Hiking can be a wonderful way to spend a day (or a few) out in nature with some good friends or family. The best way to ensure that your time is as good as possible is to plan ahead. This will mean knowing where you are going, how long you are going for and having all the supplies necessary for your journey.
Knowing ahead of time where you will be hiking can make all the difference in how your trip goes. You should plan out your hike and contact the local park ranger to find out what supplies are necessary for the trip, You can also purchase books or find information online regarding your route and what you will encounter along the way. Depending on how long you will be hiking for, you can locate hotels close to your route (if you don’t want to camp). If you will be traveling for more than 5 days, you may want to locate a post office about half way and ship some of your supplies ahead of time. That will lighten your load and give you something to look forward to (a special treat after a long hard hike).
Having the right supplies with you can make or break your trip. First and foremost, no matter how light you are looking to travel, you must have a first aid kit on you. There are thousands of unexpected injuries that can occur during a hiking trip, a first aid kit will help you be prepared for many of them. Also, if you take any medications, make sure you keep those with you as well. You should also carry plenty of water with you, call ahead to find out if water sources are available throughout the trail as this can significantly increase or decrease what you carry with you. Food is another staple and can be purchase in freeze dried varieties at sporting stores or you can bring canned goods with you which also travel well. Keep snacks with you as well to keep you energized and your blood sugar level during the trip. Trail mix and nuts are great ways to do this. Other supplies you will want to carry are a knife or Leatherman multi-tool, a sleeping bad, compass and a pot (don’t forget the utensils).
Hiking can be very strenuous and exhausting. Exercising for a few weeks before your trip can get you into the shape necessary to conquer 6-8 hours of hiking a day. By having everything planned ahead of time, you will have a great time!