Guest blog post – Charlie Alf – Backpackhack
Charlie Alf, Hiking Tips for beginners
Experience backpacking has the pleasure to welcome another fab guest blog post, this time from Charlie Alf of Backpack Hack.
Charlie has taken some time out of his busy schedule to write a custom post for you to give you guys some awesome hints and tips about hiking.
This is serious stuff so if you like to wander and are really keen to get into some more challenging hiking then this guide is an essential read for you.
Enjoy the post as I hand you over to Charlie…
Backpacking Tips for beginners – Hiking
You have accomplished the baby steps of hour long hikes in the state park and are ready to advance onto the lesser known trails in mountains, valleys, and foreign locales.
Backpacking is certainly a rewarding, immersive experience; but it is also not for the mentally and physically unprepared.
Get yourself ready for your first real backpacking trip with advice from seasoned travellers and hikers.
1. Get the proper gear.
There are 10 essential items that all backpackers need, whether they are going it alone or are in a group.
The Ten Essentials list was actually created in the 1930s by The Mountaineers, a group of climbers and outdoorsy people from Seattle, who wanted people to be prepared no matter what. Now, the Ten Essentials is a highly recognised and coveted collection of “systems.
The Ten Essentials:
● Navigation – a guidebook, waterproof map, and compass
● Insulation – extra layers of clothing (next-to-skin base layers, rain-wear, gloves)
● UV Protection – sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen
● Illumination – a headlamp, flashlight
● First-Aid supplies – bandages, sterilisation, gauze, medical tape
● Fire starters – candles, char cloth, lighter, waterproof matches
● Tools – a knife or a multi-tool (Leatherman, Swiss Army Knife, and the like)
● Nutrition – energy dense foods and kitchen supplies
● Hydration – water and a filtration system
● Shelter – a climate appropriate tent and sleeping bag
2. Have appropriate footwear.
The health of your feet is pivotal for the success of the trip. Aside from your backpack and clothing, you footwear is one of the most important pieces of equipment.
There is a wide variety of hiking footwear to choose from, like supportive over-the-ankle hiking boots or barefoot running shoes. When it comes to deciding what is right for you though, do your research.
It is not just about what you want to wear. Other factors, like the terrain, climate, and trail conditions apply.
Plus, take into consideration local wildlife. You do not want to go hiking through sand teeming with snakes in minimalist sneakers. Depending on the trail, you may seek to bring two pairs of shoes: water sandals for wading, and boots for harder surfaces.
3. Do not overload your backpack.
The less gear you bring, the easier it is going to be for you to move around. As tempting as it is to have a teddy bear and cozy clothing in your bag, leave the unnecessary goods at home. Only bring what you, at your present fitness level, and handle. Otherwise, that overstuffed backpack is going to get heavier and heavier the longer your struggle on. As your muscles reach their point of fatigue, that extra weight will be unbearable.
4. Find an experienced partner.
Having a friend along with you when you are just starting out is going to be a huge benefit.
You can learn insider tips and tricks from a more experienced guide which could be essential for survival should you be in a similar situation when you decide to go it alone.
If you are not acquainted with a backpacker, sign up for a local hiking group.
5. Do not skimp on planning.
Yes, planning things out and being fully prepared for whatever may happen is quite tedious; but for you, the beginner, planning is part of an essential process. There are countless blunders that can be avoided if you simply construct the correct plan.
You are going to need the planning process to figure out what guide maps, books and permits you need to attain. Plus, when you start planning the trip, you can look at the current condition of the environment, such as the presence of flooding, fire bans, temperatures, bugs, and more.
If you do not know these things, you might got lost, injured, or meet a bear face-to-face when you thought only deer lived in the area. In short, make a series of plans to keep yourself together.
6. Build up your endurance.
Backpacking is all about fitness. You need to be able to endure various elevations, temperatures, and hours of movement. If your cardiovascular health, heat or cold tolerance, and muscular endurance is not up to spec, you are going to have a difficult time. Train yourself before taking on a challenge.
When it comes to backpacking, the more you know, the better off you are going to be. Do not go your first trail alone, whether that means bringing a detailed guidebook, map, or a trustworthy partner. Be smart about your plans and your packing, too. When you have everything on list accounted for, backpacking is going to be a truly amazing adventure.
Charlie Alf – Backpackhack.com