Hiking is an excellent workout that reduces anxiety in these crazy times. Hiking is an outdoor activity with many, many benefits beyond the beautiful scenery and fun.
When I began I was honestly a little nervous and overwhelmed, but I was determined to get out and try. So here are some of the tips and tricks I have learned along the way. We have the amazing Canadian Rockies so close so I gave it a try and fell in love…
How to Choose the Right Hiking Area and Trail?
As a new beginner, this was a little daunting for me but I asked the locals and the local outdoor shops for any tips and I was delighted with all the tips and tricks that I gathered.
Once you have selected your route get a map, one of my favorites for my local area in the or the All Trails App which is very helpful in giving details of your route with time, distance, elevation, and recommended sightseeing tips.
Once you have decided on the route/trail it is now time to plan. Pick the day, check the weather, and gather your friends.
Map: A topographic map should accompany you on any trip that involves anything more than a short, impossible-to-miss footpath or frequently visited nature trail.
GPS device: A GPS device allows you to accurately find your location on a digital map. Those designed specifically for outdoor travel are often built rugged and weatherproof. Another popular option is to use a smartphone with a GPS app, but consider that most phones are more fragile so you’ll likely need to protect it with a case. Whichever you choose, keep in mind that these gadgets run on batteries, so you’ll need to monitor your battery power and possibly carry extra batteries.
How Best to Hike With A Group Of Friends?
I have found so many new friends through this new passion of mine and I am enjoying every minute. Hike with friends that understand that you are new to all this and may need a little grace. In the beginning, I was pitiful and not proud to say that I threw up as the elevation got higher. Lol. Not my prettiest moment.
I have realized how calming this is for me and how it grounds me in these uncertain times. Having friends to hike with has been a blessing.
How To Check The Weather Before Hiking?
Here in the Canadian Rockies, the weather can change in one quick moment so you really do have to be prepared for all types, sun, rain, snow, wind, etc. Check the forecast for your hiking area and elevation and make sure you have everything packed in your backpack just in case.
Why You Should Tell Someone Where You Are Hiking?
I know we are all excited to set off and get going but please tell someone where you are heading. If you were to get stuck up in the mountains while you wait for help, knowing that you have told someone will give you peace of mind. Hiking solo should be avoided by all hikers, not just new ones. If it’s absolutely not going to happen stick to easier, well-marked, and well-trafficked trails.
How To Set A Realistic Trail For Your Level Of Hiking?
I always think it is better to finish something even if you thought it was a little easy so you can build up your strength and stamina. The last thing that you want to do is rush off into the mountains and have a hard time and get blisters for trying to do too much at one time. Slow and steady wins the race.
What Are The Ten Essentials For Hikers?
Pack these 10 essential items at all times:
- Navigation (maps & Compass)
- Sun Protection (sunglasses & sunscreen)
- First Aid Supplies
- Fire (waterproof matches, lighter, and candle)
- Repair Kits & tools
- Nutrition (extra food)
- Hydration (extra water)
- Insulation (extra clothing)
- Illumination (headlamp/flashlights)
- Emergency Shelter ( tent/insulation blanket/garbage bags)
How To Know Which Hiking Boots & Hiking Shoes To Buy?
Well, this was something I really spent my time researching and trying on at all different Outdoor Shops. Making sure you have a good pair of hiking boots or hiking shoes is very important. Once your feet become uncomfortable or even blistered then it is no longer fun.
Try on several makes and styles before purchasing, pay attention to how they feel and fit. Here are a few pairs that my husband and I own. I have Keen – Dry Waterproof and I love them. My husband has Oboz – dry waterproof and Scarpa – Gore-Tex which he recommends to everyone.
The secret to happy hiking is happy feet. Hiking boots can keep your feet supported and comfortable, whether you’re walking over rough rocks or gravel trails or are carrying a light pack or an expedition-weight load.
Start with These Pointers:
- What kind of shoes or boots do you need for hiking? Find out if trail running shoes, hiking shoes, day hiking boots or backpacking boots are right for your adventures.
- Features to look for: Learn about different materials, waterproofing, and more.
- How to fit hiking boots and shoes: Get the best fit (and ensure blister-free hikes) with these tips.
How To Know What Hiking Jacket To Buy?
Well, you could buy so much for so many different seasons but you have to have something that is waterproof and warm.
