How beginners will start hiking?

Getting started hiking can be a little bit confusing. Some will tell you that hiking involves a tent and overnight trips. Others consider that exclusive to backpacking.

Still other hikers will face the challenge of living in areas which are urban. In these cases, you’ll have to plan special weekend trips to get out hiking in the wilderness.

Even with all these common barriers out of our way, hikers face questions such as, “what about bears!?” Then there’s the classic problem of what kind of food to carry, how to deal with rain, and how to start a fire.

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Many of these skills are very foreign to new hikers or those looking to get started. Not to worry, however, because we’re going to teach you how to get started hiking – the easy way.

Preparing for Your Hiking Trip

Properly planning and preparing for your next hiking trip is the binding which holds your experience together. Experienced hikers start by choosing a destination and then assessing the requisite needs and skills for their trip. Here’s how we’ll tackle this:

Choosing a Location

When just getting started hiking it’s important to choose a destination that seems fun to you. However, keep your expectations reasonable. Avoid areas that might present difficulties such as desert locations or particularly remote areas. Consider choosing an area where the terrain is relatively flat, to avoid the difficulties that come with major elevation gains.

More experienced hikers may choose to hike in and camp at their destinations. I would recommend leaving this for later. Start by just taking some day hikes, and avoid adding the difficulty of camping on top of your beginning trips.

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Equipment and Skills

Some hikers have the luxury of living near great trails and temperate weather. Others may live in desert climates or areas where rain is a part of daily life. Consider where you’ll be hiking and decide if you’ll need any unique equipment or skills to be safe and enjoy your hike.
Many hikers and backpackers opt to take a wilderness medicine course. Taking a wilderness first aid or wilderness first responder course will definitely improve your level of confidence. I highly recommend taking a wilderness medicine course from SOLO or NOLS at some point during your hiking career.

For equipment, consider taking some kind of water purification on every trip. If you’re entering a particularly arid location, you may want to take extra water. I highly recommend Platy bottles for water. Where you use them as your primary water bottle, or a backup extra. Of course, if you think you need more water, using a hydration pack is a good option. Plan ahead!

Check the Weather

This doesn’t mean looking to see if it’ll be raining when you’re hiking. Reasonable changes in weather are an integral part of camping outdoors and should be expected so make sure you’re prepared. Being prepared for inclement weather means carrying camping essentials such as rain gear and knowing how to keep your sleeping bag safe and dry so you don’t end up with hypothermia!

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What’s more important than checking the daily weather is getting a feel for the overall average conditions in the area you’ll be hiking in. What’s the average high and low temperature for the area at this time of year? Is the climate cold and wet or hot and dry?

These considerations will have a huge impact on your final decision of what hiking gear to bring and how many and which layers of clothing to pack. Having a functional understanding of the weather in the area you’ll be camping in, as well as what that means for your decisions is critical to enjoying a safe hiking trip.

Check with Local Authorities

You’ll need the best maps, up to date information, and local insight before taking your hiking trip. If you have any unanswered questions about seasonal considerations such as weather, road closures, or regulations, it’s best to call the local park rangers or outfitters in the area.

You’ll be surprised what kind of great tips and information you’ll get just by making a phone call to someone who knows the area!
Often, I’ve found that maps or articles from other hikers just don’t cut it. Many trails, despite being known to me, simply lack good information. In these cases, there’s only one solution.

Go straight to the source! This is when it becomes critical to call the local park ranger’s office or the nearest outfitter. Even if they don’t have the answers, they’ll know who to refer you to!

Avoid: Buying Gear from One Store

Shiny new brightly colored backpack, one of any number of ThermaRest pads poking out from under the pack, and an absurdly expensive Mountain Hardware rain jacket haphazardly sticking out of the mesh pocket on the back.

This hiker is rolling around with two Nalgene bottles covered in duct tape with not a scratch on them. I am, of course, describing the hiker who went to the nearest store and bought every piece of gear the salesman recommended.

Now, don’t take this the wrong way, depending on your needs there is plenty of great gear at major retailers and, in fact, their in-house brands can be really great!

Do your research first and decide what options are really out there; there is so much more than just Patagonia, North Face, and Marmot.
Try some cool cottage manufacturers like zPacks, Gossamer Gear, Mountain Laurel Designs, Trail Designs, Mont Bell, and Granite Gear. I get a lot of my personal gear from these companies.

Pro Tip: I buy a few select items from big companies like Marmot and Patagonia for specific purposes – just be sure to choose your equipment based on research, not brand.

Make Your Own Backpacking Meals

Premade backpacking meals are expensive, heavy, bulky, and often lack creativity or good nutritional value. Many hikers find that packing their own meals is preferable and it’s certainly the only way you’re going to get meals customized for your tastes. For short day hikes you can even get away with just tossing some food from your pantry into the backpack.

When doing loner trips or camping overnight, you’ll need something else. It’s easy to find great, high calorie options by doing something called freezer bag cooking.

This method of backpacking cooking means leaving the pot at home (that’s right no cooking pot). Place premade meals in Ziploc bags and just add a cup of boiling water. Once the meal has hydrated it’s time to eat up.

One of my favorite freezer bag meals is minute rice, dehydrated refried beans, taco seasoning, and crushed Fritos. I’m sure there are many variations of this meal, but I’ll share my method with you.
Rehydrated the rice, beans, and taco seasoning together in a bag. Once hydrated, stir well and crush Fritos chips over the top for a delicious meal everyone will be jealous of.

For more meals, check out this great resource on homemade freezer bag meals! Of course you can really make just about any meal you want as long as you can find dehydrated ingredients.

Choosing Hiking Gear


While you can get started with just about anything, I’ll set you in the right direction for finding your first hiking backpack. Keep in mind that factors such as budget, purpose, and preference play a huge role here. I’d still recommend minimizing weight where possible and look for only the essentials. Bells and whistles need not apply.

Energizing Day Hiking Lunch Ideas

Something like the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Day Pack combine extreme lightweight, waterproofness, and function into one tiny package. You’ll be blown away that a pack so small and light can handle your hiking needs for a day.

Bulkier, heavier, or more rough loads you might consider a backpack with a built-in hip belt and more durable construction. While it’s going to weigh more than the Ultra-Sil Dry Pack, the Mountain Hardwear Scrambler RT 20 Outdry Backpack.

I’ve used Mountain Hardwear daypacks in the past and I love their quality, durability, and overall functionality. This bag will be hard to replace as you learn to rely on it over the years.


What you wear on your feet is important, lighter is better! Normally I recommend hiking shoes over boots because rarely do you really need the extra protection of boots. Hiking shoes for men and women are pretty much the same other than styling and sizing.

I prefer synthetic mesh shoes, water proof is usually not necessary because water will just come in over the cuff of the shoes. Boots do offer some extra benefits of ankle support and more protection from water.

Modern hiking boots for men and women are not just the bulky Timberland boots that come to mind. Mostly made from leather and synthetic materials are lighter and more comfortable than their cousins of old.

Also a good pair of hiking socks will make a huge difference in foot comfort. Look for hiking socks made with Merino wool. It is good at keeping your feet dry and resisting bacterial growth.


There is such a wide variety of hiking pants available for men and women, it can very confusing whats really important.
One feature I consider important is convertibility, meaning hiking pants where the legs unzip to create shorts. These are perfect for summer hiking where its cool in the morning and warms up in the afternoon. This saves you having to carry both with you.

