We’ve gathered some of the best hiking tips from our own experiences, as well as from experts in the field. From planning before you head out to what gear to take with you and what to pack for your snacks, this list will have you fully prepared for a day or an overnight hike. We want to help you make it home safely, so we’ve also included things like how to avoid blisters and how much water, backpackers grand canyon and food you should bring.
1. Be Prepared before you head out
Before you step foot in the starting gate, check the forecast and make sure you have enough layers of clothing, your water bottle and a day’s worth of energy. Have a good breakfast and lunch before you leave so that you will have something to bring with you when it gets warm.
2. Plan your route
Terrain, how many breaks and how much time it will take all play a huge part in how long your hike will last and how much money you will spend on post-hike food on top of the entrance fee. Do your research online to find out which trails are the most popular or least busy.
3. Bring a first aid kit
A small, light first aid kit is something that you should pack on every hike. It shouldn’t weigh more than 4-5 lbs and should have bandages, disinfectant, tape and painkillers. A lot of the time these items can be purchased at any drug store or general store while hiking in the backcountry. Take along a couple of Band-aids to help with blisters and some anti-itch cream so that you don’t get bitten by bugs or people who are allergic to poison oak
4. Pack for the weather
You’re going to want a lot of layers for your trip so that you don’t get too hot during the day or too cold at night. Make sure to pack a jacket that is light and compressible for when it gets hot and a heavier jacket for the cooler temperatures. You should also have a hat with you for the heat or a rain poncho for when it’s raining.
5. Packing your bag
As we said, make sure to pack your bag out of the way so that if you do get lost hiking, you will be able to find your way back out. We recommend only bringing your camp stove and cooking items (like utensils) with you as well as all of your hiking gear and electronic devices like phones and cameras on hikes that are less than 2 days in length.
6. Take a first aid course
This is something that can really help you in an emergency situation while you are hiking. Most of the time, these courses will last anywhere from 1-3 hours and will be able to help you get through most everyday problems that hikers might face.
7. Never hike alone
There are a few things that could go wrong on a hike, like your gear might break or you may find yourself lost in the wilderness. Hiking with only one person means that you now have twice as much weight to carry as before, and if they get hurt, then it’s up to you to get them back down the trail.
8. Be prepared for the weather
Weather can be unpredictable and if you don’t know what to expect, then you might end up having a lot of issues while on your hike. Bring an extra layer or two just in case the weather changes while you are out. Also, bundle up when it gets cold and bring a flashlight when it starts to rain.
9. Be prepared for different scenarios – what to do if your gear breaks
Sometimes all of your gear could break at once which can be difficult to deal with. The best thing to do is not panic and just keep moving forward.
10. Are you sure-footed?
If you are going on a long hike, make sure that your feet are conditioned enough to handle it. You should be able to walk a fair distance and still have enough energy to go back up at the end of the day. Make sure that you have recently purchased good hiking boots and that they fit properly!
11. Find out if dogs are allowed
While this doesn’t apply to everyone, it’s something that people new to hiking sometimes forget about. Not all trails welcome dogs (especially not on certain parts of the trail), so make sure you ask before taking your four-legged friend with you!
Never hike alone. Have a first aid kit with you at all times. Pack your bag out of the way and put it away for easy access if you get lost. Be sure-footed and carry a flashlight when it starts to rain or darken. If you’re hiking for more than two days, make sure you have enough food and water to last that long if the trail doesn’t have any food or water stops along the way. When planning your trip, find out what weather conditions are usually encountered on the trail and plan accordingly.