To beginners, hiking might seem like simply going for walks yet the truth is far from this. Sure, it’s not as challenging as say rock climbing but it’s still mandatory to have enough stamina to be able to pull off long walks through the countryside or woods.
Australia abounds in hiking trails that offer breathtaking scenery for the different tastes, from long sandy beaches overlooking the oceans, to mesmerising vegetation and wildlife of national parks, mountainous terrains and rock areas resembling outer space that are part of the Outback, like Uluru.
No matter where you go to, be it throughout Australia or overseas, find a hike trail and you can explore a lot about an area, its natural and cultural value. This being said, it takes some preparation to be able to make the most of the adventure, and I don’t only refer to going on plenty of walks prior to the trip to work on your strength but acquiring all the bits and pieces of equipment hiking requires you to.
What are Your Trail Preferences?
Before you choose your gear, it’s important to consider your preferences regarding this outdoor experience because what you’d make use of for a walk through the woods won’t exactly be suitable for the beach and this doesn’t just go for clothing but tools, accessories and appliances too, such as multi-tools, flashlights, water filtration systems, repellents, can pots and stoves to name a few.
Likewise, don’t forget to decide on whether you’d rather hike during the day or at night, choose between reeeally long or shorter trails, spending the night in a sleeping bag or not giving up the kind of comfort a lodge offers. This would give you an idea on the essentials you’d most use and as a result avoid packing up more than you can handle.
Even if you don’t think of the perspective of weight, you must since you’d be carrying your gear with you; having this in mind it’s best to choose lightweight and compact items. Furthermore, how long do you intend to travel? Also, how often do you plan on having breaks, and where?
Answering this would give you an insight on the amount of supplies and equipment hiking wise you ought to bring along for an unforgettable trip. Luckily, the wide assortment of gear at stores providing plenty in terms of brands and styles means you won’t have to have much of a budget to begin with to buy the obligatory items and get ready.
Comfort and Safety are Priorities
It’s easy to plan out a trip on your own nowadays because you have all the information you need on the internet, so it’s okay if you want to take care of this aspect yourself instead of counting on travel agencies but find out as much as you can about the trails and destination beforehand.
Yes, this also refers to the weather forecast as it’s crucial for your comfort and safety. It doesn’t matter whether you go to the seaside or the Outback, these two are the essential ingredients to a great adventure.
Covering both means packing up a first aid kit first and foremost, with extras like pressure bandages that come in handy with snake bites, antihistamines for allergies, aspirin in case you have heart attack symptoms, along with the standard items as in the example of gauze, bandages, antibiotic ointments, scissors and tweezers.
It also means staying dry regardless whether it’s raining or it’s hot which can be accomplished by wearing moisture-wicking and breathable clothing so these are properties you should focus on when purchasing the equipment hiking specific.
Hiking equals a lot of walking and the main component of support on the go is a sturdy and quality pair of shoes, ideally a pair of boots with traction created for the different kinds of terrain. Not less important, socks have a say in how dry your feet would be so don’t underestimate a pair of organic bamboo or wool.
Since you never know when you might use a certain tool, accessory or device it’s best to have your “just in case” kit which apart from the multi-tools ought to consist of items like utility cords, compass, fire bellowing tool to start fires even in moist conditions, mosquito head net, hygiene kit and emergency whistle.
Get in Shape!
A couch potato can only make it so far which is why you should take your physical fitness seriously. If you aren’t that active in your day to day life, it’s time to hit the gym or find exercises to do at home.
Depending on how difficult the trail is you’d have a notion on the difficulty of your exercises; for instance, if you choose a terrain that takes more strength to reach and includes steep paths and hills, you’d have to focus on that in your preparations.
The right way to get in shape for hiking is to walk as much as you can, so get going. Yes, even walks on the treadmill count! Balance plays a huge role in strength and it’s advisable to work on building your core with push-ups, squats and crunches while also implementing some cardio because even though hiking is beneficial for your heart, unless you’re physically prepared for the challenge, you risk taking a toll on your well-being.
This is especially true for hikers who include mountain climbing in their itinerary, and it’s not only people over 60 who are potential victims of sudden cardiac arrest. To put this threat aside, it’s important to cut down on whatever leads to this, like smoking and cholesterol because it’s not only the bad one, i.e. LDL, that can be the problem.
To be on the safe side, be sure to check your family’s history, whether there have been heart issues before, preferably get your heart checked out even if there isn’t any case in your close relatives so you know where you’re at prior to a strenuous hike.
Regardless of how intense your hiking might be and how often you make it part of your lifestyle, there’s no doubt there are benefits resulting from a good hike and it’s not only the change of surroundings, getting fresh air and immersing in scenic landscapes
A hiker experiences improvement with the well-being as a whole considering there’s reduction in the stress levels, lifted moods, lowered blood pressure and body fat as well as improved bone density among others.
Choose your trail, prepare with equipment, check your health, exercise and get going, adventures await you!