For hiking shirts I would recommend a “dry” shirt that offers UV protection like the Columbia “Omni-Shade” line of shirts. Whatever you decide to do with make sure its loose fitting and breathable to keep you dry and cool. I like long sleeve shirts where the sleeves can be rolled up and secured in place and a couple of front pockets can be useful but I rarely keep much in them.

Job guide for beginner hikers

Want to spend your days outdoors but don’t have a zillion certifications? Check out these ideas for attaining your first guiding job!
Imagine getting up tomorrow morning, excited for the day you’re about to spend outside. You grab a big breakfast, your hiking boots, and a packed backpack. Head out the door, drive up the mountain, and show people around Mother Nature for a day. Now imagine getting to do this every day, not just for fun, but for work.

Sounds good, right?

Being an outdoor or tour guide can be a tough industry to enter, especially with the never-ending spectrum of technical gear and knowledge that comes with being in the outdoors. Many of these jobs require a lot of certifications and sometimes years of experience. But there’s good news for the regular folks who did not spend their youth working towards their Level-8000 Mountain-Climbing-Life-Saving-Avalanche-Surfing certificate!

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If you have spent your leisure time in the backcountry and are looking to take your interests to the next level, check out some ideas below for entry-level (with some practical experience/interests) guiding jobs:

  1. Snowshoe Guide at a Front-Country Mountain

Take members of the public out for some winter-wonderland hiking fun on the mountain!
Front country ski hills often have their own snowshoe trail systems near their downhill areas. These spots act as extra profit for mountain business, and a golden ticket for you to get some guiding experience while having the amenities of a fully trained patrol on site, so you don’t have the responsibility of being a highly qualified First Aid responder.
What’s Required?

Public speaking skills, good fitness, and a positive attitude in any weather are required for this gig. Often times you will be dealing with folks who have never hiked before, so it’s important you know how to read an audience (including their fitness levels), and play to their strengths/weaknesses accordingly!

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  1. Bus Tour Guide

Ride along on world class journeys, talk to people form all around the world, and share information about the outdoors!
If you live nearby an outdoor tourism mecca (think the PNW, Banff, or any National Park), and want to spend the day outside without any major physical exertion, bus guiding may be right for you! Big bus & tour companies will often hire non-driving guides or “hosts” for long bus trips that act as the face of customer service and information for guests. You will be able to stop off with the guests at various checkpoints, and show them the best your area has got in terms of accessible nature!

What’s Required?

Customer service experience and local knowledge (the wider the range, the better) are the two keys to bus guiding. The ability to work with a rigid schedule and long hours will also help you get ahead in this demanding role.

  1. Backroads Guide

Backroads is a company that hires a wide variety of employees in terms of skill set, and you get to be a biking-focussed trip leader in some of the most beautiful places in the world.

If you have always wanted to travel for work, or simply see the best outdoor marvels nears your home on the daily, Backroads might be for you. Being a guide at backroads is a seasonal gig that requires long hours and a high amount of responsibility, but with a killer team and being outside for work, the hard days are paid off in beauty and good times.

What’s Required?

Energy and social skills in high intensity scenarios are vital for staying afloat at backroads. Good problem solving in customer service areas, logistics and organization-oriented, and good fitness if bike guiding!

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  1. High Ropes Course or Zipline Leader

Another great option for those without specific qualifications in a sport or the backcountry. Get your daily adrenaline fix while exploring the outdoors with guests in a fun environment.

If you aren’t afraid of heights or flying from platform to platform at high speeds, this could be the outdoor job for you. These positions will come with full safety and adventure training, allowing for new skills and the ability to start from scratch. Take groups out on exciting adventures while sharing your passion for ecology and the outdoors!
What’s Required?

Public speaking, customer service, and a focus on safety!

  1. Local Company Guide

Many companies will look (especially seasonally) for various low-level guides throughout the year. If you are in an urban setting, think places like local ecology centres, community centres, or kids’ outdoor programs. If you live near a larger park service such as a National Park or even a tourist destination, you can also check out various tour companies – think boat tours, city walking tours, etc. With a little creativity, some research, and an idea of the setting you want to work in – the possibilities may be endless.

Another perk of working for a company? They will oftentimes pay for your certification in a certain field: licenses, first aid certification, etc. Working at Lake Minnewanka in Banff last year, I had this experience personally, where I went through various (covered) training including attaining a Masters Captains License and St. John’s First Aid training. Ask around, and look online for companies that may provide training for free upon hiring!

Energizing Day Hiking Lunch Ideas

In conclusion:

Guiding is certainly not closed off to those with no experience. With the right amount of passion and drive to be a good guide, the possibilities are endless. That being said, there are some things that will bring you some bonus points when it comes to the interview table including:
• Basic First Aid Training
• Public Speaking Experience
• Knowledge of Local Ecology, History, and Outdoor Recreation
• Experience (even if just casual) in your particular work area

With these skills in your pocket, you will be ahead of the pack when it comes to entry-level guiding. Of course, always remember to bring specific examples to your CVs and interviews.

Hiking safety tips and guides

We highly recommend that you read the hiking guide before going hiking in the Faroe Islands.

We have produced a ‘safe travel’ leaflet that provides important information about how to travel in the Faroe Islands. On the back page, you can fill out the information about where you plan on hiking and when you expect to return. Leave the leaflet under the windshield of your car or at your place of accommodation. That way someone can notify relevant authorities should you not have returned by the time you have stated. The leaflet can be downloaded or picked up at regional information centres, car hires, on the Smyril Line ferry, at Vágar Airport, among other places.

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Most of the paths described in the hiking guide are old village paths. Before the roads came, you would travel between the villages using these paths, e.g. to trade, to visit family, to a Thing (local assembly) or to church. Village paths were also used when the coffins of the dead were carried to the nearest church. The paths are marked with ancient cairns, a heap of stones set up as a landmark showing the way, so you don’t get lost. Some routes are not along the old village paths.
These are along ancient footpaths that have been tread through the ages, such as on the mountains Slættaratindur, Bøsdalafossur and Klakkur. The routes are listed in geographical order from north to south. The cairns are in good condition and are well maintained in most places. In some places, the cairns can be hard to see, while the path is clearly visible. On some routes, the direction of the path is marked with poles sticking out of the ground. There are, however, a few places without cairns, clear path or poles. For these places, we have described other features, such as masts, buildings, inclination of the land and gorges, that will guide you in the right direction.


Each route in the hiking guide is marked with a time indication that shows the duration of the walk. Unless otherwise noted, the time indicated covers the whole trip, and not just one way. The duration indicates how long it takes for an adult with normal walking speed to walk the route. Meal breaks or other stops are not included. The difficulty level is also described, along with a recommendation on whether the trip is suitable for children.

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The difficulty level is assessed on the basis of how steep the terrain is, if the surface is flat or uneven, and how long the route is. It can be difficult to put a precise age on a route for children, as all children are different. For example, an eightyear-old in good shape can easily cover a seven kilometre journey, while a 12-year-old in bad shape can find the same trip difficult. It is important that an adult takes the child’s physical shape and previous hiking experiences into consideration before making a decision on whether or not to allow them to join.


There are birds on many of the islands: Curlew, Snipe, Plovers, Oystercatchers, Skuas, Great Skuas, Ravens and Crows. Sheep, geese and hares are also common. In the outfield, you also get an idea of how ancestors of the Faroese people lived and got by. Stone outhouses, boat houses, Teigalendi (old arable strips), peat fields and Kráir (stone stores for peat) tell us how close to nature people have lived. You see old infield walls, drovers, sheep pens, sheep shelters, sheep houses and Fransatoftir (Frenchman’s Ruins, which are ruins of small houses where people took refuge from pirates in the old days).


