Hiking is a physical activity. It is essential to understand your capabilities when engaging in hiking activity. The best advice is start with easier and shorter hikes to create a foundation and then build on it. This approach allows you to gain an understanding of what you want to accomplish from hiking before buying a lot of gear that you will never use or didn’t need.
You need to consider where you will be hiking. Gain an understanding of the available trails and their level of difficulty. This depends on where you live and the existing hiking opportunities. An internet search will uncover some possibilities. Gather information on local hikes and then gain a comfort level with easier trails to develop a feel for hiking them.
This is a sensible approach versus deciding to hike a difficult trail in some distant location. This process enables you to develop an understanding of the area and gain familiarity with the hiking trails. You should know where you are hiking to and how to get back to your vehicle. You should have someone to hike with even on the easiest trails so you’re not hiking alone.
Two things come to mind when considering hiking basics. These are have adequate water and good hiking boots. I frequently see people hiking without an adequate supply of water. Things can happen on easy trails so it is better to have excess water than not enough. There are all sorts of water bottles and water hydration systems. The key is having adequate water regardless of how you carry it. After you develop some experience you will better understanding the water system that is right for you.
I recommend getting a hiking boot that fits and is comfortable on your feet. If possible purchase boots from a source where they can be returned if the fit and comfort level isn’t right. I went through some boots until I found what was right for me. Having happy feet is important and it is worth the extra expense to get boots that allow you to hike in comfort.
You’ll likely want to get a back pack to carry water, an extra jacket, snacks, and other gear such as a first aid kit. Again, we started with smaller less expensive packs until we gained experience to determine what we wanted in a pack. Many people utilize fanny packs that can carry the basics as well as water bottles.
Another basic of hiking are trekking poles. They are an essential aid to more efficient hiking. Plus they can help out in multiple situations such as going up or down steep hills or embankments. They can also be helpful in crossing streams and just stabilizing your balance when you need some help.
If you going to hike, I think it is essential to be capable of reading a map. In addition, it is essential to have a compass and know how to use. I have developed a survival kit that contains a lighter (fire starter), a knife, duct tape, a head lamp, and a bevy that will keep me warm should I get stranded.
I carry emergency snacks, ibuprofen tablets, antihistamine tablets, a short section of rope, and a whistle. I have a smaller and light weight hiking camera, a light weight wind jacket, and a GPS unit with extra batteries. Finally, I carry a map of the area in which I am hiking and perhaps a detailed description of the trail I’m hiking.
Learn to hike within your capability and be sensible on your selection of trails. Hike with other people and not alone.