Mountain hiking is an incredible activity to take on. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of breathing in clean, fresh air and basking in the most spectacular view from atop a mountain. After all, only people on top of mountains can truly feel on top of the world!
However, there are a few things you need to know before you set off on your next mountain hiking adventure.
These include safety tips and ways you can prepare yourself, so that you’re never caught off guard while you’re out exploring mountainous places.
4 Things to Consider Before You Attempt a Mountain Hike
#1 Beware of the Altitude Sickness
If you’re hiking at high altitudes, you need to be cautious of altitude and regularly take note of your physical wellbeing. Air is thinner and holds less oxygen at higher altitudes, which makes your body work harder and dehydrate quicker.
It is very important to stay hydrated and turn back if you start getting any symptoms of altitude sickness as it can be fatal. If you start feeling dizzy, nauseous or have a headache or shortness of breath as you ascend, then you must turn around and head back down the mountain.
#2 Start with a Thorough Preparation Plan
Preparing for and planning out your mountain hike are very important steps to take before you set off. You need to decide on the trail you want to take and do some research on its length so you can determine how long it will take you to hike it.
You don’t want to take on a trail that is too long for a day hike and not be able to get back before dark. If you’re a beginner hiker, make sure you choose shorter, less steep trails to get you started and get your body more accustomed to hiking movements.
Check what the weather is like before you start. Weather can change very quickly and become quite unpredictable at the top of the mountains, so do a quick Google search or ask an experienced guide before you set off.
Packing a lightweight rain jacket or poncho in your backpack is highly recommended. However, don’t risk going off on a hike, if a big storm is predicted.
In addition to a rain jacket, there are some other essential items you should have in your backpack as well. You should always take a navigational aid, such as a map, compass or GPS device, just in case you get lost.
Even on a grey and cloudy day, the sun can do harm, so always pack sunscreen, a hat and UV protective sunglasses to ensure you are completely safe from harmful UV rays.
Pack an extra layer of clothing, even if it’s a hot day, as it can get very cold as you climb higher up a mountain. Last but not least, you should also pack a basic first aid kit in case of an emergency.
Lastly, if you’re going mountain hiking by yourself, you should always inform someone about where you’re going and what trail you’ll be on. Hiking with at least one other person is always recommended.
#3 Choose the Right Hiking Gear
Using the right gear is crucial when mountain hiking. While the type of hiking gear you need is dependent on what the type of hiking environment you’ll be trekking, there are some general guides to help you pick the right items.
The type of shoes you buy are one of the most important pieces of gear for mountain hiking.
If you’re going on short hikes that are only a couple of hours long, then running shoes and light hiking boots will suit you fine. However, if you’re going on a lengthy mountain hike, a good pair of hiking boots is a necessity.
You’ll need a pair with cushioning and ankle support to ensure your feet don’t get any blisters or become uncomfortable. Always wear in your hiking boots before going on a long hike!
The type of clothing you wear is important too. Avoid cotton clothing, because it doesn’t dry quickly and isn’t very warm. A down jacket is a must if you’re going on a lengthy hike in cold weather, and a beanie can help you retain warmth.
#4 Plan Your Food and Water Intake
While this may seem obvious, always take enough water and food supplies with you when you go mountain hiking. It is very important to stay hydrated and take regular sips of water as you go.
Make sure you’ve eaten before you set off on your adventure and remember to take a break and have something to eat along the way.
Do you enjoy hiking? Have you ever completed a difficult mountain hike? What tips do you have to help others succeed?
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