• Nature is fragile. It should be treated well and protected for future generations.
• Follow the cairns or other marks and do not go off the paths out into the meadow or outfield
• Close the outfield gates behind you
• Treat the cairns, fences and walls well
• Do not disturb the sheep, birds and plants
• It is prohibited to pick plants or to take stones, eggs, or chicks
• It is customary to pick up loose wool that the sheep have shed
• Do not leave rubbish behind
• Beware of not walking into marshland, as it can be deep
• Dogs must not be taken into the outfields
• It is prohibited to travel by bicycle or motor vehicle in the outfields or along the cairn paths

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• Always wear clothes suitable for the weather. However, as the weather in the Faroe Islands can change suddenly, even during the summer, it’s a good idea to bring extra clothes. A cap and gloves are also recommended
• Many places in the outfield are rocky and wet. It is recommended to use walking shoes/boots with rough bottoms. Rubber boots with rough bottoms can also be used. Remember, shoes and boots need to be walked-in. Do not go on a long hike in brand new footwear
• We recommend you wear several thin layers of clothing, preferably with wool as the most inner layer, depending on the weather. Wool and fleece are best because they keep the body warm even if the clothes become wet. The outer layer of clothing could be a windproof and, if possible, a waterproof jacket
• In very steep areas, it is not recommended to wear clothes made of nylon because the clothes can be slippery. If possible, remove the nylon jacket until you have passed the steepest area
• A mobile phone can come in handy. Remember to charge the battery and maybe bring a power bank (extra charge) on long trips. Note that there is no telephone connection on some stretches in the outfield
• Head lamp, compass and whistle can be useful in an emergency or if you are surprised by fog/ darkness
• Always bring food, drink and something sweet – also for short trips
• A map of the route is an important part of your gear
• Remember to fill out our Safe Travel leaflet and leave it your car or place of accommodation before you go hiking. The leaflet can be picked up at hotels, regional information centres, Vágar Airpot and ferry harbour, among other places


• Notify your host about where you plan on hiking. Please let them know when you have arrived at the destination
• Always walk with others
• Do not be afraid to ask locals or experienced people for directions, weather or other advice
• Areas with loose stones and rocks are particularly slippery in dry terrain. Be particularly careful when hiking in groups as loose stones can harm hikers walking below you
• Do not go too close to the cliffs; especially in wet areas when the ground can be slippery. Be very careful with children


• Check the weather forecast to see if conditions are favourable for walking
• Do not leave if there is fog or if it is dark outside – Be prepared for the fact that meteorologists can be wrong or that the weather can suddenly change after you have left
• If you are surprised by unexpected fog on a trip, it is very important to keep to the cairns. If the fog is so dense that you cannot see from one cairn to the next, it is best to wait by a cairn and otherwise try to keep warm
• Turn back if there is something wrong. There is no shame in not finishing the hike
• Be well dressed, preferably in several layers of clothing. The weather can suddenly change

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A few hiking routes in the Faroe Islands have implemented restrictions regarding access to the area and now require payment for walking in that location. Please check if the route you are planning on hiking requires you too book a local guide or to pay a fee. An overview of these locations can be found here.


Please note that the hare-hunting season runs annually from 2 Nov to 31 December. Most people choose to hunt hares on Saturdays, but it is their right to hunt all days except Sunday. Hunting takes places in the mountains all across the country.

For your own safety, we advise not to hike during this season. In any case, please contact the landowner if you wish to go hiking. These contacts can be found by getting in touch with the regional information centre in the respected area.


Contact local Regional Information Centres for digital maps (GPX) of routes for iPhone and Android.


See travel plans for buses and ferries at or contact the Regional Information Centre in the relevant area.

How a beginner should start hiking?

Hiking is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the outdoors. Transported by your own two feet and carrying only what you need for the day on your back, you can discover the beauty of nature at whatever pace you’re comfortable with. And, with a little planning and preparation, it’s an activity that almost anyone can do.
If you’ve dreamed of hiking, but have yet to try it, it’s time to get out there. Just follow these steps:

  1. Find a hiking partner
  2. Choose a hike
  3. Gear up

Find a Hiking Partner

If you have friends who hike, ask them to take you on a trek. Most people are happy to share their expertise, let you borrow gear and introduce newbies to their favorite trails.

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If you don’t know any hikers, many cities and towns have hiking clubs that regularly plan outings. You can find hiking classes, outings and events through REI Outdoor School. Online groups, such as MeetUp, are also a great way to find hiking buddies.

Hiking alone: Experiencing the outdoors by yourself can give you a sense of freedom and adventure that are hard to find elsewhere. But it can also be intimidating and lonely at times. If you’re new to hiking, we recommend finding a companion to keep you company. That person will also be there to lend a hand if you happen to get hurt. If going alone really is your only option, then start out with short trips to popular hiking destinations and make sure someone always knows where you’re going and how long you plan to be gone.

Choose a Hiking Route

There are several easy ways to find a hiking trail that will meet your needs:
• Guidebooks and websites are great resources because you can get all the stats you need: trail difficulty, distance, elevation gain, directions, water sources, trail features and whether dogs are allowed. Websites often display recent trip reports that may give you a sense for what current trail conditions are like.

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Hiking Project

For trail suggestions near you, check out the Hiking Project. It gives you access to more than 83,000 miles of trails and includes maps, high-res photos and detailed descriptions.

• Word of mouth: If you have friends who like to hike, ask them to suggest some locations for you.
• Talk to locals: Contact a local hiking organization or call a ranger station in the area where you want to hike. Rangers typically have up-to-date trail conditions and are skilled at suggesting hikes for all skill levels.

Tips for Choosing a Hiking Route

Before you start your search for the perfect hike, it’s helpful to think through a few things, such as:
• How much time you have: Do you have a couple hours or a full day? The amount of time you have can determine where you go. Don’t forget to factor in how long it takes to get to and from the trailhead.
• Your fitness level: Honestly assess what kind of shape you’re in. You want to have an enjoyable time out there rather than suffering through a long, strenuous hike that you’re not prepared for. If you’re not in the shape of your life, don’t be dismayed: There are hikes for everyone.
• Distance: Think about how many miles and hours you’re comfortable hiking. An average walking pace is about 3 mph, but your hiking pace may be slower than that depending on terrain, elevation gain and how much weight you’re carrying on your back.
• Elevation gain: The amount of elevation gain on a hike is one factor that determines the difficulty. With a little experience, you’ll come to know how much elevation gain you can comfortably handle and what is too much. For a point of reference, if a trail gains 1,000 feet in one mile, that is considered quite steep. Also, a general recommendation is that for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain, add one hour to your trip.
• Time of year and weather: Some trails won’t be accessible in early spring because they’re covered in snow. If it’s fall and the sun is setting earlier, plan accordingly so you’re not caught out after dark unexpectedly. Always check the weather forecast before heading out so you can dress and pack appropriately.
• Logistics: Certain hikes require a bit more planning. For instance, if you end up doing a hike that starts and finishes at different places, you’ll need to shuttle cars to your start and end points.

