Beginners Guide To Hiking

Beginners Guide To Hiking

A Beginner's Guide to Hiking

Hiking is more than just a walk in the outdoors – it's an excellent way to connect with nature, challenge yourself, and discover the beauty of the great outdoors. Whether you're new to hiking or just looking to refresh your skills, this beginner's guide will set you on the right path for a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.

One really useful thing you could do right away is to join our new Outwest Outdoor Club Facebook Group which is free to acess by clicking here - Join Now

1. Choose the Right Trail & Route:
Start with a trail that matches your fitness level and experience. Look for beginner-friendly trails that are well-marked, relatively flat, and not too long. Research online or consult local hiking guides to find trails that suit your preferences.

2. Wear the Right Gear:
Proper hiking gear is essential for comfort and safety. Invest in a good pair of hiking shoes or boots that provide ankle support and traction. Wear moisture-wicking clothing to stay dry, and dress in layers to adapt to changing weather conditions. Don't forget a hat or beanie, sunglasses, and sunscreen for sun protection.

3. Pack the Essentials:
Pack a small backpack with hiking essentials, including a trail map, plenty of water, energy-rich snacks, a first aid kit, a flashlight, a multi-tool or pocket knife, and a fully charged phone. It's better to be overprepared than underprepared, especially on longer hikes.

4. Start Slow and Stay Hydrated:
If you're new to hiking, start with shorter trails and gradually increase the difficulty as you build your endurance. Stay hydrated by drinking water regularly, especially on warmer days. A good rule of thumb is to drink half a liter of water every hour while hiking.

5. Follow Leave No Trace Principles:
Outwest is a proud member of Leave No Trace Ireland. Pack out all your rubbish, stay on designated trails, and avoid disturbing wildlife. Leave the trail as you found it, so that others can enjoy the beauty of nature too. You can learn more here

6. Pace Yourself:
Hiking is not a race. Take breaks when needed and listen to your body. Enjoy the scenery, take photos, and soak in the experience. Pay attention to your energy levels, and don't push yourself too hard.

7. Be Prepared for Weather Changes:
Weather in the great outdoors can be unpredictable. Check the weather forecast before heading out, but also be prepared for sudden changes. Bring rain gear, an extra layer, and consider a hat and gloves for cooler temperatures.

8. Hike with a Friend Or Group:
Hiking with a friend or a group can be more enjoyable and safer. If you're hiking alone, make sure to let someone know your plans, including your expected return time and the trail you're taking. This is why we set up the Outwest Outdoor Club! We want to get more people involved in the outdoors so if you would ever like to join us on an event be sure to let us know or head here for a little more information!

9. Learn Basic Navigation Skills:
Even on well-marked trails, it's important to have basic navigation skills. Learn how to read a trail map and use a compass or GPS device. This knowledge can be crucial in case you get lost or the trail becomes less defined.

Embarking on a hiking adventure as a beginner can be both exciting and rewarding. By following these tips and guidelines, you'll be well-prepared to enjoy the wonders of nature while staying safe and respectful of the environment. So lace up your hiking boots, grab your backpack, and hit the trails for an unforgettable journey into the great outdoors!

Shane & Bec


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