The Beginners Hiking checklist

There is something exciting about preparing for a hiking trip. Maybe it’s the anticipation of the discoveries or the pure excitement of getting out in the great outdoors. If you are going to prepare for your first hiking adventure, here are a few things that may help make your trip a little more enjoyable.

Let someone know.
Before you head out in the wilderness it’s always a good idea to let someone know you are going on a hike. Let a friend know the time you are going, the location, and the expected time you plan to return. This is especially important if you are going out on your own. If at all possible though, hike with at least one other person.

How’s the weather?
Take a look at the weather forecast before heading out on a hike. Lightning and rising waters are something to always consider before heading out. If the weather is questionable, know what you should do in case of certain weather situations.

Understand your maps and compass.
If you are headed into the wilderness, knowing how to use a map and a compass is a good idea. Many national and state forests have trail maps available either in the ranger station or online for download. Understanding your map may save you some serious time if you are unsure of the direction. There are many phone apps for GPS and trail maps as well.

Carry enough water.
Water is one of the more important necessities to take with you. Plan your water supply according to the length of hike and the number in your hiking company. Use water carrying backpacks like Camelbaks and/or water bottles.

Keep your feet comfortable.
How about an extra pare of socks? An extra pair of socks could save you from blisters caused by wet socks from sweat or water. In addition to those extra socks, make sure you wear a comfortable pair of shoes without open toes or heels.

Wear a hat and sunscreen.
There’s a good chance when you head out on a hike that you’ll be exposed to the sun for an extended time. Protect your skin by wearing sunscreen and a hat. They can protect you from the discomfort of a sunburn and also protect you from long-term sun induced skin problems.

Keep those pests away
Don’t forget to use mosquito and tick repellent. On the Gulf Coast, you are sure to encounter one or the other. Mosquitoes can be prevalent in the spring and summer months while ticks are present here all year. Yes, ticks are alive and active in the winter months as well.

Be prepared to zoom in.
There is a sure guarantee you’ll discover the beauty and wonder of creation when you go on a hike. How about capturing those moments on a camera? When I’m out, I always have my camera along with me. Having a camera can help you document your trip for great memories. Photos are also great ways of  recording nature’s beauty to enjoy anytime. Another useful piece of gear to consider if you are not inclined to photo taking are binoculars; you never know when you may want to zoom in.

Bring a basic first aid kit.
Bringing along some basic first aid like band aids for scrapes and hydrocortisone cream for bites and stings aren’t a bad idea. Snake-bit kits are also available if you plan to hike where there are poisonous snakes.

Keep it simple.
Remember everything has to be carried. For a short trip this is not as critical, but the longer the hike the more important it is to lighten the load. Only bring the necessities like dried food, water, a change of clothes and the first aid items already mentioned.

Of course, the most important thing is to have fun. If you take the time to prepare you’ll make the hiking trip an enjoyable experience.

Go Explore!

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  1. Two Kids and a Map » Travel Blogger Tuesday – Outdoor Gulf Coast - August 19, 2010

    […] The Beginners Hiking Checklist – A great list of tips to check out if you haven’t done much hiking.  […]