Hiking Tips for Amateurs

Hiking Tips for Amateurs


Hiking is yearly increasing in popularity as families and individuals discover this relatively inexpensive way to enjoy nature and get in shape. Though it is true that one can spend hundreds of dollars on high-tech outdoor gear, it is not necessary to have the latest-and-greatest gadgets to get started on the trails. Anyone who is able to walk even a moderate distance, including young children and older adults, can find a trail to match their abilities and fitness levels.

Comfort and safety are very important, and can be the difference between calling it quits after your first hike or pursuing many future outdoor adventures. The following gear list is suitable for an afternoon of exploring well-marked trails, with tips on how to cut down on initial cost.


Leave your cotton clothes at home. Wear and take clothing that is made from wool or synthetic material. These materials are still able to keep you warm when wet and dry quickly. Wet cotton can quickly chill you on even a cool summer day, leading to a risk of hypothermia. Search the thrift stores and watch for sales. Outdoor clothing is easily accumulated this way at a minimal cost. You should begin with the following list:

• Hat
• T-shirt/long-sleeve shirt
• Wool/fleece sweater
• Jacket
• Nylon pants/shorts
• Wool/synthetic socks
• Rain jacket
• Extra pair of dry socks


Even on a short hike, a first-aid kit should be included in your backpack. It only takes an hour or two for a blister to begin to develop, or one tumble to scratch your knee. You may either put together your own first-aid kit or buy a ready-made one. A small kit suitable for a short hike close to home will only cost a couple of dollars. For an afternoon hike, include in your first aid kit:

• Bandages
• Antiseptic wipes
• Mole skin
• Antibacterial cream
• A few allergy tabs and
• Tensor Bandage

Food and Water

For an afternoon of hiking, you do not need to worry too much about especially planning your diet. Raid your pantry for food already on hand and make your own granola bars to keep the cost of food down. Don't forget a bottle or two of water.

• Healthy snacks
• Some sweet snacks
• Extra food
• Water


Arguably, the most important gear is what is on your feet. If your feet are miserable, the rest of you will be, too. It is fine to begin your hiking adventures in a good pair of running shoes that fit well, but as the length and difficulty of your hikes increase, along with the load on your back, you will want to invest in a good pair of hiking shoes/boots that will support your ankles. Unfortunately, hiking footwear will probably be the most expensive part of your initial investment, but this is not the place to skimp on quality and fit for the sake of cost. You can start a change jar labelled "Hiking Boot Fund" and throw all your change in there until you are able to afford good footwear.

The above is a list of physical items you need to start hiking, but perhaps more important than all the right gear is a positive attitude. If you are determined not to enjoy hiking, then spare your trip partners the grousing and stay home. However, if you are willing to give it a chance, pack up your gear, load your friends in the car and head out for an afternoon of fresh air and exercise; you may surprise yourself and find you've discovered a favourite pastime!


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