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Choose Your Hiking Gear

One of the wonderful things about hiking is that you don’t need a bunch of high-tech gear to get out there. With a few essential items for the trail and a sense of adventure, you’re ready to head into the wilderness.

The Ten Essentials

Start by making sure you’re carrying the Ten Essentials. This is a collection of gear and clothing that all hikers should carry whenever they step onto the trail. The collection includes items for navigation, sun protection, insulation, illumination, first aid, fire, repairs, nutrition, hydration and emergency shelter. Learn more in our article about the Ten Essentials.

Hiking Footwear

Footwear is one of the most important items you need to choose, and it’s a very personal choice. Some hikers prefer supportive over-the-ankle boots, while others enjoy lightweight trail-running shoes. The terrain you’ll be walking on can also affect your decision. Lightweight, low-cut shoes may be fine on well-maintained trails without a lot of obstacles, whereas sturdy boots may serve you better on a rugged trail with rocks, roots and streams.

Whatever you choose, make sure the boots or shoes are well broken-in and comfortable for long distances. And wear wool or synthetic socks, not cotton.

Learn more:

• Hiking Boots: How to Choose
• Trail-Running Shoes: How to Choose
• Hiking Socks: How to Choose

What to Wear Hiking

Choose clothing made of quick-drying, moisture-wicking fabrics, such as wool or polyester. Avoid cotton, which takes a long time to dry when wet. You can think of clothing as separate systems:
• Next-to-skin base layers: Made of wool or polyester, these are most important in cool to cold temperatures.
• Hiking layers: These include nylon and/or polyester pants, T-shirt, sun shirt, sun hat.
• Insulation: Depending on the weather, you may need a puffy vest or jacket, lightweight fleece pullover, warm hat and gloves.
• Rainwear: It’s wise to carry a waterproof jacket no matter the weather forecast. If you’re expecting wet weather, bring the rain pants along, too.

Hiking Backpack

Of course, you need a pack to carry your Ten Essentials and any extra gear.

For short treks on trails that are close to home and on days with pleasant weather, a daypack with a capacity of about 15–20 liters provides enough space for water, a few snacks and a lightweight clothing layer.

When you venture farther into the wilderness, you’ll need to carry more gear, clothing, water and food. A pack with a capacity of about 30 liters is a good choice for these journeys.
Learn more:

• Daypacks: How to Choose

Food and water

As a beginner hiker, it can be tough to know how much food and water you need, A good general recommendation for how much to eat is 200–300 calories per hour. For water intake, about a half liter per hour of moderate activity in moderate temperatures is a good starting place. These amounts depend heavily on several factors, such as the intensity of your hike, the weather, your age, your sweat rate and your body type. As you gain more experience, you’ll get a better sense for just how much you need.

It’s always a good idea to carry a little extra food and water in case your trip takes longer than anticipated.

• Hydration Basics
• Energy Food and Drinks: How to Choose

Water treatment: Many hikers carry all the water they will need for a day hike. However, if you anticipate needing more than about 3 liters, that can be quite heavy. By filtering and treating water from backcountry streams and lakes, you refill your bottles or hydration reservoir and reduce your load.

• How to Treat Water in the Backcountry
• How to Choose a Water Filter or Purifier

Additional Hiking Considerations

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Personal Health and Safety

First aid: You don’t need to be a medical pro to take a hike, but it’s wise to know some basic first aid. Always carry a first-aid kit and know how to use it. The farther afield you go, the more important it can be to have medical training.

REI Outdoor School: Wilderness First-Aid

Take a class to be better prepared to respond to medical emergencies in the outdoors.

Going to the bathroom: Going to the bathroom in the woods is a concern of many novice hikers. But rest assured, it’s something countless people have learned to do, and so can you.

If you just have to pee, simply find a place that’s well away from the trail and at least 200 feet (about 70 steps) from water sources. For women, you can “shake dry” or you can bring a couple wads of toilet paper and a small zip-top plastic bag. Put the used toilet paper in the bag and dump the paper in your toilet when you get home. Another option is to use a bandana as a “pee rag” that you can tie to the outside of your pack to dry out.

Most day hikers take care of their other business before they head out. But if the urge strikes midhike, again make sure you’re off the trail and 200 feet from water. Then, dig a hole about 4 inches wide and 6–8 inches deep to bury your poop (a camp trowel can help with the digging). Experienced hikers might wipe with natural objects, such as large leaves (make sure they’re not poisonous), smooth stones and even snowballs, but you can also use toilet paper and bury it in the hole. In some areas, you’ll be required to pack out your used toilet paper (and even if it’s not required, it’s still best practice for lowering your impact on the land). Some high-elevation, sensitive or heavily traveled areas require people to pack out solid human waste. If you’re going to one of these areas, bring human waste disposal bags.
After you’re done going to the bathroom, use some hand sanitizer to “wash” your hands.

Learn more tips in our Backcountry Bathroom Basics article.
Hiking with your period: If you’re hiking with your period, you’ll want to bring along menstrual supplies and know how to manage them efficiently. And if you’re hiking alone, there are some good tips that other backpacking women have shared to help you feel confident and prepared.

• How to Backpack with Your Period
• Backpacking Tips for Women
Safety: Always leave a detailed itinerary with a friend or family member. Leaving a note with your route plans inside your vehicle is a good way to inform search-and-rescue folks of your plan if they come looking for you (just don’t leave the note in plain view for trailhead thieves to see).

If you’re traveling solo or to very remote locations, you might consider carrying a personal locator beacon (PLB) that allows you to send an SOS if something serious happens.

• PLBs and Satellite Messengers: How to Choose

Trail Etiquette

Whether you’ve been hiking for years or you’re gearing up for your first trek, it’s valuable to know some basic trail etiquette.
Right of Way: Following these rules of the trail can help everyone get along:

• Hikers vs. Hikers: Hikers going uphill have the right of way. You may see uphill hikers let others come downhill while they take a breather, but remember that’s the uphill hiker’s decision.
• Hikers vs. Bikers: Mountain bikers are generally expected to yield to hikers. However, because mountain bikers are usually moving faster than hikers, it can be easier for hikers to step aside and yield the right of way.
• Hikers vs. Horses: Horses get the right of way. If you’re sharing the trail with equestrians, give them a wide berth when you’re passing each other and don’t make abrupt movements. It’s generally recommended to step off the trail to the downhill side while yielding to a horse.

Leave No Trace: While most of us don’t intend to harm our natural surroundings, we may not know how to preserve them, or we’re simply overlooking a few important behaviors. Leave No Trace provides seven principles that provide guidance for enjoying the outdoors in a sustainable way that avoids human impacts. The seven principles are:
• Plan ahead and prepare
• Travel and camp on durable surfaces
• Dispose of waste properly
• Leave what you find
• Minimize campfire impacts
• Respect wildlife
• Be considerate of other visitors

• Leave No Trace Principles

Hiking with Kids and Dogs

Kids: Sharing the wonder and beauty of the outdoors with children is a special experience. Kids of almost any age can go hiking, from infants in baby carriers to grade-schoolers who hike on their own two feet.
• Keep kids dry, warm and fed
• Choose a short hike and stop often to look at plants, rocks, animals, etc.

• Hiking with Infants, Toddlers and Kids
Dogs: If you have a four-legged friend that you’re comfortable hiking with, the first step is to find out if dogs are allowed where you’re going. Most U.S. national parks, for example, do not allow even a leashed dog to share the trail. Many national forests, as well as state and local parks, do allow dogs, though rules vary. Leashes are mandatory almost everywhere.


