Hiking is not just a form of exercise — it’s a way to get to know yourself and to discover nature in its original form. Hiking is (usually) free and accessible to a wide range of physical abilities, which makes it a great outdoor activity for all. If you’re new to hiking, starting out can feel a bit intimidating, so we’ve created this guide to make sure your introduction to hiking is super enjoyable and super safe. Got the basics down, and looking to set off on your first journey? Check out a hike-in Hipcamp near you!
For beginner hikers, choosing a good-weather day is the number one way to ensure a good experience. You may be tempted not to let weather get in the way of your hike, but poor weather conditions can often be the cause of accidents during the trip, and can also make a hike just plain miserable. Even if you plan to do the hike rain-or-shine, by checking the weather ahead of time, you can prepare yourself with the gear you’ll need to stay dry and safe. Here are some tips for hiking in the rain.
What you bring depends on how many days you plan to spend on your trip, where you plan to sleep and what time of year is it. For simple day-hikes, here are some essentials that you should keep in your backpack:
Water supports life, so it’s the single most important thing to bring on a hike! You need an entire liter of water for every 2 hours you plan to hike, and it’s important that you don’t under-pack, as you could add unanticipated time if you get lost or have to detour. Pro-tip: Purchase a reusable water bottle, and decorate it with stickers from all your adventures. You’ll save money, cut plastic use, and be proud to show it off on the trail!
For a day-hike, its best to bring high energy food that doesn’t need refrigeration or heating. Common choices include jerky, dried fruit (we love mangoes!), trail mix, or energy bars! You don’t need to over-do it on the food, just make sure you’ve got enough to fuel you on your journey. Then throw in another granola-bar for good measure.
Blisters will ruin an otherwise perfect hike, and they’re likely to occur if your shoes and socks aren’t right for the trip! We recommend visiting your local outdoor shop, and being fitted for boots that are right for you. Ideally, they should be snug but not tight, and match your unique fit and use-case. Similarly, the sock can make or break the hike, so it’s important to think about the proper length in conjunction with your boot. Typically, a merino wool crew-length sock is the standard general-purpose hiking sock, and a good pair is definitely worth the investment!
You should always start your trip with a fully charged battery in case of an emergency. You’d be surprised how much service you can find way up on the top of a mountain if you need it. Not to mention, it’s nice to have a camera on hand! Make sure to follow Hipcamp on Instagram, and share your adventures with @hipcamp and #FindYourselfOutside 🙂
You should always plan to arrive at your destination with plenty of time before dark. If your hike takes longer than expected, getting caught in the dark without a light could put you in a bad situation, so carrying one at all times is a must! We recommend a head-lamp for a hands-off approach, so you can focus on balance and getting to your final destination. Make sure to bring something other than just your phone flashlight, which could drain your battery and turn off unexpectedly.
It’s important that every hiker has some basic knowledge of first aid to help keep your group healthy and comfortable in the event of any type of injury, minor or serious. Here’s a basic first aid kit to have on hand during any hiking trip.
Once you get some experience under your belt, you can begin to explore solo-hiking. When you’re just getting started, it’s best to always bring a friend or two who can help you navigate the trail, assist in case of any injuries, and of course, make the hike more fun! You can also earn $10 Hipcash for each friend you invite to join Hipcamp.
It’s the journey not the destination, right? Racing through the hike to get to the waterfall, vista, summit, etc., could take away from your hiking experience. Moving at a pace you’re comfortable with, soaking in the scenery, and stopping for breaks when you need them will ensure you actually enjoy the hike. Plus, once you get to where you’re headed, you’ll still have enough energy to celebrate!
Every good hike leads somewhere awesome, and there’s nothing more satisfying than hiking all the way to your camp for the night. Hipcamp offers all kinds of hike-in spots to rest your head after a long day of #FindingYourselfOutside Check out a hike-in Hipcamp near you!
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