How to Prepare for Your First Hiking Experience

24 Nov 2017
Larry Ficks
976

So, your friends finally convinced you to go hiking with them. You always wanted to go, but since you’ve never done this before, the idea now seems pretty intimidating, right? Don’t worry! With a little bit of planning and preparation, hiking easily turns into an activity anyone can do.

To help you stay more comfortable in the wild, you should start learning some vital skills, such as how to make a fire, make a shelter, set up a camp, cook, and how to pack. You will also need to get some basic hiking and camping equipment.

The main hiking and camping equipment you will need is a backpack, a shelter, and a sleeping bag. These are the things that take up the most space/weight and have the biggest impact on comfort. Experts suggest spending the most money and time on these items. Make sure you do your research and try things on to avoid having your trip ruined by a hurt back or a wet/cold night.

Backpack

For a hiking trip that is to last over 2 days, a 50-55 liters backpack is just fine. You might want to get a bigger one to give you more flexibility, but experts recommend to go as light as you can as that will make you a lot more comfortable. While we can’t make a solid recommendation, we advise you to get a backpack from a reliable brand and to try it home before you venture into the wild – you will regret every kilometer you walk with a backpack that doesn’t feel right on you.

Shelter

While you can go hiking without a shelter when the weather is fine or can stay at shelters, a lightweight shelter is always handy to have. Choose a model with rainfly that extends to the ground on all sides to keep you dry in case it starts to rain. Stability in the wind is enhanced by pole intersection. So the more poles the shelter has the stronger the tent will be.

Sleeping Bag

A sleeping bag rated to 20 degrees is recommended for all-purpose use. For colder seasons you may want to consider a model rated to 0 degrees to keep you warm, and for really hot months, a lightweight bag rated to 35 degrees will keep you cooler and will also help reduce pack weight.

For your first hike, make sure you check the weather and bring appropriate clothes so you can adjust as needed. The last thing you will want is to be too hot, too cold, or to get caught in rain unprepared. Being hydrated is also of paramount importance for a successful first hike. So make sure you bring plenty of water with you.

As for starting out, just get out there. Start doing small daily hikes, bring your fitness level up, and start bringing pieces of gear with you gradually, adding weight as you go to get your body accustomed to hauling a lot of weight. Once you feel that you are ready, get out there and have fun. Just don’t forget to be smart and careful.