The benefits of hiking?
Some people may enjoy certain aspects of hiking that others hate, and some people may not receive any benefits at all while others just can’t decide. So I still hear the question, what are the benefits? Well, I could go through a list with you, stating them as; socialising, exercising, an experience of the outdoors, satisfaction , bird watching, nature watching, community, sense of achievement or whatever, but that is boring and impersonal, and unlikely to get you motivated for taking up hiking.
I am passionate about hiking, and I want you to get into it too. Do you like chatting with your best mate, love it when your child is in a deep sleep after a good day out on the beach? Like watching the sunset, or enjoy a nod or a quick chat with a stranger? Like to challenge yourself to heights you’ve not experienced before? Like animals, watching squirrels prepare for winter scurrying around for nuts, or new born lambs? Do you want a new hobby, want something you count down the days in the office for?
If you answer yes to any one of those questions, then hiking is most certainly for you. There are many many benefits to taking up hiking, many of them will be personal to you alone. I love hiking the most when I’m with a group of like-minded friends having fun, joking, challenging ourselves physically and mentally.
I enjoy it when I get slightly lost, it thankfully doesn’t happen often, but if you’re hiking with a reliable group and let people know your doing it, you will be safe, and anyway, with a map and compass and the ability to use them, you will hopefully avoid getting lost at all or have the skills to recover. I will discuss the map and compass later within this series, for now, I will stay on track to try and convince you to start.
If you’re worried about family commitments or dogs, or children, take them with you. The dog will love the day out in mud or streams embarrassing you as your favourite pet runs up and down the hill, you are struggling to climb four times more than you. Your child, even if you have to carry him, or her will enjoy the day out also, of course, you will have to decrease the difficulty of the walk and have more concern, but it is possible. Hiking can be a great family day out; it can also be a great friendship day out.
What if you want to start but can’t convince anyone else to join you? No worries, while I highly recommend finding a buddy to encourage you, a topic I’ll touch in the next article, there are plenty of hikers who enjoy the solitude and the peace of mind, the chance to think.
There are also always plenty of groups to join. There really is no obstacle to hiking in regards to the above thoughts.
What about costs? Well, this is perhaps one of the biggest boundaries to you and hiking, I will cover in a future article of this series how to keep costs down, so stick and around and pick up my tips.
Ok convinced? I hope so, I would love it if I can convince more people to take up hiking, it is truly a wonderful day out. Ok so your convinced hiking is great and wonderful , you like the idea,you want to take it up, but naturally you are anxious, you are nervous about starting, unsure where to begin?
There is no shame in that, everyone has these thoughts and feelings with something in their life, in fact, I am currently going through it now, with joining rugby.
Want to know how to overcome these thoughts and feelings? Keep following my blog and very soon the overcoming obstacles article will be ready and waiting to help you, help yourself.
5 ways to ‘Break through mental barrier.’
1. Buddy up!!
Ask a friend! Anything that you are nervous about suddenly becomes a whole lot easier when with a person you trust and enjoy spending your time with. There is also the benefit that you will have someone ringing you up to encourage you to the day; it is a lot easier to wake up and say no to a walk to yourself, than to saying it to someone else. Everyone wants to avoid the guilt of letting someone else down and you will take that first big step into hiking.
What if you are struggling to convince any of your friends to become budding hikers? No worries there are other options.
2. Join a group.
This is how I got into hiking and is one of the best ways as you’ll learn the correct techniques from people who know them, you will be a lot safer and your progression will be quicker, in theory. Not forgetting all the new friends you’ll make, this is a really great option. To find groups I advise simply looking at google, there will be plenty of options, and don’t forget to consider groups which don’t just focus on hiking; there will be more chance of finding a group but also, more options to broaden your horizons and change your life.
Happy with the first 2 suggestions? Worried about finance?
3. Keep costs down.
Hiking doesn’t have to be expensive, the beauty of hiking is its simplicity, and simplicity is not expensive. Of course, you get many hikers that spend a fortune on equipment and enjoy doing that; that’s fine if you have the money. What if you are like me on a restricted income? Then it is still possible. Over the coming weeks I will be writing equipment articles so keep tuned, however, quick hints, for now, expensive doesn’t always mean better, see my article on choosing hiking boots, shop around, use the internet carefully and you will find bargains, and perhaps most importantly, don’t go crazy on spending.
Slowly invest, start with essentials, boots, map and compass and waterproofs perhaps. This leads to my next point.
4. Take it easy.
Pretty simple really, slow down, take it easy, relax and build up. If you go with all guns blazing and try and climb a mountain on the back of no previous experience, you will likely fail and never go again. Be realistic, set an aim you can achieve and slowly improve.
Perhaps the most important point coming up;
Have the right mental attitude, be optimistic, slow down, enjoy the experience, share it with friends or enjoy it alone, do whatever you like, at the pace you like. It is all about you if you enjoy pushing yourself physically, then great, but if you prefer to examine the wildlife and bask in the sun, then do that.
