Spending time in the great outdoors and conquering new trails each weekend gives great joy to many nature enthusiasts. For a lot of people, being outside in any weather conditions is a challenging activity that makes them stronger, both physically and mentally. And to become a better hiker is not exactly rocket science. All it takes is persistence and the will to do it. On the trail, we are sometimes faced with obstacles that seem impossible to overcome, but the truth is that it’s rarely, if ever, the case. Hiking is getting more popular every year, and if you’re still not confident with it, follow these useful tips on how to become a better hiker.
Go hiking every weekend
If you decide to spend more time hiking than you’ve been doing until now, then it’s necessary to hike once a week. Don’t be lazy and look for excuses, but prepare yourself for more frequent hikes. Making a monthly plan of trails you want to visit will help you in this endeavor. Unless there is a hail storm out there, you should be hiking more or less every weekend.
Learn to read a topo map
Learning to read a geographic topo map without a compass will help you in figuring out your location by matching the features on the map with what you see in front of you. If you have a paper map, always protect it with a transparent plastic cover.
Learn to use a compass
If reading maps is not your thing, then you must learn how to use a compass. Join the local mountaineering club and ask the senior hikers to teach you how to use a compass properly.
Go on day hikes with the local club
Go on as many daily hikes as possible with the local hiking group and learn new skills. For example, check what gear they use, see how the experienced hikers navigate, how they pace themselves, what kind of snacks they eat and so on. While hiking with the best you can pick up a lot of useful skills that you never used before.
Buy a water filter or a life straw
Start using water filters on your day hikes and observe how things change as you find you can hike longer each time. Many times we need to go back because of the lack of drinking water. When you start using water filters, everything changes and your hikes can become longer and less stressful.
Go on overnight hikes
If you want to become an even better hiker, then overnight hiking with a group will help you accomplish your goal. You will learn what kind of stoves people use, what others prefer to eat, what kind of tents they have, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, insect protection, how they make a fire and plenty more useful skills that will keep you safe at night on your future camping trips.
Hike in the rain
This tip may seem a little harsh, but hiking in the rain will make a better hiker out of you for sure. If you learn how to deal with complicated weather conditions and how to stay dry in extended wet weather, then imagine how easy everything will be on a sunny day. How to take care of your wet feet while hiking is the best thing you can learn while hiking in the rain. Keeping your spirit up when things are tough and the weather miserable is another skill you’ll develop.
Take a wilderness first aid class
Knowing how to help yourself and others in an emergency situation in the wilderness is a super-necessary skill for every hiker. Good luck!
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