• Have your dog carry its own food and water in a dog pack
• Stop often for snacks and water
• Always pack out filled poop bags. Also, while you’re hiking, it’s poor form to leave a poop bag on the side of the trail for later pickup.

How to prepare for trekking?

Without at least some pre-trip training, or a good basic level of fitness, trekking is hard work. Let’s be real – it’s hard work anyway. The toll for a great trek is paid in sweat. Sore calves and aching quads are badges of honour, with blisters and lost toenails marks of pride.

But in return, you get some of the most untouched, pristine and jaw-dropping scenery on the planet. And you know what? The more you train for your epic hike, the easier it’ll be.

And you don’t have to be an Iron Woman/Man to climb to Everest Basecamp or reach the top of Mt Toubkal. Far from it. Trekking is available to anyone; you just have to be sensible and work a bit for it. Here are a few of our top prep tips for your upcoming trek:

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  1. Start walking now

This may seem like the most obvious step to start with (pardon the pun), but you’d be surprised how many people don’t do it. The best way to prepare for a really long walk? Do some really long walks. You should start with small-ish distances and work up to the length you’ll be trekking on your trip. When you start your training, leave a day in between each walk to let your body recover. But as your body gets fitter, try to do back-to-back sessions each day – it’ll help build your stamina for the relentless nature of a ten-day trek, where you won’t have the luxury of rest days. Ideally, you want to be able to walk 4-6 hours – comfortably – before you leave.

  1. Make leg-based cardio part of your routine…

As well as doing long walks, you should also work some leg-based cardio into your daily routine. Cycling is awesome for building up muscle in your legs, but soccer, football, squash and swimming are all great too. If you’re more into gym workouts, mix up your spin classes or cycling bursts with squats and lunges (the more weight, the better).

Hiking Food for Diabetics

  1. …and take the stairs every chance you get

Stair climbing is also a good one for building up calves and quads, so take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator when you’re at work or the train station.

  1. Make sure you’re walking properly

You’ve been doing it since you were around one year old, but it’s super important to monitor how you’re walking and if you’re doing it correctly. Make sure you’re hitting the ground with your heel first, then rolling onto your toe, which propels you onto the next step (this will help reduce the risk of shin splints and tendon pulls – ouch). Walk with your head up, eyes forward and shoulders level.

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  1. Mix up your training terrain…

When you’re on your trek, it’s unlikely you’ll be walking on level footpaths and roads, so avoid training solely on level footpaths and roads. Instead, try to train on surfaces that will be similar to the trails on the trek. If you’re heading to Everest or Kili, aim to train on steep, rocky terrain and loose shale; if it’s Kokoda, try to find muddy paths. It’s really important you prepare your feet, ankles and knees for the stress they’ll experience on the trip.

  1. …and walk in all types of weather

It’s also unlikely you’ll get ten straight days of perfect weather on your trek, so prepare yourself for all conditions by walking in cold, windy, rainy, warm and humid conditions (where possible, of course!).

  1. Try using walking poles

When you’re navigating Kili’s gravel trails or lumbering down Dead Woman’s Pass on the Inca Trail, walking poles will become your two new best friends. They take the pressure off your knees on the downs, and give you extra support on the ups. Incorporate poles into your training sessions so you get used to walking with them.

  1. Train with a backpack

On almost all of our trekking trips, you won’t be carrying your main pack, but you will need to carry a small daypack, packed with essentials like your camera, snacks, sunscreen, water and wet-weather gear. So with all your days/weeks/months of training, make sure you’re challenging yourself with a weighted bag. If you really want to push it, pack your bag with a few extras, so it’s a little heavier than what you’re planning to hike with on the trip – it’ll make the eventual trek feel like a walk in the park (chortle).

  1. Keep the tank fuelled

It’s SO important you’re stocked with enough water and food during a trek (hydration is key!). Nuts, dried fruit, muesli bars and chocolate are all good, quick sources of energy and protein; keep a selection of these healthy snacks in your daypack. Also, bring along a reusable canteen; alpine streams are usually a great source of fresh water, but our guides provide boiled (and cooled) water daily throughout your trek. While you’re in training-mode, try to eat and drink ‘on the go’ as much as you can, so your body can get used to digesting during strenuous exercise.

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Your feet are your most crucial body part on a trek, and it doesn’t take much to keep them in toe-tappingly tip-top shape. First, invest in a pair of good-quality, water-resistant hiking boots; you want plenty of support and ventilation too. Then, wear them in. How do you do this? Wear ‘em everywhere. On your training runs, on walks to the shops, to work, to formal events (well, maybe not). You get the idea though; by wearing them in as much as possible in the weeks and months leading up to the trek, it’ll help avoid blisters, bunions and lost toenails. Then, stock up on a few pairs of really good hiking socks (preferably a wool/nylon blend), that will wick moisture and keep your feet dry. If you want to get a bit crazy, wear two pairs while walking to minimise your chance of blisters.

All about hiking tips for women

If you are planning a hiking trip soon and happen to be female, you might want to remember these hiking tips for women as you plan your trip. Going hiking is great exercise and a lot of fun. Don’t let lack of experience make it a not so enjoyable time!

Why Hiking is the Best Exercise

When I was in college, I joined the Outing Club.It was my first taste of what hiking and camping were really all about. The club was a great group of people who had been enjoying the great outdoors for many years and lived to tell about it. I was taught how to put up a tent and build a fire. In addition, they showed me how to prevent bears from rummaging in my food stuffs. However, I was NOT told quite a number of things that I have had to discover on my own over the last 25 years.
I am going to include a few links to hiking gear you may want to invest in before you head out on the trail. Be prepared in mind, body, and spirit. Then head out into the woods with your hiking partner and enjoy the great outdoors!

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Hiking Gear for Women
• Adjustable Anti Shock Hiking/Walking/Trekking Poles : Trekking poles can be an invaluable asset when hiking out in the wilderness.
• LifeStraw Personal Water Filter: The microfiltration membrane removes 99.999999% of waterborne bacteria (including E. coli and salmonella), and 99.999% of waterborne parasites (including giardia and cryptosporidium).
• GoGirl Female Urination Device: Discreet, reusable, funnel-shaped urination device that provides a revolutionary bathroom option for women to go anywhere
• Multi Performance Hiking Socks : Walk all day long and NO NEED TO worry about moisture

Best Hiking Tips for Women

I decided someone needed to put together a list of hiking tips for women so that others like me could continue to enjoy backwoods hiking or camping and not come home wishing you had never stepped foot on the trail!

Hiking Food for Diabetics

This is just a very short list of beginner hiking tips that I never found in hiking books. Of course, general gear and survival information should be researched thoroughly before heading out on the trail. So, keep reading, pack some homemade trail mix and start planning your next camping trip.

Plan the date of your hiking trip carefully.

Look at the calendar. Figure out when ‘that time of the month’ is going to hit. Don’t hike the if possible. Hiking with cramps is not fun. Having to carry used sanitary items out of the woods in your backpack is even less fun. Honestly, I have had to do this. I take the ‘leave no trace’ concept very seriously. Take only pictures and leave only footprints. That means no leaving your used ‘stuff’ behind!

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Smelling good is a bad thing

I love my lavender face wash, herbal shampoos, and fruity smelling perfume as much as the next girl. However, the only thing those will do for you in the woods is to attract bugs! Go with unscented products on the trail and leave the perfume at home.