There you go, that is it for now, hope it has provided more of a practical approach to starting hiking and breaking through that mental barrier.
Basic Hiking Supplies
One of the biggest mistakes that many new hikers make is hiking unprepared. Too many new hikers will check the weather report, throw on some boots with a backpack full of water and hit the trail. While it may be the easiest and quickest way to hit the trail, you want to make sure that you are prepared for the direst situations, even on the shortest of hikes. There are a few things that every hiker should carry with them; a trustworthy pair of hiking boots (and maybe even some extra footwear), a backpack, a season-appropriate coat, sleeping bags, some form of shelter and a cooking device.
Hiking boots are a very critical item to hikers of all experience and skill levels. You want to ensure that you find a boot that will be appropriate for the trails you plan on hiking. The harder the sole of the boot is, the more suitable the boot is for walking in mud, dirt and grassy conditions. A softer sole would indicate that the boot is more ideal for climbing rocks and other hard hiking surfaces. Ensure that you find a pair of boots that is not only appropriate for the trails you will be hiking but is comfortable. Try them on, and walk around in them thoroughly before making your purchase. Try to notice if any areas of the boot rub on your foot and could potentially cause a blister during your hike. Find a boot that fits as comfortably as you possibly can, but is still able to meet all of your basic needs.
First, decide what you would like in your backpack. Would you like a hydration system equipped a backpack that will allow you to drink water throughout your hike? How much will you be bringing with you? If you plan on hiking overnight, you will need to find a backpack that can easily and comfortably carry your tent. How many extra supplies do you plan on taking with you? It may be a good idea to gather up all of your usual hiking accessories to get a good idea of how large of a backpack you will need.
Coats are another vital piece of your hiking collection. You want to make sure that the coat that you take with you is season and forecast appropriate. If your local weatherman is calling for rain, you should bring a coat that will not leave you soaked by the end of your hike. It may be a good idea to purchase a versatile hiking coat that can shed layers as needed to ensure that you always have some sort of protection against the elements.
Sleeping bags ensure that you are able to receive a good nights sleep, and feel your best for the hike in the morning. Find a sleeping bag that is long enough to cover your entire body if need be. Most hiking bags are mummy-style, and will allow you to crawl completely inside of them if you need to. Look for a sleeping bag that is comfortable and will easily fit inside of your backpack, or, at least, connect to the outside of your bag.
How to take care of feet while hiking
Wear boots that fit, stop the blisters occurring from one of the most common causes, ill fitting boots. I have been the victim of ill fitting boots before, severely, too horrific to show on the blog, treat your feet with respect and get them a nice pair of boots.
See my post on ‘How to pick the right hiking boots for you!!’
An influential factor on if your feet survive a hike or not. Give them the attention they are due, make sure they do not rub, or suffocate your legs too much. Can you fit your feet in your boots with the socks you wear? Everyone has a personal preference of socks, thick, thin, double layered, two pairs, but can you fit in the boots with them on?
If they get wet, change them, leave your feet wet for too long, and nasty stuff starts happening.
3. Prep them before your walk.
Not so much needed in shorter hikes, with well fitting boots, but if long distance walking of up to 25 miles a day, your feet need a helping hand. Treat your feet properly and minimize or even avoid damage, neglect them and suffer almost debilitating agony. Using micropore tape is effective, but my personal favourite is zinc oxide tape, which should prevent a lot of pain providing it is tight to your skins, and not rubbing.
Train your legs! My feet have a hard skin, they do not blister easily, while not as strong as they once were, they are still resistant a year or two after their peak.
Wear in your boots on light walks nothing more than 5 miles, see how your feet react. If they are hot in parts, and sore, you have hot spots, these can develop into blisters if not acted upon.Stop your walk, evaluate what is wrong, and act. Socks wet? change them. Feet rubbing? add more socks, tighten your boots or abort the walk.
Slowly improve the resistance of your feet with increasingly tough hikes.
At the end of the walking day, you git to rest those wonderful feet. Take your boots off, ahhh lovely, take your socks off, even better, take your tape off, WOW, an experience not to be underestimated.It gets better, for the best feeling, immediately rub cream such as E45 cream into your legs, massage it in for maximum bliss. Of course, reapply after cleaning.
Follow these steps, and you should have no problems with your feet on hikes.
Why Should You Carry A Satellite Phone Or A GPS
We all know the phrase, which warns us with the words – “if the worst thing that can happen does happen. In continuing the idea of these words, I would say that the best of all that can man do, would be to prepare for the worst that can happen and to be calm and happy to experience the most unbelievable moments in your trip. The modern, technological world offers good options for doing it. In this article, you will find the best technologies for finding coordinates and their characteristics.
