Beginner Hiking: The Ultimate 101 Guide for the New hiker

 Have you just started hiking and don’t know where to start?

   Hiking is definitely one of the best ways to spend time outdoors. You can get away from people and technology. But hiking can be daunting for beginners.

   There are many aspects: buying the right gear, choosing a trail, finding hiking partners, wildlife, and trail safety.

   That’s why I’ve put together this no-nonsense hiking guide for beginners. I will teach you how to find and train for hiking, what to bring and wear, and how to take care of yourself and our park while hiking.

   By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to conquer any trail and embrace the outdoors. Maybe you’ll love hiking as much as I do!

   Want to improve your outdoor skills? Check out these posts:

   What to Pack for a Hike :44 Best Essentials for Hiking

 The 12 best hiking apps You must have in 2023

 The 40 best Gifts for hikers in 2023

 58 Very useful Camping Tips for beginners

 10 of the best hiking and camping gear on Amazon

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   Before we dive into all the ways you can become a professional hiker, let’s start with the basics.

   Hiking is defined as “the activity of walking long distances, especially in the countryside or woods.” Basically, any walk that isn’t on a road or sidewalk is a hike.

   Hiking can come in all shapes and sizes, so here’s a breakdown of the types of hiking you might hear people talking about.

   Hiking during the day is what most people say they are doing while hiking. The day hike was done in one day (I know. Obvious, right?) This can range from a quick one-mile hike to a full day, 12-hour trip.

 Backpacking (or hiking) is a multi-day trip. The trip involves packing your gear and spending the night in nature. Including a tent! Backpacking trips can be as short as one night or last for months at a time!

 Trekking is a backpacking trip that starts and ends in various locations. These trips tend to be longer, such as the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail.

 This guide focuses on day hiking. That’s my bread and butter! Hiking during the day is the perfect way to unwind an outdoor adventure and build on the basics.

 Before you start hiking, you have to find the right route! There are many resources to help you find great trails in your area, especially for beginners!

   AllTrails is the most popular hiking planning app with more than 100,000 trails worldwide. You can search for hikes by difficulty, length, elevation gain, and route type. You can also visit the ‘ Map view ’ Find a hike that’s close to you! AllTrails provides tips for reaching the trailhead, restroom facilities, and reviews from other hikers.

 Blogs are a great way to find hikes (OK, I know I’m probably biased!). Blogs can provide first-hand experiences that you won’t find in guidebooks. Try Googling or searching Pinterest for hikes near you (e.g., “B

 A beginner’s hike in the Bay Area “).

 Friends and family who have already hiked might be great resources! Ask them for trail suggestions, hiking suggestions, or even join your hike!

 Read more :7 best apps for hikers

   When you first set out, you’ll want to choose a route that suits your fitness level. It’s not just the distance that makes hiking difficult.

   You also need to consider increased altitude and weather. Paths that are easy to walk in the summer can be much more difficult in winter conditions of ice.

   Understand elevation gain

 Altitude gain is not simply the difference between the highest and lowest points. For example, a trail could start and end at 100 feet above sea level, but pass through rolling hills along the way.

   To get an accurate idea of the total elevation gain in the hike, add all uphill portions together. Apps like AllTrails and most country/State Park Hiking trail maps can do this for you.

   As a beginner, I recommend finding a trail under 5 miles with minimal height gain. Think of it like you’re on a treadmill: Hike 1 mile, gain 500 feet in elevation, and average 10 percent.

   Look for beginner hikes with an elevation gain of less than 250 feet per mile.

   If you are an avid runner or walker, especially in hilly areas, you may be able to handle the longer, harder trails as a beginner.

 Research seasonal limits before choosing to hike. Is the park open in winter? Will there be snow or flooding in the area? Before you plan to hike, make sure your trail is open and in good condition.

 Check the weather before you go. Beginners can have the most fun hiking in sunny, warm conditions. Try to avoid hiking in rain, snow or high winds.

