One of the greatest ways to enjoy the outdoors is hiking. Trails can take you through beautiful areas and can showcase the most spectacular views. Small streams, waterfalls and wildlife are also common. The scents and sounds of nature are all around. Hiking provides time for reflection and can be very relaxing. Walking is good exercise and is a good way for families to spend quality time. Learning and sharing along the way makes for a very enjoyable outing.

Hikes can range from very short trails to extremely long adventures over mountains and through the backcountry. Day hiking is most popular and offers a wide choice in trail length, difficulty and destinations. Overnight backpacking can be quite challenging and requires more extensive planning and preparation. The following will provide some useful information that will help you plan a safe and enjoyable day hike.

The list of essential items to bring along when hiking is short and sweet. Regardless of the length of the hike, a chief objective for most hikers is to reduce carry weight – which translates to packing the bare minimum number of items you’ll need.

For hikes that last a few hours to a single day, skip the toiletries altogether. Water, of course, is always a necessity. No matter how light you’re trying to pack, bring multiple 16 ounce water bottles with you. In terms of food, bring high calorie, energy dense snacks like beef jerky, trail mix, and oat-based snack bars. They’ll give you the fuel you need without weighing you down and sapping your energy. Regarding survival equipment, bring at least two different fire starting materials (in case one fails), a GPS (or map and compass), and a good utility knife at minimum.

Hikes lasting multiple days aren’t all that different from an intra-day hike. You will, however, want to include a few additions. First, bring basic toiletry items – namely a toothbrush, toothpaste, and bar of soap. Food and water, as one could probably infer, should be multiplied according to the additional length of the hike. Survival equipment, on the other hand, can remain roughly the same as shorter hikes.

Before setting foot on the trail, the number one precautionary rule is to let several people know where you’re going, and exactly how long you’ll be there. Update them promptly if there’s a change in plans. As mentioned before, bring along a GPS or map, especially if you’re headed to a relatively unfamiliar area.

On the hike itself, you can expect to eventually wear out. For even the most zealous starters, there will come a point where fatigue and muscle failure takes hold. Don’t be frazzled by it, as it’s a familiar feeling to many avid hikers. Take frequent breaks in hilly terrain, and generally make an effort to enjoy your surroundings. By taking it slow and allowing yourself to fully appreciate the experience, you’ll really improve the quality of your hikes.

An Outdoor View… – A collection of articles focusing on hot topics, things to ponder and activities to consider

Day Hiking Checklist

Day Hiking Tips and Safety

Sharing your Adventures

Buying Hiking Boots

Leave No Trace

How to Use a Compass

Getting Lost in the Wilderness

Hiking with your Kids

Hiking with your Dog

Hiking Gear

Scavenger Hunts

State and National Parks

Trail Database

Planning Tools




Backpacking – For The Novice And The Pro – Discover the Secrets of Backpacking and Learn to Love the Journey

Camp Store

One Reply to “Hiking”

  1. Hello West Michigan Hikers. I am a 53 year old family man looking for fellow hiking
    enthusiasts who enjoy the beauty of nature. I fell in love with the most unpopular activity
    there is in West Michigan. My family does not care for hiking and I do not enjoy doing it
    alone. I like to share the sights with others. I am in need of other hikers looking for
    someone to hike with who have good morels. I am looking for people who live not more
    than a one hour drive from Holland. I think you would find me to be good company as
    most people do. I am a God fearing man, honest as the day is long and kind hearted.
    People say I have a good sense of humor too. I like to do all day hikes. I like to go nice
    and slow to really take it in. I am looking for people who really do have the true desire
    and time to hike. If you would like to meet over a cup of coffee than please e-mail me at
    hiker1@chartermi.net Tom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *