Overgrown megacities and small coastal villages – the whole world is competing for the right to become the bridgehead of your first trip, waiting for you to explore it. Paved roads can lead to new discoveries, but it is simply impossible to get to the most magical places by taxi, train or sightseeing. An ideal sunrise , a holy of holies, and ancient ruins often lie behind a mountain pass or at the end of a winding path that obeys only determined and ambitious travelers.
Hiking opens up a number of opportunities to make a discovery that fans of well-groomed hiking trails do not even dream of. Both a multi-day trip through the Andes to Peru and a day trip through one of Utah ‘s national parks will come in handy with essentials that you should know everything about.
Andrew and Emily, our brave collaborators and authors of the Along Dusty Roads blog , will share their experience and prepare you for the first of many upcoming hikes by talking about what to take and how to prepare for the hike.
Plan your route
Like any beginner tourist, you are unlikely to make the base camp at the foot of Mount Everest your first crazy adventure. But this does not mean that you should neglect route planning. Knowing how and when you are going to get to your destination, understanding the area that you have to go through, and having an idea of the important milestones of the path are decisive factors.
Keep them in mind and get where you need it and when you need it. And most importantly – do not appear on the radar of search and rescue services. Hiking is safe enough: frequently used hiking trails are marked with signs and signs. But knowing how long it will take you to travel from point A to point B, you will quickly realize that you have gone astray. Thus, conduct adequate preparation and research before each trip. It is very important.
Know your boundaries
If your form is not perfect, walking in the countryside and climbing gentle slopes is the best way to get back in shape. However, if your gym membership is covered with a meter-long layer of dust, and climbing the office stairs after lunch causes severe shortness of breath, do not immediately challenge the Inca Trail! Know your level of physical fitness and do not encroach on trails or hikes that are recommended only to people with experience and good preparation.
At home, get ready to get the most out of your trip. Start training light hiking trips in the terrain with zero or small slope. Break long transitions into short stages with frequent pauses. A good trip should take your breath a little. But it is impossible to enjoy the views, shuddering from shortness of breath.
Keep your feet comfortable
Of course, it is not necessary to be weighed from head to toe with the most modern camping equipment. But there are a few hiking clothes that will make your adventure a little easier and more enjoyable. First and foremost: hiking requires a good pair of shoes. Special sneakers or boots are your personal choice (and the bone of contention in the camping community).
But there are several nuances that you need to consider when buying both of them. For example, questions like “Are they suitable for me?” it is better to decide in the store, and not 2 hours after the start of the trip! The best way to make sure your shoes are sitting perfectly is to buy them at a specialist sports and camping store, and not on the Internet.
Workers can evaluate how you walk and how a sneaker or shoe should sit on your foot. They are the guarantee that your legs will survive the first test. It is important to check the shoes for good grip and water resistance. This is especially important in bad weather and on slippery surfaces.
Camping clothes: layering is the key to success
Appreciate layered clothing. Very rarely, the weather or temperature remains unchanged throughout the trip. The cold wind in the morning may well turn into a clear blue sky and sunny noon. Wearing many thin layers, you can get rid of clothes gradually, at the same pace as the weather and temperature of your body change.
If you are not sure what the temperature will be during the day, put on a little more and take a lightweight waterproof jacket with you to insure yourself for any occasion. Excess clothes can always be removed. You will give all the wealth of the world, if only it would be more if halfway through the forest you suddenly feel cold.
Pick up a nice backpack
When we think about hiking and experienced tourists, big backpacks, trekking poles and camping equipment immediately come to mind. But, if you are just starting your way along this path, your load should be much less, because hiking should not be a multi-week expedition. To begin with, you need to find the right backpack.
An old schoolbag can be enough for a walk in the country or an hour hike in nature. But a bag that will remain behind you for several hours or days should by no means cause you discomfort. The hips and chest straps can facilitate fixation, however, as well as reliable lined straps. A well-chosen bag, which sits close to the back and provides sufficient support, will do the job well.
Do not forget to drink and eat
We all know that you need to drink at least 2 liters of water on a typical day. Climb the mountain, and your day will not even closely resemble a regular one. The body will beg for a charge of energy and additional hydration! Seasoned travelers stock up on a reusable plastic or metal bottle. The latter are much less harmful to the environment, and they are often produced with a small bag holder.
Such a bottle can be bought once. There aren’t necessarily gas stations along the hiking trails, so leave energy and a place to store water – this is extremely important. The whole world is at your feet while the food container is full! But along the way, you will definitely want to have a light bite to quickly increase your energy level due to slow carbohydrates or proteins.
They will support you throughout the day. Foods such as nuts, energy bars, chocolate and fruits are easy to eat on the go, and they can easily fit in a small pocket in a jacket or bag. A carbohydrate plate of pasta or protein sandwiches is a great lunch. Just do not forget to take the garbage with you: fellow tourists (and mother nature) will appreciate it!
It seems that not even a month passes without any accident with tourists in the mountains. So if you don’t have a Marine navigator or survival skills level, Bear Grylls, you should take some simple safety precautions before you leave. Firstly, it goes without saying that you should not travel alone, especially if you are a beginner. Secondly, robbers rarely hunt along pedestrian routes, but aptly, so try to take as little valuable things as possible. If in doubt, talk with the locals in advance or contact the tourist office.
Also, keep an eye on the weather forecast. A delightful snow trail under the perfect blue sky is a wonderful setting to explore a new place. But the situation will change dramatically if clouds suddenly creep in and you fall into a storm. In such situations, do not be afraid to turn back: the weather can suddenly change from bad to worse. The last place you want to be in this case is in the middle of the desert. Finally, leave space in your backpack for a small first aid kit. It does not have to be universal, but it must contain the means to handle ankle sprain or a fresh cut.