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6 Essential Hiking Tips

Older Couple Resting During Hike with BackpacksOne outdoor adventure you can have in Grand Rapids is going on a hike. Hiking offers a lot of physical and psychological benefits, including lowering stress levels and improving your physical fitness. Any trek is more fun when it is planned and prepared for in advance, just in case something unexpected happens on the way. If you are new to hiking, there are a few things to keep in mind before you head out. These hiking tips are going to make your hikes fun and memorable.

Tip #1: Choose the Right Trail

Pick an easy trail for your first hike out. This is very important especially if you’ve never been on one or it has been quite a while since your last hike. If you are used to taking walks on a flat surface, a hike that is a bit shorter than your usual distance would be best. Also, pick a hike without any abrupt elevation changes. Steep inclines can be challenging to an inexperienced hiker.

Tip #2: Pack the Right Gear

A common novice mistake among hikers is packing the wrong gear. Being safe and hydrated on your hike means wearing light, moisture-wicking clothing that covers your arms and legs. Aside from helping prevent sunburns and insect bites, the right clothing will also keep you safe from scrapes and scratches. Don’t forget to wear a good pair of sneakers or hiking boots, and bring a hat! Bring a backpack with snacks, extra layers of clothing, and twice the amount of water you think you’ll need. There are about ten essential items you must bring every time you venture out on a hike.

Tip #3: Bring a Map

Getting lost can quickly turn your happy hiking trip into a bad one. You should check that you have a map or a GPS device of the area you will be hiking through. Don’t forget to familiarize yourself with the map ahead of time and orient yourself to the location. If the hiking trail is marked, stay on the course. Bring a spare battery for your phone or any other device you want to use as a map. Putting your phone in airplane mode also helps save your battery’s charge.

Tip #4: Time Your Hike Right

A lot of hikers start their journey early in the morning. It is important to do this if you are hiking when daytime temperatures are high. To make your hike a safe one, take note of the local weather reports and plan out how long your trek should be. Be conservative with your estimates – hiking is not a race. Hike at a comfortable pace and do not overexert yourself.

Tip #5: Use Good Hiking Etiquette

When you are on a busy trail, you must remember some basic hiking etiquette. Hikers going uphill always have the right of way. There may also be bikes and horses on your trail. Move out of their way if you can. Politely say hello to people you pass, and avoid talking loudly when hiking with friends. Keep your dogs safe by making sure they are leashed when you bring them along on your hikes. Carry all of your trash. Granola bar wrappers, empty water bottles, and so on should never be left on the trail.

Tip #6: Use the Buddy System

The last of our hiking tips is to invite someone to come along on your hike, just in case you have an emergency. If you do hike alone, let someone know where you are and when they should expect you back. This information will be very useful if ever you happen to get lost.

Follow these hiking tips so you can have an enjoyable hike every time.

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