Many potential hikers waste a lot of time online researching about gears and skimming through blogs, instead of actually utilizing time preparing them mentally and training with their gears. You can prepare your body, mind, and gear via a good training regimen.
1. Prepare Your Body
There is no way you can actually dodge over the physical training. It is a very crucial part of your hiking training. Experts suggest starting with weight lifting and cardio routine. It is recommended to complete 2 days of cardio for every 1 day of strength training, allowing yourself to take leave of 1 or 2 days per week. The target is to make your body comfortable and moving being active.
Once you reach your comfort level and feel fit, it is important for you to increase weight to some of your cardiac workouts. This is needed to simulate the 30 to 40 pounds bag that you’ll be carrying on the trail. Add a weighted bag to your workouts 2 to 3 times per week. Bring your kid on walks or and wear his bag to do step-ups onto a low wooden box for 50 minutes.
Do this holding dumb bells or umbrella. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Next bend your knees and crux at the hips bow down as if sitting on a low chair. Your thighs should stay parallel to the ground or drop down to the knees over the feet.
While you hold the weight at your dumb bells on over your chest or on top of your back, keep up your chest and drop your back down firmly and push the heels towards the ground as you again stand up.
Hold dumb bells or sandbags or place your loaded hiking bag on your shoulders. Take one foot forward and gradually bend both the knees to right angles, keeping your knees parallel over the feet without turning in or out and then drop down the body straightly. Maintain the firm poster of your lower back and stay broad through the shoulders. Press your body up with force from the midfoot and heel of the forwarding leg. Now repeat the whole process with the other leg.
For this, use a sandbag, dumb bell or a kettle bell. Start by holding your weight in your hands in front of the body and keep your feet hip-width apart. Throughout the workout, keep your shoulders tucked in and down.
Next, hinge forward from the hip maintaining flat lower back and broad chest. Drop down your chest keeping a slight bend in your knees while you lower your chest parallel to the ground. You should firmly press your weight onto the mid regions of your heels and feet.
Step Ups with Trunk Rotation and Hip Flexion
For this exercise, use a sandbag or a dumb bell. At first, firmly press into the forwarding leg as you step up onto a strong box or bench. Move up the back leg and slightly across as you rotate inwards with the elbow and the trunk on the side of the forwarding leg.
Step back Low Row
You need to use a resistance band for this exercise. Start by standing to face the anchor region of your band. Step one foot backward holding both the handles and then bend both knees into a reverse swipe, keeping the knees at right angles. Maintain a tight core as you stretch both the elbows backward. Go back to the initial position and repeat by doing the steps with the other leg.
Side Plank Raises
Start placing your supporting elbow on your side under the shoulder and your forearm at right angles to your body. Place your top foot onto the bottom one and raise your hips up on a board, keeping your body straight from head to feet.
Align your entire body during the workout. Drop down your hips gradually and then raise it up to the board position, pushing into the ground with the bottom forearm.
Use dumb bells in this workout. Start keeping your hands on feet and dumb bells set wide in a push-up position. Put down your body in one line and as you go back up, row one elbow at the back and pull the dumb bell up towards the rib cage. Keep the board position throughout the workout by maintaining your body straight from head to toe. If you can’t maintain a stable board position on your feet, you can modify it by lowering to the knees to finish the workout.
Essential Static Stretches
After performing the basic workout and resistance training regimen, stretch your body for a while. If you don’t have enough time, perform at least one static stretch for every of the major body parts- hips, calves, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Maintain each stretch for half a minute to get the most benefit and breathe while stretching. This will prepare your body to do the next exercise.
Practice the Arduous
As the last workout of the training regimen, you must increase the elevation gain. If your resident is surrounded by mountains, then you can go out and hike. Alternatively, you can run towards a stadium or an office building and keep on climbing the stairs continuously wearing a weighted bag.
Experts suggest practicing yoga to make your core stronger. Often you may have to face awkward jerking state on the trail. A stronger core and a flexible body can enable you to deal with these situations in a better way and you will be less likely to get injured.
2. Be Mentally Prepared
Before going on a hiking trip, it is more important to be prepared mentally and emotionally than physically. Most of the hikers don’t usually get off the trail because of physical issues. Actually, they remain mentally unprepared most of the time. You should get a more realistic idea by reading books and watching documentaries by hikers who have gone through that trail you have chosen. You can also contact former hikers and even ask them to mentor you gladly.
You should practice by visiting for at least a week on your chosen trail. If you can’t do so, then go on a trail that simulates the terrain you may have to encounter on your actual hiking trip. Test yourself by going on these trips one or two times and also get your gears ready. Test your mental and physical strength.
