Exploring the great outdoors can be a wonderful and very fulfilling hobby, but it’s easy to become inundated with tips, tricks, strategies and suggestions and not know where to begin. Here’s a short guide to get you through your first time.
Try before you buy.
I suggest actually going out on a hike before you start filling up your amazon cart and tearing things off the shelf at REI. Find out what you like, don’t like, need and want before you invest in a ton of things that you may never end up using. Most people have most hiking necessities right in their own home. I’m sure you have a water bottle lying around and an old backpack you can use.
Always pack a large, full water bottle. Drinking is so important, plus the extra weight can be incentive for you to finish it before your hike is complete.
Don’t Get Lost
Bring a map, or download or screenshot one onto your phone (in case you lose service). Even if you think where you are going and don’t expect to get lost, you cannot always predict where your adventure will take you. You may end up wanting to add more distance to your hike or get to a trail and find out it’s closed. Bottom line, a map will show you all your options.
Anyone who knows me knows how crazy I am about sunscreen. All. Year. Round. No matter how cloudy it is. I always put on sunscreen before I leave and pack extra to reapply. Fill up a spare sample bottle so it doesn’t take up too much room in your backpack and so you can save money on those overpriced mini-sunscreens.
Lip Balm or Chapstick
Always pack a chapstick with sunscreen. This will take up next to no room in your bag and your lips will thank you! You do not want sunburnt and wind chapped lips by the end of your trip. The skin on your lips is very thin and sensitive, it’s important to take care of them.
Keep nonperishable snacks in your bag at all times, that way you’ll never be stuck without option. Even a short hike is a good workout, so keep a few healthy snacks on hand to help with your energy levels throughout the day. Nuts are a great option and, when bought in bulk, can be pretty reasonably priced.
First Aid Kit
You just never know. You can buy a small first aid kit almost anywhere or just simply make one yourself. Leave it in your hiking bag at all times so you never forget it. Other than water, this is probably my #1 tip. I’ve never had a true emergency, but having Advil, alcohol wipes and bandaids has come in handy on way more than one occasion.