times as well.
8) Use sunscreen:
Every once in a while you’ll be hiking in some sort of tropical area. Most of the time you should be wearing sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s UV rays, but if you are hiking in a tropical area or near a beach, it can be easy to forget. When you’re out in the middle of the forest, there’s not much sunlight at all! Remember to wear sunscreen for a long period of outdoor activity.
9) Keep yourself clean:
When you’re camping, you’ll need plenty of water for drinking and cooking as well as washing your clothes. You’ll also find that being around other hikers means that viruses can spread quite quickly — and that things like diaper rashes can be common among little ones while they are out on the trail.