Choose a rain jacket and pants that are waterproof and breathable, which makes them fairly comfortable to backpack in. Remember: Keeping dry is key to avoiding hypothermia.
Also, choose a jacket that’s got pack-compatible pockets and an adjustable hood so you retain visibility as you hike. Pants with full-length side zippers can be the easiest to get on and off while leaving your boots on. Look for pants with an elastic or adjustable waist, and pockets, which are nice to have.
Tip: Even on dry days, some backpackers wear hard-shell outerwear as protection from wind and cold. And some hikers believe rainwear is the only layer that keeps mosquitoes from biting.
Choosing a rain jacket might feel overwhelming when you’re faced with tons of options in stores or online. But it’s a lot easier to find the best rain jacket for you when you know what to look for and how to narrow down your options.
When you’re buying a rain jacket, here are some factors to consider:
- Waterproof vs. water resistant: Do you want a rain jacket for occasional light rain or heavy downpours?
- What kind of rain jacket layers do you need?:Learn what 2-layer, 2.5-layer or 3-layer construction means and what one is best for you.
- Extra features: Find out about hoods, pockets or other features that would be good for your hike.
How To Choose The Best Hiking Gloves?
I am such a baby if my hands get cold, so buying a decent winter glove for me was very essential. As long as the weather stays fairly mild, you can get by with a pair of stretch three-season gloves with a smooth exterior that resists light moisture and a fleecy interior that offers a little warmth.
How To Choose The Best Hiking Socks?
This is one of my favorite topics because I have wasted so much money thinking a sock is great only to be disappointed. So therefore this part will be short and sweet because I only buy certain socks.
- Smart Wool
- Darn Tough
What’s more, this sock comes with the Darn Tough lifetime guarantee. That’s the sort of durability we can all get behind. The Ph.D. Outdoor Light features Smartwool’s patent-pending Indestructawool™ technology, which is basically the brand’s way of zoning the merino, nylon, and elastane where you need them most without introducing more seams that can chafe or feel annoying. That’s all supposed to make the Ph.D. Outdoor Light more durable.
How To Buy The Best Hiking Head Lamp?
I have used mine very little but it is in my backpack just in case I need it. I have a headlamp that comes highly recommended by fellow hikers. My husband Ian also has a flashlight as well as his headlamp.
What I do love is when I wear my headset in the dark it gives my environment a different feel. Such a joy to be in Mother Nature day or night.
….The key to finding the perfect headlamp is knowing what features are important to you. Think about the activities you plan to use your headlamp for – will you be camping on weekend trips with friends? Trail running on dark forested routes? Waking up early to catch the sunrise on skis?
Once you have a clear idea of how you’ll use your headlamp, you can think about what you need your light to do for you. Here are the main headlamp features to consider and help you make the right decision:
- Headlamp brightness: The amount of lumens you need depends on what you’re doing.
- USB or battery power: Rechargeable lights and replaceable batteries each have pros and cons.
- Battery life: How long do you need your light to last?
- Beam pattern and distance: Find out if focussed or flood light is better for you.
- Red-light mode: Super useful for a few reasons.
- Other factors to consider: Kid-friendly headlamps, lock-out mode and extra batteries. Osprey
Which Hiking Pack Pack To Buy | Buy The Best Hiking Backpack?
This is one more item that I took my time to find. I also went to Campers Village and had a fitting with one of their outdoor specialists. Ian and I bought each other a hiking pack to celebrate our new adventures. I finally decided on an Osprey day pack and Ian chose a larger hiking pack.
For any outdoor activity that involves more gear than you can carry in your pockets for one day, you need a daypack. At first glance, all daypacks may look similar, but they have lots of functional differences. To figure out which daypack is best for you, consider these four things:
- Activity: How you’ll use the daypack can determine a lot about what features you need.
- Capacity: The size pack you need also depends on how much gear you plan to carry.
- Features: Things like frame type and pack access affect how the pack works for you.
- Fit: Torso length and hip size are the most important fit factors.
Remember that men and women have very different frames and they make different backpacks for each. If possible go into the store to try on a few and find what you like before making a purchase.
How To Purchase And Know What Type Of Hiking GPS To Buy?
- Navigation: map, compass, altimeter, GPS device, personal locator beacon (PLB) or satellite.