Leave the lace at home

I am a huge fan of Victoria’s Secret lace panties and push-up bras. Unfortunately, they aren’t the most comfortable attire when you start to work up a sweat. And really, the bears don’t care if your breasts are perky and covered in black lace.

Ditch the sexy undergarments and grab a comfortable sports bra. If you are doing serious amounts of backwoods hiking, invest in underwear made from a wicking material like in these hiking bras or even wool underwear. You may think that sounds uncomfortable but it wicks away moisture and is NOT itchy like your wool sweater!

Cut your nails before putting on hiking boots!

You are not going to be tromping around in the woods in strappy sandals so don’t invest in a mani/pedi. Just grab a pair of clippers and trim them. Don’t hike up and down hills with your toenails too long. This gets very uncomfortable very quickly.

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Long fingernails get ripped off on rocks and logs very easily and can be extremely uncomfortable. Trimming your nails before you head out is one of those hiking tips for women that no one ever told me!

The hiking trail is not a fashion show.

Do not waste your time trying to get your hair to look decent. Bring an elastic band (or many!), a scrunchie, a bandana or some other means of keeping your hair out of your face. Bandanas are also useful for keeping ticks off your head. Finding ticks in a head of dark colored hair is next to impossible until they have been there so long the have established residency.

Use common sense when heading out into the woods. Bring a buddy, know where you are going, and make sure you have all the right gear. And, most important…keep your sense of humor! Yes, you will have to pee in the woods and no there is not always a convenient spot to do it. Just make sure you remember the rule “Leaves of three, let it be” or you will be itching in very uncomfortable places for quite a long time!
For more hiking tips for women, check out The Hiking Lady. And remember…for all you moms out there: your kids will not learn to appreciate nature if they don’t see YOU appreciating it!

Essential hiking accessories for modern days

The ten essentials are the ten pieces of gear that every hiker should bring out when them on the trail, whether on a short hike or multi-month through hike. The ten essentials were invented in the 1930s to help people enjoy the outdoors safely. It was an era before helicopter evacuations and satellite beacons; the ten essentials were designed to help folks stay alive outside. Today the ten essentials still hold true at their core, but can be improved upon with the help of new gear and technology. Here’s my take on the hiking essentials; this is what I take on every hike and what you should too.

Modern Ten Hiking Essentials

  1. Navigation Tools – Electronic & Paper
  2. Hydration – Bladder & Portable Filter
  3. Nutrition – Dense Superfoods
  4. Sun Protection – Sunscreen
  5. Insulation – Shell & Fleece
  6. Illumination – Headlamp
  7. First-Aid
  8. Fire – Fire Starter, Magnifying Glass, Outdoors Lighter
  9. Repair Gear
  10. Shelter – Emergency Bivy
  11. Bonus Essential – Signalling Device

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Improving on the Ten Hiking Essentials

Today technology has made hiking much easier. Smartphones allow you to map and overlay weather in real time. LED bulbs are bright and last thousands of hours. There’s a lot of great technology out there that’s helpful. That is, until it fails. So when I pack the ten essentials, I generally include two options, a high-tech version that works great, and an old-school version that works if the high tech version fails. The small size and low weight of hiking gear today makes this possible.


Using a GPS is easy, but know what to do when your battery dies.
Navigation and maps might be the most important hiking essential. If you know where you are, you should know how to get home. If you’re lost, you’re in trouble. In this case I actually use several devices.
• GPS watch with track loaded
• Dedicated backup GPS device with maps loaded
• Smartphone app with offline maps (make sure you’re in airplane mode)
• Paper topographic maps
• Guidebook or hike printout
• Compass to navigate with paper

what to wear on a hike and still look cute

Sun Protection

This is pretty straightforward. Use sunscreen and SPF protected clothing to avoid sunburn (and sun poisoning). I also carry a tarp and cord in my pack so I can erect a shade shelter if need be.
Sunglasses come in handy when I’m hiking in very bright environments that are pretty common in snow, mountains, and desert conditions. Snow blindness, or photokeratitis, is sun-burn for your eyes, and can happen without snow. I’ve had it; it makes it very hard to see in general. If you’re in bright conditions, sunglasses are a smart move, even if you don’t think you need them.


Ice on Mt. Washington, NH, on the 4th of July. At the beginning of the hike it was 80F and sunny. Being prepared to handle the elements can mean the difference between a happy hike and dying of exposure.
I always bring extra layers in my pack. Clothing is so lightweight and compact-able these days, it’s not a hassle. An easy way to do this is to get pants that convert to shorts. Then use a long-sleeve hiking shirt where you can roll up the sleeves. Bring a fleece layer to top that, and then a lightweight rain shell to cover. If you have all that on, it’ll be like having a winter jacket. A small beanie is light, small, and keeps you warm.

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Ask yourself what the worse conditions could be on the hike, and then pack for that. And if you’re in the desert or at altitude, remember that it can get very cold at night.

If you’re hiking in the mountains, realize that the temperature can be very different at the summit than at the base.


If you can see at night, you can get things done (like building a shelter). Illumination also helps signal rescuers. Here’s what I bring:
• Adjustable LED headlamp
• Smaller backup LED headlamp
I specifically mention LED illumination because LED bulbs can last hundreds of hours on a small charge, unlike a traditional incandescent bulb.

If you find yourself in an emergency signaling situation, use the strobe function found on many headlamps to save power and make yourself more visible to rescuers. Practice using strobe mode at home; chances are you won’t have the manual with you out in the backcountry when you need it.

And don’t forget to pack extra batteries. Practice changing your batteries in the dark.

First-aid Supplies

I updated my first aid kit with some other items and the helpful laminated first aid field guide that you get in class.
I have a pre-packaged first-aid kit that I’ve supplemented with some Tenacious Tape if I need to seal a major gash.
It helps to take a NOLS First Aid class; it will teach you how to actually use a first-aid kit and potentially save a life. Another benefit of the class is that they show you how you can customize a first-aid kit.
Most of the time that I’ve pulled out my first-aid kit, it’s been to help another hiker. It’s been handier than I’ve imagined.


One of the things you learn at the Tracker survival school is how to start a fire without matches. After the classroom demonstration, you get to do it on your own with help from the instructor. You learn how to make fire, shelter, find food, and in general, feel very comfortable living in the outdoors.

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You can use fire for light, warmth, a rescue signal, to cook food, and more. I try to have a lot of ways to create fire because each tool is small and light.
• Wind-proof lighter
• Waterproof matches
• Cheap Bic lighters
• Firestarter
• Magnifying glass
• Cotton balls soaked in vaseline, in a small sealed

sandwich bag (used as tinder)

You can also learn the primitive skill of creating a fire with a bow-drill. It’s empowering to know that you can start a fire with some raw materials.
Just make sure you keep the fire under control. People trying to signal a rescue with fire have started forest fires that burned thousands of acres.

Repair Kit and Tools

If you need to build a shelter, find food, etc., you’ll need some tools. I look at this hiking essential as a general pool of things that I might need to solve a variety of problems, not just repair something.
• Duct tape or Tenacious Tape to repair gear
• Knife and multi-tool
• Utility cord to rig up a shelter or trap
• Tent footprint which you can use to haul wood and other materials.
• Clear contractor bags to haul and store water

Best Tips Get into Hiking

If you want to get outside, opt to take a hike. You don’t need a whole lot of fancy gear or knowledge to start hiking, but you’ll immediately see the health benefits of getting outside and spending time on the trail. In this day hiking guide for beginners, we will dive deep into how to get into hiking.

