beginner’s guide to becoming a hiker

A True Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a Hiker

If you’ve ever dreamed of trekking through serene landscapes and feeling the crunch of fresh trails underfoot, then hiking is the perfect adventure for you. Plus, the activity is fantastic for your physical and mental health.

However, getting started in any sport or activity is intimidating if you don’t have any idea where to start. We’re here to help. This is a true beginner’s guide to becoming a hiker. We will walk you through everything you need to know to get started—from what gear to buy and how to stay safe to choosing your first hiking trail. Let’s get started!

Why Hike?

Hiking is more than just exercise; it’s a full-body experience. You get the chance to connect with nature, clear your mind, and challenge yourself physically.

Moreover, it’s an activity that everyone can enjoy, regardless of age or fitness level. Its accessibility and the sense of accomplishment you feel after summiting a peak or completing a long trail are unparalleled.

Keeping the reasons for hiking in mind will help you commit to the activity and get better.

Gearing Up

Before you hit the trails, you need the right gear. Start with a quality pair of hiking boots that offer support and comfort. Next, invest in good moisture-wicking clothing, a durable backpack, and essential items like a water bottle, maps, and a first-aid kit. Proper gear can make or break your hiking experience, so choose wisely.

Short vs. Long Trips

Depending on how long of a trek you’re planning, what you need to pack for a hiking trip will vary. If you’re a beginner, you should stick to shorter trails and day hikes. Then, once you get more confident and skilled, you can try overnight trips that require tents, larger meals, and other advanced gear.

Finding Your Trails

Not all trails are created equal, and beginners frequently make the mistake of starting a hike without researching its difficulty. Don’t do this!

Research local trails and choose ones that match your skill and fitness level. Beginner trails are usually shorter and well-marked, making them an excellent starting point.

Certain websites and apps, such as AllTrails, provide reviews and difficulty ratings to help you find the perfect option for your level.

Staying Safe

Hiking with a buddy is the safest way to go, but if you can’t, then make sure someone knows your hiking plan, including details of your route and expected return time. This isn’t that important for popular, well-marked trails, but it is absolutely essential for wilderness hiking.

On the trails, stay safe by following markers, carrying enough water, and being aware of local wildlife.

Staying Hydrated

There are no drinking fountains on hikes—ever. Therefore, always carry more water than you think you’ll need, and remember to take regular sips. Dehydration can set in quicker than you think, especially on hot days or demanding trails.

Respecting Nature

Leave no trace of your visit. Respect the wildlife, plants, and fellow hikers by carrying out all your trash and not disturbing the natural habitat.

Hiking opens up a world of adventure and wellness. If you want to jump on this activity, then this true beginner’s guide to becoming a hiker will help you lace up your boots and get out the door with confidence.