The hardest part about being a beginner hiker is taking in and synthesizing all the information you need. Trail hiking and camping along trails is one of those things that requires some know-how and thought before actually embarking on a journey. In order to make it easy for you, we've compiled a list of the most important tips beginners should know about trail hiking and camping.
Going hiking on a trail is not something you do out of the blue or on a whim unless you are a truly rugged outdoorsman with intimate knowledge of hiking and the trails you're going on. For everyone else, you should always plan ahead and know some basics about the area. It's a great idea to get a map and study the routes beforehand, so you know how far the trails are and know where you want to take a break or set up camp. Planning a route will prevent you from getting lost or not calculating distances correctly.
Don't overwork yourself
If you've already gone hiking and camping, you presumably know your physical limitations. It's fine to push yourself a little bit, but don't overdo it, especially in areas that are remote or you're unfamiliar with. If you push yourself too hard, fatigue will make you more susceptible to injury and potentially unable to hike out of an area. Whenever you're walking, you should try to take a break every hour to rest and drink water. Making regular stops and walking at the right pace will prevent you from becoming overworked.
Wear the right clothes
Nothing will make your hike more difficult than wearing the wrong clothing. When you plan ahead, make sure you get the weather conditions so you know what camping clothes are the most appropriate. For example, if it's going to be cold, you should bring a coat, thermals and multiple layers. In order to avoid getting bug bites or being infected with poison ivy, always wear long sleeve shirts and pants, even during the summer.
Bring the right materials
When you're on the trail or camping for the night, you need to bring the right materials. Here is a checklist you should follow if you're going camping while on a trail. If you're just going hiking, some of the essentials you need are great hiking shoes that won't hurt your feet, plenty of water and some snacks to keep you energized. Also, remember to take along a first aid kit, cellphone and compass in case you get lost from the trail.
Be smart and don't go crazy
As previously written, you should never overwork yourself or act like an experienced hiker when you're first starting out. For example, beginners should never veer off marked trails. Trails are there to guide hikers around areas, so leaving one could result in getting lost. Just remember to use caution and be smart about everything you do on the trail.
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