5 Ways To Be Hiking Ready

Pre-hiking jitters, anxieties and confusions are normal emotions for most of us, especially if it’s the first time. Here’s a list of things that you can take care of before you head out to make your experience easier and more enjoyable. Whatever the season, it’s always very important to prepare for your walk: your equipment as well as your route. This becomes even more important when you want to go walking in autumn, when the weather can change so quickly.

#1: Check The Weather Carefully For Your Route

Before every excursion into the mountains, it’s important to look at the weather in detail. Sunny skies when you set off on your hike can hide wetter weather along the way. As well as the basic information relating to the uncertain weather (rain, fog, wind etc) and temperature, take a look at when the sun rises and sets.

From the end of August, the days get shorter and night falls much faster than you’d think, so it’s essential to plan a route that lets you get back before nightfall, or make sure you’re equipped accordingly. So even if you intend to get home before sunset, always have a headlamp in your bag.

#2: Choose The Route That Is Right For You

Heading out on advice from friends? Why not! But be careful – make sure those friends are in similar physical shape to you, otherwise you’ll end up in trouble. Before setting off, work out the difficulty of the route, looking at the distance and vertical height gain, the altitude, and any tricky sections.
Also check their difficulty classification to hike at your level. At the same time, plan your rest halts, shelters, accommodation etc that can offer a few hours’ or an overnight stay, depending on your needs. By working out where they are along your route, you can better regulate your effort.
More than the distance, it’s the height difference that makes a hike difficult. A long hike over flat terrain will prove less difficult than a shorter walk but with a greater difference in height, so remember: the shortest route isn’t always the easiest. You’ll find lots of useful information, and especially their experiences, opinions and feedback. If you’re planning a hike over several days, sleeping in a hut or other accommodation, make sure they’re still open.

Check out our Top 5 Hiking Spots in SouthEast Asia to start your hiking adventure.

#3: Go Well Equipped

Never set off without at least a map and compass with you, especially as the route markers in autumn and winter aren’t always in the best of condition, and can become lost in the rain and fog. Also, an IGN map, guidebook, GPS or hiker tracking app on your smartphone should definitely feature among your equipment. Sometimes, you’ll be faced with wet ground and rain. So choose boots with good tread for better traction. You also need breathable clothing that’s warm and will keep you covered in case of bad weather. A pair of sticks can prove useful, especially to help keep your balance on slippery ground or to probe marshy terrain. Read our article on the items you need in your bag to be sure to not forget anything. Finally, remember to also take with you: flashlight, survival blanket, water and cereal bars to avoid being caught unprepared. And of course, if you take a break, make sure you leave no trace of your visit behind.That way, the hikers that come after you can also enjoy the beauty of the place, and the animals won’t be disturbed by things that don’t belong in their environment. Equip yourself well by preparing for your hiking essentials!

#4: Warm Up Properly

It's important to warm up properly, even for hiking. What's the point? It wakes your body up gently, getting your joints, muscles, breathing and circulation ready and in good shape. When your body has been warmed up properly, you run less risk of injury.

The time to spend on warming up depends on the efforts you're going to put in. It can vary from five to several dozen minutes depending on how tough your trail is. You can start by walking slowly, then performing a few exercises to ease up the parts of your body you'll be using: ankles, calves, knees, back, shoulders and neck.

The same goes for cooling down when you get back. It helps to keep your muscles supple and reduce body pains!

#5: Appropriate Gear

Spring weather can still vary hugely. It can be hot or cold or wet, or all three in a single day. To adapt to these changes in temperature, we suggest the following gear:
- a breathable, long-sleeved base layer,
- a fleece item for warmth,
- a lightweight, compact, waterproof jacket for protection from the rain,
- lightweight, comfortable trousers that dry quickly,
- watertight footwear.

Wearing three layers on your top half means you can prepare for weather in all conditions, as well as changing to suit the effort you put in. You can keep your fleece in your backpack on upward climbs and in hot weather. When you take a break or if the temperature remains low, you'll be happy to wear it!

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