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The Best Hiking Tips


Picture this - You are on a hiking trip in the mountains and so excited for your hike in the morning. Your alarm goes off at 5am, you grab a quick bite, look outside, and see that it's drizzling and the rain clouds are coming in quick. Now you are scrambling to figure out what trail to hike, what to pack, and if your weekend is ruined. We have all been there! Here are some of the greatest tips for a successful hiking trip, regardless of the weather situation.



  1. Check the weather forecast
    Checking the forecast a day or two before your hike is always a good idea. Weather can change at any moment, but usually a day or two out gives you enough time to prepare or update your plans. If it is raining, you can still hike, bring a rain jacket! Some of the most beautiful views are seen after a rainfall (cue rainbow over mountain peaks). Be sure to check for lightning, as that would be a reason to reschedule.


  2. Be flexible
    Things happens. Weather, medical issue, altitude sickness, car problems, gear failure, and the list goes on. Be flexible with your hiking schedule and be OK with swapping hiking days/trails.


  3. All Trails App
    This is hands down the best app you can download on your iPhone or Android for hiking trails. All trails allows you access to 100,000+ trail maps all over the world. You can pull up the map of the area you are staying, and All Trails will show you a ton of trails near you, trail length, and rank (easy, moderate, hard). All Trails has the largest collection of detailed, hand-curated trail maps so you can hike with confidence.


  4. Be prepared for unexpected weather
    Rain, hail, snow, sleet, blazing hot sun. Depending on the region in which you are hiking, be prepared for all of it. In cooler climates, pack a puffy jacket and rain jacket. In temperatures that may reach over 100 degrees, bring extra water, electrolytes, and sun protection.


  5. Wear a good pair of hiking shoes
    Blisters are the worst and can ruin a hiking trip. Invest in a good pair of trekking footwear and be sure to break them in before wearing them on a trail for the first time. See this hiking shoe guide for what shoes to buy.


  6. Moisture wicking socks
    Hands down, the best socks for hiking. Avoid wet, sweaty feet causing tears and blisters. These socks are easy to find just about anywhere.


  7. Use a gaiter/buff
    They're not just for fishing! A neck gaiter, or buff, is a great item to have on a hike. Not only does it protect your neck from the sun, but it also serves as a quick face cover if you are passing by an area with gnats, provides warmth if it gets chilly, or if it's extremely hot, dip it in an ice cold stream and place it back around your neck for a refreshing treat.


  8. Sun Protection
    The sun is no joke. A sunburn on day one of your trip can ruin the rest of it. Protect your skin against the harsh sun by bringing sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, sun protective clothing, and a neck gaiter/buff. 


  9. Bug Spray
    A must-have. You will be outside. What lives outside? BUGS. Especially during mosquito season. Avoid the constant bites by bringing bug repellent (and yes, they will still bite you through your clothes).


  10. Bear Spray
    In the United States, grizzly bears are found in Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, Washington, and Idaho. If you are hiking in any of these states, bear spray is essential. Learn how to use it. It is pricey, and you can't bring it back with you on an airplane, but it is super important to have, as grizzly bears are aggressive.


  11. Camera and/or cell phone
    Hiking provides the most beautiful shots of nature. Don't forget your camera (or cell camera) to snap pictures to document your journey.


  12. Navigation
    Be sure to secure a proper navigation device in the event you take a wrong turn. A compass, GPS device, or map are all great options. The All Trails app is good, but if you lose cell service, you will lose that map too.


  13. Trekking Poles - they aren't just for the old folks!
    In my opinion, hiking poles are the most underrated hiking item. They are clutch for when you are descending and your knees are on fire. They are also a great tool when stepping up and over rocks. Save your knees!


  14. Hydration Bladder
    You can throw a hydration bladder in your day pack, or just wear a hydration pack alone. Most hydration packs hold 2.5 liters of water and the hose makes it easy for you to take sips along the way to keep hydrated.


  15. Hike with a friend, family member, or lover (wink)
    Having a hiking buddy is awesome. Two brains think better than one. It is also important in the event of a medical emergency.


  16. Other essential items to bring:

    • Water​ treatment (chlorine dioxide tablets)

    • Snacks

    • Electrolyte tablets/packets

    • Chapstick

    • Small roll of duct tape (5-10 feet)

    • Biodegradable toilet paper

    • Alcohol based hand sanitizer

    • Mini first aid kit

    • Extra pair of socks

For a more comprehensive guide of what to pack in your hiking backpack, or backpacking pack, refer to this page, What do I pack in my Backpack?

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