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Prepare for a Hiking Trip

Hiking trips are a fun way to stay in shape while spending time in the great outdoors. Preparing for a hiking trip depends on where you’re going, how long you’re going for and the style of your trip. Some hikers are all about prolonged journeys into the rugged wilderness with minimal supplies while others prefer walking from town to town and staying in nice cabins. Here’s an easy guide on how to prepare for your hiking trip.

1. Determine Your Style and Destination

First, you need to determine if you’re going to be camping or paying for nightly lodgings. If you’re camping, you need to bring a tent and sleeping bag. You also need to choose your destination before you pack because different climates require different gear. Once you have a firm hiking trip planned, you’ll be able to know what kind of clothing and supplies to bring and how long you’ll need them to last.

2. Start Training 

If you’re not already in hiking shape and used to carrying a lot of weight for long distances, it’s necessary to go through some endurance training before you leave. Some good ways to train your body are to use the treadmill, stair master, and stationary bike. Weight training, long walks and jogging on dirt trails are also good ways to train.

You’ll need to get used to carrying your pack, so take it with you on long walks over the weekend. Pack it with all the things you’ll be taking with you, so you know exactly what to expect as far as weight goes.

If you’re going on an extra rugged and difficult hike such as Mt. Everest, you’ll need to start your training several months before your trip. Companies that facilitate this kind of hike will have good information on how to train for something that’s extremely physically demanding.

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3. Buy Good Boots

One of the most important pieces of gear for your hike is your boots. Make sure they fit well, have proper ankle support and are broken in enough to avoid blisters and sores. A pair of good boots makes all the difference on a long hiking trip. It’s also important to bring several pairs of hiking socks made from synthetic materials that wick moisture away from your feet.

4. Pack Your Clothing

Basic clothing items that are handy for hiking trips include waterproof pants and jacket, pants with zipping off bottoms and some sun protection such as a hat or visor. If you’re going somewhere cold, make sure you bring plenty of layers. Wool is one of the best materials for cold climate camping.

5. Get the Right Pack

You want to make sure that your pack fits all of your gear comfortably. Risking a busted zipper while on the trail is simply not worth cramming your stuff into a smaller, less expensive pack. Try some different models on and see what fits you best. Most companies make packs specifically for women with support straps that are situated for a women’s smaller stature.

6. Plan Your Meals

Planning your meals largely depends on whether you’re hiking through villages or just through the wilderness. If you’re hiking through the wilderness, you need to make sure that you have enough food to last for the duration of your trip. It’s best to bring nutrient rich, high-calorie food items that won’t perish quickly such as protein bars or trail mix. If your trip is going to take you through little towns, packing a lot of food isn’t as important, but you’ll want to make sure you have snacks for the in-between trails.

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7. Put Together an Emergency Bag

Every hiker needs to have an emergency kit. This kit typically includes vital first aid items, sunscreen, fire starting supplies, a compass and a knife. Other good things to keep in your emergency kit include insect repellent, a flashlight with extra batteries, a whistle and an extra supply of any prescribed medications that you need.

The best way to make sure you are fully prepared for your hiking trip is to turn this guide into a personal checklist. If you’re going with a group of people, get together and discuss who will be responsible for bringing group specific items. Lastly, don’t forget to bring your camera to document all the wonderful experiences you will have!

(Image Credit: Bigstock)

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