How Can You Learn To Enjoy Hiking? | Hikers University

You’ve just started hiking but can't experience the joy and thrill hikers rave about. What are you missing? How can you learn to enjoy hiking?

Hiking is one of the most popular and loved activities around the world. However, the amount of physical exertion and stamina it requires can make some people think it's not for them. They might think that since they don't have a history of being physically active, they can't be hikers. However, some preparation and the right attitude can help anyone become a hiker who's exploring trails, having adventures, and making memories.

To enjoy hiking and reap all the benefits, you need to take care of a few basics that will help make your hiking experience enjoyable. Start by setting realistic and achievable goals for yourself, gearing up properly, carrying the right snacks, and keeping a healthy mind-body connection!

In this post, I will cover some tips and tricks on how you can learn to enjoy hiking. These tips are all you need to get started. To immerse yourself in the beautiful hiking experience, you need to have the right equipment, choose the appropriate difficulty level, have the right attitude, and, of course, the right snacks.

I have prepared this article combining extensive research, years of experience, and a passion for hiking! After reading this post, you will fall in love with hiking just like I did!

Table of contents


Learn to Enjoy Hiking: Essential Tips and Tricks for Hikers

If you are looking for a low-impact workout and excellent for your body and mind, hiking is just what you need. There is ample research that shows the vast number of mental and physical benefits of hiking. This outdoor activity allows you to have an adventurous, enjoyable, and refreshing workout, reducing your stress and anxiety to preventing several diseases.

Use these tips to make your next hike more fun, even if it means pushing yourself! With the right guidance and a positive mindset, you can have an enjoyable hiking experience.

#1 Choose Your Difficulty Level

Hiking is an activity that can accommodate everyone from all walks of life. It is a go-to activity for people across an age spectrum with different levels of physical fitness. To fall in love with hiking, you must choose the difficulty level you can easily accommodate.

It is good to be ambitious, and one will feel a definite sense of accomplishment after completing a challenging hike. It is also possible that you would enjoy hiking less. You have to be more engaged in pushing yourself to the limit to achieve the goal of completion. On the other hand, if you find a hike too easy, you might get bored.

I recommend maintaining a balanced attitude where you make your hike part-challenging and part-doable, i.e., something within your comfort zone. This way, a hike would be exciting and pleasant.

It would be best to research the hiking trail before embarking on it. Get advice from an experienced hiker who has explored the trail; get their input regarding its difficulty level vis-à-vis the proficiency level that the hiker possesses. Remember, you can only enjoy it if it is the right mix of easy and difficult. If the trail is too easy or too difficult for you, you will be bored or drained.

A beginner can also refer to hiking trail guides online or in bookstores. These hiking guides come with an illustrated map, usually where all the possible routes, their gradients, difficulty levels, and common challenges along the way, such as river crossings, animal hazards, etc., are mentioned.

These hiking guides are a goldmine of knowledge and information that can assist a hiker plan their trek according to the route they plan on taking. It can help them plan supplies and equipment in a better befitting manner.

#2 Connect Mind With Body

Most people consider hiking to be a therapeutic experience. Partially due to this reason, it is one of the most loved activities globally, with a near-universal appeal that transcends nationalities and borders.

There is something magical about hiking as it fulfills the soul's need for exploring new, uncharted territories and adventure. Hiking is also an excellent way to connect with your inner self as it connects one to their natural surroundings.

Hiking is a proven activity that decreases and, in most cases, eliminates mental stress in a person. When you hike, you leave the mundane routine of day-to-day life and focus on the scenic beauty and splendor around them.

Suppose one happens to be hiking across historically significant routes or is hiking to some archeological site. In that case, it is natural to put yourself in the shoes of those who walked the same path before them and think about how life has changed. Thoughts like these help people be grateful for advancements in society and the modern things we take for granted.

Hiking is also an excellent way for someone to learn more about themselves and human nature. As hiking can be a physically draining activity, it forces people to push themselves. In this way, it helps them understand their strengths and weaknesses and get perspective by observing the behaviors of people around them. Hiking is the purest form of travel, according to some. For this exact reason, it is a must-learn activity for those among us who are more attracted to the metaphysical and spiritual benefits of traveling.

#3 Get the Right Equipment

You can't love hiking if the whole hiking trip is not comfortable. Hiking is a physically strenuous activity, and it will not always be a bed of roses. However, it should not be so hard that it becomes more stressful than enjoyable. Having the best possible equipment in the correct quantity ensures your hike remains comfortable.

Having the right equipment in the correct quantity will mitigate the risks of discomfort faced by the hiker while on the trail and will prevent many problems even before they get a chance to occur.

