Hiking is a great way to connect with nature, find adventure, and get exercise, but getting started can sometimes seem intimidating. Here are a few hiking tips for anyone wanting to discover their inner hiker.
1. Choose a hiking partner carefully.
If you’re trying to ease into the hiking world, going with a zealot may seem like a good idea—their enthusiasm is bound to rub off on you, right? Maybe, but be careful. Sometimes getting your mountain legs can take a while, and you won’t enjoy yourself if you constantly feel like you are a burden. The right person can make hiking infinitely more fun; just make sure you are on the same page about pacing, destination, and expectations. And on that note…
2.Take as many breaks as you want.
Don’t be ashamed to take your time and stop as much as you like. Take water breaks, picture breaks, snack breaks, stretching breaks, viewing breaks, or even just straight up break breaks—whatever it takes. Stopping frequently and drinking lots of water also prevents altitude sickness, which can occur when changing altitude quickly. You deserve to enjoy the journey, so don’t feel the need to apologize.
3. Supplement the experience.
Combine hiking with another activity that will occupy your mind. Look up common birds, plants, and animals that are native to your area and see how many you can spot on your way. Bring a problem that’s been plaguing your mind and use the opportunity to seek clarity. Download a geocaching app to your phone and turn your hike into a treasure hunt. Pack a lunch and search for the perfect place to picnic. When you hike, the world is your playground, so play!
4. Pick the perfect playlist.
Sometimes the right song can boost you through even the toughest stretch of a hike. Blast The Climb by Miley Cyrus, Climb Every Mountain from The Sound of Music, or the Theme from Rocky—any song that makes you feel strong, motivated, and victorious. The Cotopaxi llamas recommend this awesome playlist. Didn’t bring a music player? Not a problem, just take your empowerment one step further and sing it yourself!
5. Wear the right gear.
While it may feel pretentious to dress the part while only a novice, the gear you choose can really make or break your hiking experience. Blisters, chafing, or being caught unprepared can ruin anybody’s hike. Be sure to pick shoes, clothes, and hiking backpacks that are comfortable and fit your needs. Bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and anything else you might need while adventuring.
As a beginner, you will want gear that is functional, comfortable, and reasonably priced. Check out our recommendations:
The Inca is a lightweight, hiking backpack that’s perfect for all adventures in all elements. The pack features a clean design, intelligent storage, comfortable padded mesh suspension for increased ventilation, and a hydration sleeve. The pack also comes in a 26L version.
Hydration is key to enjoying the outdoors. Even if you don’t feel like you are sweating- you are! Be sure to be sipping water throughout the hike.
Stay protected from the sun with a hat. While all hats will do the trick, we think you would look awesome in Cotopaxi’s new selection of trucker hats.
Thoughts to family and friends of Logan Jauernigg, the Cotopaxi Ambassador featured in this photo and avid outdoorsman, who passed away in a kayaking accident in May 2015. #livelikelogan