1) Hydrate: This is not your usual 45 minutes long routine in a local gym. One day hike (I call it afternoon hike) can take easily from 3 to 9 hours. This is very long exercise and you need to be prepared for that. Take 3 litres of water for one afternoon hike. On my first hike I had 1,5l watter bottle. I drank only about third of it and at night the nightmare begun. Cramps, diziness...I felt terrible. Do not think that drinking 3 litres of water after 4 hours of hiking will catch up with the deficit. It won´t. Your kidneys can process the heaviest load of liquids in the morning. The more hours you are functional towards the night, the slower the kidneys work. Drinking 3 litres at night burdens your kidneys and it´s not good at all. I´m using Osprey reservoir and it is simply the best thing to pack with you.
2) Think in long term period: My first hike was in Tatras, Slovakia in late September. I thought I‘m used to exercise so hiking will be easy. It is not. You can feel comfortably at home in your village or city but out there 1000 metres above see level the sun bakes like in summer. It doesn´t matter its 13°C. The sun burns.
3) Equipment: So you think you don´t need backpack, right? I was there too. Bought my first hiking backpack about 3 days later after I came back from my first hiking trip (2 days took research which one will be the best for me). Backpack is as important as water. Why? Because it stores everything you might need in next 3-9 hours. You name it: water reservoir, first aid kit, 3rd or 4th layer (maybe both), knife, cell phone, power bank, food, headlamp, purse, sunscreen, extra t-shirt or hoodie, gloves, winter hat and the list goes on and on. You won´t find 5 people with the same backpack content.
4) Electronics: Have you ever heard about smart watches? It is your best friend with buddy called cell phone. These two are absolute game changers. Can save your life or at least make it much easier. That applies 10 times more in mountains or during hiking. Nowadays watches can alert you about incoming storm, tell you heart rate, can show your hiking route and safely return you where you started in case you get lost. Even many smart watches can alert your family members if you fall with exact GPS coordinates.
Every single time charge your electronics to the full. Download latest apps for hiking (weather forecast, your smart watch app, maps, emergency app, compas). Now I take with me powerbank because my hiking takes longer and longer the more I´m experienced.
5) Clothes: You feel badass so you put on sneakers, shorts and regular T-shirt for your first hike? Don´t do this even as a joke. You would regret that decision in 10 minutes after leaving your car, bus, train or whatever nice thing got you to the starting point. First reason. Everyone you meet will secretely laugh at you. I did this mistake and yeah, you could feel those people looking at you. It´s like you appear at Star Wars dark side fans meeting dressed as Pikachu. Second reason, it´s not fashion to buy proper hiking clothes but functional thing. Most of hiking clothes for upper body are from merino. Sheep wool. It has the best quality for conditions you are going to face.
Merino dryes faster, is lightweight, keeps you warm, wicks away sweat and the most positive thing, it eliminates body odor so you can wear one t-shirt for several days. If you want to hike in autumn, you need waterproof trousers. Anytime and anywhere you go you need hiking boots. Let me compare sneakers to Prius and hiking boots to Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce of hiking boots are products from Salomon. Don´t save money there. Look for Gore-Tex, OrthoLite, Contagrip, EVA foam technologies implemented in your boots. Boots will be the most expensive and the most important part of your equipment. Your feet suffer during hike? Your legs will hurt, your back will hurt, your mood will drop below zero and the best will come the next day…
So why not regular T-shirt? It is made from cotton or cotton mixed with man-made fibers. What´s the result? The cloth will keep sweat on your body, it will soak with it and hold it. Either way you will look like and feel like chicken in oven. Most likely you will have naked torso in 20 minutes. I hope you have enough sunscreen then. 3 to 9 hours on the sun. Good luck 😉
6) We will see: Never just never go for a hike into environment you don´t know a single thing about. Quickest possible way for an accident or disaster to happen. Always prepare for your hike ahead. Where do you want to go? Prepare 2 places. One is your main goal and the second place is a spare if something goes wrong for the first place (weather, accident on the road leading to traffic jam or closed road etc.). Learn as much information about those places as possible. Climate, weather, animals living there, plants growing there, are there any rivers in case you are out of water... Have you ever seen people asking what´s this plant with red berries? Nobody knows? OK, let´s try those. Never do this. You don´t need to know all plants but at least learn about dangerous ones in areas you are about to visit. If you don´t know what it is, don´t eat it. Or use recognition app for smartphone or use common logic. Are there birds around the bush with nice berries on it? Are those birds eating those berries? It may be somehow safe. In other way if there are birds around and berries are untouched, avoid even touching those. The color is chosen for example.
Always plan ahead as much as you can. Read articles, be part of hiking group on internet, watch youtube videos about hiking, educate yourself, plan the trip in your head. Try to figure out what can go wrong. What are hidden dangers and how can you eliminate dangerous situations. The rest will come with experience but you need solid starting knowledge.
What is in my backpack for a one day hike (summer+winter): hydropack Osprey filled with water and magnesium and sugar (that can make your hiking longer for hours). Lighter, candle, pepper spray, knife, first aid kit, spare t-shirt, powerbank, waterproof second/third layer (Mac in Sac), gimbal when I´m recording videos, anti-skid shoe covers, protein bars, extra magnesium in sacks for insta use, head lamp, bananas, dried meat, paracord, gloves, cap/hat, sunscreen lotion. These are my essentials which you can pack in 10 litres backpack. Smartphone in my pocket, smart watch on my wrist. Usually I have paracord bracelet on my second wrist. If you plan longer trips, pack more food (balanced composition of proteins, fats, carbohydrates).
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