How To Plan A Hike Like a Pro
It's no wonder that hiking is becoming a lot more popular with younger folk these days. In fact, studies are showing that the primary age demographic for outdoor enthusiasts are from the ages of 20 - 34!
Hiking sure does have a lot of benefits, ranging from physical health benefits to meeting new people, so it's never too late to start. The good news is that it's super easy to get started!
In this article, we have guest blogger and outdoor lover Maria Gamez shed some more light on how to plan a hiking trip - like a pro.
How to find a trail
Yes, there's an app for that! As much as I love getting outdoors and taking a break from technology sometimes technology plays an important role in planning a hike.
When I first started out a friend recommended an app called All Trails to me which I still use religiously. If I’m ever planning a trip this is a go-to app when I do research. You can find tons of trails in your area or an area out of town you might want to explore.
This app gives useful information like how hard the trail is, how many miles, elevation information and people often leave reviews on what they like and obstacles they came across. You can even create lists of hikes you want to do if you plan on doing some travelling in the future.
If I want more details that I can't find using All Trails I do a quick google search and find articles or helpful tips on a destination. 9/10 times someone else has already been to a trail I want to do and could have some useful information.
It’s also a good idea to double check weather and road conditions before heading out to a trail. You can adjust your plans if something happens to change.
What to wear to hike
When I'm outdoors the last thing on my mind is how I look but having the right gear can sometimes make or break your hike.
When it comes to footwear, I started out with regular running shoes and gym shoes and regretted it every time! They tend to wear out quickly and never gave me long lasting support. My feet would be dead halfway through a hike sometimes! I finally invested in some Merrells and they were the best purchase I ever made! I hate splurging on clothes and shoes (I always get buyers remorse) so I waited for a Black Friday sale on Amazon and got a more than a decent pair for $50! Keeping an eye out for sales at any sporting goods stores or online can be a great way to save some cash.
The clothing you'll want to wear will all depend on weather, season, location and style. I like to stick to the basics and always want to be comfortable. I always check the forecast before going out and plan my outfit from there. I tend to get sunburned easily and hate using sunscreen (where does it absorb to??) so I like wearing layers and hats.
The gear I love to use depends on how long I'll be hiking. I usually do day hikes so I tend to switch between lighter backpacks (my shoulders and neck strain easily) and a waist pack (fanny pack for all you hipsters haha).
My favorite pack to use right now is Cedar Gear's Force Military backpack (23L). This is a smaller backpack but you can easily fit all your essentials and still hike comfortably. It's lightweight and perfect for day hiking or even travelling.
Get your Force Military Backpack here.
Who to hike with
So now you're all geared up and have a trail you want to hike but you don't have anyone to go with?! An obstacle I ran into and still run into sometimes is finding people to plan hikes with.
If I can't find anybody to plan an adventure with my next steps are to reach out to local groups using Facebook and an app called Meetup.
Meetup allows you to find clubs or groups near your location that are a part of the hiking community. This is how I found a local group in Bakersfield, CA called Southern Sierra Hiking Club that does several hikes throughout the week at Hart Park. They usually ask you to sign a waiver of liability before attending a hike and then you can start RSVP'ing.
I also found several groups on Facebook that you can easily become a member of and start meeting like minded outdoors loving friends! Bakersfield Hiking Group, Mountain Chicks and Girls Who Hike Central Valley are some I joined just to name a very small few that are out there. A lot of these groups have websites you can visit that give you information on different chapters you can join and events you can attend.
Oh, the places you'll go!
This hobby has allowed me to meet so many people and have experiences I’ll never forget. You never know who you’re going to meet along the way or the amazing places hiking is going to take you.
Go explore your city with new eyes! Go visit places you’ve never been before! Make a bucket list of hikes and make it a goal to visit each trail. Join a hiking group and you’ll quickly see what investing in meaningful friendships can do for you. There are so many positive reasons to start hiking.
When it comes down to it the reason I want to share all these tips is because I feel it's an important time in the world to spread more love. For me spreading love means sharing what I love to do with others and maybe inspiring someone to go for a hike or just to do something they love. I truly believe you can receive what you put out into the world.
Adventure is waiting for you!