 Make sure you have enough time to complete the hike. You shouldn’t rush to go hiking. Spending time outdoors is supposed to be relaxing, right? Pace yourself and allow for breaks along the way. Avoid making plans or commitments immediately after your hike.

 Look into permitting or logistics for the trail. Make sure the trail you plan to hike doesn’t have any advance permit requirements or tricky logistics. The best way to find out the logistics of hiking is on the website of the park you’re hiking in.

 Read about navigation and parking. Make sure you know where the route starts and how you will get there. Some passes require four-wheel drive vehicles or hiking to reach the pass! Be sure to read reviews of trail parking on AllTrails or the park website. Popular trails have competitive parking, so it’s best to start hiking in the morning!

 You can prepare for the hike by doing plenty of physical activity at home or at the gym.

   Look, I’m not a personal trainer. This is advice based on my personal experience. It is not a substitute for the advice of a professional doctor or licensed trainer.

   Walk or run. Aerobic exercise is one of the best ways to improve endurance. Increase the distance you walk or run over time to prepare for your hike. Be sure to include elevation gains in your training. Find a hilly neighborhood or get on a treadmill to improve your grades. No amount of training on a flat sidewalk will prepare you for hiking rolling hills or mountains.

 Strength training. Many beginner hikers make the mistake of focusing only on cardio when training for a hike. Working on your core and lower body strength can improve your ability to climb mountains and carry heavy backpacks. But you don’t need to go to the gym for strength training. There are tons of body weight, core, and total body exercises online!

 Yoga and stretching. Flexibility is very important when it comes to muscle recovery. Be sure to include stretching as part of cardio and strength training to promote recovery. Doing yoga at least once a week can also improve your flexibility.

 It’s easier to improve. The best way to train for a tough hike is to train on shorter or flat trails. Prepare for your tough target hike by increasing the distance and height of your hike

 The easiest way to find a hiking buddy is to start with your current group of friends or acquaintances. Do you know anyone who has already hiked? Do your neighbors post great photos of the outdoors on Instagram?

   Almost every experienced hiker is happy to introduce a beginner to the outdoors.

   If you don’t know anyone in your area who likes hiking, the Internet can help you find hiking partners! Start with Facebook groups; Try to find hiking groups near me; It’s in the Facebook search bar.

   REI also offers outdoor skills classes and hiking parties.

   When I first started hiking, not having the right gear was my biggest fear. But it doesn’t have to be yours! What you really need to start hiking are a few essentials.

   The safety gear that every hiker should carry is called the “Ten Essentials.” These are small life-saving items that you should carry in your backpack in case of an emergency.

   Navigation. For starters, I recommend downloading a custom offline Google Maps. I also recommend taking a map on your phone and carrying a basic compass.

 Headlamp. Every fully equipped hiker should carry a headlamp with fresh batteries, a must for hiking after dark.

 Sun protection. This comes in many forms, but as a beginner, bring a sun hat and sunscreen.

 First aid. For short hikes, all you need is a ready-made first aid kit for 1-2 people. Before you go, be sure to take stock and replenish your gear.

 A knife. You should take a pocketknife just in case. It’s also a good idea to keep a small roll of duct tape in your bag for emergency backpack or gear repairs.

 Fire. Other emergency supplies include fire-building equipment in case you need to spend the night in the woods. Put the windbreak matches in your bag.

 Shelter. Although it’s extremely rare, hikers can be stuck on the road all night. Pack a lightweight emergency suitcase and sleep outdoors. The bivvy is an ultra-compact sleeping bag/shelter.

 Extra food. Don’t just carry a granola bar in your backpack. Pack enough snacks to keep you full during the trip, and a little extra snack in case you get stuck overnight. For one person, I recommend bringing 3-4 CLIF sticks.

 Extra water. Bring more water than you think you’ll need. Carry at least 0.5 liters (16.9 ounces) of water per hour on the hike. If you’re hiking on a particularly difficult or hot trail, double the amount of water you carry. For longer hikes, I recommend investing in a hydration reservoir such as the 3L Osprey Hydraulic Reservoir. This will allow you to carry more water with a lighter weight.

