Hiking Tips for more enjoyable experience

Hiking Tips for more enjoyable experience

I have gathered a few Hiking Tips along the trail and thought I would summarise them here as a quick reference. These are some of the most important hiking tips and hints I can offer to help you better enjoy your hiking experience.

Hiking Tips

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Tidy yourself up

Minimize your weight before starting a multi-day hike, lose a few kilo’s, get a haircut (short hair is much easier
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Keep dry

Water is critical for staying alive, but it is also deadly when mixed with cold on the trail. Keep yourself
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swolen-hands

Swollen hands

If your hands swell while hiking, raise them. Hold onto your pack shoulder strap for awhile and see how that
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baby-steps

Baby steps

Tread carefully, take Baby Steps. Long strides are fine on flat terrain, but when going up or down, shorten your
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Leaving the trail – Leave a sign

Leaving the trail to look at something or for a toilet stop? Leaving the trail - Leave a sign. Leave a
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Carry identification

Carry Identification always. Take a photo ID, insurance card, and credit card on the trail. Before a long hike, taking digital
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Use-hiking-poles

Use hiking poles

Use hiking poles, even on shorter hikes. None of the most experienced and hard-core hikers and backpackers I know ever
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cotton-kills

Cotton kills

Clothing keeps you warm by trapping warm air near your skin. That's how cotton kills. When cotton gets wet, it
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Hike in a group

Hike in a group where possible. It is a good idea to always have at least one other person with
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Hike-at-a-safe-pace

Hike at a Safe Pace

Hike at a safe pace - especially uphill - where you’re not pushing your heart or respiratory rates into the red zone, and take
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Make-an-early-start

Make an early start

Make an early start. Hike as much as possible of each day’s distance in the cool hours of morning (or evening),
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Plan your hike for the slowest person

Plan your hike for the slowest person. One that is suitable for everyone in your party and let the slower person
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Spurs and gullies

If you are confused about distinguishing spurs and gullies have a look at where the creeks run, these are the
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Following a Bearing

The easiest way to ensure you are following a bearing is to pick an easily identifiable object, such as a
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Navigation tips

Following are a few navigation tips to help you return safely. Trust your compass, especially at night. Hiking at night is
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map

Leave a map

As part of your hike planning you will have prepared a trail map, details of your group and emergency contacts.
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Handy Hints

  • Always carry the Ten Essentials on every hike
  • Carry enough water for the hike. Carry at least one litre with you and consume 250ml every 30 to 45 minutes. Keep the water flowing into your body even if you don’t feel thirsty. Do you realize that by the time you actually feel thirsty you are already dehydrated? If you are hiking, you are losing moisture and you need to replace it. Drink often to stay hydrated using electrolytes on longer hikes. When you drink, don’t sip the water as this does not aide hydration. Drink a minimum of 200ml each time.
  • Small snacks often will keep your energy level up rather than waiting for a big lunch meal after you’ve emptied your body’s reserves.
  • Keep a small amount of surplus food ready, just in case of an emergency or unexpected overnight stay.
  • Leave No Trace – I am constantly amazed at the rubbish people leave on the trail. Everything from food containers to toilet paper. What you pack in you need to pack out.
  • Let someone know before you go. Leave your hike plan someone you trust indication the trail head, intended direction of travel, planned exit points and expected time of return. Register your intentions at Trip Intentions.
  • Bring and use sunscreen and a hat to prevent sunburn, even on cloudy or cold days.
  • Plan a hike that is suitable for everyone in your party and let the slower person set the pace.
  • Keep your pack organised and put items back where you expect to find them.
  • Repackage to reduce weight. Pour liquids into smaller containers. Don’t bring the whole plastic-wrapped box of 12 energy bars when you’ll only eat 2 and need one more just in case.
  • Leave all your cotton clothes at home. Cotton is not a good wicking fabric and will make you cold when wet.
  • Keep a bandanna tied to your pack strap for a quick wipe of your forehead as needed. Bandanna’s are also great for minimising the loss of body heat as well as for keeping you cool.
  • Inspect your survival and first aid kits before each hike. Replace consumed items.
  • Minimize your weight before starting a multi-day hike, lose a few kilo’s, get a haircut (short hair is much easier to manage in the wild and it is less inviting for bugs and critters looking for a place to live.), cut your finger nails, and go to the bathroom before every hike.
  • Water is critical for staying alive, but it is also deadly when mixed with cold on the trail. Keep yourself and your gear dry. Put items in zip-loc bags, sleeping bag in heavy-duty plastic garbage bag, clothes in waterproof bags. Carry and use rain-gear.
  • If your hands swell while hiking, raise them. Hold onto your pack shoulder strap for awhile and see how that helps. Use trek poles to keep your hands elevated a bit and keep the muscles active.
  • Take a photo ID, insurance card, and credit card on the trail. Before a long trek, taking digital photos of your documentation and emailing it to yourself can be helpful if they are lost or stolen. Easy access to a copy of the document may aid in getting replacements faster.
  • You may see rock cairns, piles of rocks, along the trail. Don’t destroy them, but don’t add to them either. Don’t create cairns, tree blazes, or any other sign to mark the trail – people should be able to navigate their own route and scarring the landscape doesn’t help anyone. The agency with responsibility for managing the land will determine which markings are appropriate.
  • Leaving the trail to look at something or for a toilet stop? Leave your pack behind so that others know where you left the trail. It’s a lot easier to find you if people know where to start looking.
  • Leave a copy of a map detailing your route, information about your group and emergency contacts.
  • Put a few water purification tablets in your medical kit. These can be bought cheaply from most chemists and take up little room.
  • Take with you either some baby wipes or a small bottle of hand sanatizer to clean your hands before lunch.
  • In your first aid kit add some paracetamol
  • Develop the skills you will need to be a better hiker
  • Plan your hike, always
  • Read my Hiking Guides (eBooks)
  • Find out more about Trail Hiking Australia

If you enjoyed reading this article don’t forget to check out the benefits of hiking, learn how to get fit for hiking and sharpen up on your hiking skills.

Download Your Hiking Guide

 

6 thoughts on “Hiking Tips

  1. These are all very good tips and advice, however, one thing and one thing only will gain you experience, and that’s getting out bush, what works for one may not work for you. Always be open to trying new things and different ways. Pic is my solo high camp, 2120 meters on Little Twynam in Kosciuszko national park last winter.

  2. After writing the Take A Walk bushwalking guidebooks for 20 years we are often asked, …what boots should I buy. The answer must be, whatever suits your feet. For many years we used solid (read heavy) Italian leather boots and they were very good quality but they did need to be broken in causing a few blisters along the way. We now use soft leather / synthetic boots that you can put on for the first time and walk 20km without a hot spot! There are many good brands on the market ranging from around $100 to $300+. Just pick what suits your feet. We also lead guided international hiking trips and we often need to order a pair of boots a few weeks before starting a trip so you need to feel comfortable with the size and style. Three is no one boot that will suit every persons feet.

  3. Boots boots and boots.
    So important.
    After losing a couple of toenails on a 3 day hike I decided my old hiking boots needed an upgrade.
    One thing I found was there is a lot of difference between brands in how they fit individual feet.

    Would highly recommend trying a variety of brands to see which one fits best.

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