Preparing For Your Hike

So you decided to travel rim to rim? Contemplating through hiking the PCT? The App. trail? How about going for a four or five mile hike in your local woods? Well nothing will make your trip worse than not being prepared for it when you arrive there. You might think hiking is just walking. I mean, how difficult can it be? Even a short hike can really take it out of you. So here is my guide to being prepared for your hike, be it basic or intense.

I have traveled over 50 miles per day before and also did a 44 mile race on 3 technical peaks over 12,000 feet. I have hiked all over the country in every condition from 14,000 foot mountains to the trails behind my house. If you follow my simple steps you’ll be able to accomplish your goal no matter how big it is. So here is what you should do:

Get all your gear ready. You need to have all your equipment together, whether it is a light lunch and a water bottle or a 75 pound backpack for a two week long adventure. It is important to practice like you play. Take a backpack with you on some conditioning hikes if you plan to have one when you actually begin on your expedition.

Be ready. Going on some mock up hikes will help you know whether or not you will need things like tissues, or sun screen. This will help you notice just how much an extra pound or two might be.

Bring extra stuff If you want to up your conditioning a bit, fill a few extra Nalgenes. Each one filled with water is about two pounds, so you are increasing your weight. If halfway through the hike, you start to get tired, you can just dump it out. When I was training for my race, I used to walk with a 35 pound pack for hours at a time. I did this even though I knew when the race came I’d only be carrying about 9 lbs. This gave me the self esteem and strength to hike longer and feel better during the whole race. Hike more than once a day. If you are training for a more intense hike, and you want to be ready, but also have a thing called a job that continues to eat away at your hiking time, consider doing two hikes a day to bring your mileage up. Many times I’ll hike to work and back home, giving myself an extra 20 miles for the day.

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Learn to do things while you hike. If you feel like your hiking practice time is unproductive, you are unlikely to keep doing it. I began hiking with a small tape recorder that I talked into while I hiked so that I had most of my ideas out before I got to work. Because of that idea, I was able to do more in less time. My training time was also my working time.

Write down your workouts. Recording workouts is an age old practice, even ancient Greek Olympians wrote down their training routines. Seeing your progress and keeping track of what you do can really help you keep focused on a goal.

Begin small. Everybody begins somewhere, and everyone starts at a different level. Your first trips should be fairly easy. Don’t attempt to do 100 miles on your first hike, just keep increasing your distance each time you go out. I remember my first actual hike when I was 7 years old with my dad. We only went about 4 miles, but I was sure I was going to die. Now I can walk all day, why? Because I never quit. I have raised my goal little by little throughout my whole life. Be calm and remember to keep going. As my dad once told me anyone can give up, not everyone can keep going.

Find your style. I enjoy hiking alone but my friends can’t handle it. You should know what you like, so you can keep it fun. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t keep doing it.

Have a purpose. It can be hard, even if you enjoy it, to keep going. Anyone who tells you it isn’t challenging is a liar. But if you have a reason, you can get through any of those tough times. I like to make goals because achieving them gives me a thrill. But, some people hike for a cause. Events like the MS walk, or other charities will let you hike to raise money. Other organizations are for health. Having a purpose keeps some hikers going. At some point your body wants to quit, so you have to hike with your heart.

This article was written by Brian Tecklenburg. For more outdoors excitement check out One of the best things you can do for your health.

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