How to Know Which Hiking Trekking Poles To Buy?
Well, this was a game-changer for hiking up and down steep elevations. I am a little nervous when getting on a path that is rocky and steep so my poles helped to stabilize my balance. Also, the snow here in the mountains, helped me to feel comfortable and balanced.
The Hiking poles that I recommend are the fit life walking trekking poles
Whether you’re planning a weekend backpacking trip or a big thru-hike, you’ll be carrying a load on your back and traveling over uneven terrain. Trekking poles help you stay stable and reduce the impacts to your ankles, hips, and knees, so you can arrive at your destination less fatigued and sore. You can also use trekking poles to pitch a shelter, in a pinch.
There are a lot of trekking poles out there – how do you decide which ones to buy? Learn about trekking pole sizes and what to look for, depending on your hiking goals.
- Find the right size: Most are adjustable, but you still need the correct length for you.
- Folding vs. telescoping: Find out how poles compact down, and the pros and cons.
- Different materials: Carbon or aluminum, plus options for the grips you hold.
How Much Food & Water Should You Pack In Your Back Pack When Hiking?
I seem to want to pack everything including the kitchen sink, but I am learning. I make homemade banana bread with lots of nuts and cranberries, energy bars, or energy balls. We also bag up nuts and fruit. We also like to pack crackers and cheese with guacamole in individual cups. Ian also likes the fruit mandarin cups. Depending on how long we are hiking a sandwich might be packed.
Remember you will be burning lots of calories and you will be hungrier than normal will all the fresh air. I have also started to carry crystallized ginger to help when the elevation changes and I feel a little sick. Determine how long you’ll be hiking and pack the appropriate amount of snacks and a little extra.
Next is water. It is very important to pack enough. I get very thirsty so I usually have 2 liters. We have both a bottle and a camel bladder. I like the Camel bladder as it is more accessible without stopping and taking off my pack to get my water bottle.
Meal planning is essential instead of just throwing things together. It is also so satisfying to set at the mountaintop and feel like you are having a picnic. So enjoyable…
How To Organize Your First Aid Kit For Your Hiking Backpack?
This I have been so thankful for having and I may have more than necessary in my kit but I like to be prepared. I have bandaids, insect repellent, items for foot care and blisters, wet wipes, Advil and Tylenol and so much more.
We bought our first aid kit at the outdoor store and added it as needed. Also, I have a mirror packed and a lightweight shelter blanket.
The first aid kit that I recommend is an All-purpose aid kit and compact emergency kit
Now we are off. Start early as you don’t want to get caught in the dark if you are only day hiking. Make sure you check your map or app for an estimation of the time. Check the weather that you are hiking in and just have fun.
How To Purchase The Best Sun Glasses And Sun Protection To Use While Hiking?
I love my sunglasses as it stops me from squinting and having fewer wrinkles on my face. Lol. Yet again I took my time to find a pair that fits my face and has UV protection. Sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. I find if I forget my glasses my eyes feel strained from the bright conditions.
Sun protection: Sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, reduce eyestrain in bright conditions, and protect you from flying debris and other hazards. Finding the right pair is key to your comfort, whether you’re driving to work or climbing a mountain.
This information I found on the REI website great place to find your gear. All sunglasses offered at REI block 100% of ultraviolet light. UV protection information should be printed on the hangtag or price sticker of Sunglasses
Casual sunglasses: Best for everyday use and basic recreational activities, casual sunglasses do an excellent job of shading your eyes from the sun while you drive to work and walk through town. Casual sunglasses are typically not designed to handle the intensity of action sports.
Sport sunglasses: Designed for activities such as running, hiking and biking, sport sunglasses offer light weight and an excellent fit for fast-paced adventures. High-end frame and lens materials are more impact-resistant and flexible than casual sunglasses. Sport sunglasses also typically feature grippy nose pads and temple ends, a feature that helps keep the frames in place even when you’re sweating. Some sport sunglasses include interchangeable lenses so you can make adjustments for different light conditions.
Glacier glasses: Glacier glasses are special sunglasses designed specifically to protect your eyes from the intense light at high altitudes and sunlight reflecting off snow. They often feature wrap-around extensions to block light from entering at the sides.
