If you’re planning to go on a hike, it’s natural to wonder, “What should I do the night before a hike?"
Do you feel overwhelmed at the thought of hiking? Are you unsure of where to start or what to bring? Do you feel clueless and unaware about what to do a night before hiking? You are not alone! Most people feel this way before their first hike.
The key solution is to get proper rest, pack the essentials, eat a healthy protein and high-carb diet, and drink plenty of water. Also, do not forget to clip your nails and get some sleep so you do not feel fatigued.
The battles are not won just on the day; it's the preparation that matters the most. Similarly, hiking is a hectic task but preparing for the hike is important too. Imagine going out there in the wild and realizing you forgot water at home or forgot to wear the perfect shoes.
As professional hikers, we faced the same dilemma when we were new to hiking. However, after years of experience, we’ve finally learned the key to the game and are here to guide you so you don't fear going on a hike.
Things to Do the Night before a Hike
Get a Good Night's Sleep
It would be best to be well-rested before embarking on a hike, so make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before. This will help you feel refreshed and energetic for the day ahead. Get into a comfortable position and allow your body to relax. Clear your mind, let go of the distractions and drift off to sleep.
Pack Only What is Essential
Don't try to pack too much stuff, as it will only weigh you down and make your hike more difficult. Just bring the essentials, such as water, food, a map, and a first-aid kit. Also, carry sunscreen to protect you from the scorching sun and a fun pair of sunglasses.
Some people recommend carrying an insect repellent spray or lotion, too; it can help you stay protected from unwanted mosquitoes.
Eat a Healthy Meal
It's important to eat a nutritious meal before going on a hike, as you'll need the energy to get through the day. Include complex carbohydrates in your dinner to provide a feeling of satiety, and keep you full for a longer duration. These can also provide you with the energy you need in intervals. The food you eat the night before the hike matters a lot. It needs to be soft and palatable so you can digest it easily overnight.
Clip Your Nails
This may seem like an odd tip, but it's very important. Long nails can snag on clothing or become uncomfortable when hiking for long periods. So make sure to clip them short the night before.
Take some time to plan your hike the night before so you know where you're going and what you need to bring. You will feel confident on the day of the hike. Prepare a to-do list, and check it before leaving. Do proper research on the track and the challenge you can face on the way up.
It's imperative to dress in layers to regulate your body temperature as the day progresses. Wear comfortable, breathable clothing that won't chafe or restrict your movement. Layering is the key; if you have a friend who has tracked the same route, do not forget to ask him about the temperature.
Stretch Your Muscles
When it comes to hiking, it's important to be as prepared as possible for any potential injuries. One way to help reduce your risk of injury is to stretch and do some light workouts the day before your hike. A little stretching will loosen up your muscles and prepare your body for the activity.
This is crucial if you want to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Additionally, stretching can help improve your flexibility, which can come in handy when navigating tricky terrain. So if you're looking to hit the trails this weekend, make sure to take some time to stretch properly beforehand.
Drink Water - Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water the night before your hike is a vital step in preparing for your adventure. This will help ensure that you're hydrated and ready to go when you hit the trails. This way, you can prevent dehydration, which can be dangerous if left untreated. Just drink plenty of fluids the night before your hike, and you'll be good to go!
Inform Your Friends and family
Inform your close relative and friends about what trails you plan on hiking. This will help them keep track of you and know where to start looking if they can't reach you. Letting others know your planned route can help prevent them from worrying if they don't hear from you right away.
So before you head out, make sure to let someone know where you're going and when they can expect to hear from you.
Research the Weather
When researching the weather before your hike, it's essential to consider a variety of factors. You'll want to check the forecast for the day of your hike and the days leading up to it. You will be prepared for what to expect in temperature and precipitation.
Research the elevation of the hike you're taking. Beforehand you should know that temperature may change as you ascend or descend.
Be aware of potential hazards on the trail you're planning to hike. This includes things like steep drop-offs, loose rocks, and flash flooding. You can better prepare yourself and your gear for the hike ahead by knowing what to expect.
Shower with an Unscented Shampoo
Showering before a hike is important to stay clean and fresh, but it's important to avoid using scented products. Scented shampoos, body washes, and soaps can irritate your skin and make you more susceptible to getting sick. Stick to unscented products when showering before your hike for the best results. Moreover, scented products will attract unwanted flies, which you do not want.
Check Your Footwear
Footwear is the key to perfect hiking gear, and it's important to make sure they're in good condition before hitting the trails. Make sure to check your shoes or boots for any signs of wear and tear. If they require repair, fix them up before you go. Wearing old, worn-out sneakers on a hike can be dangerous, so make sure your footwear is in good condition before starting.
Make sure your shoes or boots are broken in before heading out on a long hike. Wearing new shoes on a hike can lead to blisters and other foot problems. Please ensure that footwear is ready for the journey to stay comfortable.
Pack Some Snacks
When packing your snacks for your hike, avoid anything that can attract flies. Things like bananas, grapes, and other fruit can attract flies and create a mess. Instead, pack snacks that are easy to store and won't spoil quickly. This will help keep your snack situation under control while hiking.
The Morning of the Hike
On the morning of your hike, make sure to eat a nutritious breakfast. This will help give you the energy you need for the journey ahead. Try to avoid eating anything high in sugar, as this can lead to an energy crash later on in the hike. Instead, pack some healthy snacks like trail mix or nuts to munch on throughout the day.
Avoid Salty and Fried food as this will make you thirsty. Rely on fresh juices and protein breakfast.
Dehydration can be a serious issue during a hike, so it's important to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids in the morning before your hike, and bring along a water bottle or hydration pack to keep you hydrated throughout the day.
If you're hiking with a group, make sure everyone knows the plan for the day. This includes the planned route, rest stops, and turnaround time. By having a plan in place, everyone will know what to expect and can better prepare themselves for the hike ahead.
Tips to Hike the Right Way
When hiking, it is important to be aware of the terrain and weather conditions to stay safe. In addition, some basic tips can help make your hike more enjoyable.
To begin, always make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks and a map of the area. Always stay together and keep track of each other when hiking in groups. It is also important to dress appropriately for the weather and wear sturdy shoes.
It is important to know your limitations and to hike within your abilities in terms of navigating the terrain. If you come across a difficult section, take your time and find a safe way to cross. When possible, stick to established trails and avoid shortcuts.
Be sure to pay attention to your surroundings and be prepared for anything. If you see a wild animal or bad weather, retreat to safety. You can help ensure a safe and enjoyable hike by following these tips.
Things to Do After Completing the Hike
Once you're done hiking, take a few minutes to rest and hydrate. Drink plenty of water and eat some snacks to replenish your energy. If you're feeling tired, take a nap or relax in the sun. Once you're rested and recharged, you can head back out on the trail.
Do not forget to make some memories and capture the lively moments you can always share with your friends and family over social media. This can inspire them to experience this amazing hike too.
You can help ensure a safe and enjoyable hike by following these tips.
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