Top 10 Essential Tips to Keep in Mind When Hiking

Photo from iStock.

Let me start this by saying, I’m not a hiker. I would never willingly put on a pair of hiking boots and gear up to trek up a mountain. However, I somehow asked my boyfriend if he wanted to go on a hike every Wednesday this semester, and I haven’t regretted it yet.

I’ve actually begun to look forward to our weekly hikes, and in this whirlwind of excitement, I present to you the top 10 things I’d recommend before embarking on your next hike.

10) Have A Pair of Hiking Boots

On my first hike ever, in October of 2021, I absolutely destroyed my high-top converse. Since then and in preparation for my weekly hikes, I’ve purchased a sturdy pair of hiking boots. They’ve really made a world of difference and I find it so much easier to navigate the trails with them.

9) Wool Socks

My boyfriend is an avid hiker of the Hudson Valley and has passed along many tips to me, but this is a game changer. Although more expensive than regular socks, a sturdy pair of wool socks insulates so well that your feet are literally never cold. I highly recommend them, even for just walking around our brisk campus.

8) Layers

As the weather has been particularly cold and our hikes are at the break of day before the sun warms the Earth, the temperature is inconsistent. I’d recommend layering up your outfit for the hike and bringing a backpack to put excess clothing in when it gets too toasty. It’s always better to have the option of shedding a layer than feeling overheated on the side of a mountain.

7) Snacks

Packing snacks for your hike is essential. Some of my favorites are goldfish and Pop Tarts. Easy to pack and easy to eat, plus they’ll keep you going after your eat them.

6) AllTrails

The app, AllTrails is really a lifesaver when it comes to hikes. You’re able to see the difficulty of each, reviews from other hikers, the trail map, and so much more all on your smartphone. I think the future of hiking is in AllTrails and it’s such a simple start to help you plan your next hike.

5)YakTrax (or other spikes)

As I’ve begun my hiking journey, it’s been quite frozen on the trails. For Christmas, my boyfriend got us both YakTrax which are spikes for the bottom of your boots. I truly don’t think the trails are able to be navigated in this weather without them, and I’m often found wishing I could wear them while slipping on the roads around campus. You can find them on Amazon for relatively cheap and they’ll really improve your hikes in these cold months. 

4) Follow Hiking Markers

Each hike, I find myself with a new piece of information about hiking. Of course it’s obvious to follow the trail markers on your hike, but I didn’t realize that on some trails they’re a little bit hard to find. I have also learned that if there are two markers on the same tree, that usually means you’ll have to make a turn soon, which can be determined by if the lower marker is indicating left or right. It’s also a fun sport to see how each trail presents their hiking markers, some are very intricate while others are more standard.

3) Know The Trail Prior

On the app, AllTrails, you’re able to see the trail map and track your progress during the hike. I’m the type of person that likes to know the lay of the land prior and you’re able to see so much on the app. Scenic overlooks are labeled, and you can decide if it seems like it’s the hike for you.

2) Have Good Intentions

On each hike, I’m never certain what I’m getting myself into. I’m not usually the person who enjoys outdoor and strenuous activities, but after each hike I find myself filled with a sense of accomplishment and a want for more. I’ve really begun to enjoy hiking and now with each I go into it with good intentions and feelings so I don’t get stressed or tired while I’m on the side of a mountain.

1) Have A Good Companion

I truly don’t think I’d be writing this piece glorifying hiking if it wasn’t for my hiking obsessed boyfriend. I started out hiking because it was something that was attainable due to our location and it made him happy, so I put my doubts aside. But, as the weeks have gone on, I’m now deciding which hikes look fun for us and I’m excited to spend time with him doing something active. I’d recommend having a good partner to embark on your hikes with you, because mine has made the experience so much more enjoyable.

Avatar photo
About Samantha Salerno 43 Articles
Samantha (Sam) Salerno is a second-year theater arts major from Long Island, NY. She has previously worked as a reporter for her hometown newspapers, The Islip Bulletin and The Long Island Advance. Aside from writing, she enjoys traveling, playing guitar and going to the beach. You can reach her by emailing salernos2@newpaltz.edu.