As you grow and develop as a hiker, other activities open up to you, such as mountaineering, backpacking, even rock climbing. I’ve developed this ultimate guide to day hiking for beginners, so you can get out smarter and be prepared for the trail ahead. These hiking tips for beginners aim to help you make the most of your time on the trail.
Simply put, the best way to get started with hiking is to go for a hike! When you first start hiking, pick a short hike (between 2 and 5 miles) so you can get familair with what to expect, and how to follow a trail. A great way to get started with hiking is to go on a popular hike. Thay way if something goes awry, you’ll be able to seek advice or help from fellow hikers. Here’s a look at planning and executing your first hike.

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Hiking Tips for Beginners to Plan Like a Pro

There are many resources available to you to start planning a hike. However, before we begin we want to look at where to start. With countless trails in the US alone, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the planning process. For beginner hikers, you want to start your search off right. Understand the where, what, and how of the trail you’re going to tackle.

Factors to Consider When Planning Your First Hike

If it’s your first time on the trail, start small. New activities tend to make people nervous, so don’t be ashamed to even do a simple three-mile hike. Believe me, I’ve been on some three-milers that are rather difficult. Keep in mind, it takes the average hiker roughly 30 minutes to cover a mile. Add in a few breaks, and you can see how an eight-mile hike can easily take up the majority of your day. Although mileage plays a role, it’s not the only thing to consider when planning a hike.
The elevation is another important factor to think about when planning your first hike. If you aren’t used to elevation, but you’re hiking in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, you may want to take the starting elevation of your hike into consideration. Another important factor is the elevation gain. It takes the average hiker 30 minutes to cover 1,000 of vertical gain. Those 30 minutes are spent working quite hard, especially if the gain happens over a shorter distance. When researching trails, take a look at the elevation profile. An elevation profile tells you how steep a trail is over a certain distance. If you can’t find one, us an app to trace out a trail to see what you’re up against.

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Next, and most importantly, are the predicted conditions for the day of your hike. Always check NOAA for the weather. You can type your area, and sometimes even trailhead, in the search bar and get pinpoint accurate weather. NOAA doesn’t care about their ratings, so you don’t need to worry about fanaticism in the forecast. Furthermore, they have hand hourly graphs on the bottom right side of the page that will tell you useful information such as storms, wind speed, and cloud cover. If you’re heading out in winter to an avalanche-prone area, be sure to check your local avalanche report before hitting the snowy trail.
Putting it All Together

Ok, so you may be thinking 30 minutes, that’s no big deal, I can handle that. However, if you’re headed up an incline that gains 1,000 in a mile, that’s roughly a 19% grade, quite significant when you think about it. If you equate that to skiing terms, you’re pushing into expert terrain. I wouldn’t recommend this kind of intensity for beginner hikers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it a goal for the future! Start with a beginner hike that is a bit more manageable and has an interesting feature to motivate you through the difficult sections.

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However, if you are gaining 1,000 feet over five miles, that’s much more reasonable. You’ll still feel the uphill, but it won’t be the butt-kicking suffer-fest. Keep in mind that it will take you around two and a half hours to make that distance, so it may be longer, but it won’t be as physically demanding.

Resources for Finding Hiking Trails

Now that you understand how quickly you can move, the next step for how to get into hiking is to find that perfect hiking trail. There are many websites and resources for finding the perfect hike. My go-to hiking resource is It’s free to set up an account, you can print maps, save trails, get recent reports, and explore. The paid version of the app offers a GPS feature. Another great resource is the Hiking Project. It’s not quite as up-to-snuff as AllTrails, but it usually has what I need when AllTrails fails me.

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For bigger hikes and mountains, I love Summit Post. Beta, or route information, varies greatly on the site, but it will usually help me get started in my search. I also rely heavily on blogs, trip reports, and Facebook Groups. However, I will do a little research before I go into a forum or group, so my question is specific. Facebook groups are great for asking about current conditions, road closures, and so on.
For GPS needs, I use the free TopoMaps+ app on my iPhone. I don’t believe it’s available on Andriod (yet), but Gaia is another great resource. You can purchase the full app and it’s fantastic, or you can simply use the free version. Be sure to download the topo maps before heading to the trailhead. Simply trace the route (by looking at a map on AllTrails or similar website) and then download the section of the map where you drew your route.

• The best day hikes near Denver
• Amazing hikes in the Grand Canyon
• How to hit the best hikes in Bryce Canyon in just a day
• California’s most difficult trails bucket list
• The most amazing hikes in Utah’s National Parks

Tips to prepare for wilder hike

From the Appalachian Trail in the East, to the Pacific Crest Trail in the West, and countless miles in-between, some of the best backcountry hiking destinations in North America are accessible in our national parks.
Going out for a hike can mean just a few hours outside or a multi-day adventure. If you’re ready to graduate from day-hikes to overnight backpacking trips, make sure to prepare before leaving the crowds behind and heading deep into the wilderness and backcountry.

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Planning ahead

When you head off into the wilderness or backcountry without a plan, anything can happen, and not all of it good. Doing your homework can save you from life-threatening situations, especially for novices.

• Visit the National Park Service websites for trails and hiking, and wilderness and backcountry camping.
• Request the proper permit. Check the park’s page on to see if the park requires one.
• Obtain detailed maps of trails you plan to hike. Locate campsites and water sources on the map and plan accordingly. Expect to cover 5 to 10 miles a day, depending on the terrain.
• Download GPS and compass apps to your phone. Don’t forget to pack a battery-operated phone charger.
• Before you leave the trailhead, make sure somebody back at home knows where you’re headed and how long you’ll be gone.

Packing your pack

Denali National Park and Preserve

Mike Quine, Share the Experience

Bring everything you need and nothing you don’t. With a lightweight pack, you can usually squeeze all essential backpacking gear into a pack weighing 40 pounds or less. Put the heaviest items in the center for balance, and add lightweight items around them. Place items you need to access frequently (like water, food, and maps) where you can get at them easily.

Keto Hiking Food For A Multi-Day Hike


Layering is key as weather can change quickly and dramatically depending on your location and the time of year. Consider packing the following:
• Good hiking boots
• Synthetic hiking pants or shorts
• Long underwear
• Synthetic shirt
• Fleece or hoodie
• Light jacket
• Waterproof jacket and pants
• At least one pair of socks for each day
• Cold weather hat/beanie and light gloves
• Light-weight sandals to wear around campsite


• Sleeping bag (down or synthetic)
• Inflatable or closed-cell foam pad
• 3-season tent


• First aid kit – Read up on how you pack a good first aid kit
• Headlamp
• Matches or lighter
• Duct tape and/or repair kit
• Pocket knife
• Environmentally-friendly toiletries
• Trowel

Eating right

How much food you bring depends on the length of your trip and how many people are going. One hiker on an overnight excursion can probably get by on prepared food alone, provided it’s calorie-dense and high in protein. Granola bars, trail mix, beef jerky, nuts, fruit, and a chocolate bar or two are good things to bring for a short trip. A large group on a weeklong trek is probably going to need to do some cooking, preparing a menu in advance. Dehydrated food will save a lot of space and weight. In addition to the food itself, you should bring:

• Lightweight backpacking stove and fuel
• Compact pot set and utensils
• One cup, bowl, and spork for each person
• Sponge and soap
• Don’t forget water! Carry a minimum of 32 ounces of water with you at all times, and keep a filter or other system handy so that you can purify water from springs and streams.

