Hiking is great fun and an excellent form of exercise. An adventure through the woods can be dangerous for the ill prepared, however. Before you set off on your next hiking adventure, make sure you perform these three preparations first.
Research The Trail
Before hitting the trail, know what you’ll find when you get there. There are many maps and trail books available at your local bookstore and online. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, contact local hiking clubs or plan your hike in a nearby park or nature reserve. Doing so allows you to contact the park ranger for trail information and conditions. Compare the trail information you receive with the skill and fitness level of your group. Know your limits and only hike trails within them.
Pack A Bag
While you don’t want to weigh yourself down unnecessarily, there are a few basic supplies you should always carry with you on the trail. Always bring along the following:
- Fresh water
- Healthy snacks
- A flashlight or head lamp
- Rain gear
- Insect repellent
- A whistle
- A first aid kit
Stock your first aid kit with the usual supplies and any medications you take routinely, just in case you’re out longer than planned. Be conscious of stinging insect allergies, as well, and carry your EpiPen or other life-saving medications prescribed by your allergy doctor. If you’re unsure if you have allergies or not, consider getting tested, like the services offered at Oak Brook Allergists.
Your favorite jeans and a worn cotton tee may be perfect attire for a lazy Sunday, but they’re terrible for hiking. Cotton dries very slowly, is worthless when wet and causes chafing. Instead, wear modern moisture wicking fabrics that will keep you cool and dry. Some of these fabrics even include built-in insect repellents and UV protection. These garments are a worthwhile investment, as are the right hiking boots. Buy the lightest, most comfortable boots you can find without sacrificing ankle support. Never compromise on boot comfort. If you don’t find boots comfortable on a level floor, you’ll be downright miserable on rough terrain.
Hiking is a terrific hobby and there is a trail that can accommodate almost every age and fitness level. The key to a safe and enjoyable hike is matching the trail to your physical abilities, wearing the right clothes and bringing along the right supplies. Doing so ensures you’ll have a fun trip and be prepared to handle whatever crosses your path.
About the Author: Emma is a freelance writer living in Boston. When she manages to tear herself away from the computer, she enjoys baking, rock climbing, and film noir.