Whether you are doing it alone, with your friends, are a beginner or an experienced hiker, it is vitally important to be prepared for your hike. Planning a hiking trip is not as simple as it sounds. Even if you are only going on a day hike, there are quite a few factors to plan and consider, especially when we think about personal safety.
Here are our tips for how to plan your hiking trip accordingly:
Initial Planning for your Hiking Vacation and Tour
Before you even hit the trail, it’s important that you have your initial plan and itinerary in place.
Plan your route
Do a little research and find the route that you want to take. Choosing your route will depend on several factors.
- Location – The first thing you need to decide is where you want to hike, do you want to travel far away or just try the courses that are near you.
- Duration – Are you going on a day trip, an overnight hike or do you plant to spend several days there?
- Difficulty – Choosing a trail will depend on how hard you want your trail to be.
Passes and Permits
Once you have chosen your trail, you have to know which passes and permits you will need to secure to hike there.
Passes and permits limit the number of people that are allowed to hike on a trail at any given time to ensure that the environment does not suffer from overuse, and that you can still enjoy the serenity of hike without large crowds.
Create Your Trip Plan
Your trip plan will be your detailed itinerary for the hike. A proper trip plan usually includes the number and names of the hikers, how many phones you are bringing, where you will park, where your start point is, where you will stay and what time you plan to come back.
A plan should be as detailed as possible with a few contingency plans in place in case of emergency, bad weather situations or other unforeseen problems.
It is also a good idea to give a copy to the park ranger and a family member before you go. If anything changes on your plan, make sure to notify everyone who has a copy. It will be their job to sound the alarm if you do not return on time or if you find yourself in an emergency situation.
What Items to Bring on Your Hiking Vacation
When packing for a hike, remember that all of the items that you have packed will be in your backpack at all times.
Everything will be carried, so the best way to go about with this is to go as light as you can without skipping any of the important items.
Avoid wearing cotton clothes when hiking as these are weak insulators especially when wet. The key to proper clothing is layers. Try to layer your clothing so you can just peel off clothes when you feel too hot while making sure you won’t feel too cold and these layers can be added back on for warmth later.
Here are some different types of marino wool or thermal polyester clothing that you can consider bringing:
Choosing the Right Shoes for Your Hiking Vacation
When it comes to choosing your hiking boots there are several factors to consider. Look for quality hiking boots that are:
- Waterproof – to keep your feet dry
- Supportive – to keep your ankles from twisting
- Have good tread – for stability on uneven ground
- Breathable – to avoid overheating and sweat
- The correct fit – to avoid lost toe nails and painful blisters
Pro tip: Be sure to wear in your new hiking boots before your first big hike to ensure maximum comfort.
Your pack will be your best friend for the whole trip. Everything that you need will be housed in your bag. For hiking, style is less important than comfort, choose the bag that does not give you any discomfort while wearing it. Also, select the size that is right for the duration and difficulty of your hike and is durable enough to take scratches from overhanging tree branches, dirt and being thrown on the ground at the end of a long day.
The season when you’ll be hiking is a great factor in choosing your tent. 4-season tents are also a good idea, so it can adapt to the weather and the climate where you’re in and handle any unexpected rain or snow storms.
A good night’s sleep, even if you are in the wilderness, is important if you don’t want to feel tired and miserable the following day.
Investing in a good sleeping bag that can guarantee comfort and protection is not something you will regret. Settling for the cheapest one on the other hand..
First Aid Kit
There are ready made first-aid kits that you can buy in your local outdoor supplies store that are ready made for hiking. These are already equipped with the common essentials that will be useful for emergencies. If you want to construct your own kit, you need to make sure you look for a detailed list of what is needed so you’ll cover everything.
Here are some other essential things that you can bring on your hiking trip:
- Firestarter or matches
- Swiss knife or multi-use knife
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Extra batteries
- Sunblock or sunglasses
- Rain gear or rain poncho
What Food to Bring
Of course, we can’t survive without food. But unlike on other vacations, when you are going on a hiking trip, you can’t bring too much food as it will make your bag heavy.
Water is undeniably the most important thing you need to bring when hiking. As they say, you can survive for a few days without food, but you can’t without water.
As a rule of thumb, when hiking, you should drink a liter of water throughout the day, and bring another 1 liter in your pack. If all else fails, you can opt to look for streams or other fresh bodies of water. You just have to remember that not all clear water is safe to drink. This will be especially important depending on the country you are hiking in. Always be prepared by having a way to boil water, once it boils, it is safer to drink than straight out of the ground. Water purifying tablets can be packed for emergencies to carry you through until a better water source can be reached.
The formula that you have to remember when shopping for food to bring to your hiking trip is the weight to calorie ratio. You have to consider the amount of calories or energy it can give you versus its weight.
Avoid cans and other bulky packagings as these will only weigh you down. Concentrate on dehydrated beans, noodles, rice and other food that are light to bring but are loaded with calories to give you energy for your hike.
Cooking tools are as important as your food itself. One reason for this is that you won’t be bringing too much ready-to-eat food because these are commonly heavy and bulky.
Another thing is that you will need a lightweight backpacking stove, pot, pot grip, spoon for cooking and eating and a bowl to eat from
This is just a cursory look at some of the important steps in planning for a hiking trip and is intended as a guideline. Remember, when going on a trip, as exciting as it may be, place your safety and that of those traveling with you above anything else and you’ll be prepared for every outcome.