Last Updated on March 31, 2021 by Bruce
Hiking trips can be a wonderful experience for new hikers and seasoned veterans alike. However, the biggest mistake that is commonly made by hikers of all experience levels is under prepared. Preparation is key to having the best experience that you can while hiking. Hiking is very enjoyable for individuals all over the world, but can quickly turn from an enriching experience into a terrible one if you are not properly prepared. Instead of choosing a trail and taking off for the day or weekend, there are a few things that you need to ask yourself and plan before heading out on your hiking trip.
Figure Out Where You’re Going, and Plan Your Route
It is never a good idea to just randomly wander on any hiking trail. This will increase the probability that you will wander off the trail and become lost. You should have a good idea of where you would like to go, and how you would like to get there before you even begin packing your hiking backpack. Most popular hiking trails will have information about the routes and trails online, and you should utilize these resources before heading out on your trip. Ensure that you have a backup plan. Learn what trails are commonly closed during the different seasons, and prepare for any detours that you might encounter. You should always know exactly what you are going to be doing if you run into a situation that forces you to change your plans.
Pack Everything You Might Need
It is never a fun experience to dig through your backpack only to realize that you did not bring the item that you are looking for. If there is even a slight chance that you will find use for an item, and you are not having any weight issues with your pack, you should bring the item. This ensures that you are completely prepared. Even day hikes require that you have a map, compass, water, food, and other essential hiking necessities. Prepare not only for the weather that you see as you leave your house but for the weather that you could possibly run into during your trip. If you are wearing apparel for warm weather hiking, and a storm system makes its way into the area you will wish that you had brought a coat and other supplies to deal with the weather change.
Community Involvement Helps
Being in tune with the hiking community will help you to find trails and destinations that you normally would not be able to find on your own. This can make for many rewarding experiences. Get to know fellow hikers and ask them what their favorite hikes are. Try to pair with hikers that are around your experience level, and can offer you advise on locations and general hiking information if you require it.
The most crucial piece of the hiking experience is planning. Planning is key to a successful hiking trip, and can completely change how you view your experience. Before any hiking trip, you should always make a checklist of the items that you will require.