The famous saying from J.R.R Tolkien that, “Not all who wander are lost”, is never truer than when we’re talking about adventuring in nature. One of the most amazing experiences you can have as a traveller whether it’s overseas or around your home country, is exploring on-foot and discovering the world around you. Many people avoid hiking because they think that they need incredibly fancy equipment, a working knowledge of navigation and greater aspirations than simply enjoying walking. You don’t need to be intimidated though — get started with key information and you’ll be ready to take on mountains, forests and coastlines by the time your weekend or holiday rolls around.
Hiking has a wide range of health benefits including stress relief, improving cardiovascular fitness and sleep quality, and strengthening your muscles. Not to mention, in many cases, hiking is affordable and possibly even free! Hiking also connects you socially both if you hit tracks with friends or join a casual group. Travel opportunities abound and it’s a special way to discover spectacular places all over the world.
Tips for your experience level
Like many activities, the more you hike, the more you’ll learn and grow as you uncover the intricacies of terrain, weather, geography, and overall organisation.
There are basic must-haves no matter the hike (even if it’s just a short walk in local woods or hills):
- Appropriate shoes and clothing — this can often define how enjoyable a hike is and maintaining your body is essential.
- Basic first aid kit — there’s a chance you’ll be hiking somewhere remote and, should anything happen, this kit covers the minimum until help arrives or you get to safety.
- Sunscreen and sun protection — no matter where you’re hiking, sun exposure can affect your wellbeing and overall safety quickly so don’t negotiate on this.
- Water — stay hydrated and don’t rely on the availability of natural or potable sources.
- Healthy snacks — these will help you keep going and you can’t rely on food services, particularly on weekend hikes. Make sure you’ve got a rubbish bag with you, too.
The right footwear is an important learning curve for both the short-term and long-term. Not only do your shoes protect your feet and support your body, they also guard against the elements and are specifically designed for unclosed terrain. Make sure you research what you need before you buy as well as considering your climate: certain conditions are absolutely not ‘make do’ and this is an area where your investment will pay off.
As with footwear, your clothing choice is about protecting your body against the elements, sustaining yourself, comfort, and, minimising injury and illness. Do your research and test your clothes before you hike!
Your Preparations Start Here
To help you with making sure you’ve got everything you need, the team at Walsh Brothers Shoes shared this infographic, ‘How to Prepare For Your First Day Hike’. Read on to find out more so you can take a leap and enjoy the great outdoors. Happy hiking!