Hiking can be a great experience, but you will want to prepare before you take off, especially if you are a beginner hiker. Though not always the case, hiking is not like traditional vacations which require preparation in terms of locating your accommodation, finding a beach front vacation rental or other details such holidays entail. Hiking requires preparation related to fitness and essential items specific to hiking.
Of course, you want to make sure you have achieved general fitness as hiking requires endurance and strength. Once you have achieved a basic fitness level in preparation for your hike, a few specialized activities specifically related to hiking that can help you prepare even more.
Though not essential, walking barefoot around the yard or house can help toughen the soles of your feet. Yes, you will be wearing hiking boots and quality socks but it isn’t a bad idea to have something under your socks that is tougher than soft, tender skin.
Benzoin is a special ointment that can help with sores, gradually make skin tougher and even helps kill germs. As any experienced hiker would likely agree, dealing with blisters needs an entirely separate article to fully describe. But, if you do get blisters it is important to puncture them and avoid doing too much walking until they heal if possible. You can try to avoid blisters by covering the parts of your feet that are more likely to develop them with a band-aid or moleskin. Also, be sure you have trimmed your toenails before heading out for the hike, but be sure to not trim them down too far.
Another good idea is to gradually work up to a long hike in stages, maybe one to two miles. If you are in fairly good shape, you should limit yourself to around five miles at first. Hiking is more demanding than simply walking on your sidewalk, as it usually entails walking on slanted, uneven surfaces. For this reason, it is a good idea to build up your endurance at least in terms of distance.
Once you are up to at least five miles, you may want to start walking with a backpack to become used to the extra weight. Carry some water bottles, whether reusable sport bottles or the pre-filled disposable bottles. Or, at least bring along a sports drink but avoid the beverages with a lot of added sugar. Though sugar is actually essential to life and not as bad as often claimed, the amount of sugar in some sports drinks is not the best choice when you want to achieve optimal results.
Of course, nobody wants to get lost which is why it is important to have some type of navigational guide. This is especially true if you are going to an unfamiliar area or onto unmarked trails. You can choose a map, compass or a GPS unit all of which can help provide some direction. Of course, you want a GPS unit you know how to use if you prefer this device.
As you can see, hiking is not just a walk or stroll through a forest. It takes preparation to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience!