Hiking tips

Beginner hiking tips to get you ready to hit the trails


Oith the arrival of autumn, we are settling into the ideal season for hiking. Not only are you enjoying the fresh air and changing leaves, but you’re also getting some exercise. With the pandemic limiting the number of activities we can do, interest in hiking is skyrocketing – Google searches for open hiking trails have increased by 1,050%. If you are new to hiking and want to know where to start, Meaghan Praznikcommunications manager for the AllTrails hiking app, is here to share hiking tips for beginners.

“Hiking is not only good for us physically, but spending time outdoors and in nature is also incredibly beneficial for our mental health,” says Praznik. “Hiking is a fairly accessible activity for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels, experiences, and abilities. There’s minimal equipment required, it’s affordable, and you usually don’t have to travel far to find a trail. Not to mention that it doesn’t take place in front of a Zoom screen, something we can all appreciate right now.”

To start

To get started, be sure to do your research. You’ll want to choose the right path.

“As with any outdoor activity, it can be easy to be intimidated — things like elevation, trail length, equipment, or technical terrain can be enough to keep anyone off the trail,” says Praznik. “The key is to make sure you do your research so you don’t fall on your skis.” Consider downloading the AllTrails app (available for Apple and android). Easy-to-use filters help you find the perfect trail for you while maps keep you from getting lost.

Once you have your track, dig a little deeper to make sure you’re ready.

“Ask yourself, ‘How much food and water do I need? What will the weather be like? How exposed is the trail? Is the terrain technical?'” says Praznik. “Also, due to the pandemic, many parking lots and facilities are closed, but the trails are open. This might mean making a different plan to access the trailhead.” These are questions you can answer by checking state park websites, vacation review sites like TripAdvisor, or the AllTrails app. Due to the pandemic, it’s best to seek out less traveled trails. If you use AllTrains, filter out low-traffic trails and loop routes to avoid oncoming hikers.

What not to do while hiking

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced hiker, you shouldn’t venture off the beaten path.

“It’s really important to stay on the trail when hiking. Getting outside and into nature helps us appreciate the importance of conserving and protecting our wilderness, but we also need to respect the natural playgrounds of our planet,” says Praznik. “Stay on the trail so you don’t disturb wildlife, foliage or terrain. It’s also important for safety – you never know if you might hit a slippery area, loose rock or wade through a poison oak, for example.”

Especially if you are new to hiking, you should not hike alone.

“If you can, it’s always best to go with a friend, partner or family member,” says Praznik. “If that’s not an option, check out the Lifeline Safety feature in the AllTrails Pro app. Users can select up to five safety contacts so friends and family can follow your hike and stay up to date. of your movements and your progress.” This is especially useful as you are likely to lose cell phone service during your hike.

Additionally, you will want to be aware of the space you are in. Don’t take anything off the trail like rocks, pinecones, or wildlife. “They may look cute, but we promise forest creatures don’t make great pets,” she says. You also need to be careful with your trash.

“It’s important to make sure you’re properly prepared with food, water, or some other form of hydration, but it’s equally important to make sure you pack what you pack,” says Praznik. . “That means energy bar wrappers, food containers, hardware, and water bottles – although we hope you’re not using disposable water bottles, anyway! Watch out for trash that might fall out of your bag or out of your pockets, and dispose of the trash properly.” And if someone else drops trash, remember to pick it up. “If we want to continue enjoying the beauty of our planet, it’s up to all of us to do our part.”

While being a prepared and aware hiker, don’t forget to have fun!

“Hiking should be fun – we’re outdoors, in nature, and hopefully with friends,” says Praznik. “Say hello to others on the trail, smile, and politely call out to other trail-goers if you have to pass behind.”

What to bring on your next hike

“Ultimately, what kind of gear you bring depends on the hike you’re doing,” says Praznik. “If you’re going for a two-mile urban hike, you won’t need the same kind of gear you would for a 15-mile hike. That said, it’s important to consider the basics.”

1. Hiking Boots: Salomon Speedcross 5 GTS W ($130)

Salomon Speedcross 5 GTS W beginner hiking tips

“Chances are you won’t need a ton of complicated gear for a day hike, but if you’re going to invest in just one piece of clothing, make it a pair of hiking shoes. sustainable hiking,” says Praznik. “You not only want to make sure your feet are comfortable, but also safe and protected from rocks, burs, poison oak, etc.”

