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Travel

Hiking Trails and Wilderness Beasts: A Curated Guide To Hiking For Beginners

By Architi Batra

Updated - Aug. 11, 2018 bookmark icon 10 min read

There's something about the nature that heals you! And there's no better way of being closer to it than indulge in the beautiful adventure called Hiking. A hike will be one of the greatest things you can ever achieve and you'll become addicted to. Away from the hustle and bustle of your chaotic life, Hiking is a spiritual experience. So, if you are new to it, you'll soon know what we are talking about. 
hiking backpack_imageHiking is not that big of a task if you make up your mind to do it and after being thorough with this curated guide to hiking all your questions will be answered and you'll be mentally prepared for your very first Hike!

 

Let's get you hiking!

 

How To Get Started?

Start Small - Although Hiking can be a daunting, exhausting and long experience it isn't necessary that you go about it in a full commando mode. Start with baby steps! A hike need not be a long haul the very first time, instead, you could have a quick jaunt at a local park after work, explore the woods nearby on a Sunday morning, hike on a small nearby hill or go for a full day-overnight hike including camping. hiking shoes trail_image

 

5 Basic Rules: PLAN OUT YOUR ADVENTURE IN ADVANCE

 

1. Pick Your Location - Keep it simple! Choose a place that is accessible with good transport connectivity and suitable weather conditions. Since the weather conditions are a very integral part, so don't go to a place that is too cold or too hot. Know all this before going. 

 

2. Decide How Long You Want To Hike - Know your potential! There's no need to exert yourself rather start with trails that can be done in less than a day, that won’t require you to pack a tent, or ask you to bring an extra change of clothes. 

hiking solo_image

3. Determine Your Level - There's no point in going for a 10-hour hike in the mountains with no facilities or whatsoever. So, start slow and pick places with facilities around you, in case you need anything. You don't want to be stuck somewhere you don't know to dread the decision. 

 

4. Decide Your Company - You definitely need to decide on your company when you are planning to take yourself for the hiking. A good company will help you keep boosted to go on the track while you can indulge in some good conversation with your mate to keep out those exertions a little away from you. It's the perfect bonding opportunity and makes the whole experience more fun.hiking in group_image
5. Let Somebody Know Where You Are - If you are alone, safety should be your first priority. Take the time to let someone know where you are and when you'll be back. Let them know the important details so if they don’t hear back from you by a certain time they know to alert the proper authorities.

 

 


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What To Wear?

Good footwear is a necessity for hiking because you don't want shoes which are easier to twist an ankle when stepping on a root or rock, hurting when stepping on sharp rocks that can cut or want to concentrate more on where you are stepping instead of on the view ahead of you. And if you find yourself on a green grass area in the middle of your hike, don't forget to remove your shoes and socks and give your feet a rest by walking barefoot. There's no better hike than which is barefoot.

 

Footwears - Your regular sports shoes are good enough but appropriate 'Hiking Shoes' is a much better option. Comfort is one thing you shouldn't compromise with on a hike. So, just don’t compromise with the quality of your shoes! Because this is the thing that is gonna keep you ON for your whole hiking adventure. If you’re concerned, pick an easy paced hike with your current shoes to be safe and ramp up when you can afford to ramp up your gear.
hiking shoes_image

 

These are some shoe options:

1. Hiking Shoes - These shoes are great if you’re going to be doing simple day hikes or hiking occasionally. They have a good grip on the bottom, give you enough support, and they aren’t too heavy.

 

2. Hiking Boots - Hiking boots are costly but if you become a regular hiker, you can get your cost out of them. Although many prefer trail shoes, a pair of great hiking boots with more ankle support, thicker tread, thicker shoes, and more protection are better for a serious hike when you'll be traveling for days

Socks

Yes, when you are going hiking, you need to take care of the socks you are wearing too. You want to wear socks that aren’t going to give you blisters or make your feet all sweaty and gross. Like the rest of the things, what kind of socks you wear also depends on a few things. Let's check them out too: 
hiking sochs_image

1. Weather Condition - Are you hiking in the temperate forests or the cold mountains in January? Always wear your socks according to the weather. 

 

2. Kind of Shoes - The kind of shoes you wear determines what kind of socks you have to wear with it. Big boots and thick socks go together which is obviously a no-brainer.
hiking socks_image3. Terrain - If you’re hiking through grass or tall-plants, socks are always the best option. These are great things to keep in mind.