Let’s Meet The Most Practical Solutions
In each one trip, you must have one of these helpers: the classics, a map and a compass, and GPS with maps of the area or a basic satellite phone. For more distant and less familiar areas, you need to insure yourself with better safety precautions. Your experience should not make you feel safe without taking these items with you because everything is possible and you don’t know what situations, you will have to encounter. A GPS or a satellite phone can save your life into the wilderness if you are lost or need help. We will try to help you with some instructions, information and advice. Let’s start!
It is always safe to go hiking with some company. Though hiking is a very safe thing to do. Hikers do get into trouble sometimes, like getting lost or even forgetting ways. Having a GPS or a satellite phone can help you get back on track. Carrying a map with you on every trek is a must on hiking vacations.
Why could this be your best safety precaution on a hiking vacation and how you can use it in the wild? What are the ways to get this thing? And is it necessary to buy it? A rational decision for your hiking safety would be exactly the satellite phone. The satellite phone provides an easy way to communicate from each position and place on which a man might be situated. It can play a significant role in a number of dangerous situations and helps you finding a way to get you out of them. You can find a wide variety of models, prices and ways to have this phone. The prices are varied depending on the models and the quality. If the prices are too high for you, it is possible to find one comfortable and very affordable way to get this “lifesaver” GPS through renting. Apart from helping you find your way back when you are lost a GPS system or a satellite phone also help you get the shortest route possible to your destination, help read weather conditions and find specific spots and guide you exactly from point A to point B. Therefore to avoid trouble and enjoy a hiking vacation in a more organized fashion instead of running around after you have reached half way it is always advised to carry a GPS or a satellite phone according to your preference.
The man has been using navigation since he first stepped on earth. From using the North Star to using the compass to find ways we have come a long way and improved immensely with technology. Finding your way is as simple as it could get, while on hiking vacations, with friends or alone it is always better to carry a satellite phone or a GPS as it helps you stay on track and also works a safety measure. Not always does one get into trouble but on trips like these, it is always better to be prepared for the worst. A GPS or a satellite phone should be the first thing on your hiking vacation checklist and to go into your backpack. It will not only keep you safe but also help people back home breathe a sigh of relief.
What are the options features and abilities of a GPS and for what it can be used? The standard GPS for your personal navigation could save you from getting lost while enjoying the beautiful landscapes or in some other situation that you do not pay attention to some of the details from the route while on a hiking vacation. For the biggest hikers fans, hand held GPS and a GPS beacon is the best decision for hikers who are taking overnight or longer trips into the wonderful nature. There are functions include customizable “dashboards” for the majority of used applications, paperless geocaching and the capability to load a wide range of Garmin map sets via convenient Micro SD Card.
With these widgets, you can safely and securely make your best hiking and create the great, unforgettable memories and a lot of fun cases. So, take your hiking backpacks, a solar charger, GPS and some other needful things and literally go take a hike wonderfully!
Make The Most Out Of Your Hiking Trips
Hiking trips can be a wonderful experience for new hikers and seasoned veterans alike. However, the biggest mistake that is commonly made by hikers of all experience levels is under prepared. Preparation is key to having the best experience that you can while hiking. Hiking is very enjoyable for individuals all over the world, but can quickly turn from an enriching experience into a terrible one if you are not properly prepared. Instead of choosing a trail and taking off for the day or weekend, there are a few things that you need to ask yourself and plan before heading out on your hiking trip.
Figure Out Where You’re Going, and Plan Your Route
It is never a good idea to just randomly wander on any hiking trail. This will increase the probability that you will wander off the trail and become lost. You should have a good idea of where you would like to go, and how you would like to get there before you even begin packing your hiking backpack. Most popular hiking trails will have information about the routes and trails online, and you should utilize these resources before heading out on your trip. Ensure that you have a backup plan. Learn what trails are commonly closed during the different seasons, and prepare for any detours that you might encounter. You should always know exactly what you are going to be doing if you run into a situation that forces you to change your plans.
Pack Everything You Might Need
It is never a fun experience to dig through your backpack only to realize that you did not bring the item that you are looking for. If there is even a slight chance that you will find use for an item, and you are not having any weight issues with your pack, you should bring the item. This ensures that you are completely prepared. Even day hikes require that you have a map, compass, water, food, and other essential hiking necessities. Prepare not only for the weather that you see as you leave your house but for the weather that you could possibly run into during your trip. If you are wearing apparel for warm weather hiking, and a storm system makes its way into the area you will wish that you had brought a coat and other supplies to deal with the weather change.
Community Involvement Helps
Being in tune with the hiking community will help you to find trails and destinations that you normally would not be able to find on your own. This can make for many rewarding experiences. Get to know fellow hikers and ask them what their favorite hikes are. Try to pair with hikers that are around your experience level, and can offer you advise on locations and general hiking information if you require it.
The most crucial piece of the hiking experience is planning. Planning is key to a successful hiking trip, and can completely change how you view your experience. Before any hiking trip, you should always make a checklist of the items that you will require.