Essential things you need to know about hiking

senior couple hiking

If you are planning to go hiking, then you want to enjoy all the benefits associated with hiking and make it a memorable experience. However, if this is your first time, hiking can be a bit intimidating. But not to worry, when you have the right information, you will enjoy your hiking trip just like a legend. The beauty of hiking is the fact that you don’t necessarily need to have special hiking skills. Some few tips can go a long way. You just need to know to be physically fit and be ready to carry a load on your back. You also need to know where you are going, the longer it will take and what to carry. If you want your hiking experience to turn out the way you had imagined, read on and learn all the essential things you need to know about hiking.

Essentials to pack for hiking

Before you set the dates for hiking, ensure you have the following items whether you are going for hours, days or months. They have proved to be vital during a hiking trip.

Quality backpack

A comfortable and successful hiking trip begins with a good backpack. Choose the lightweight one but make sure it has all the necessary features such as comfortable padded straps, a water-resistant exterior, a padded back panel and a hip belt possible to stash away. Make sure it’s big enough to hold all the essential items. However, if it’s too large, it may tempt you to over pack. So, a reasonable size will serve the purpose.

Water bottle

A water bottle is a must when going on a hiking trip. Otherwise, it can get quite tough if you end up being dehydrated out there. A good plan should be accounting for half a litre of water per hour in moderate temperatures. Since water can greatly increase your load weight, it’s recommended you get a good water purifier which can remove chemicals, parasites and bacteria from any water source you get along the journey. Learn how to use it and its effectiveness in advance. The purifier can be of great help because you will not need to carry a ton of water on a long hiking trip.


You need to pack enough food when going on a hiking trip. Also, remember so pack extra just in case you stay out longer than you had planned. It happens even to the experts. Calorie-dense foods are very helpful because they will fuel your body with the much-needed energy your body requires during a hike.

Portable battery

No one wants to deal with a dead phone in the middle of some bushes away from home. While it can be scary, it can even be devastating in case of an emergency. A charged cell phone is crucial in case you get lost. Be smart and pack a portable battery. It will take insignificant space in your backpack and you won’t need to carry extra cables.

Safety items

Relax, you are not going for war and most hiking destinations are well-protected. But emergencies do happen, right? You need to have ways and means to signal for help or even start an emergency fire. Besides, in case you are forced to hike in the dark, you will need light to read your map and see the trail. You also need a first aid kit. It can help you in case of an injury or an illness. Hence, you need to be knowledgeable about how to use the kit. Skills on how to administer first aid and CPR can be lifesaving.

How to dress for hiking

Now that your backpack is ready with all the necessary items. Its time you know how to dress. Just the same way you dress for office, dinner, party, sports or other activities, the same way you need to dress for hiking.

Appropriate footwear

Hiking shoes are crucial. Happy feet means happy hiking. When shopping for hiking shoes, prioritize on support, protection and traction. If you are going for shorter day hikes, hiking shoes will be perfect but if it’s a longer tougher hike, it’s recommended you get yourself some good-quality boots. The beauty about hiking boots is that they are designed to offer more ankle support which you badly need when carrying a heavier pack. They also protect your feet from water, scrapes and bites.

Please do not forget to get yourself good socks to go with the shoes. Hiking socks will keep your feet dry, provide cushioning and prevent blisters. In cold temperature, they will keep your feet warm. They are indeed a must-have.


A lot of people make the mistake of wearing jeans when going for a hike. Such kind of outfit can tend to be very uncomfortable especially for long hiking trips. If you want to have a great experience, begin by getting yourself some fitting trekking tights. They are designed for hiking. Meaning, they are tough enough to protect your skin from scratches on the trail and they have plenty of pockets to help you keep your essentials within reach. If you are trekking on a hot day, hiking shorts may prove to be more comfortable than the tights. They are well ventilated to keep you cool.

However hot the day may look like, it’s very important to pack a jacket. You never know what will transpire a few hours later. Weather changes too quickly and you need to be well-prepared. If a heavy jacket seems bulky, at least bring along a lightweight one. It’s better than none.

Another important piece of clothing you shouldn’t forget is the hiking shirt. Since you will be carrying your backpack most of the time, you should get a t-shirt instead of a tank top. A t-shirt can go a long way in preventing your skin from irritation caused by the backpack straps. Last but not least, you also need to have hiking underwear to protect your delicate organs. You need to go back home in one piece. In that regard, get yourself some nice underwear which is odour-resistant and moisture-wicking.

The bottom line

The secret to a memorable hiking trip is to have all the essential items with you and dress appropriately. You need to be comfortable throughout your trekking tour. Also, remember to carry safety items and learn how they are used. Your safety during a trekking trip is paramount. If you are a beginner, avoid a longer tougher hiking trip. It will not only discourage you, but it can also take a toll on you. Shorter day trips can assist you to get started.
Related post: Why you should use Alpaca gear for your next hiking trip

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