How to Start Hiking
How do you start hiking? For those of us who’ve been lucky enough to spend much of their life in the outdoors, the answer seems fairly obvious: you just go. But for many urbanites and city-dwellers or , the opportunity or access has never been available. So how do you get started hiking if you’ve never been before?
- Find a hiking buddy
It can be intimidating to setout into the mountains, desert, or even local nature reserve alone. Recruit a friend for both moral support and company to share the views with. Just having someone to talk to can make a new experience less intimidating.
- Wear comfortable shoes
No one said you have to get decked out in the latest and greatest outdoor gear for your first hike. The most important thing is to have fun and not be uncomfortable or in pain. Poorly-fitted boots or shoes can cause blisters and other injuries... you could also slip on wet surfaces if your shoes don’t have a good tread. Sneakers or running shoes can be great for most day-hikes if you don’t want to go out and buy a new pair of hiking boots. Don’t forget to carry some eNZees to prevent any blisters that may occur.
- Take PLENTY of water
Dehydration is sure-fire way to ruin a good hike. And it’s so easy to prevent! Most health experts say you should drink roughly 2-litres of water per day under normal circumstances... imagine how much you’ll need when you’re burning calories and sweating on a long day-hike! I usually carry a 2-litre Camelbak in my backpack to ensure I drink enough water throughout my hike.
- Buy a map & compass ... and learn how to use them!
I always carry a map and compass (or use a GPS on my phone) on even the most “simple” day-hikes. You’d be surprised how many people get lost every summer near our hometown in Durango. There are numerous guides online to help you learn how to read a map, or you can check with your local gear store. They may have someone who can show you the basics or even offer an evening orienteering class.
- Pick an easy trail
It’s your first hike, not an Everest expedition. Pick an easy, short trail to get accustomed to the experience. You might find walking on uneven, rocky surfaces challenging. Most hiking websites and trail databases offer an elevation profile to illustrate how much you’ll be hiking uphill. Don’t be afraid to start small ... and then work your way up to hiking your first 14er!
The most important thing is to have fun! Send us a picture from your first hike – we’d love to see where you’ve been.