Hiking is a great low-impact exercise and has numerous physical and mental benefits. “How should I start a hiking hobby” is a question that most aspiring hikers ask.
Hiking is an outdoor activity that provides benefits beyond the beautiful landscapes and pleasure. From lowering anxiety to avoiding various illnesses, hiking is a great outdoor activity that can be taken up as a hobby by enthusiasts and adventure-seekers.
Taking up hiking as a hobby is not as difficult as it may seem. You must start by choosing the right trail, and the rest comes naturally. Other important factors to consider include, gathering the necessities, wearing the right gear, and checking the forecast.
Hiking, unlike treadmill or paved route walking, has numerous, and sometimes unanticipated, factors. These variables, of course, are part of what makes it so enjoyable! So, if you’re looking for some motivational tips to take up hiking as a hobby and want to make your first hike a success, continue reading!
After speaking with various professional and experienced hikers, and of course, conducting our own research, we have put together this guide to help you understand how easy it is to get started.
How Should I Start A Hiking Hobby?
Select a trail that is appropriate for your fitness level
Choose a hike that is somewhat less than the distance you can walk on a level or paved surface. Calculate the time it will take to trek the trail by assuming a 2-mile-per-hour pace. Review the elevation gains and subtract one hour from your expected hiking time for every 1000 feet gained. After a few trips out, you'll have a fair idea of what elevation and distance variations work best for you.
Become acquainted with the trail
Most individuals don’t take up hiking as a hobby because they’re not familiar with the trails. So, before you begin, take a map and identify the trails in your area. After you've decided on a trail, look over reports and data to get acquainted. We know that it sounds like a lot of work and too much effort, but believe us when we tell you that once you get acquainted with the trail, you’ll have no problem navigating your way.
Determine whether the trail is a loop or if you'll need to return and look for another way in your car. Make a mental note of any connecting trails so that you avoid making mistakes. Most hikers enjoy looking for a nice lunch site, such as a lake or a vantage point.
Check the forecast
Check the weather a few hours before you go on your hiking excursion. This will provide you with helpful advice on how to dress and what to bring. If bad weather is expected, you'll have the chance to alter your plans rather than being caught off guard on the route. Some beginner hikers abandon the hiking activity altogether after having one bad experience due to the weather conditions. Perhaps that is exactly why it is advised to always have backup gear while hiking (especially if you’re going someplace far and remote).
Let someone know where you'll be
It's critical that someone who isn't on the hike be aware of the schedule and knows when to be concerned and ask for assistance. It is important to let someone know where you are in case of an unpredictable emergency, especially if you’re a beginner.
Gather the ten necessities
The ten necessities have evolved from a list of goods to a list of systems over time. These are the essentials you should have with you if you plan on spending the night in the woods. Expand or decrease each system based on the length and remoteness of your hike. Here are the ten most important items every hiker must have:
- Compass and map
- UVA/UVB protection
- Additional clothes
- First-aid kit with a flashlight
- Candles, lighters, and m
- Repair kit and tools
- Extra food
- Plenty of water
- Emergency shelter
This list may appear intimidating at first, but if you customize it for your hike, it won't be so awful. People even use most of the items on the list for a casual family picnic.
Put on the proper footwear and socks
A hike might be ruined by painful feet, which is why most people abandon it after the first few tries. But did you ever realize that you might have painful feet because you’re wearing the wrong shoes? Purchase good hiking shoes and socks to avoid aches and injuries. This doesn't have to mean hefty leather boots; there are plenty of "light hikers" on the market that feel lighter on the feet and are easier to carry. Also, don't scrimp on socks, and avoid cotton at all costs! Socks made of wool or synthetic materials are recommended. Blister dressings should also be included.
Wear the right clothes
After you've taken care of your feet, it's time to get dressed for your hike. Anything made of cotton should be avoided since it gets damp and stays damp, making you feel clammy and causing chafing. Rather, opt for synthetics. Wear layers that you may add or remove as needed to simply adjust for your temperature and the weather. Finally, bring an extra-warm garment, preferably one that blocks wind, in addition to what you believe you'll need.
Take it slowly
When you initially get on the route, you could feel like a hero charging forward. If you don't pace yourself, you'll be zero by the end of the day. Instead, choose a tempo that you can maintain throughout the day. It may feel strange at first, but after a few kilometers, particularly uphill, you'll be happy that you conserve your energy.
