If you've never gone hiking or have never planned your own hike there are a few things you should know before hitting the trail. The last thing you want is to become a news story about an unprepared hiker who got lost or needed to be rescued. Luckily, preparing for a successful first hike is not rocket science. Just follow these tips and you will be on your way to a great first hike that is safe, fun and memorable. So keep reading, and then get out there and go hiking!
The 10 Essentials are number one on this list because they are everything you need for a safe first hike. Prior to your first hike you should obtain the 10 Essentials and get familiar their use.
The 10 Essentials Include:
As part of your 10 Essentials, you obtained a map of the area you would like to hike. You can use this map to look at trails and pick one that seems like it will match your fitness and experience level. Part of the fun of the outdoors is pushing your limits and endurance, but it's best to be conservative on your first hike. You can also check sites www.alltrails.com for suggestions and recent trail reports. Lastly, it's always great to ask a friend for their recommendations.
Checking the weather before your hike is a must. A current weather report will help you pack the right clothing and avoid planning your hike during any big storms. Most weather is not a problem as long as you are prepared but try and schedule your first hike for clear and sunny weather to maximize comfort and views.
Always let at least one reliable person know when and where you are hiking, and when you expect to be back. This can be a quick call or even better a text message so they can easily pull up the details later if you don't check in. This is often called a "Trip Report." The last thing you want is to end up lost with no one knowing where you are or that you are hiking.
Snacks are one of the joys of hiking and best of all you'll be burning enough calories to enjoy your favorite treats guilt free. We always bring enough to have something to snack on if we end up unexpectedly spending the night in the woods because the weight of a little extra trail mix in your pack sure beats eating bugs. Also, bring enough water for an extra day on the trail. It's also a great idea to bring a water filter or purification tablets so you can refill at lakes or streams.
Plan your layers for the coldest weather you could possibly encounter on your hike. Wear fabrics that wick and dry quickly like merino wool and synthetic materials, always avoid cotton. Even in warm weather, the top of a windy peak can feel pretty cold if you're sweaty from the hike up, so pack a layer to wear while you enjoy the view.
Solo hikes are great, but your first outing will be more enjoyable if you bring friends. A more experienced friend can lead the way, but even if everyone is a newbie there is safety in numbers. Plus we strongly believe that adventures are better when they are shared!
Next to bringing the 10 Essentials, practicing Leave No Trace principles is the most important thing to do on your hike. Don't litter, pick wildflowers, or leave the trail and trample vegetation. If you see garbage pick it up, basically leave the trail better than you found it.
Additional Info: Read up on how to Leave No Trace
Lastly, "Hike Your Own Hike." Enjoy the trail at your own pace, hike as far as you want, take breaks when you want, and don't feel the need to keep up with the trail runner that just sprinted up the switchbacks ahead of you. Hiking should be an escape from the pressures and competition of everyday life.
Snowshoeing is an activity that can open your eyes to breathtaking new dimensions and faces of nature. Not only is it a fun and achievable goal to help you get outside during the winter, but it is an experience unlike any other that is sure to make an impression.
Though it can be overwhelming to think about planning a beginner trip in the winter weather, anyone can take a snowshoeing trip with the right preparation and mindset. For me, a cold-natured summer hiker, snowshoeing offers confidence in my own abilities and an outlet to enjoy the winter that I have grown to anticipate and love.
My favorite family Christmas tradition has always been driving up into the mountains and cutting our own Christmas tree. We grew to perfect the process, carefully judging potential trees for our own living room and for the growing number of family members who began to ask for real trees, too. Grandma likes her tree not too full, but Nana likes it when the branches droop, like trees on vintage postcards. Each year, we would cut a little bit off of the trunk and add it to our quirky collection.
Though you probably do not know her name, Whitney Thomas is a true outdoorswoman.
When I set out to interview her about women in the outdoors, I had no idea how strikingly real and powerful her insights would be. Instead of lingering on the lack of quality, technical women’s gear (and how so much of it is pink) or on the gender gap in guiding, Whitney took time to talk over why she loves the outdoors, and what all it has offered her.
|Small||4 - 6.5||2 - 4.5||35 - 37||20.5 - 23|
7 - 9.5
|5 - 7.5||38 - 40||23.5 - 25.5|
|8 - 10.5||41 - 45||26 - 28.5|
13.5 - 15
|11 - 13.5||46 - 49||29 - 31|
|Small||N/A||N/A||N/A||20.5 - 23|
6 - 8.5
|5.5 - 8||39 - 41||23.5 - 25.5|
|8.5 - 11||42 - 44||26 - 28.5|
12 - 14.5
|11.5 - 14||45 - 47||29 - 31|
|WOMEN'S||FITS SIZES||US Sizes (Inches)|
|Small||2 - 4||Length: 26"||Width: 15 ¾"|
|Medium||6 - 8||Length: 26 ½"||Width: 16 ½"|
|Large||8 - 10||Length: 27 ⅛ "||Width: 17 ½"|
|X-Large||10 - 14||Length: 27 ¾"||Width: 18 ½"|
|2X-Large||14 - 18||Length: 28 ⅜"||Width: 19 ½|
|MEN'S / UNISEX||CHEST TO FIT||US Sizes (Inches)|
|Small||34 - 37||Length: 28"||Width: 18"|
38 - 41
|Length: 29"||Width: 20"|
42 - 45
|Length: 30"||Width: 22"|
46 - 49
|Length: 31"||Width: 24"|
|2X-Large||50 - 53||Length: 32"||Width: 26"|