Ah, the great outdoors! After months of dying to take a break from the humdrum of everyday life, you finally get the free time to go on that hike you have been postponing for far too long. Maybe you have been talking non-stop to your family and colleagues about the thrill of your upcoming adventure (they may well be tired of hearing it). But take heart, you are certainly not alone as in 2018, nearly 17% of the US population aged 18-64 years opted for hiking due to its physical, social, and psychological benefits. That being said, do not let the anticipation and excitement distract you from the one question you should be asking yourself, ‘Are you prepared for all that it entails?’
Here are four things to consider before you set out on that hike:
Location and duration
Your hiking destination is perhaps the topmost factor that defines the quality of your whole experience. Will you opt for the breathtaking views that alpine regions offer diligent hikers, or are you settling for a pleasant, breezy walk through the countryside? Whatever your inclinations are, there are several places to choose from that satisfy both. It is also necessary to consider how long you intend to spend out there, as this will be central to any other plans concerning the hike.
Hiking essentials may differ based on your hiking location and how long you intend your adventure to be. There are, however, some standard must-haves that every hiker should take along with him or her. Appropriate hiking gear, food, water, a pocket knife, and a cell phone are pretty much non-negotiable basics when going on a hike.
Being fit is hands-down the most crucial factor that will determine your fate while you are out in the great outdoors. Being at subpar fitness levels can come back to bite you on a hike, and so you might want to get into shape a little before embarking on all your daring outdoor adventures. Modern-day arrangements such as the Fit For Trips training program exist to help you realize your fitness goals and should be taken full advantage of if necessary.
Despite its appearance as fun and games on a leisurely trek, hiking is the third most common source of outdoor injury in America. The world of hiking is unfortunately rife with a variety of threats from many sides. Putting yourself at the heart of nature can leave you vulnerable to a host of dangers ranging from wild animal attacks to getting lost. Your life is precious, and your attitude and alertness must always reflect cognizance of that fact. However, it is not all gloom; most deaths that occur on hikes are considered preventable. If you are inexperienced, do not go attempting activities that you know are well outside your capabilities.
Consider hiking in a group always, as it is generally safer than solo hikes. It is imperative to be extremely responsible out there to avoid making errors in judgment.