The longest hiking trail in the US is 2,663 miles. It goes all the way from Canada to Mexico by way of the west coast.
If you took this trail, you’d pass through 25 national forests and seven national parks. It also reaches heights as far as 13,153 feet.
Since you’re a beginner, you won’t be hiking through that majestic trail anytime soon. However, you should learn about the essentials that you need to make hiking fun and safe. Here is a guide to hiking essentials for beginners.
Choose a Trail
Before you can plan a hike, you need to know what the trail is like. You can google search trails in your area or ask friends and family if they are fit for beginners.
There are also several apps you can use, such as ALLTRAILS or GAIA GPS. You should be mindful of elevation, distance, weather, time, logistics, and fitness ability.
As in life, success on the hiking trail depends on setting goals. When you set goals as a beginner, you need to remember to be realistic and understand your limitations.
This is not only beneficial for your safety, but it will allow you to enjoy your new hobby a lot more. Any hiker, especially beginners, can get into a horrible and even life-threatening situation.
Know How To Pack
Layers are essential hiking gear. Especially when you’re on a day trip that turns into evening or night, if you get lost off of the trail, you’ll most likely be spending the night there.
You should always pack a down jacket and a rain jacket too. Always pack a hat, extra socks, and gloves. If you’re sure there will be snow, you’ll need microspikes and gaiters. Also, take a look at these outdoor clothes for women.
As a beginner, you no doubt want to make sure you cover all your bases before hiking. Your backpack is heavy, and if you pack more than you need, you’ll pay for it on the trail.
Pack only what you figure you need for your situation and emergency essentials—things such as an emergency kit, pocket knife, and energy bar.
A Tracking Device
It’s not as bad as it sounds. In this case, the tracking device can save your life instead of invading it. A device such as the Garmin InReach guides you through the trail.
And most importantly, when you’re in a dire spot, there is a safety button you can press that notifies help if your cell phone can be pinged. It should be one of your hiking backpack essentials.
Plus, you can send messages to friends or family while on the trail if you need advice or help. Your friends and family can also track you while you’re on the trail. The device is pretty expensive, but it’s probably worth it.
Hiking Essentials for Beginners
Now you understand what the best hiking essentials for beginners are. You know how and what to pack, you know not to overload yourself and stay within your range as far as trail difficulty.
You’ve got some inspiration to hit the trails and keep safe at the same time before you get started. Check out our section on travel to read about hiking and other adventures.