Enjoy a hike? Yeah, same here! Particularly in Australia – our beautiful country is chock full of outstanding walks and hikes. Now whether you’re a novice or seasoned pro, helpful hints and tips never go astray – over the years I have embarked upon a fair few treks/hikes/walks and have naturally accrued a myriad of hiking tips that I now take with me…
Baby, I love me a list!
For both food and equipment! It’s always a good idea to start jotting down reminders weeks in advance, to ensure you don’t forget anything. Remember, when it comes to hiking, organisation is key…
Zip lock bags
Zip lock bags are the ultimate ‘portion controlling’ device (which is important for meal planning); they’re also a wonderful space saver and have the added bonus of keeping things fresh and avoiding spillages.
Snack time, all the time
I plan my daily snacks ahead of time by filling zip lock bags with a mix of dried fruits, nuts and lollies! This ensures I don’t drain my supply on the first day (which is absolutely possible – gosh if I was to open a bag of Natural Confectionary I would unquestionably devour the whole thing in one sitting) and prompts me to snack regularly as a way of maintaining energy levels and keeping my mind alert.
UNO – does a better card game even exist?
No, it doesn’t. UNO is KING. Card games are a great form of entertainment and an even better avenue for meeting new people. UNO is obviously my preferred – what a classic! However if that is not your jive, any pack of cards will suffice…
Fill your (water) bladder
Camelbacks are beyond convenient. With a mouthpiece connected to a hose – you have immediate access to water without the hassle of pulling a water bottle in and out of your pack. Staying hydrated is the single most important thing when hiking – so always be prepared.
Restock the First Aid Kit
Never leave home without one and always give it a once over before you walk out the door! The contents of a First Aid Kit do have expiry dates – so always check these ahead of time. Being prepared is key.
Stay protected from the sun
You’re going to be outdoors and often exposed to the sun for long periods– so pack a hat and apply sunscreen daily.
Don’t blame it on the weatherman
I have always divided the contents of my pack into heavy-duty plastic garbage bags and then transferred everything into my backpack. I once got caught in torrential rain in Siberia and my pack was absolutely drenched, as were my belongings. Interestingly, one of the girls I was travelling with had the contents of her pack wrapped in garbage bags keeping everything dry and protected! A waterproof cover for your pack is also a sensible decision…
Rock out with a vibrant coloured headband/bandanna
Yep – even the lads can sport a colourful headband these days – particularly those who have been swept up in the man bun craze (myself included). It’s all about absorbing sweat (before it runs into your eyes) and keeping your hair tied back.
Keep your twinkle toes and ankles protected
You’re walking on uneven terrain – ankle sprains are not uncommon! So make sure you choose a sturdy walking shoe, with sufficient arch support, shock absorption and ample room in the toe box (to prevent high friction areas). High tops will also help with ankle support!
Which brings me to my next point…
Those divine blister pads
Pads (that come in a myriad of weird shapes and sizes) designed to adhere to the body, protecting areas that are subjected to high frictional forces. This will, in turn, help to prevent/reduce tissue damage and the development of nasty blisters.
Mobile power banks
From which you can recharge your smart phone and electrical goods whilst on the road. Smart phones are an invaluable resource; helping you to track your location, access vital information (such as weather reports) and of course contact whomever you may need. So make sure they (along with all other electrical goods) are fully charged before leaving the house.
Swiss Army knife
Designed for the adventurer – there’s very little these beauties cannot do! Cut, open, tighten, file, measure, magnify…
Nuts (healthy fats that are a fantastic energy source), peanut butter (on bread), beef jerky (perfect protein snack that’s easy to travel with), dried fruits and cans of tuna are a few of my favourite things!
I also like to pack treats that I can both reward myself with (after a long day on my feet) and share with fellow walkers…
Chocolate is always a good choice.
Add these to water as a way of combating the negative effects of dehydration – they’re a godsend. A loss of electrolytes can cause cramping – so it’s important you maintain balance within the body at all times.
Make an epic playlist
Just as I do when I exercise – I always compile an epic soundtrack of motivational tunes to keep me going throughout the day. So pack the iPod and let the good times roll….
Listen to your body
Don’t over exert yourself – as you will only pay for it the following day. When you’re starting to hurt, be gentle on yourself – take a break or retire for the day. That’s the beauty of camping – you control your own schedule.
You may go days without a shower or adequate washing facilities – so a small bottle of hand sanitizer will keep your palms fresh and germ free before every mealtime. Wet wipes are also a shower in a packet
Dress for comfort
Breathable fabrics that draw sweat away from the body are essential. Keep clothing light, as they’re easily layered.
The ol’ zip offs
As a young man I was mortified when my folks came out wearing these beauties! They had ‘dork’ stamped all over them. Whereas these days – I am a complete convert. One item of clothing that is easily converted into either a pair of shorts or pants (of course, weather dependent). Honestly – they’re a hikers dream.
Let people back at home know where you’re headed, provide them with an outline of your itinerary and check in regularly – as you never know what can happen out there! So stay safe!
You have to carry this pack around for (potentially) 6-10 hours a day! You will regret the decision to pack that extra dress (or hair brush) I promise you…
Do you have any other hiking tips to add? Let us know in the comments