 Extra clothes. The weather is unpredictable. You never know when it’s going to rain or be cold. Keep a raincoat or poncho in your backpack, as well as a merino or fleece layer to keep you warm, which will keep you comfortable

 Read MORE :44 hikers’ best gear (What to Pack for a hike)

   You need a way to carry ten essential items. As a beginner, you can use any old backpack (but avoid pulling string bags). Adjust the backpack so that it fits properly and distributes the weight evenly.

   As you become more experienced, consider buying a hiking backpack, such as an Osprey backpack. These packs have superior hanging trekking and grid-lined backplanes to improve airflow.

   All you need for your first hike is breathable clothing, an extra layer of rain protection and warmth, and a pair of sturdy shoes.

   A breathable blazer. You don’t need anything fancy to set off, or anything dedicated to hiking. Any blazer that breathable will do. Don’t wear a cotton T-shirt that wicks sweat, as it will gain weight while hiking. I like Old Navy’ s Breathe ON.

 Lightweight pants or leggings. Pants are better for hiking than shorts and will protect you from rough brush, mosquitoes, and poison ivy. But if it’s a hot day, I opt for comfy gym shorts. Simply put, wear something comfortable that allows for a lot of movement. Avoid jeans and other heavy materials at all costs. My top picks are the North Face Aphrodite 2.0 pants and Athleta’ s Elation Leggings.

 Rain jacket. A durable, waterproof raincoat is one of 10 essentials that can serve as an extra layer on windy days. Look for a raincoat with Gore-tex! I have a dry-GTX raincoat from REI.

 Merino wool or wool layer. Materials like merino wool and wool are the perfect odor-proof thermal layer for hiking. My favourites are Patagonia Better Sweater and REI’ s Merino Wool Half-Zip.

 Hiking shoes or boots. As a beginner, you don’t need a pair of shoes specifically for hiking. A pair of sneakers with good traction is enough. Consider investing in hiking boots when you’re on rocky or unstable trails. This will provide extra traction and ankle support, protecting you from injury. I swear on my Columbia Newton Ridge hiking boots! I’ve been wearing them for over 3 years and just got a new pair! Plus, they’re very affordable ($70 on Amazon!). .

  The perfect low price option for beginners!

   Read more: The best hiking outfits for women

   The most important thing about outdoor safety is preparation. Here are some of the easiest ways to stay safe while hiking:

   Carry a first aid kit. As part of a 10-item list of essentials, a first aid kit can help you bandage scrapes and treat more serious wounds until you are able to seek medical attention.

 Leave your schedule to a friend. Always make sure that people outside of your hiking group know where you’re going and for how long. This person doesn’t have to be local. Tell any friends or family members about your trip, and if they don’t hear back from you, ask them to contact the park service.

 Keep an itinerary in the car to help with search and rescue efforts in case of an emergency. Just write down your whereabouts in a notebook, and the date and time you expect to leave. Put it in the glove compartment or console of your car. Park rangers will notice a vehicle stuck at the end of the driveway and search your car to determine your itinerary.

 Carry a map of hiking trails with you. This doesn’t have to be a physical map (although it’s not a bad idea). Take a picture of the trail if you have a detailed map. Download Google Maps on your smartphone and let you navigate without a cell signal. For the best level of detail, consider subscribing to AllTrails Pro. AllTrails Pro allows you to access detailed hiking maps without cell phone service.

 One of the greatest fears of a beginner is encountering wild animals on their journey. But know this: most wild animals want to avoid you.

   Animals tend to avoid humans, but you might sneak up on or spook an animal from time to time. You’re in their house after all!

   Here are some tips to help you prepare for wildlife encounters while hiking:

   Make noise while hiking. I’m not talking about playing loud music or screaming at the top of your lungs, but talking or singing to fellow travelers (as silly as it may seem). This is especially important in bear country. Human voices are transmitted to help animals find you and stay away from you. The easiest way to avoid an unexpected encounter with an animal is to let them know you’re coming.