She loves this red, white and gold pair from Salomon.

“A few years ago I did a 42-mile trail run with these bad boys,” she says. “My body may have been broken, but my feet were perfectly comfortable without a single blister. While these shoes aren’t particularly light and the tread is quite aggressive, they are protective, incredibly cushioned, have a great stability and fantastic grip.. Even though they are designed for more aggressive terrain, I still wear them on more casual rides because they are so comfortable!”

Buy now: Salomon Speedcross 5 GTS W ($130)

2. Map: All trails (Free, $30 per year for Pro)

All trails

“What’s a hike without a map? AllTrails is home to the largest collection of hand-picked digital hiking trails,” she says. “Use the app to find the trail that’s best for you, check out trail reviews and from the trusted community of over 20 million members, and navigate the trail with the app’s built-in GPS when you go.” The application can be downloaded from Apple and android devices.

Buy now: All trails (Free, $30 per year for Pro)

3. Comfy Layers: Northface Women’s Flight Futurelight Jacket$280

Northface Women's Flight Futurelight Jacket, hiking tips for beginners

“Be sure to check the weather, but for varying temperatures, dressing in comfortable layers is always a good idea. Lightweight, packable rain jackets not only keep you warm, but dry in a downpour. “, she says. “I love this North Face jacket – it has everything a girl could want. A hood, it’s warm, can easily pack up and be stored away if things get hot, and the colors are great for keeping you visible on the road. track.”

Buy now: Northface Women’s Flight Futurelight Jacket$280

4. Daily pack: Nathan Sports Trailmix 7 Liter Women’s Running Bag$100

Nathan Sports Trailmix 7 Liter Women's Running Bag

“You’re going to want something to carry your phone, wallet, keys, diapers, water, and food, so a lightweight backpack is also a good idea,” says Praznik. “If my hike is short enough and requires less gear, I like to use a hydration pack rather than a hike pack and water bottle. My favorite is the Nathan pack. It’s so nice to see bags specifically designed for women, designed to fit the upper body. Hooray, no chafing! Plus, I also like to trail run, so if I feel like it, that’s enough lightweight and won’t bounce if I decide to pick up the pace on those dreamy, flowing laces.”

Buy now: Nathan Sports Trailmix 7 Liter Women’s Running Bag$100

5. Mask: Under Armor sports mask ($30)

Under Armor Sportsmask hiking tips for beginners

The Centers for Disease Control recommend wear a mask in public places and when you are around people who do not live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. When on an isolated trail with little traffic, Praznik opts for the Bird Flyte Gaiter ($22). But, when she knows she’ll be meeting a lot of people on her hike and she wants something more protective, she wears her Under Armor sports mask.

Buy now: Under Armor sports mask ($30)

6. Hand sanitizer: Grown Alchemist Hydra-Hand Sanitizer, $30

Grown Alchemist Hydra-Hand Sanitizer

“Not only is this a good idea to help prevent the spread, but since many restrooms and facilities are closed, bring your own sanitizer to help wash and keep germs away,” says Praznik. If you’re looking for something a little more luxurious than Purell, tons of beauty brands have gotten into the hand sanitizer game over the past few months. Take into account Grown Alchemist Hydra-Hand Sanitizer ($30).

Buy now: Grown Alchemist Hydra-Hand Sanitizer ($30)

7. Snacks: Clif Nut Butter Bars ($20)

Clif Nut Butter Bars hiking tips for beginners

“I’m a big fan of old-school PB&J mid-hike on fresh sourdough, but if I’m going on a shorter hike, I love Clif’s nut butter bars. Specifically, the Coconut Almond Butter,” she says. “The taste is heavenly, and it’s the perfect size to fill me up and not feel hungry, but not stuffed and uncomfortable. If I’m thinking of throwing in a bit of trail running, I go for the Clif Salted Watermelon BLOKS Energy Chews ($42). Particularly if the temperatures are a bit warmer, the extra salt is important to help replenish lost electrolytes. They are gentle on my stomach and the individual little pieces are perfectly proportioned so you can eat them as you go, depending on your needs. »

Buy now: Clif Nut Butter Bars ($20)

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