Thinking about going on a hike soon, but don't know where to start?
From finding the UK's best hikes to the easiest hikes near London and hiking the Appalachian Trail, a lot of thinking needs to go into where to head for your hike and how to stay safe when you get there.
From general hiking hacks and tips, to info on how to hike with kids and animals look no further. Here are the best hiking hints, hacks and tricks everyone should know about.
What If You Get Lost?
Understandably, most beginner hiker's main concern is getting lost in the countryside, with no way back. Phones can run out of charge, signal is rare in the highlands and those daylight hours can slip away from you faster then you think.
The combination of fear, confusion and loneliness can make getting lost feel overwhelming, however there are things you can do to prevent and the solve this situation.
To prevent getting lost, always take an emergency pack with you in your hiking gear, this includes a way of signalling, such as an emergency whistle and a map, to try and figure out your location.
If you do find yourself lost however, the main thing to do is stay calm and follow these four points.
- If you move around without a good plan, you're likely to get even more lost. So for now sit down, take a few deep breaths, drink some water.
- Focus on where you've come from and remember the last time you were definitely sure of your route. Try and remember any landmarks that could be useful in getting back.
- Study your map, looking for roads, major terrain or water features, that could give you a clue to where about you are located.
- Remember your current position, so you can return to it if necessary, then make a plan. If you have daylight hours left, start on the route you have created for yourself, but if its now dark, consider camping in your current spot till daybreak.
Tips For Staying Hydrated When Hiking
On a hike, water is two things - very necessary and very heavy. At two pounds per litre, water can weigh you down if you carry too much of it when you don’t need to, either as a day hiker or a backpacker.
Having enough water is crucial to a hike, but that doesn't mean that you need to take litres and litres with you in you hiking backpack. If you're on a hike you know well, or a route with lots of streams and rivers, a water filter is your new best friend.
During a summer hike, you can drink around 5 litres of water throughout the day, so don't get caught out! Here's one method to keep hydrated, but not weighed down:
- Pre-hydrate by drinking a liter of water just before, carrying water inside you is lighter than carrying water on your back!
- Take 2 litres and drink about one pint every hour, depending on conditions and physical stress level.
- Plan your route so you know where there is water, so you can collect and filter more if necessary.
- Drink a glass of water at the end of your hike.
Tips For Hiking with Kids
While hiking with your kids and getting them outside is great, it is still going to be hard work at times.
Kids love being outdoors, but with all the technological distractions they're used to be surrounded with, they're not going to believe that straight away.
Allow for your hike to be ruled by fun and exploration, instead of destination. You might not get to that peak, but that's ok. Hiking with kids can allow you to appreciate those trails, trees and rivers in a way you usually don't.
Here's our tops hints and tips for keeping the kids happy on a hike.
- Bring plenty of food - You'll be amazed how regularly kids need snacks when they're bounding around all day and a hungry 7 year old, is a moody 7 year old.
- For the first hikes, concentrate on letting them enjoy without the stress of distance. Hike shorter distances and slow down the pace.
- Let your kids invite a friend along, everything is more fun with a friend from school.
- Let them help in choosing the route. A hike is more interesting when you know why you're walking it.
- Play! Climb trees, look at animals, make up games, pretend you're in Lord Of The Rings - we bet you'll enjoy it as much as them.
Tips For Hiking With Your Dog
Instagram is full of adventure dogs for a reason, pups love a good hike!
While taking your furry best mate is rad, you definitely need to do a little prep to make sure your dog is happy on the hike and other hikers are happy with them being there!
The first and most obvious thing to mention, is poop. It's something a dog does all day long and can be a horrible surprise to other hikers if not cleaned up. While some hikers choose to carry bags and dispose of them at the end of a hike, don't forget that you're surrounded by nature. The most obvious thing to do is bury it away from the trail, easy!
Remember that just like you, you're dog will need healthy snacks along the way also. Start with their regular food or snack and increase their daily allowance up to 50 percent based on fitness, usual exercise, and the hike’s difficulty.
Water Use your own thirst as a guide and offer water when you stop to drink every 15 to 30 minutes. Dogs can get Giardia, so use the care you do with yourself, with their water too!
Similarly, just like us, dogs can have accidents. Make sure you have the right first aid equipment in your hiking gear to deal with any cuts they might get along the way.
Top 10 Tips For A Hike
1) Take a compass- GPS can fail
2) Always tell someone where you are and the route you're taking
3) Take a paper map - Electronic ones can run out
4) Take a spare pair of laces
5) Be aware of the weather before you go - Always cancel if you're unsure of safety
6) Take a portable phone charger or second mobile phone battery
7) Take a torch!
8) Wear thin layers - And never forget your waterproof.
9) Take a length of cord - You wont believe how many times it will come in handy
10) Take emergency travel money - We all want to walk, but sometimes at 7pm, the local bus is the only way back....