Should you learn how to hike properly? Here are a few tips that you may not know when setting out on a long distance hike or backpacking trip. The key to walking long distances over rough terrain with a pack on your back is maintaining a comfortable steady body tempo. Follow the right steps on how to hike. Keeping a steady hiking tempo is not the same thing as keeping a steady pace.
No survival gear is needed here, how to hike correctly is the name of the game. The best gauge you have of your body’s tempo is your breath rate. Establish a steady rhythm of deep breathing on level ground, taking three or four steps for each intake of air and three or four per exhale. Adjust your pace as needed to maintain the rhythm. On an uphill pull, for example, reduce the count to two steps before you get short of breath; a serious climb may dictate one step per breath or less.
At first, you may have to discipline yourself to slow down a bit. A common mistake for beginners is that they tend to go uphill far too quickly. Once you get the hang of it, an established body tempo will come naturally.
Energy Efficient Hiking
Be efficient with your energy; exerting yourself only as a necessity. A springy step takes energy so it is best to walk flat footed while taking advantage of and exercising your thigh muscles. Remember that how to hike requires a bit of experience before you get good at it. Energy is wasted when stepping on a log or a rock, opt for stepping over or going around these obstacles.
Energy is also depleted by chills or overheating; add or remove layers of clothing before discomfort sets in; of course sometimes it is as simple as venting a jacket by opening it’s closure to let trapped air and some body heat escape. It is a good idea to take brief rest stops every hour or so but make your resting periods relatively short. It is hard to get back into your hike once you’ve cooled off and your muscles begin tightening.
Importance Of Hydration
Snack on a high energy trail mix or nuts if you feel hungry and pay careful attention to maintain proper water hydration. If you are overheated, do not drink a large quantity of water all at once, take small sips spread out over several minutes. Take good care of your feet, this is very important for how to hike gracefully. When out hiking, your feet are your only method of transportation.Remove your boots and socks during your rest stops to let your feet and your boots to cool off and air out. If you have the chance to soak your feet in a cool stream or lake, take it. If your feel the beginning of a hot spot or point of irritation, do not be heroic, stop and cover it with a bit of cotton or a Band-Aid before it becomes a blister. When crossing a stream, remove your wool socks and put your boots back on, lacing them tightly.
Hiking isn’t difficult once you get the ideal pace.
Once you’re across the water, dump out your hiking boots and put your wool socks back on. Because you’re socks are wool, they will absorb the remaining water from your boots while keeping your feet protected. An even better choice is to put on the water shoes you’ve stashed in your gear bag. If you are hiking as part of a group, pace yourself with the slowest and weakest member.
If you are the slowest member or you develop a problem, such as a blister or pulled muscle, do not be afraid to make your needs known. Many experienced people on how to hike will give a hand if they are near you. It is better to slow the group down than make them carry you out. While a real problem is important to heed, please avoid idle complaints.
Your fellow hiking buddies are facing the same weather and terrain conditions and pesky bugs as you are. There are some common courtesies that hikers and backpackers should observe. If you are following an established trail, stay on it. You always have to be kind to people who are learning how to hike, soon they will get the necessary experience.
On a steep trail, descending hikers have the right of way and you should clear the trail for them. Parties with pack animals always have the right-of-way; move off the trail on the downhill side and stay still and calm. A spooked animal is easier to control and injury less likely if it shies uphill. Do not intrude on other campers and hikers unless invited and don’t overstay your welcome. Only give or take food unless hunger needs are great.
Mastering The Fine Art Of Hiking
Hiking on level ground: Within the limits of hiking comfort, long strides are more efficient than short ones. Keep in mind that How to Hike isn’t about quantity but about quality. Keep heavy gear high in your pack and close to your body so that the weight is centered to your hips. Going uphill: Short steps minimize the struggle against gravity. A good staff or walking stick helps against gravity and aids in maintaining balance.
Stand straight rather than leaning forward to keep your weight centered. At first, this can feel as though you are leaning backward. Keeping a straight posture can help you to regain balance if you slip and prevent serious injury. The best place for your heavy gear when hiking uphill is in the middle of your backpack and close to your body. So getting the feel of how to hike correctly involves these easy steps.
When climbing very steep terrain, use the mountaineer’s rest step: pause briefly and exhale with each step after placing your front foot and before transferring your weight from the rear foot.
How To Hike Downhill And Uphill
When going downhill, stress is placed on your toes, soles of feet and knees. It’s a good idea to tighten your boot laces to prevent your feet shifting and sliding inside. Take short steps with knees slightly bent to absorb the shock; cushioning the impact of each step. Lean your body slightly forward to maintain balance and to help avoid slips.
To minimize stress on your ankles, knees and spine, lean away from the hill rather than toward it. This is a good place to use your walking stick to help equalize weight and maintain balance. Now that you know how to hike in the outdoors, you should just go out!
Hopefully these tips to comfortable distance hiking have inspired you to get out there and enjoy a good long distance trek in the great outdoors. Make sure to practice other survival skills along the way. There’s a whole world out there, why not go explore it!