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THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO HIKING 


Hiking is hands-down one of the most beginner-friendly ways to get outdoors and the best part is, anyone can do it. With the weather starting to turn, all you'll need is a little time set aside to get outside, and a few common-sense things to make sure you stay safe, and keep getting back out there!

Keep reading to check out our top tips!




Finding where to go 


You can ask around, purchase a local hiking guidebook, and run a few Google searches to drum up great ideas for beginner-friendly hikes in your area. If you’re new to all this, aim for something that’s just a few miles or less, and doesn’t have a lot of “vert” or vertical gain. Aim for well-marked trails and well-marked parking lots with good signage so you’re not wandering the wilderness.

If guidebooks and online searching aren't quite your thing, the app AllTrails is a super simple way to find all the info you need. Diligent users are often updating conditions, too, so you know what to prepare.


What to wear 


Unless you’re doing something incredibly rigorous, you can probably just wear the kinds of clothes you already enjoy working out in. Think breathable clothing you’d wear for a brisk walk outside. Of course, there are “hiking-specific” clothes out there, and sure, they’re great (and available UnNew here on Geartrade.), but don't overthink this! As long as you're comfortable, that's all that matters.

Do, however, think about the expected temps outside. Adding a few layers to your bag, backpack, or fanny pack just in case the weather turns chilly or wet is never a bad idea.

Socks made of merino wool or some synthetic material usually fair best because they'll keep your feet dry, and some sort of hat is great to help keep your head and face protected from those sweet sun rays.

What to bring 


Have a gander at our Hiking Ten Essentials article for a quick rundown of everything you ought to carry on the trail. It sounds like a lot, but it should all fit very easily in a small comfy day-pack. You may choose a hydration pack (like a CamelBak with a water hose built-in), or just tuck a water bottle or two into a normal hiking pack.

Depending on safety factors, you may enjoy listening to music or audiobooks on your headphones, but always stay aware as wildlife and other natural factors might be trying to get your attention.

Whatever you do, please do not be the Bluetooth speaker person. It takes away from the serenity of the environment you've stepped into and disrupts the homes of the critters that live where you're walking! Not to mention it's inconsiderate to others trying to use the trail in peace. Please, save it for the car ride.

 

How to stay safe 


If you’re new to hiking, safety can feel like a big concern—and even more so for different groups of people. But there’s tons you can do to help stack the deck in your favor. These are our ideas, and we’re always eager to hear yours, too!

  • Choose a well-frequented trail: There’s safety in numbers, and if anything happens, it’s great to know someone is likely to be able to help.

  • Get to know local wildlife and plants: Learn if there are any plants or animals to avoid, how to avoid them, and what to do if you come across one. (Poison ivy, we’re lookin’ at you.)

  • Check the weather: Heat stroke and hypothermia are both no joke, so make sure you aim for comfortable temperatures and avoid storms. In the heat of summer, 6am may be a wonderful time to hit the trail.

  • Go with a friend: This is a biggie. If anything unexpected happens, such as an injury or medical emergency, you’ll be glad you had a pal who could lend a hand or summon help.

  • Know how to read your map: Don’t be embarrassed—many people these days aren’t too familiar with topographic maps. Take the chance to learn, either through YouTube or a class. And maybe back your paper map up with an app like AllTrails or Gaia GPS, which can show you right where you are.

  • Let someone know when you’ll be back: This one is huge! Tell someone where you’re going and what time to expect a call or text that you’re back safe and sound.


Finding hiking companions 


While we love a little solo quiet time on the trail, many people deeply enjoy hiking as a social outing—and it adds bonus safety, too. Grab a friend, a date, a partner, or even your dog and get trekkin'!

You can also meet amazing hiking partners on local Facebook groups and outdoor clubs. Group club outings are an easy way to meet people you could go with one-on-one in the future and check out new spots you might not have heard of!

Here in Utah, we’ve got the Wasatch Mountain Club, as well as several Facebook groups (including female-specific ones!) and platforms like Meetup.com.




As always, let us know what you find out there, and have a blast logging trail time. You can find just about everything you need here on Geartrade, from hiking shoes to sun hats, hydration packs, and first aid kits.

Have fun, be safe,  happy hiking!
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