Hiking is a wonderful way to spend time outdoors and immerse yourself in nature. It benefits the heart, body, and mind and can contribute to your overall mental health and well-being. Beyond the physical benefits of hiking, being out in nature can make us feel happy and less stressed.
However, hiking can be intimidating for beginners. What gear do you need? What are the best hikes for beginners? These concerns may be enough to put you off your first hiking expedition.
This guide explores the top hiking tips for beginners to help make your journey as a hiker a smooth one.
First, you may want to check out PureKana’s CBD range for products that may support your hiking experience. Some of our CBD formulas, such as our 750mg AM CBD capsules, are designed to boost energy levels. Incorporating CBD and a potent dose of caffeine with vitamins B12 and D3, these capsules provide well-rounded opportunity for energy and focus.
Here are our top 10 hiking tips for first-time mountain goers.
Pick a Hike for Beginners
Perhaps most importantly, start with an easy hike that suits your fitness level. Also, preferably choose a hiking trail in an area you’re already comfortable with.
Look for hikes under 5 miles with minimal climbing. Trails that are 2 – 3 hours long, easy to walk, and well-marked are perfect for beginners.
Check the Weather
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, it’s always important to check the weather, so you’re prepared – you know what to wear, what to pack, and what to expect while hiking.
The best hiking weather for beginners is blue skies, puffy white clouds, and a gentle breeze. Of course, these conditions are not guaranteed and are more rare in some areas than others. As a beginner, it’s best to change your hiking plans if the weather isn’t favorable, such as heavy rain and strong winds.
Choose the Right Shoes and Socks for Hiking
Footwear is one of the most important items when it comes to hiking gear. Foot injuries such as sprained ankles and blisters among inexperienced hikers are all too common, especially if you don’t have the right shoes.
In general, footwear is a very personal choice. You don’t have to buy heavy-duty boots; many “light hikers” are available such as lightweight trail running shoes. But keep in mind that the terrain you will be hiking on may affect your choice. Also, don’t ignore the importance of socks – wool or synthetic are the best options. Choose shoes and socks that are comfortable and easy to walk in.
Pack the Proper Amount of Food and Water
ALWAYS pack more food/snacks and water than you think you need. There is nothing worse than running out of these essential “fuels” during your hike. It’s not only important to stay hydrated with enough water, but you need the energy from food to keep you going. Energy bars, nuts, fruits, and biscuits are good options.
Understand Your Map: Know Your Route
If you’re hiking in unfamiliar terrain, it’s possible that you may experience navigation problems. Therefore, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the route before setting foot on a hike.
It’s a great idea to download a map of the route, but you should also read up on all the information about the hike beforehand. Familiarize yourself with the landmarks to look for and which paths to take.
Bring a Source of Light for Emergencies
It’s best to start your hike early, so you have time to take in the beautiful scenery and don’t have to rush back before it’s dark. As a first-time hiker, you must get more comfortable in the outdoors before staying out after dark.
However, always pack a flashlight or headlamp in case of emergencies. A hike may take longer than expected, or you may get lost, so it’s important to have a source of light in case it’s needed.
Know Personal Health and Safety
Nobody knows your health and fitness levels better than you. It’s important to question yourself about your fitness and never underestimate the mountain or trail.
Choose popular hiking routes that are heavily trafficked by other hikers, that way you should have someone to reach out to if you’re lost or need help. Also, try hiking with a friend or join a hiking group – hiking alone is not a good idea. Never try to hike if the trail is closed; you would be surprised how often this happens.
Pack any prescription medication you may need and pack a first aid kit to take with you. It’s also wise to take a cell phone with airtime and emergency numbers.
Tell Someone Your Hiking Plans
Always tell someone not on the hike your itinerary and what time to worry and call for help. It can be as simple as sending a text message letting the person know where and when you will be hiking and noting what time you’re expected to be back. If they don’t hear from you after the stipulated time (leave room for hiking delays), they will know something is wrong.
Watch Your Feet
Stay focused and watch where you’re walking to avoid any unfortunate incidents. All too often, hikers twist ankles, slip on rocks, trip over debris, or encounter some poisonous wildlife. Most rattlesnake bites occur when they’re unintentionally stepped on, so you can reduce the risk of a snake bite by paying attention to where you walk.
Learn Hiking Etiquette
Familiarize yourself with basic trail etiquette, so you know what to expect and what is expected of you whilst hiking. One of the most important rules of hiking is to “leave no trace.” This means no littering or disturbing the environment around you (breaking branches or picking fruits or flowers).
Furthermore, you should be considerate of other hikers – no loud music (use headphones if you want to listen to music) and keep your voices down if you’re hiking in a group. If someone is hiking behind you, stop and let them pass. Also, hikers going uphill have the right of way unless they stop to take a breather. Check out a more comprehensive list of hiking etiquette before setting foot on your trail.
How PureKana’s CBD Products Can Enhance Your Hiking Experience
CBD can promote wakefulness and may provide an energy boost when needed, which is why it could be a useful addition to your hiking experience. PureKana’s CBD energy-boosting products, such as our CBD capsules + caffeine and CBD Energy Beverage Enhancer, incorporate other energy-enhancing ingredients like caffeine for optimal results.
Additionally, our CBD topicals may be beneficial for your post-hike recovery. Specifically, our pain relief ointment can help soothe sore and achy muscles after intense exercise.
Be sure to check out our full range of topicals and other CBD products that may be able to enhance your hiking experience.