Going on a hike can be the perfect way to focus and destress, but only if you properly prepare yourself! Unlike walking for fitness, hiking requires some planning, so here is a guide to getting ready for each hike.
Cody’s Guide to Hiking Happiness:
What to wear:
- Clothes: There is no such thing as “perfect” hiking attire. Use your judgement and personal preference, however, there are a few things to keep in mind, such as the weather and your specific route. Layering comfortable clothes, wearing a hat, and bringing a waterproof coat is strongly advised for every hike. Even if it is a sweltering day, long pants will help you avoid poison ivy/nettles/ticks/other scary nature things.
- Shoes: Hiking boots are optional, you can definitely just wear sneakers. The main footwear concern when it comes to hiking is making sure whatever footwear you choose has enough traction that you are not going to be slipping on the mud/rocks/logs/rope bridge/volcano lip.
What to pack:
- Sunscreen: You are going to be out in the elements for a few hours, so avoid getting fried.
- Bug spray: I don’t think this suggestion needs any extra justification.
- Cell phone: And not just any cell phone, a fully charged cell phone. Not so you can chat for the duration of your hike, but as a matter of safety. There’s nothing worse than getting stranded with a dying cell phone.
- First-aid kit: A basic, mini, first-aid kit for whatever bumps and scrapes you may encounter on your outdoor adventure.
- Food(!!!) and water: Possibly the best part about hiking as a form of exercise- you get to eat while doing it. Good snacks include fruit, nuts, jerky, and (of course) trail mix.
Where to go:
- Mother Nature: A great resource for anyone looking to find hiking trails in their area is Alltrails.com. Just type in your zip code, and find a trail that suits your fitness level.
- Urban Jungle: If you live in the city and don’t have access to any trails, you can still hike! Just plan out a route through your city that includes hills, parks, waterfronts, and the like. Ta-da! Now you can go on a city hike.
- I don’t mean to freak you out, but hiking requires you to take a few extra steps to ensure your safety so you don’t end up in a “127 Hours” situation.
- Hiking with a buddy or group is the easiest way to stay safe.
- If you like hiking solo, make sure to always tell someone where you are going, and when to expect your return.