Hiking can be a great way to get away from the city noise and to spend some quality time with friends. But, it can also be a great solo activity. Hiking solo can give you the much-needed rest and peace- it will be just you and the nature around you. However, you can’t go unprepared.
Hiking solo can be a great undertaking. Sometimes, it can be dangerous, especially if you’re new to this. There are a few things to have in mind that will help you with this. That’s why in this article we will present to you some top tips on hiking solo for the first time.
Choosing the right gear
We’ll start from the very basics. To enjoy your hike, you need to grab the right gear. First off, make sure you are packed as light as possible. It’s recommended to bring an ultra light down sleeping bag and tent. This will help you have more room for food and safety essentials.
You will also need comfortable hiking shoes that will take it easy on your feet. They shouldn’t be too tight, but shouldn’t be too loose either. Look for ones above the ankle depending on the terrain you’re planning to hike on. Having the right backpack can do wonders for your hiking experience. Look for a backpack that will distribute the weight evenly, so that there are no pressure points on your back as you hike.
Think of a source of light, preferably a headlamp, so that you can have your hands free at all times. Another thing that you must have is a first-aid kit. Don’t forget about food and water in amounts that will last for your hike.
Bring a lighter with you, if you’re planning on starting a campfire. But, be careful not to cause chaos with it. If you don’t have previous experience, it’s best to avoid this or to find some useful videos that are related.
Don’t hike on trails above your abilities
The biggest mistake that you can make, if you’re a beginner, is to take more than you can handle. Make sure that the trail you’re about to choose is beginner-friendly, and most importantly- there are other hikers out there.
The trail shouldn’t be too risky. Make sure to avoid steep terrains for your first hike alone. Big rivers, as well as rocks and lots of exposures, are also on the risk list. Also, try not to overdo it. A small distance should be just enough for your first solo hiking trip. Over time, you will gain more experience and you’ll be able to hike further away and explore different hike trails.
Common and marked trails vs. unknown ones
It is a great tip to have in mind. People love hiking and that is why there are lots of marked terrains for people to go to. There is an area to rest and safely hike on them. Lots of people use them daily, so the risk of losing yourself while hiking is down to a bare minimum.
Give someone your hiking details. For example, your parent, friend, partner… tell them that you plan to go on hiking, how long do you plan the trip to last, where are you headed. Even tell them how to get there. That way, someone will know where you’re at, and if something happens, they’ll know where to look for you. When you’re done hiking, make sure to call them and tell them that you’re alright.
Ditch the headphones
When hiking, especially by yourself, you need to be aware of your surroundings. If you listen to music, you’re somewhat isolated from the nature around you. That’s why you need to leave the headphones buried somewhere in your hiking bag. Listen to the sound of nature. You will be prepared if there are some wild animals, a storm approaching, or other hikers. You won’t be spooked by them this way.
Leave no trace behind
Sounds weird, but it is totally justified. Always make sure to take all the trash that you’ve made during the hike. That includes water bottles, food packages, plastic, plastic bags, and even toilet paper. You’re hiking to clear up your mind, to relax, and to gain more energy. The least you can do to repay nature for all that it offers you is to dispose of the garbage inside a container meant for that purpose. Many hiking trails have bins where you can throw the litter.
In summary, solo hiking sounds intimidating at first, but it’s one of the experiences in life that you want to have for yourself. Sure, you can always go hiking with friends, but solo hiking is somewhat different. Use the tips mentioned above to have a great solo experience, and come back refreshed and full of energy.