1. Shoes

Perhaps, the most important piece of equipment that a hiker can have is the right pair of shoes. Shoes are like a wheel for a hiker. If the pair he has is not comfortable, his journey will become unbearable. Hikes can become dangerous, causing pain and injury. If the shoes are comfortable, they will support you across the hiking trail. Besides comfort level, durability is one of the most important things.

Having a shoe breaking while in the middle of the trek or hike is one of the most annoyingly dangerous scenarios for a hiker. Therefore, an ideal shoe will need to be robust and durable while supporting the hiker's needs. In addition to these, being a lightweight shoe is an essential plus as it means that a hiker can put in more miles before tiring out.

2. Clothing

Clothing comes as a close second to shoes as the essentially required equipment for the hiker. You won't be comfortable on a hike if you don't wear clothes according to the weather and requirements of the hike. Wear clothes in light colors that are breathable, so you get the ventilation needed during hot weather.

You should wear layers of clothing that ensure insulation to prevent heat loss in the body while hiking in colder regions. Besides the temperature level, the clothes worn shouldn't be a tight fit as they can cause discomfort due to restricting blood circulation in the body.

3. Backpack

Having the right backpack, especially during hikes that exceed a day, is one of the most important things. Backpacks come in varying shapes and sizes, starting from 30 liters capacity and going all the way to 120 liters capacity. Finding the right size is the first step depending on the duration you need to spend outside.

You will be cramped for shape if the backpack capacity is too small, and it will become more of a hassle to handle if it is too large. A 60-liter backpack is usually considered the best of both worlds in this scenario. After finding the right size, finding a backpack that provides ideal support is a prime requirement. A supportive backpack will prevent shoulder and neck pain and even prevent injury. Therefore, it is a good investment.

 4. Hiking Poles

Hiking poles are an optional tool that some hikers find very useful on their treks. Hikers use support poles to gain stability and balance while on the trail. These poles are also helpful for hikers to go further as they lessen the energy expenditure during the journey.

I recommend using hiking poles, but you can still enjoy and fall in love with the activity of hiking if you don't use them. I should also mention that hiking poles come in different build materials and shapes for various surfaces. If you are thinking of buying one, I suggest getting some guidance from an experienced hiker or even an online source.

5. Auxiliary Equipment items

Besides the articles mentioned above, it will always be wise to invest in specific equipment that may not appear to be flashy but is also essential. A small list of those articles is as follows:-


Socks are one of the most important things one can possess on a trail. Ensure that socks are of a comfortable fit if you want to prevent callouses. Also, having moisture-wicking socks will be a good investment as they will prevent the growth of fungi in the foot and the associated problems of footrot and blisters.


Keep a pair of sunglasses with you on the trail. They help prevent discomfort to the eyes caused by direct sunlight and snow blindness in regions where there is extensive snow. Make sure the sunglasses are sturdy and can withstand prolonged exposure to the elements.


Don’t forget to put on sunscreen before going hiking. Long hours of direct sun exposure can damage your skin and may also cause rashes. Go for mineral-based sunscreen that protects you against UVA and UVB rays. Carry it along and reapply it every two hours during the hike.

Purification Straw

A life straw or purification straw is also an essential item to carry while hiking as it works to remove the smallest of micro-plastics found in the environment while reducing turbidity giving you safe drinking water for the hike.

Water Canteen

It is essential to stay hydrating during a hike which is why I would suggest you to carry a water canteen that is designed specifically for hikers and campers. It usually comes with a cup that makes it easier to drink water during the hike.


It would be best to have a hat with you to protect your skin during hot days. Keep a cap comforter to battle the cold if you're hiking during winter. Headgear has high utility during hikes and is considered time-tested gear by hikers.

#4 Prepare and Plan Well in Time

Falling in love with hiking is not possible if the hiking trip becomes more of a hassle than fun. Planning your trip in advance is one of the ways you can ensure it will be enjoyable. It would be best if you planned because, on a hike, a person is usually at a remote location surrounded by nature and away from day-to-day services that can assist in the time of need.

Planning a hike is not just an activity where you can list down all the worst-case scenarios and start preparing for them. It is also how you visualize yourself on a particular trail in a particular environment feeling calm and relaxed. With preparation, a person feels the mental benefits of the hike even before the activity starts.

Planning ensures that your hike will go smoothly. Hiking is a test of not only physical endurance but also mental fortitude.

You will feel much calmer if you know that you have a backup power bank that you can go to as a reserve if your mobile phone battery drains. You will also feel more relaxed if you know there is a first aid box to cater to any emergency that may arise while you are enjoying a trek with your friends in the middle of the mountains. Taking these seemingly small preparations will go a long way in attaining peace of mind and developing your organizational and planning skills.