 

Clothes

1. Pants or Shorts -  When it comes to pants/shorts it is heavily dependent upon your environment. If it’s going to be cold, shorts might keep you shivering. If it’s going to be hot, pants might get too uncomfortable. Jeans are definitely not the way to go in any weather condition. Wear lightweight pants. They will not stick to you in any weather and let the cross-ventilation happen easily.
hiking pants and shorts_image

2. Shirts - Good quality long shirts and t-shirts are light, wick away moisture, hide odours, and breathe well. If you want to search any suitable one from an already existing outfit, pick an old t-shirt that is loose and well ventilating and then rock that. If you’re on a multi-day hike in various harsh conditions then a lightweight woollen shirt is a must. 


3. Jackets - A lightweight, waterproof jacket heavy enough to block the wind if it gets chilly is necessary. Don't spend too much and try to use the ones you already have in your closet. Jackets don't come cheap, but if you can afford one then do buy a good quality one because it is really necessary for your hikes. 
hike clothes jackets_image

4. Hats - You should definitely wear a hat/cap. In summers it protects your face and head from direct sunlight. The tops of your ears and the back of your neck are highly susceptible to getting burned while on the trail, so either get some sunscreen or wear a hat that keeps them covered. And when it's colder, protect your ears and head from chilling cold. 

5. Backpack - This is the one you are definitely most excited about. If you’re going on a short hike, lighter and comfier, you can start with simply whatever bag you have. As for the many-day hikes where you’re living out of your bag, packing up and building a tent each day that's where your backpack becomes the necessity. Go to a professional who sells these backpacks, they will fit you with a bag fit for your body type and need. You don't need to do all of it on your own. 
hiking backpacks_image

So, all in all, your clothes depend on certain things that you shouldn't forget about when preparing for your hike. 

 


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Essentials You Need To Bring With You 

1. Water - A water container is one thing you should never ever go on a hike without no matter how small the hiking trail is. You need to stay hydrated and have all the water you can have. You should be drinking 1 litre of water every two hours as a rough guideline. Increase this amount if you are hiking in very warm/desert climates.

 

2. Map and Compass - Map and compass are preliminaries for each adventurer. And in this era of technological advancement, adding GPS receiver and wrist altimeter to the kit most effective improves your adventure making it smoother and exciting. While the topographic maps guide you with frequently-visited nature trails or impossible-to-miss paths of that region, a GPS receiver facilitates you identify the precise location where you are situated and additionally comes to your resource while exploring completely new areas. A compass is likewise quite essential for you even in case your equipment comprises high-tech devices. It is quite handy and becomes your SOS when you might be least expecting it.

 

3. Sunscreen - A waterproof sweat-free sunscreen is essential. Don't skip out any body part and protect your skin from harsh sunburns.

 

4. Bug Spray - When you are going in the wilderness, a bug spray is very important. You don't want your arms and legs to be covered in bug bites.
bug spray for hiking_image
5. Pocket Knife - Keeping some things in hand is important even though you might not have to use them.

6. First Aid-Kit - Having a first-aid kit in hand is a necessity you shouldn't forget. Band-aids and moleskin for blisters and cuts, Neosporin or some type of disinfectant for cuts/scrapes, and maybe a bandage or two just in case. 7. Spare Poly Bags - Protect your goods from getting wet and always keep spare poly bags with you.

8. Sunglasses - No need to go blind with the blistering sun falling right in your eyes.
hiking sunglasses_image
9. Portable Charger - You don't want your phone dying. Not for checking facebook but for in case of emergencies and checking google map for the way around.

10. Other things - A book, camera and other things of your choice never harm anyone and instead enhance the whole hiking experience. 

In the end, always keep a few tricks and tips up your sleeves because after all,
not all those who wander are lost_image

Know the wildlife, clean up, aim high, run down a steep mountain, don't pollute and JUST DO IT! Hiking is one experience you'll cherish the rest of your lives. 


FAQs

Q. How long can you hike in a day?
A. 
At 3.22 km/h, you can already do 32.18 km a day. All you have to do is a hike for 10 hours. If lightening your pack allows you to walk faster or longer, then you can get to 48.28 km per day easily.

 

Q. What are the health benefits of hiking?
A. Hiking is a powerful cardio workout that can:
    1. Hiking is a powerful cardio workout that can:
    2. Improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels
    3. Boost bone density, since walking is a weight-bearing exercise
    4. Build strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in your hips and lower legs
    5. Strengthen your core
    6. Improve balance
    7. Help control your weight
    8. Boost your mood. 

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