I think a hiking preparation post is in order! I recently got back from a holiday in Salt lake City where my boyfriend and I went on some fun hikes. They were all much more challenging than I thought they were going to be (and the high altitude certainly did not make life easier either)! One hike in particular was absolutely ridiculous but so worth it because there were three beautiful lakes and absolutely stunning views.
You’re probably wondering when I am going to get to the point of this post haha … basically these challenging hikes got me thinking that it would be really cool to do a post about preparing for a hike, whether it is challenging or relatively easy. I know it seems as if preparing for a hike is pretty intuitive but there are quite a few things you can do which you may not have thought about.
Preparing for a hike, especially a challenging uphill hike, can be categorized into the following:
Cardio/Strength, Research, & Supplies
Although anyone can technically just go on a hike, if you want to have a good time on a hike it is usually important to make sure that you are at least somewhat fit. I am not saying you have to be an avid gym go-er or a marathon runner, but it is good to have a good cardio tolerance and to have some leg strength. Core strength is also beneficial to keep yourself balanced if you are hiking on a steep downhill portion. What I would recommend is making sure that a few weeks before you go on a hike, you start doing something that will improve both your cardio and strength levels. For cardio you could start by going on a few brisk walks a few times a week, going for some runs or even trying out a fitness class such as kickboxing or BodyAttack (offered at most 24 Hour Fitness gyms) to raise your cardio levels. To improve your strength levels, you can start concentrating on lower body exercises such as squats and lunges. You could even do a pilates legs and butt workout (Blogilates online and free videos are my favorite) or go to a fitness class that focuses on building strength and tone such as Booty Barre (still need to try this class at Mint Studios Pilates!) or BodyPump (offered at most 24 Hour Fitness gyms).
Seriously, you will be happy you prepped when you do the hike. I would say that I am a pretty fit person, but my hike to Lake Blanche in Salt lake City KILLED ME. It was 6 miles, and 3 miles of it were all steadily uphill .. do not underestimate how exhausting walking at an incline can be 0__o
In terms of research, I just mean that you should do some Google searching about all the different hikes you can do a few days before you plan on hiking. Take the time to see how far away it is to drive to the hike, how long the hike will take, and how strenuous the hike may or may not be. A good tip is to read some reviews, such as on TripAdvisor, about what others thought about the hike. If you are a hiking newbie, avoid hikes with reviews that say ‘REALLY STRENUOUS HIKE’ .. ‘OMG, THIS HIKE IS HARD’ and the like.
Lastly, but certainly not least, make sure you have the relevant supplies a day ahead of time. There was one point during my time in Salt Lake City when my boyfriend could not find his trainers .. ergo no hike lol. So make sure you have the following supplies ready (or at least some of them):
1. Lots of water bottles (1x 1 liter bottle per person for every 1 and 1/2 hour of hiking)
2. Appropriate clothing (some light and well-fitting activewear if in a hot place, or some warm jackets and etc if in a cold place)
3. Proper footwear that you do not mind getting dusty (think trainers like Nikes, Asics, Reebok and etc)
4. Sunglasses with a good amount of UV protection
5. A phone (just in case you get lost, and helps you keep track of time – alternatively a watch instead)
6. A hat
7. Sunscreen (yes, even if you are hiking through snow or on a cloudy day, the sun will still reach you!)
8. A backpack (to hold all of you handy dandy supplies :D)
9. Food (if going on a hike longer than an hour it would be smart to bring portable and nutrient dense foods such as fruit, bread/crackers, nuts and etc)
If you guys think of anymore pre-hiking prep advice then please, please let me know either in the comments below or via social media or email. I would love to hear them because I am no hiking expert; but I do hope my hiking advice helps you prepare for your next (or first ever) hike!
Guess what I am doing this weekend … 🙂