Hiking For Beginners – The Hiking Guide For Beginners

March 3, 2017 by
Alex hiking in Connemara
POSTED BY March 3, 2017

Hiking For Beginners

Hiking for beginners can sometimes be frustrating and arduous when they see other people who are able to much farther distances than them.

Everyone has different reasons for hiking. You might be hiking for weight loss, hiking for pleasure or training for a long-distance hike.

However, everyone has to start somewhere so it’s time to don your new hiking boots and work towards your goal of your first long-distance hike!

1. Get Comfortable Footwear

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on GoogleShare on PinterestComfortable Hiking Boots

Investing in a sturdy, well-fitting pair of hiking boots should be top of the list for any beginner hiker. Some things to consider when choosing your hiking boots are:

  • Do they have good ankle support?
  • Are they waterproof?
  • Do they fit snugly to prevent any friction and reduce the risk of blisters?

The most important thing is finding a pair that are right for you. Your friend may recommend a certain brand because they serve him/her very well, however the boots might not seem comfortable to you.

Try on many pairs in a shop until you find the right fit, and break them in about two weeks before you use them on a hike.


2. Build Up Your Hiking Distances Gradually

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on GoogleShare on PinterestHiking for beginners - build up your distances gradually

Rather than starting with the Pacific Crest Trail, why not start with a local walk? These walks are usually ideal for hiking for beginners as they get you used to repetitively putting one foot in front of the other for a few hours.

It’ll also give you the chance to break in your new hiking boots.

Think of hiking in terms of pilot training. You need to build up the hours on smaller planes before taking on the trans-Atlantic passenger airliners.


3. Learn By Example

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on GoogleShare on PinterestLearn by copying experienced hikers

The best way to learn about hiking for beginners is to watch how a more experienced hiker prepares.

You can take tips from how they pack they bag, what equipment they bring (depending on the length of the hike), and how they plan their route.

Hikers are a friendly bunch and are always more than happy to help out with advice on hiking for beginners!


4. Learn By Doing

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on GoogleShare on PinterestLearn by trial and error

Once you’ve taken tips and advice from more experienced hikers, it’s time to learn it your own way.

Take to the trail and adapt what you need to bring with you. Perhaps you didn’t need five spare pairs of socks last time, or your camping stove went completely unused on your two-hour hike.

It’s all about trial and error so the more you hike, the more you’ll know exactly what you need when you’re hiking.


5. Understand The ‘Onion’ Layering System

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on GoogleShare on PinterestThe onion layering system for hiking

Layering is an important concept to grasp for hiking for beginners. The idea is that you start off cool with a base and mid-layer on. Once you start walking, you’ll inevitably warm up.

If it starts to get colder as you get higher up a hill or mountain, you can then put your top-layer on. Your rain-jacket comes when the rain comes.

Have three to four layers gives you greater temperature control, rather than just having one under-layer and one big jacket.


6. Understand Basic Map-Reading

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on GoogleShare on PinterestHow to read a map - a Hillwalk Tours' guide

Basic map-reading is a must-learn skill for hiking for beginners. It allows you to plan your routes effectively before a hike, and prevents you from getting lost while on your hike.

Luckily Hillwalk Tours has you covered, as we’ve written a blog about how to read map.

Hiking For Weight Loss

Everyone has different reasons for hiking. Hiking for weight loss is both an effective and enjoyable way to do it – and a great reason to start hiking for beginners.

Hiking can burn up to 500 calories an hour, and you’ll barely notice that time pass!

There are so many reasons to start hiking for beginners – it’s truly a great pastime from both the mental and physical aspects.

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