Hiking Essentials for Beginners
There is no better way to immerse yourself in the great outdoors than hiking. Discovering the world on your own two feet and carrying only what you need on your back is a truly liberating experience. Whether you plan to walk your way up a UK mountain, trek through the Amazon Rainforest or embark on one of our Montenegro Tours, there is some essential gear you’ll need to make your hike a breeze!
One of the most important items you’ll need when heading on a hike, as you’ll be carrying everything you require for the day on your back. Therefore, a sturdy backpack is a must. Depending on whether the hike you’re planning is just a day trip or for an overnight adventure will determine the capacity you require. These are the recommended sizes in litres for various trip lengths:
- 15 – 30 for a day trip
- 30 – 50 for an overnight expedition
- 45 – 55 for a weekend adventure
As well as having the right capacity for your backpack, you’ll want to ensure it has the correct amount of support, such as shoulder straps and a hip belt, to ensure the weight of your backpack is distributed evenly.
Heading off on a hike requires comfortable and suitable shoes for the type of adventure you’re embarking on. Hiking footwear comes in all shapes and sizes, from over-the-ankle boots to lightweight, low-cut boots. The type of boot you require will be determined either by the type of hike you’re going on, while also being a personal preference.
Weather Appropriate Gear
Always pack more than you need, especially when it comes to clothing. You’ll want lightweight, weather appropriate gear, such as a raincoat, socks, lots of layers and a warm fleece.
Map & Compass
A map and compass are essential when hiking and mastering the skill of orientating is an incredible thing to possess. When you’re off the beaten path, it’s key to have some navigation tools to ensure you stay on track. Compasses come in all shapes and sizes, from electronic versions through to the original baseplate versions, while even smartphones have a compass built in nowadays!
Food & Water
An obvious one, but still highly important. When heading on a trip, you should pack extra food and water in case of bad weather or an emergency. It’s suggested that you require half a litre of water per hour of hiking, so whether you decide to carry bottles of water, collapsible bottles or a reservoir, ensure you have more than enough water! Suggested items of food to pack include:
- Energy Bars
- Nuts and seeds
- Dried fruit
- Canned goods (Tuna, sweetcorn etc.)
In case of an emergency, a first-aid kit is essential. Things that should be included are; blister treatment, plasters, bandages, antiseptic wipes and antiseptic cream. These are only the bare essentials, and you may require more depending on your length of a trip.
Once the sun goes down, a good light source is vital. When deciding on the type of torch you require, think about the power, weight and brightness, and whether you want a handheld device or a headlamp.
A multi-tool has various different uses, sometimes you’ll never be sure what you need, and a multi-tool can cover most grounds. Whether you require a knife, pliers, scissors or a screwdriver, a standard multi-tool will cover all bases.
Trekking poles help to take the strain off your knees and ankles. They aren’t essential; however, they can help to give you support and stability, therefore they can make your hiking experience easier.
There’s a hierarchy when hiking; horses have first priority, then hikers and then bikers. Before starting your hike, check whether horses and bikes are allowed on the trial so you can be aware of what you may encounter. When you encounter a horse on your hike, you should move off the trail, to minimise scaring them and also to cover your own back if they do get scared. If someone is wanting to pass you, you should keep on the right and if you’re wanting to pass someone, do so on the left.
We hope this blog has informed you about all the essentials you require when you’re heading off on a beginner’s hike and has helped you understand some of the etiquettes. We’d love to hear about your hiking experiences, so let us know via our social channels!