There’s something about the simplicity of a day hike that we absolutely love. To be outdoors in nature and getting some real good exercise, whilst also taking in amazing views and challenging yourself is what makes us happy. We think that hiking is good for the mind, body and soul. As much as we love hiking we also like to make sure that we’re prepared with everything that we need so that we can enjoy our hikes safely. So how do you prepare for your own day hike? Read on to find out.
Plan a little bit ahead of time
Let’s start with the basics: You should always plan a little bit ahead of time. It doesn’t have to be a precise itinerary, but you should have a rough idea of what you want to accomplish and how long you’ll be gone. Ideally, you want to know where you’re going and how long it’ll take to get there and back, so you can factor that into your plans and make sure you’re prepared for everything you want to do.
An app that we use to help us plan our hikes is All Trails. All Trails is a fitness and travel app which is commonly used to find trails for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and climbing. It has over 300000 of the best trails all over the world, and we use this app for pretty much every day hike that we go on.
All Trails allows you to follow the trail map directly which decreases the risk of getting lost and it also contains user reviews so that you can read what other people have to say about the trail that you’re thinking of doing. It gives trails a rating – easy, moderate and hard.
It is a very user friendly app. You can search for trails close to where you are and you can also filter trails by things such as the length, difficulty, whether it is dog friendly and much more, so it is very easy to find the perfect trail for you.
All Trails also allows a trail to be downloaded for offline use so that you don’t have to worry about losing signal or draining your phone battery. This feature is only available when you pay for the pro version of the app which is £29.99 a year, so only £2.50 a month. We pay for this feature and we think it is well worth it.
What to wear on a day hike
You can wear pretty much whatever you want on a day hike, but there are a few things worth noting.
First, trousers are almost always a must, no matter what time of year it is. While they may not be required in some areas where the season doesn’t see much fluctuation, they’re a great way to protect your legs from brush and other things lurking on the ground such as insects. Most trousers are suitable for hiking, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind.
If you’re going for a day hike in the winter and there’s a chance of snow, you’ll want trousers with some good thermal protection so that you don’t catch a cold when you walk through snow. You’ll also want a pair that’s water-resistant or even waterproof, since you’ll likely come across some water – same goes for if you’re hiking in rainy weather. You’ll also want to make sure your trousers are breathable, so they don’t get too hot.
If you’re hiking in the summer then you may not want to wear trousers, or at least not for the whole hike, and there are some outdoor trousers available that actually zip off at the knee so that you can wear them as shorts if you get too hot, which is super handy.
We always find that layers is the best way to go when hiking. Rather than wearing a really big thick coat that you’ll probably get too warm in once you start walking, you may want to consider more thin layers that you can then strip back if you start to get too warm, and put back on if you get cold. It also means you aren’t wearing anything too heavy. The less weight the better on a day hike.
You will also want to wear some good quality, breathable socks too.
Don’t forget the basics
You don’t need to bring a bunch of fancy equipment on a short hike, but you do need to remember the basics.
First of all, you’ll want to bring a map, so you can know where you’re going and how long it’ll take to get there (you’ll also want to know how to get back if you’re going to somewhere new). Most of the time you will probably use the maps in your phone, or an app like All Trails as mentioned above. If you do use your phone for your maps, then you may want to bring a portable charging bank too, as you will want to make sure that your phone doesn’t run out of battery.
Then, you’ll also want to bring water. You don’t want to go hiking without water as it’s really important to keep yourself hydrated when hiking. It’s also a good idea to check whether there’s anywhere that you may be able to refill your water bottle on your route, such as if you pass through a town or village, or a pub or café.
If you’re hiking with a pet then it’s important not to forget about them too. We always bring a collapsible bowl with us for our dog Lottie to drink out of, especially good for when it’s a long hike and she may not always get the chance to drink out of streams or lakes.
What to bring with you on a hike
Now that you’ve got the basics down, let’s talk about what you’ll actually be bringing with you.
You’ll want to bring a few snacks with you, since you’ll probably get hungry while you’re hiking.
If you’re hiking in the winter, you’ll want to bring some hand warmers with you. They’re not only great for keeping your hands warm, but you can put them in your shoes, too. You may also want to bring a woolly hat if you’re hiking in the winter.
If you’re hiking in the summer then you will want sun cream, sun glasses, a sun hat and possibly some insect repellent too.
Which shoes to bring hiking
Okay, so you know what to wear and what to bring with you, but what shoes should you bring with you on your hike?
Whether we’re hiking in the summer or winter, we always wear a pair of good quality walking boots. It’s important that your feet are comfortable and protected whilst you’re hiking. It’s also a good idea to invest in some waterproof or Gore-Tex walking boots as there’s nothing worse than getting wet feet when you’re on a hike.
Walking boots also provide good ankle protection which is also important when hiking. We rarely hike in anything other than our walking boots as we want the best protection when we’re out hiking all year round.
Now that you know what to bring with you on a hike and how to prepare for it, you’re all set to go on your next adventure. Remember that no day hike is ever the same and you should always be open to new experiences, so don’t be afraid to try something new.
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