Sunglass Lens Features
Polarized lenses: Polarized lenses substantially reduce glare. Polarization is a great feature if you enjoy water sports or are especially sensitive to glare.REI Website
In some instances, polarized lenses react with the tints in windshields, creating blind spots and diminishing the visibility of LCD readouts. If this occurs, consider mirrored lenses as a glare-reducing alternative.
Photochromic lenses: Photochromic lenses automatically adjust to changing light intensities and conditions. These lenses get darker on bright days and lighter when conditions get darker.
A couple of caveats: The photochromic process takes longer to work in cold conditions, and it doesn’t work at all when driving a car because UVB rays do not penetrate your windshield.
Interchangeable lenses: Some sunglass styles come with interchangeable (removable) lenses of different colors. These multi-lens systems allow you to tailor your eye protection to your activities and conditions. Consider this option if you need reliable performance in a wide variety of situations.
Next is the sunscreen. I am a redhead so I know all about sun protection and apply so much and also quite frequently. I must admit I did also learn this the hard way. One hike I put my hair up and forgot to screen the back of the nape of my neck and the back of my ears. Oh my, big mistake and yet again another learning experience as I got sunstroke. But other than that It was an amazing day… I also recommend packing a lightweight sun hat and sunscreen.
What Are The Leave No Trace (The 7 Principles)?
- Plan and prepare.
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
- Dispose of waste properly.
- Leave what you find.
- Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
- Respect wildlife.
- Be considerate of other visitors.
What to bring | Pack Bear Spray | Bear Noise Makers?
I will be honest this was one of the things that really worried me about hiking in the Canadian Rockies. So for a gift, my husband bought a bag of bear repellent and noise goodies in a bag for us to hike with. This really did calm me down just a little bit. Lol. Here is a recommendation to keep you safe: Sports bear spray with a holster
One should never be without bear spray and everyone should have their own can be attached to their belts for quick and easy access.
Other tips are:
- Do not hike alone.
- Keep a look out for fresh animal tracks and droppings on your trail.
- If you encounter a bear do not run. Try and remain as calm as possible and back away slowly while taking too it. If the bear proceeds towards you utilize your bear spray.
Why You Don’t Feed The Animals Out In The Wild When Hiking?
I know you think they all look cute and happy in their environment but don’t leave food out for them whether they are creatures great or small.
Please just do not feed them. I know the squirrels and the little chipmunks are cute even the elks but they do not require human food it is not part of their diet. Just let them be in their natural habit.
How To Respect Your Fellow Hikers | Hiking Etiquette?
I have really come to appreciate all the knowledge and kindness of my fellow hikers. They have taken the time to educate me and to let me grow as a beginner hiker. Some of the guidance I have learned along the way is the etiquette on the pathways.
Give people their space, especially in these trying times. I love to smile at people and say hello from a distance. Let the faster hikers pass you and always remember to let the ascending hiker pass you as you are descending.
“They have the hikers right of way”
What that means is if you are hiking down off a mountain on a small path and encounter someone hiking up, move to the side and let them pass.
How To Know Your Limits And Pace Yourself And Stay On The Hiking Trails?
Boy did I learn this one? I would have to stop my friends to have a sit down if the elevation got a little high for me. They were wonderful and they all sat while I got myself together and cooled down. I also thought I could see a quicker cut through back to our car but learned from my fellow hikers to stick to the path and follow the trail. I was such a newbie…
This I learned from many of my fellow hikers is not to leave your well-marked switchback trail, don’t cut them. It’s something I see quite often from newer hikers and should be avoided. It also can cause damage to the ecosystem off the trail.
Fire | Matches | Knife.
- Knife: plus a gear repair kit. I recommend the Mossy Oak survival knife with a fire starter.
- Fire: matches, lighter, tinder, and/or stove
To burn a successful fire, you’ll need three types of fuel: tinder, kindling, and firewood.
- Tinder includes small twigs, dry leaves, needles or forest duff.
- Kindling consists of small sticks, typically less than one inch around.
- Firewood is any larger piece of wood and is what will keep your fire going long into the night.
How to Hike for Beginners? 24 Essential tips For Beginner Hikers? What to Pack? How to Be Prepared Hiking? Essential Tips Are Some of The Things I Have Learned Along the Way.
My hope is that you step out of your comfort zone and enjoy. This experience has changed me completely.