No matter what type of trip that you are taking, either a day hike, overnight hike or even a multi-day backpacking trip, there are still the very first principles that can apply into either of the types.
However, this piece of writing will discuss more on the aspects of hiking. And below are seven philosophies that whether or not you are a hiker wannabe, newbie or pro, you still have to know.
1. Keep weight in mind
Even though you are advised to go as lightweight as possible, there is a certain degree of flexibility in there. Go lightweight but don’t go without the essentials that you need.
If you are going to go out for a very long hike, you probably want to do it comfortably; you don’t want to weight down to 60 pounds of stuff that you are not going to use.
Otherwise, you may not make it to the destination or wherever you head at, you may make it and may be so miserable and sore. Be weight conscious.
2. Choose a backpack fits your backpack
This tip goes along the same line as being comfortable and lightweight, but this is the focus of the backpack and more specifically, the fit of the backpack.
You don’t want to go out with a backpack that doesn’t fit you correctly. If it’s not comfortable, later down on the road, a couple of miles out of your trail when you are carrying a bunch of gear, you’re going to feel it, and it will ruin your trip. So when you go to the store, you try to pack on.
Get someone helps you if you need help and make sure that it fits you properly, which means the harness is good; the waist strap fits you right that it rests correctly at the right spot.
3. Leave your valuable items at home
Diamond rings, precious stone, etc., anything that is valuable, anything that means something to you, leave it at the house.
You are going to be focusing on doing other things that are typically rough such as running and climbing. For anything that lost, there is a good possibility that it will not be found again.
4. Nothing more important than shoes and boots
Nothing will make your trip as enjoyable as a good pair of shoes that are broken in, and nothing will make your trip suck as bad as a pair of boots that don’t fit right.
So if you purchase a new pair of shoes, wear them for a week before you get them out for a long distance hiking. There’s nothing worse than having blisters all over your feet especially when you are trying to go uphill.
When it comes to shoe selection, keep in mind that every pair of shoes will fit every single situation that you are going into. So, plan accordingly: wet environment – waterproof, dry climate – airy and breathable, etc.
5. Let someone know where you are going
It is one of the most obvious and commonly told point about backpacking, camping, and hiking. It goes along a line like this: Let someone know where you start at, let them know where you finish at, and let them know the route that you plan on taking.
Then once you start the trip, try to stick to that route. If there is any way that you have to detour, let someone know. That’s especially important when you are out by yourself.
6. Know what you have
Before you head out on your trip, and you are packing your gear, make a checklist of everything you are taking and everything that you need. Even the experienced hiker can leave the house, you know, leaving something important behind.
There is nothing worse than being far from home, being out on your trail for miles only to discover that you left the essential pieces of gear at the house.
Maybe it’s your tent stakes, maybe it’s your first-aid kit, maybe it’s an item inside your first-aid kit, maybe it’s the method of purifying and filtering the water, whatever it maybe when you have a long trip, it’s going to be rough.
Always make a checklist, follow it, make sure you detail your gear, so you don’t leave anything behind.
7. Know your endurance level
If you are not used to putting a lot of miles behind you, you may not want to go for a 20-mile day hike. Still, take the elevation gain in the question.
If you go downhill, you have to go back up. In other words, it comes to fitness. If you plan to take on a hundred-mile hike spending a couple of days, actually it’s something that you may want to train for.
If you want to day hike, start small. You probably don’t want to go half way and then turn back with your head down because you are not in good enough shape to complete it. Just have a realistic look at your fitness level to choose the hike experience that fits, you will have a great time.
Bonus! Plan for everything
Let’s say you are going out for a day hike, and you say you don’t need a plan. However, just because you go for a day hike doesn’t mean your hike will turn into multi-day.
There is nothing wrong with being proactive, take a little bit more time to get you through any possible situations that come up. Some basics are food, water, protection from the elements, navigation, map, fire, knife, flash light and the first-aid kit.
Even for a day hike, you have to make sure you have the essentials covered, so you can survive multiple days if accidents happen, if your path is blocked, and if you get lost.
Of course, realistically there are millions of different ideas and philosophies, tips and tricks for a successful hiking, backpacking or camping trip. It’s good that you have your ideas, and it is even better if they work for you. Strongly hope those that I shared are also those on or are going to be on your list.