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Plan for a Day Hike

Posted on : 28-05-2009 | By : admin | In :


Hiking is a wonderful experience. It is a chance for us to get away from the noise of our daily lives and enjoy the quite solitude of nature.

But for someone who has never hiked or has not done so in a long time, planning for the experience can be enough to persuade them from trying.

That’s why we have decided to write this piece on “How To Plan a Day Hike.”

Hiking, like many other things in the world, is typically a better experience when planned out. The reasoning behind this basic rule is easily understood because if you don’t plan your hike you could end up in an unpleasant or even dangerous situation.

So, lets lay out a few ground rules that need to be followed.

1. Make a Checklist
2. Verify Your Route and Directions
3. Check Your Gear and Packing
4. Inform Someone of Your Itenerary and Return Time
5. Enjoy and Be Safe

Lets address each of these simple rules in detail now.

1. Make a Checklist

Before you do anything, you want to start with a packing checklist. This is because of  change of reality when you are out on a hike. Think of it like this. In our daily, urban lives if we need something, we just get it. We have gotten used to the concept of instant gratification. If we are driving and we get thirsty or need to use the restroom, we simply pull over and by a drink or find the restroom.

When we are hiking we do not have this luxuary. Rather, if you just spent the last two hours hiking into the hike and you realize that you need a bandage because you cut your finger, you are now two hours away from the nearest bandage. Now, this is not meant to discourage anyone from enjoying the wonderful experience of nature. Rather, we just want to make sure that you have the proper mindset before setting out on your adventure.

So, you ask, “What should I put on my checklist?” The answer is, “It depends.” Before you write your checklist you need to ask yourself where it is you are hiking. The area will tell you a lot about what you need to be truly prepared. 

If you are hiking a realitively flat dirt forest service road that winds through the local State Park, then you probably are not going to need the most hi-tech, heavy duty, mountain climbing boots. But, if that flat road that you are hiking is exposed to the sun and has an average temperature of over a hundred degrees (for example), then you are going to need extra water, sunscreen, a hat, etc. I’m sure you get the point.

So, figure out where you are going and what the terrain and hike are like. I know I put the checklist first, but if you have never hiked the area before, you should start with Step 2 and then return to Step 1.

Now that we have that covered, lets talk about some of the things that you should never leave home without.

1. Water:

If you leave home without water, you are inviting disaster. On an average day, without any strenuous work or exercise the human body needs approximately 64-80 ounces of water. That’s a lot of water, and if you think about it, most of us probably don’t drink that much water on a regular day.  When you get out in the sun, on a dry day, and start hiking a couple of miles with a backpack, you are going to need much more water.

My friends and I have done day hikes where we each carry a CamelBak®, we drink the entire 100 ounces of water and are still dehydrated at the end of the day.  Dehydration is easy to do and can be dangerous. One bottle of water is not enough. I don’t know how many people I have seen hiking with a single bottle of water in their hand. I always hope that they know when to turn around so that they don’t get sick. However, because you are going to be prepared, that won’t be you!

So, to be on the safe side, you should plan on bringing 80-100 ounces of water, per person. CamelBak is the most trusted brand out there and you can find their products here.

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