Hiking Tips for Beginners

hiking tips

Welcome back to MoreFamFun OUTDOORS.  If you haven’t already done so, please make sure you subscribe to our newsletter.  I’m going to have all kinds of fun outdoors content to keep you motivated to get outside.  Sometimes the hardest part of getting outside is coming up with fun things to do while you’re out there.  Today I am going to give you some of my favorite hiking tips, including the fun things I like to do on hikes to keep them interesting.

So my first tip for hiking beginners is to pick your trail in advance.  When I am looking for a place to hike I try to decide how much time I have and how far away the trailhead is.  Once I have that range narrowed down I find city parks, state parks, or national parks nearby.  A lot of times those types of hiking areas have trails marked by skill level.  Its important to make sure you don’t overdo it, especially if you are alone.  Which brings me to tip number 2, put a checklist together.

A hiking tips checklist is something I go through to make sure I get the most out of my time hiking.  The list should include a few different things. 

Hiking Checklist

Number 1, let someone know where and when you are going, especially if you’re going alone.  Its just common sense, and its number one because safety is the most important tip when hiking.  This way if something does happen on the trail, say you roll your ankle and don’t have phone service, someone will know where to find you when you don’t report in.  But when your hike is done, make sure you report in with the person you notified.

Number 2 on my hiking tips checklist is a reminder to pack water and snacks.  There have been many times I walk out the door for a hike and would forget to pack a snack.  By having a hiking checklist you make sure you hit the same items every time so you never miss anything.  Let me tell you, hiking for a couple miles only to find out you don’t have a snack leads to a hangry hiker.  I like to bring beef jerky, trail mix, and I fill a CamelBak. Often times I bring an extra bottle of water or two.  If I am bringing the dog I put a thermos full of water for him in the backpack along with a collapsible bowl.

Number 3 – Make sure you have proper attire, and set it out in advance.  I hate scrambling to find my hiking shoes as I am trying to get out the door.  Some important attire to have, of course good hiking shoes.  A good hiking shoe will have a sole that is firm with a lot of grip so you don’t slide around on the trail.  If you’re hiking paved trails then a sole with a lot of cushion is going to be more important.  

You can add anything you want to that checklist depending on the type of hiking you are doing, but those three things are a must have on every checklist.  We do a lot of hiking at high altitude in dry climates, which means we don’t have to deal with bugs.  If you’re in an area with bugs then adding bug spray to your checklist would be a good idea.

One of the most important hiking tips I know is to come with backup entertainment.  Sometimes you just won’t be feeling it when you hit the trailhead.  I’ve found having a hobby or game to play when hiking will help you get over that hump.  For example, some people love photography, and if that’s you then you might think of your hike as a photo session where you focus on finding neat things to shoot on your hike.  If photography isn’t your thing, then playing games like geocaching can be fun.  Look, there are literally hundreds of things to do while hiking.  Birdwatching, playing i-spy with your kids, whatever it is you enjoy, do it while you’re hiking.

My final hiking tip is to give yourself a reward.  Maybe that means packing a sweet treat that you get when you make it back to your car, or its stopping for ice cream on the way home.  Can you tell I’m a sucker for sweet stuff?  For Christy her reward might be a glass of wine, or there are times when I like to have a nice IPA.  Just plan something fun that you know you will enjoy as your reward for finishing the hike.

Hiking Tips Review

If you skimmed this article and don’t want to miss anything, here is the hiking tips checklist in short form:

  1. Plan your route in advance.
  2. Notify a friend or family member of your hike location and time.
  3. Pack water and snacks.
  4. Wear appropriate hiking attire.
  5. Have secondary entertainment options like photography, geocaching, etc.
  6. Reward yourself after the hike with a drink, desert, or whatever keeps you motivated.
  7. Notify friend of family from No. 2 that your hike is completed.

Another great way to get outdoors is through biking. A quality bike will make riding so much more enjoyable. At least that was the case with my Trek FX 2. I’ll post an update once I hit 500 miles on the bike. Its coming soon!

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