Don't leave any traces
Our favorite paths will only remain beautiful if we take care of them. Take the time to read and observe the Leave No Trace Seven Principles. It is the responsibility of every outdoor enthusiast to protect our natural areas.
How to Begin Hiking
• Hiking as a hobby might be overwhelming for beginners due to the abundance of information available about the different routes nearby. Many government parks provide hiking tours solely for hiking.
• Select the appropriate map for the hike you intend to undertake. Read everything you need to know about the trails and decide which path you want to take.
• Double-check that you have all of the necessary hiking gear. Take frequent pauses and stay hydrated while walking.
• Dry off your hiking gear and be careful not to let moisture ruin it.
Hiking can take the form of a backpacking trip through the mountains, a stroll through a park, or a solo walk. Discover the wonderful beauty of nature, interact with people directly, and spend some time alone, free of distractions or life difficulties.
Additional Tips On Taking Up Hiking As a Hobby
Gather the necessary information
As previously stated, hiking requires meticulous strategy and planning prior to undertaking. Hiking necessitates walking on one's feet, which can occasionally be perilous. If, for example, a person lacks prior information and assistance from professionals and experienced people who understand how this activity may be really enjoyable if done properly.
Invest in extra supplies
A backpack will be the greatest thing to bring along for the trekking explorer. Sunscreen, a first-aid kit, water, food, and a trail map are all important to have. Hikers who bring their phones or even a camera to take pictures should keep them charged. A portable battery charger is a smart choice in that circumstance.
Understand the risks
Though it is rare for hikers to have to return home due to health difficulties on the trails, you should only begin hiking if you are in good health. Since many hiking sites are in rural areas, make sure you have a first-aid kit with you, or don't continue if you become ill.
Pick your trail carefully
A 5-mile stroll on flat ground versus severe inclines is a safe round trip route for beginners, but the two sensations are vastly different. Hiking route distances, difficulty levels, and terrain types are all detailed on various websites. They're also great for planning your hike and making sure you don't pick a track that's too difficult for you.
Put on your best hiking gear
There's good news and bad news when it comes to acceptable hiking clothing. The good news is that hiking doesn't necessitate a "special" wardrobe—in fact, you probably already have everything you need in your closet. The bad news is that jeans are not included (unless you don't mind chafing). Instead, choose loose, lightweight long tights and long-sleeve shirts that will shield your body from the elements while also preventing scratching from broken twigs.
Be environmentally conscious
The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace layout how we might be excellent environmental stewards. We encourage all outdoor enthusiasts to read and live them to ensure that we are all working together to conserve our natural environments' natural beauty, fresh air, and tranquility.
Hiking is about endurance, not speed, and there is no magic number of miles required to be a successful hiker, so discover your stride and choose a pace that you can comfortably maintain for the duration of your journey.
Hiking Route Selection Advice
It's a great idea to keep a couple of important tips in mind before taking up hiking as a hobby:
How much time you have
Do you have an entire day or just a few hours? Where you go depends on how much time you have. Remember to account for the time it takes to get to and from the trailhead.
Your level of fitness
Assess your current physical condition. You'd rather have a good time out there than struggle through a long, tough hike for which you are unprepared. Don't worry if you're not in the best shape of your life: there are hikes for everyone.
Look out for comfort
Consider how many kilometers and hours of hiking you're comfortable with. The average walking speed is roughly 3 mph, but your starting pace may be slower, although it depends on how much weight you carry on your back, the elevation gain, and the terrain.
One of the most crucial elements of hiking is elevation increase which prevents many individuals from even fathom hiking regularly as a hobby. With practice, you'll learn how much elevation rise you can manage comfortably and how much is too much. For comparison, a trail that adds 1,000 feet in one mile is considered fairly steep. A common rule of thumb is to add one hour to your journey for every 1,000 feet of elevation rise.
Season and weather
Some paths will be closed in early spring due to snow. If it's autumn and the sun sets early, make sure you prepare ahead so you're not caught off guard after dark. Before going out, always check the weather forecast so you can dress and pack appropriately.
Certain hikes necessitate a little more forethought. For example, if you decide to go on a trek that starts and ends at different locations, you'll need to shuttle cars between them.
About THE AUTHOR
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.Read More About Peter Brooks