Planning is not limited to contingencies and their responses. While planning, you create an itinerary and check for all essentials, including food, shelter, and gear. You also take emergency equipment like emergency lights, a first aid box, a pocket knife, etc.

#5 Food to Carry for Your Hike

Enjoy your hike by having healthy, delicious snacks that give you the energy you require!

Food is essential for your hike, especially if you plan on having a long one. Suppose you are planning a short hike that's about an hour long. You will still need to carry sufficient water to stay hydrated and perhaps a few snack items to give you an instant boost of energy. You'll especially need the snacks when you feel low on energy during the hike, which is quite common for beginners.

Here are a few healthy snacks you can carry on your hike to make your experience enjoyable! You will need items that you can carry easily and not create a mess! Fortunately for you, there are several healthy snack options that you can choose from that are nutrition-rich and low on calories, making them the perfect choice for hikers!

1. Trail Mix

As the name suggests, trail mix is just what you need on a hiking trail. This nutritious and fiber-rich snack is crunchy and delicious and lightweight, and easy to eat while hiking. It provides ample energy and protein to give you a refreshing energy boost on your hike.

When purchasing trial mix from a grocery store, go for the ones with unsweetened dry fruits and different nuts and seeds. Avoid getting packs that contain candies, chocolate, or sugared fruits. Be sure to check the ingredients and nutritional labels for any allergy warnings.

The best part about trail mix is you can make it yourself easily. You can make trail mix by mixing nuts, dried fruits, granola, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, banana chips, peanuts, dried apricots, almonds, raisins, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, and dried cherries. Have fun creating a unique mix of all your favorite ingredients.

Trail mix is one of my top picks for a hike because I love the taste, and it gives me the energy I need to finish my hikes!

2. Granola Bars or Protein Bars

Granola bars or protein bars are excellent for hiking as they contain the highest protein content. Whenever I go hiking, I pack a few bars with me to ensure I can get an instant boost of energy on the trail. These are two of the most convenient and lightweight snacks you can carry.

However, know that several additives are present in certain granola and protein bars. These bars are known to help gain weight. The last thing you would want is to regain the calories you burn on your hike by having a high-calorie energy bar. Check the nutritional labels and go for healthier options with nutrition-rich ingredients like dried fruits, nuts, chia seeds, etc.

3. Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas are an excellent snack for hikes. Not only is it super lightweight, but also high in fiber and fiber. This healthy and portable snack is one of my top favorites during a hike. You can either make them at home or purchase them for your nearby store.

People have different aims and goals during a hike. Some people do it to stay fit and healthy; others do it for weight loss or to connect with nature. Chickpeas are great for people looking to lose weight.

4. Dark Chocolate

It is perfectly normal to have cravings during a hike. What if I tell you there is a way to fulfill these cravings without consuming too many calories? Dark chocolate is what you need! Go for bars that have a higher cocoa content. Remember that one ounce of dark chocolate has around 170 calories.

5. Olives

Olives make for a great hiking snack. I suggest you buy a jar of your favorite olives, drain the liquid, and pack them in a container you can easily carry in your backpack. Ensure that the container is lightweight, reusable, and watertight. Olives are rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants, which will be good for your body during this demanding time.

Hiking is an activity that naturally attracts us towards itself. One of man's instincts is wanting to roam freely on the earth, explore its beauty, and enjoy nature's serene and pristine environment. However, as it is a physically demanding task, some initially do not like it.

6. Apple and Avocado Sandwiches

Apple and avocado sandwiches make for a great healthy hiking snack and are also really easy to prepare. All you have to do is take some whole-wheat bread and add some apple and avocado slides to make the perfect sandwich.

You can use low-fat mayonnaise and a dash of cinnamon for flavor. You can also replace cinnamon with salt and pepper for flavor. Adding a low-fat cheese slice to this sandwich can take it to the next level.

Apples are rich in fiber and antioxidants whereas avocados are rich in these heart-healthy fats. These sandwiches are great for getting a boost of energy on a long hike.

To change your attitude, you need to take baby steps. Hiking is a well-liked activity that people enjoy since it allows them to connect with nature, clear their mind, and get the movement their body craves. We hope this comprehensive guide helps you learn to enjoy hiking. Happy trails!



Peter Brooks

Peter Brooks

I’m a hiker, backpacker, and general outdoor enthusiast. I started hiking out of college while working for the National Forest Service, and have been hiking ever since. I’ve been solo hiking and leading hiking groups for two decades and have completed hundreds of small hikes and some majorones such as the Appalachian Train and the Pacific Crest Trail, and hiked on four continents. I’d love to share some of my insight with you.

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