Preparing For The Great Outdoors: A Guide For Hikers

Preparing for a big hiking or climbing trip can be daunting, even if you’ve done it before. There are so many considerations and things to pack that it can be a little overwhelming, so it’s important to start planning early and stay organized.

Not only do you need to think about what to bring and how to face any weather conditions, you also have to train up a bit. A major hiking trip can be hard on the body, so it’s just common sense to get in good shape before you leave. That means working on your endurance and core strength as well as focusing on your ankles, calves, and hips.

For more tips on how to get ready for a big trip, read on.

Go for walks

One of the best ways to get your body ready for a big trip is to go for long walks on uneven terrain. Don’t stick just to your neighborhood or the local park trails; you want to try and recreate the areas you’ll be hiking in, if possible. Wear your hiking boots, especially if they’re new, so you can break them in. Just remember to double up on your socks to prevent blisters.

Try to go for a good-sized walk every other day, then change it up to every day leading up to your trip. When you switch to walking every day, wear a backpack so you can get used to carrying that weight.

Pack smart

The packing process for a big hike or climb is complicated, because there are many parts to consider. Food, drink, bedding and a tent, and safety gear are just a few of the things you’ll need to think about. You’ll also need to do some research on the area and check out the weather forecast so you can be prepared for any contingency. Pack light-colored cotton clothing that can be layered, and don’t forget accessories such as a hat, gloves, and extra clean socks.

As for food, protein-packed snacks are the best way to go to keep up your energy. Nuts, beef jerky, oatmeal, granola bars, raisins, chocolate, and dried fruit are all great things to have on hand. Make your own trail mix and separate it into different baggies so you can grab one and go.

Your safety gear depends on what activities you’ll be participating in. For climbing, you’ll need a variety of different items to keep you safe on the mountain, including carabiners, rope, cord, webbing, a sling, rappel devices, and the right shoes. For hiking, you will of course need boots that have been fitted to your feet, a water bottle or canteen, a first aid kit, flares, a map, a compass, matches, a lantern or flashlight, a good knife, and sunscreen/bug spray. These tools are especially important if you’re traveling solo.

Look for new destinations

Although it will require some research, it’s always fun to check out new destinations that you’ve never traveled to before. The U.S. has several great campsites, hiking trails, and mountainsides that offer something for every level of outdoorsman. Colorado, Utah, and Arizona, and Nevada are especially popular destinations for those who love to camp and hike. Check out Red Rock Canyon, the Grand Canyon, and Death Valley for some especially beautiful locations.

Getting outside and enjoying nature is a great way to unwind and take some time away from the stresses and pressures of work, but it’s important to make safety your number one priority, whether you’re traveling alone or in a group. Be sure to make packing lists and check them twice before leaving to ensure you’ll have everything you need.