Hiking Food for Diabetics

Testing your skills

Grand Canyon National Park

Patrick Cooley, Share the Experience

Get ready for your adventure by doing the following:
• Condition your body and hike on local trails to get ready
• Set up your tent in the backyard
• Practice lighting your stove
• Practice using the water pump
• Break in those new hiking shoes by going on preparatory hikes
• Brush up on wilderness and backcountry etiquette – Learn and practice Leave No Trace principles
• Learn how to dig a cathole – you’ll be glad you did!
Choosing your destination

A backpacking hiking trail might be right in your backyard. National parks offer access to thousands of great trails, and any of these would make a great backcountry trip for a beginner:

• Hoh River Trail – Olympic National Park, Washington (17.5 miles)
• Elam Loop – Redwood National Park, California (20 miles)
• Big Meadows & Rose River Loop – Shenandoah National Park, Virginia (14 miles)
• North Country Trail – Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan (42 miles)

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Making the leap from hiker to backpacker is no small feat, but it brings a peace of mind and a sense of accomplishment that can only be found away from crowds, cars, and bustling campgrounds.

Looking for more adventure? Learn more about how to start backpacking these trails like a pro.

Know about best outdoor hiking

The great outdoors can be truly inspirational and there is no better way to explore it than by hiking. New to hiking? This guide is aimed at providing you the knowledge you need to embark on your first hiking adventure.

Asses your Ability

If you over exert yourself the enjoyment can soon be taken out of a hike leaving you reluctant to venture out again. It’s important to understand your capabilities and limits before deciding on your first hike. No hike is “too easy” so start small and work your way up to more difficult, longer hikes.

A certain level of fitness is of course required. If you are a fit person you may find you can walk further with less effort than those who are not so fit. If you have good balance you may find you can handle trickier terrain easier than others.

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Pick a Partner

It is not recommended to go hiking alone especially if you are a novice. If you are not overly confident ideally partner up with someone more experienced than you. They can pass on useful tips before you start and also teach you along the way. Your companion can also offer encouragement if you are struggling and help if you get lost. Dangers are more easily spotted by two than by one and can more easily be avoided.

Peace and quiet might be nice but sharing the outdoors with someone else can be much more rewarding!

Planning your Hike

A day hike can vary, depending on terrain, fitness and inclines. As a general rule, with a rucksack, you can walk 2 miles an hour (add an extra hour for each 1,000ft of incline). So on a 6 hour hike with no inclines you can walk 12 miles. Realistically on a coastal path you may do 10 miles in the same time. Either way make sure you pace yourself.
As beautiful as a coastal hike is it may not be the best place to start. Uneven terrain under foot is not easy to traverse and uneven steps leading up hills can be difficult and test your limits. A distance may look easy on a map but you never know how steep or awkward the inclines and declines will be until you tackle them! If a coastal hike is your preferred option break the hike into smaller sections and if you are doing well you can carry on a little further. Always under-estimate your ability to avoid fatigue and discomfort and therefore reduce the risk of unnecessary accidents.

Keto Hiking Food For A Multi-Day Hike

With this in mind, woodland and lowlands may be an easier place to start. Smoother, flatter footpaths make hiking easier, ideal when just starting out. Easier hikes will increase confidence and enjoyment and happy, confident hikers will be more inclined to continue hiking and push themselves further. Like marathon runners, it is all down to training and persistence.

Maps can help you plan routes and distances to ensure you are within your limits. Short hikes are always advisable to start off with. Maps can also help you plan exit strategies. You may hike for 2 hours and think that 2 hours is enough so make sure there is an option to exit and an option to carry on. With good planning this can be done throughout a 6 or even an 8 hour hike.

An important thing to remember, especially in this techno savvy world we live in, mobile phone reception is not always available to pull up a GPS map. Batteries run down quickly when connected to the internet and GPS. So take your map and compass, they will not let down.

Hiking Food for Diabetics

What to Wear

Waterproofs and extra layers are essential as weather can be unpredictable, on coastal paths or up steep descents especially weather can change at the drop of a hat.

You also need to think about weight. If it is summer lighter options are available, thin base layers, micro fleeces and pack away jackets would be more sensible than heavy waterproofs and soft shells. In winter merino wool base layers are ideal due to there warmth to weight ratio.
Most people tend to take care of the top very well and ruin the good work by wearing leggings or jeans, neither is recommended for hiking. Loose fitting, stretchy trousers will offer breathability and comfort, try a 4-way stretch trouser.

Lastly, but arguably the most important part of what to wear, you need to consider your footwear. Whatever you decide to wear the most important thing is that they are comfortable AND broken in! Boots are the obvious choice, offering additional support around the heel and ankle. GORE-Tex or IsoDry boots will offer more comfort and Vibram or IsoGrip soles will offer more grip, traction and durability.

Type of Rucksack

As a general rule a day pack would have a capacity of 20 to 35 litres, more than a day and less than a week a rucksack of 40 to 55 litres would be needed and over a week a 65+ litre capacity is recommended.
Remember to account for your own ability, strength and fitness. Remember strength and fitness will not reduce the effects of blisters and extra weight will only make them more uncomfortable so try to pack as light as possible.

If a 65+ litre pack is needed to carry all the kit needed and there are two of you, you might consider two day packs instead, failing that a small day pack (20L) and a medium sized pack (40L).

What to Pack

Besides a rucksack there are a few other essentials you will need, check out our top 10 hiking essentials for more information.
For a day hike don’t worry about cooking elaborate meals. Packed sandwiches and pasta salads as well as snacks such as nuts and flapjacks should keep you going.

If you are planning a multi-day hike you will need to consider cookware as well as other camping equipment. This would include a tent, roll mat, sleeping bag and, depending on what you intend to cook, a camping stove and pans. Be sensible about what food you take, tinned food is convenient but is heavy whereas freeze dried food is lightweight.
You should be drinking around half a litre of water an hour, depending on how hot it is but do not want to be carrying more than 2 litres of water. Hydration packs are the easiest way to carry a large amount of water and access it easily. If you plan on hiking for more than 4 hours you should plan in a water stop. If water is only available from streams or rivers, pack purification tablets to kill any germs and make it safe to drink (also good for cooking).

Walking Poles

Walking poles are not an essential piece of kit for hiking but are useful especially for first timers. Not only do they help make the hike easier by sharing the load of your body and the rucksack, they also take the pressure off your feet, legs, knees and back. Some people find them invaluable when going up or down hills.

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Improved posture, balance, stability and momentum are some of the other benefits. Walking poles also work your arms and other parts of the upper body, not dissimilar to a cross trainer in a gym.
Don’t be tempted to just use one pole, you will not build the same momentum or gain the same benefits as using two.

Before you Leave

Double check your checklist. Ensure all the gear you need is packed and any that isn’t needed is left at home! It is easy to pack that extra item but less is more, extra weight will only hinder you down the line.
Tell someone your route and your estimated time of arrival (ETA) at each contactable point. Time is everything when lost, so stick to the plan. If the plan does change, ensure your point of contact is informed as soon as possible to avoid worry and a search and rescue team!
Lastly enjoy your hike and ensure you show the same care the wonderful countryside, coastal paths and woodlands that you would to your own home. Leave no trace to ensure the beauty is passed to the next adventurer exploring the path you have trodden.

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