You love hiking, right?
And I’m completely with you – hiking is one of the best outdoor activities. It makes you fit, it makes you happy, it makes you a better person.
But you know exactly as I do that despite all it’s awesomeness it can be pretty exhausting and hard. Walking all those miles with this heavy backpack can be strenuous.
But here’s the deal..
It doesn’t have to be. In today’s episode I show you 10 hiking tips to help you make your adventures easier and as enjoyable as possible.
Let’s dive just right in.
Hiking 101 – 10 Tips for Easier Hiking and Backpacking
1. Use trekking poles
I’m a true advocate of walking with trekking poles. Before trying many people don’t really believe what a great piece of gear they are. All the pros outnumber the cons of walking with poles and I personally don’t hike without them anymore.
So why should you use them? Read and get convinced that this is #1 hiking tip:
- When walking with trekking poles you do good to your knees and ankles taking away some of the stress. Supporting yourself with poles helps to distribute the weight and keeps your knees in a much better state. It’s especially true when walking downhill where poles just do wonders.
- They also allow you to pace yourself properly. Walking with poles enables you to find and keep your perfect pace. You surely can do the same without them but with the sticks it’s easier to keep your optimal speed plus you’re also faster than walking without them.
- You really start appreciating this piece of gear in all kinds of difficult terrain – wet, muddy, slippery or really steep – this is when true pole magic starts. They give so much additional support and stability and make your hikes much safer and secure.
- In an emergency situations you can always use them as a splint or crutches to help you get home safely.
- Trekking poles can also play a role in lightening up your load. There are many tents and tarps which use poles as a part of their construction which eliminates the need of additional stakes and reduces the overall weight of your pack. And we all know – the lighter the happier.
2. Drink regularly
Proper hydration is one of the most important things when hiking. Keeping constant level of good hydration will ensure your better fitness and increase your comfort. That’s why drinking regularly is so important and by regularly I mean often taking small sips. I’m a keen user of water bladder as it allows me to do exactly that. Using bottles is more troublesome and you end up drinking bigger amounts of water less frequently. Your hydration system is a matter of preference but staying properly hydrated is a must regardless.
3. Rest regularly
This might seem like quite an obvious hiking tip but I’ve seen too many hikers rushing through the trail and skipping on rest breaks. Stopping and relaxing isn’t something to neglect. It helps you stay in shape and really enjoy your hike. There is nothing worse than walking and hating every step you take cause you’re exhausted. My personal recommendation and a rule I apply is to rest every 2h for about 15-30min depending on how I feel. 2h interval also allows you to plan your day better and reach your destination in a good shape.
4. Love your feet
On the trail your feet need as much love and care as you can possibly give them. It’s them who do all the hard work so treat them well.
During every stop follow those simple steps and you’ll be a blister free, happy hiker:
- Remove and ventilate your shoes
- Remove and ventilate your socks
- Let your feet dry and rest
- Lift your feet to reduce the swelling
If you’re using any lubricants re-apply them during every stop as they get washed off by your sweat.
If you want to make sure to keep your feet blister free read my ultimate guide on preventing and treating blisters when hiking.
Learn how to quickly and effectively take care of blisters and treat them like a pro.
5. Snack often
Again as with drinking eating regularly is an important thing to remember. To keep your energy levels stable you need to power your body more than 2 or 3 times a day. Usually what I do is to use my 30 min break to snack on something. It can be trail mix, power bars, jerky, cookies whatever tickles your fancy. Avoid getting hungry and munch regularly to stay strong and focused.
6. Take small steps
This is a small hiking tip but it makes a huge difference. When walking on a flat surface normal, long strides are fine and work great. However when walking uphill taking smaller steps will make the whole thing much easier. You will use less energy and your body won’t get as tired as if you would try to take longer steps. This technique is really efficient and will get you on top of any mountain you want. Slowly but surely.
7. Start early
Starting your day early brings only positives. First of all during the summer time you avoid the hottest hours of the day and use the cool morning to hike as much as you can. The next good thing is that you have plenty of time to get to your destination before the sunset and you don’t need to rush yourself. And once you’re at your campground you will have enough time to do all the chores and enjoy your well deserved relax. Another plus of starting early is actually avoiding big amounts of people if you’re hiking in a high season on a very popular trail. That way you will have some quality alone time with your fav trail before anyone else.
8. Keep it light
As I mentioned before the lighter the happier. Keeping your pack weight low or as low as you’re comfortable with will increase the overall comfort of your trips. When hiking light you can go faster, see more, go further and enjoy every step more. Remember to have your 10 essentials with you and stay within your comfort zone. Every trip will teach more about your gear and what you need and what not. Make sure you don’t double items and only bring what a given trek will require. Be clever about your packing and you’ll see your load reducing with every trip.
9. Know your daylight
Knowing how much daylight you have is a very useful thing and a good tip for hiking. First of all you will never be surprised by the end of the day while you’re still a long way from your camp. Secondly knowing how long your day is allows you to plan your hike, when to make stops and how long they can be. Also in the situation of some unexpected events you will know how much time you have left to find a camp spot before night. You can easily find this information out for example HERE. Just type in your location and you’re set!
10. Know thyself
All of the above hiking tips are important and worth remembering but the most important thing is to actually know yourself. Know how fit you are, how much you can carry, how far can you go, how much food you need, how is your body reacting to all the abuse. All this and much more needs to be clear before you embark on a seriously big adventure. And the best way to know that is to take shorter hikes and get some experience and knowledge about yourself. Get away for a weekend or a day and test yourself. Then push yourself a little and then a little more. Knowing yourself is one of the biggest assets. In the end in the outdoors you have to rely on yourself and you wouldn’t rely on someone you don’t know, would you?
I hope you like some of the above tips and will use some of them during your next awesome hiking adventure!
OVER TO YOU – WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE HIKING TIPS? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS, TWEET ME OR WRITE ME ON FACEBOOK!
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