3. Prepare Your Gear
At some point you need to prepare your gears, just make sure you don’t have to rush at the last moment. Check out the state of your trail from others’ reviews. Meet the local gear specialist and check your gears by them. Gather all the important gear and clothing, pack essential items like the tent, cooking equipment, sleeping bags etc.
4. Safety First
Know about local hazards
Before you start your journey, you need to learn about the local hazards that you may encounter, like poison oak, rattlesnakes, wasps, bears etc. If you are stung, you should the following:
- You need to be prepared for the lightning storm for your safety. Identify it and look for shelter during the storm.
- Learn to recognize and manage acute mountain sickness if you are going about 6000 feet.
- You must know basic first aid for scrapes, cuts, and broken bones.
Always accompany a group
You should go on a hiking trip in a group and with experienced hikers. Make a small group of like-minded friends, ideally of around 5 people for a safe trip.
- If you are an experienced hiker, guide a newcomer. If you are a novice, take guidance from an expert.
- It’s better if your partners have compatibility with you in terms of hiking distance, speed, camping style etc.
- If you travel alone, inform someone about your plans for safety and tell them that you are self-sufficient with proper skills and equipment.
Carry more than enough water to keep you hydrated
Water is heavy but it’s an essential thing on a hiking trip. You must keep yourself hydrated. You need to bring at least 2 liters of filtered drinking water per day as you’ll lose water by sweating. If you are using a water filter, bring all replacements including the filters as this get clogged. In an emergency, you can also boil water for at least a minute.
Check in with someone before you start your journey
Give your detailed itinerary to someone close who’s not going with you. The details should include your route, inventory, places you’ll stay and so on. It’s very important to do this for your safety.
If you are late then your schedule, they can check up on you. You must contact them after you return safely. Leave a note in the car if you are late. Before you go camping, check in at the visitor’s center or at the ranger office. Thus you can inform people about how long you will be going away.
Averagely, hiking speed is 2 to 3 miles per hour. Go for less instead of more by becoming overambitious. Take your time and enjoy the view. It’s not a race! Pre-plan the stoppages to spend nights and try to camp near a reliable water source.
Don’t keep food in the tent
You must keep away the food in a separate place to be saved from bears. Even if there’s no bear, you still want to be protected from sneaky animals. Hang your food from a tree with a rope to keep away from bears. Also, do the same with scented items like shampoo, lotions, toothpaste, gum etc. Always use the same bag for storing these items from one camp to another.
First aid guidelines
If a group member gets injured, you need to follow these guidelines. The most important are the first point followed by the other two points.
- Stay Alive
Yourself, the victim and others, particularly yourself. If you can’t help, then everyone will be in danger.
- Stabilize Injury
Stop the wound before it further harms the victim. Stop the bleeding, clean and put a bandage on it.
- Start Recovery
Help the victim to get better. Fix the ailment or wound as much as possible.
You always need to keep yourself safe and sound. Only after that, you can think of ensuring other’s survival. This means if one person is hypothermic, provide warmer shelter to the whole group instead of just helping that one person. It’s like running out of a landslide instead of risking your life for one person only. If someone becomes sick or injured, check that person by following all the guidelines given above.
First aid Kit
Safety does not appear by accident. You can easily purchase a first aid kit from a pharmacy. You can save some space by replacing some things of a store-bought one or by making your own. It’s crucial to learn the use of and how to use all the items inside the kit, or else it’s nothing but an extra weight. At the time of administrating an injury, you won’t get much time to read the manual.
You should personally take a wilderness first aid training before you head out. If you are going for hiking, bring along a pocket-size first aid guide. This will help you to diagnose and treat illness and wounds.
Check your kit before every trip and ensure that the items are all sterilized and supplies are in abundant. Replaced the expired medicines and add anything extra that might be useful. Your kit should be easily accessible and everyone should know its whereabouts. The following are some essential items in first aid kit that you should carry:
- Waterproof container, like a zip-lock bag or plastic kit
- CPR face shield
- Nitrile exam gloves
- Bandages (elastic roll bandage, gauze pads, adhesive tape and bandages, triangular bandage, new skin in plastic bottle and moleskin)
- Consumable items (cotton swabs, alcohol swabs, cold packs and chemical heat, antiseptic ointment, wipes and dry-wash pads)
- Other items (tweezers, scissors, safety pins, small and durable mirror and bulb irrigating syringe)
- Medicines (antacid, antibiotics, antihistamines, anti-inflammatory, potable aqua and hydrocortisone cream)