 Give the animal plenty of space. You should stay at least 100 yards away from bears and at least 25 yards away from all other wildlife. This includes seemingly harmless animals like deer and marmots. Don’t bother animals, they usually do the same.

 If you encounter an animal at close range, stay calm and back away slowly. If you encounter an animal, don’t turn around, scream, or run away. Stay calm and slowly give them space. Wait until the animals have left before continuing the hike. For bear safety details, check out the Renee roaming’s Bear Safety blog post.

 Read more :58 insanely Useful camping tips for beginners

   No one wants to look like a novice hiker, right? There are some basic rules for hiking.

   Follow the right of way. Just like on a road, hiking trails have the right of way. Here’s what to do when you meet someone on the road:

 Hiker to hiker. Uphill hikers have the right of way unless they wave to descending hikers. This is common because climbers want to catch their breath, but remember that they have the right of way before they say no.

 Hikers vs. motorcyclists. Hikers have the right of way when they encounter mountain bikers. But having said that, it’s easier for hikers to get out of the way, and easier for mountain bikers to slow down the downhill. If you see a cyclist coming down the hill, get off the path and let them pass.

 Hikers vs. horses. Horses have the right of way on hiking trails. If you come across a rider, get off the path. Be sure to give the horse plenty of space and avoid sudden movements that might startle the horse.

 Don’t scream or yell. Screaming and Shouting means there is an emergency on the path. While it’s great to use your “outside voice” to alert you to animals that are nearby, don’t scream unless it’s really an emergency.

 Don’t play music. Hikers venture into nature and escape technology and everyday life instead of listening to your music. Leave the speakers behind, embrace the outdoors, and be with your fellow hikers

 When you are stopped, allow other hikers to pass. Whether you are catching your breath, taking a water break, or stopping to take pictures, allow other hikers to pass. Go to the side of the trail without squishing the vegetation.

 Leave No Trace is a very important set of principles for anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors. These principles aim to reduce human impact on the outdoors.

   Leave No Trace helps keep our public lands beautiful for future generations to explore.

   Every beginner should learn the “Leave no trace” principle. As a hiker, it is your responsibility to follow these rules and teach them to others.

   Some of these are already covered in this guide, such as respecting wildlife and planning ahead.

   Plan ahead and be prepared. Learn about the area and the regulations before you hike. Follow the park rules. Avoid hiking in inclement weather where search and rescue may be required. Visit in small groups and avoid hiking in large crowds. The easiest way to follow this principle is to research your hike ahead of time and start hiking in the morning.

 Travel and camp on durable surfaces. Always stay on course. Don’t go hiking just to get a cool photo or take in the scenery. If you’re camping, find an area where people have camped before.

 Dispose of waste properly. Get everything you put in there. Take away all garbage, including food waste, such as orange peels and orange seeds. The food is not local and can harm animals. When you’re about to go, bury all the poop in a small 6-8 inch hole (not for urinating). It’s also important to pack all toilet paper and feminine hygiene products.

 Leave what you found. Don’t bring anything home. This includes sea glass, rocks and wildflowers. Let nature stay in nature.

 Reduce the impact of bonfires. If the recent wildfires have taught us anything, it’s that fires can start quickly and cause massive damage. Avoid lighting fires during the dry season, and if you do, do so only in an established fire pit or fire ring. A safer alternative is to use propane-based stoves. Buy firewood locally to avoid introducing pests and diseases into the environment.

 Respect wildlife. Keep your distance from animals while hiking. Store food properly, especially in areas where bears are present, to keep animals out. On trails with active wildlife, it’s also important to keep your pets under control and on a leash.

 Be considerate of other visitors. Hiking should be a relaxing hobby. Observe travel etiquette and be kind to other hikers. Don’t play music and keep your dog away from other people (unless they ask to play!). .

 Hiking is one of the best ways to experience the outdoors and can be very therapeutic and rewarding. With a little practice and following these tips, you can conquer the most challenging trails!