Hiking is for healthy and active people. An easy route for beginners can take a few hours, while more difficult routes can take up to 18 hours from start to finish.
Therefore, this form of outdoor activity requires a certain skill, survival instinct, experience and practice. It is especially recommended to go out well prepared, whether you are a beginner or an expert.
In this article, we discuss the basics of a solid trek and highlight the 12 most important preparation considerations.
Good planning is important in everything we do. The same goes for hiking, alone or in a group.
Planning ahead will save you time, hassle and potential risks and injuries during your transportation. Here are the basics you should consider when planning, among other things.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
To have a good plan, you need to do some research. Before you get started, the following considerations are made
What is the purpose of this trip?
Carpe diem aside, it’s always good to think about things. Your goal may be to just get in touch with nature through a quick walk. Or you may want to find a place in the woods to spend the night.
By asking yourself what you hope to accomplish with this trip, you can determine what equipment you will need. You will also find out what skills you lack and what skills you need to master.
How long will the trip take?
Knowing the length of your trip will help you determine what to bring and how much to plan for your outing. Remember that you will be carrying everything on your back. So be choosy and pack wisely.
Where are you going?
Your destination may determine the amount of preparation needed, so it is important to pay attention to the details of the location.
Unless you are an experienced backpacker, the best advice is to stick to familiar hiking or camping routes and start simple. Popular hiking trails and campsites are also safer because they allow you to avoid troublesome people or dangerous wild animals.
For experienced hikers or trekkers, it is still advisable to think about the terrain they want to enter. And whatever your physical condition, choosing the right terrain will prevent you from overexerting yourself during the hike.
Who are you going with? Or are you going alone?
It would be ideal to travel with a guide or have an experienced friend to travel with.
Even better, traveling in a group with other people has its advantages. At least you can meet like-minded people and keep them company during the ride.
Are you prepared for the unexpected?
An emergency plan is essential, especially if your trip will last several days or if you are hiking alone.
Keep a map of your trip and find out everything you need to know about your destination, including information about road closures and alternate routes. This will help you be prepared for a possible incident (loss, encounter with wildlife).
The ability to report help in case of an emergency is also critical. It is also advisable to inform another person at home of your plans and destination.
Receiving and testing basic transmissions
When buying the right backpack, consider what is comfortable, what you can afford, and whether you can fit all your essentials in it.
When you set up your tent, make sure it is both sturdy and easy to transport. Always check your tent for waterproofing in case it rains. You can also buy one or more waterproof tarps.
If you’re going camping, you’ll need basic cooking equipment. Foldable metal utensils and sturdy, lightweight plastic utensils (food containers, water bottles, cups) are both appropriate. Also, take an easy-to-use, collapsible stove.
Other necessary equipment to bring for the trip include a compass, a headlamp or a headlamp, a fire starter, a small knife, personal hygiene items, insect repellent and a first aid kit.
Check or test all of them to make sure they can be used. If the existing unit is unsuitable or inappropriate, purchase a more suitable unit.
Being able to read a map and compass is the foundation of navigation. If your compass doesn’t work, at least you can rely on the map to find your way.
In addition, the ability to read topographic maps is very useful when you need to find your way in mountainous terrain.
Given the weather.
Check the weather forecast for the area you are visiting. A link to a reliable weather site can be helpful in avoiding bad weather.
However, the weather can be unpredictable. It is best to play it safe and be prepared for unexpected weather changes.
Lightly packed essentially means taking only what is absolutely necessary, be it food, water, clothing or equipment. Hikers cannot afford to carry extra weight, as it would be exhausting.
Do-it-yourself and improvisation are thus skills that must be learned and mastered.
If you can draw in nature, you can be selective in what you pack. For example, depending on what suits your sleeping conditions, you can bring a hammock or sleeping bag instead of a tent.
Survival skills are essential, especially when camping with limited equipment. These skills compensate for the lack of equipment in survival situations.
Basic skills include building a fire, making a shelter, tying knots (to hang a hammock, bear bag or clothesline), purifying or filtering water, keeping warm, identifying edible and medicinal plants, and even fishing.
First aid kit included
In addition to survival skills, it is important to carry a first aid kit. You can choose a prefabricated first aid kit, which preferably includes an outdoor guide, or you can make your own first aid kit. You can also learn how to treat some injuries outdoors.
Professional hikers also encourage less experienced hikers to put together a “first aid kit” for their gear, consisting primarily of basic tools (tape, multi-tool). These equipment repair kits are certainly useful in emergency situations, and are also available for tents, stoves and sleeping bags.
Food preparation and nutrition
Packing for a camping trip may seem complicated, but it’s not. All you need to know is which foods have a longer shelf life and which are perishable.
Other suitable options include prepackaged foods, high-calorie snacks, and high-quality dehydrated fruits and vegetables. Best of all, these foods do not need to be cooked.
However, you should not carry canned goods. They are inconvenient and make your backpack heavy, even though they are practical.
Transfer the right amount of water
Clean water is essential not only for drinking, but also for cooking and cleaning the campsite. Hydration is important, but so is the amount of water carried.
So calculate how much water you need, how much you can carry, and bring enough filters or water purification tablets. Another way to mitigate any water shortages is to find a campsite near a water source.
Choosing a cool, shaded storage area can also reduce water consumption, extending the supply of clean water.
Choosing the right campsite
Choosing the right campsite is critical for a number of reasons, the most important being safety, comfort and convenience.
Photo by Ridwan Kosasih on Unsplash.
You should make sure the campsite is safe (predators or snakes, objects falling on your tent). You should also avoid low spots where rainwater can accumulate so that your campsite is not flooded.
Choose a place close to a water source so that filling the water is not difficult.
If possible, find a flat or relatively level spot to make it easier to set up camp or put on a sleeping bag.
Prevent hypothermia by staying warm.
Staying warm outside, especially on cold nights, is essential to hiking comfortably. The trick is to pack the right clothes, socks and shoes.
Suitable clothing for trekking can include hiking layers (which keep you cool and warm), base layers, mid layers, and a waterproof outer layer (the top layer that also protects you from damage by sun, insects, poisonous plants, and wildlife).
However, bad or too long layers can backfire: you overheat and sweat through your clothes. This keeps your clothes moist, and if you get cold, you can catch a cold. If you’re unlucky, it can even lead to hypothermia.
Store everything in a dry place
One tip for keeping essentials (cards, matches, medicine, money), gear, sleeping bag, clothing and food dry is to waterproof them. If waterproofing is not an option, you can use a waterproof spray.
The easiest method is to store these items in dry bags or Ziploc bags.
Proper knowledge, information and preparation before your trip will save you from many inconveniences, risks, injuries and even illnesses.
The most important thing is that you can really appreciate the backpack.
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