Tips and Tricks for Beginner Hikers
Before jumping onto a trail and getting your adventure on, there are some key items you should have. These items can help you be prepared if anything happens or just make your hike more enjoyable! All of these items can help you be prepared for whatever you encounter:
- Comfortable Backpack- Ensuring your backpack has room to fit all of your needs but not too clunky or uncomfortable. You backpack is with you the whole hike, it’s the last thing you need holding you back.
- Good Footwear- A good pair of hiking shoes or boots can make a large difference on your comfort, feet, and safety on any trail
- Snacks/Water- Healthy snacks can help maintain your energy level and are always good to have if you get lost
- Light device- When hikes last longer than anticipated and the sun sets sooner then you thought, it is good to have a source of light with you
- First-Aid Supplies- You can never be too careful
- Phone or GPS- Phones and GPS can have downloaded maps and various apps to aid your travels
- Hat- A hat on a hot day is important to avoid heat stroke
- Sunscreen, Bug Spray, Bear Spray- Repellent are great to avoid unwanted pests like mosquitoes, bears and harmful UV rays
- Camera- Lastly, a camera is a great way to capture great memory’s and scenic views to save and look back on. You can also enter your photos on social media to win a $200 prize pack, for more info check out: https://sasktrails.ca/2019-give-us-your-best-shot-photo-contest/!
You may not need everything on this list depending on when and where you plan on going but it never hurts to be prepared! This basic gear will help you take on any trail you encounter!
Ease Yourself In!
Everyone knows trails can be a ton of fun. Longer more difficult trails can make for even more fun. Before jumping into a full day trail with both feet, try attempting a few entry level paths or trails. Many people assume because we are in Saskatchewan that all trails are just flat, but many trails have steep elevation and varying terrain to hike. Trail difficulties, distances, pictures, and more info can be found through the online resources found here: https://sasktrails.ca/best-online-trail-resources-to-checkout-before-your-next-hike/. Apps and websites like AllTrails, Trail Forks, or Saskatchewan Trails Directory can give you an idea of what you are walking into before you even start!
Research Your Trail!
Know the trail! There are a ton of different resources a beginner hiker can use to help navigate their expedition. Unfortunately, you can not always rely on the on-site maps to be there when you get lost. Fortunately, there are apps and websites that you can use to gauge the difficulty, distance, points of interest, and even download maps that you can use without an internet connection. Nobody expects to get lost but, in an emergency, these resources can be a life saver! You can find some online resources to aid in your research here: https://sasktrails.ca/best-online-trail-resources-to-checkout-before-your-next-hike/. These tools allow you to know exactly what’s going on in the world of trails and what you need to know to be prepared for your adventure!
Water, Water, Water!
Before, during, and after exploring a trail, water is your best friend. The importance of hydration is often overlooked, but without water your body cannot perform at its highest level. During a hike, especially on a hot day where you are perspiration, water is needed in order to maintain endurance, lubricate joints, avoid heatstroke, and control your internal temperature. Water helps your body to transport nutrients and give you more energy! Make sure to drink a few bottles of water before your trail, bring plenty water with on your trail, and drink some more afterwards!
Bring a Friend!
Not only does bringing a friend reduce the chances of an accident or dangers, bringing friends or family make a hike so much more enjoyable! Getting lost or finding yourself in a tricky situation can be aided by bringing a few people along with. A friend can help you feel more secure on the trails as well as add extra knowledge on different potential dangers. Joining a trail group is always an option too, trail groups are a great way to meet new hiking friends and learn lots!
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