Hiking worldwide is becoming increasingly popular and, not to mention, has fantastic health benefits and can massively help in stress reduction. If you are new to hiking and looking to head out on your first hike then you are already making an excellent choice for your overall health and well-being.
The team at Unbound have put together a few of their favourite pieces of advice they were given from friends and family for their first few hikes, and things they have learned along the way. But rest assured, there is a hike out there for everyone and its not a race to the finish line but a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors in good company.
- What Shall I Pack?
Heading out on a shorter hike doesn't require much but the obvious essentials. But if you are looking to spend almost an entire day out and about then you may need to think more carefully about:
- Water - without enough water your body will not be able to perform at its best. Ensure you are hydrated before and throughout your hike, taking regular sips even when the sun isn't out.
- Food- Along with water, these come hand in hand. Depending on the time of day you are heading out, some suggestions for appropriate snacks include trail mix, bananas, cereal, dried fruit, seeds and granola bars. You want to avoid heavier foods with lots of packaging as this will not only weigh you down but take up space in your backpack.
- Tools for Navigation - Sometimes you will not always have signal, so best to revert back to the more traditional methods. That's right, a good map, compass and GPS. Its good to pre plan your route with key landmarks to assist you along the way. It's also a good idea to be mindful of any emergency exits, water sources and rest areas that may be in your surrounding area.
- Waterproofs - Even the most well thought-out trips can't control the weather, and it is much better to be safe than sorry so ensure you have either some form of waterproof jacket or layering system to be able to regulate your temperature. Need help choosing a waterproof? Check out our waterproof jackets buying guide
- Sun Protection - in contrast to the above, you can't underestimate the effect the sun will have on your hike and performance. Pack sun cream, sunglasses, and a hat and ensure to re apply sun cream every 2 hours if you are sweating a lot.
- First-aid kit - this can often be taken for granted but you can make this more relevant to you and who is coming along. The basics include bandages, blister plasters, pain killers, and any other personal medications you may require.
- Safety Tools - Even if you are travelling on a popular hike trail and are only out for a few hours, you can never anticipate every twist and turn. So just ensure you have at least a firestarter, some form of flashlight, portable charger and whistle just in case. These shouldn't take up a huge amount of space, but you will never regret bringing them if you were to run in to an incident.
2. Planning your hike?
- Choose Your Route - the first step of any hiking trip should be determining your location for your hike and finding some form of trail. Do keep in mind some national parks may have COVID restrictions depending on where you are located. There are so many great websites for finding popular trails such as National Trail.
- Get in Shape - Getting ready for a hike requires more than just packing a bag. You could be walking for hours, on different terrain at varying levels of altitude, so you want to try and be in the best possible condition you can to perform and enjoy your time outdoors.
- Hiking Shoes - although self explanatory we can't stress this enough, to find the correct shoes for you and not endure hours of pain. For relatively flat trails, a pair of running shoes can be sufficient. However for those more rough and rocky trails, you'll enjoy the ankle support which hiking boots have to offer. We also always recommend packing blister plasters as they can be a true life saver.
- Be Safe - Safety should always be a top priority on hikes, particularly your first few. Let people know of your hiking plans if travelling alone, don't forget any medications, pack the appropriate items and be aware whilst out and about. Make sure you are mindful of the rules. Most national parks and hiking trails will have some form of guidelines to be followed and it is important you leave the areas how you found them.
There you go! our key pieces of advice we were given and wanted to pass on to you. We would love to hear about your hikes and expeditions both past and present so please do message us at @unboundsupplyco and we can share your stories with others!