6 Hiking Tips For Bushwalking BeginnersNaturely
Unlike walking for exercise, bushwalking keeps you busy taking in the surroundings – flora and fauna, the landscape and scenery, it’s very likely that you don’t notice your sweat. Exertion tends to become evanescent. Bushwalking is one of the best exercises for muscular health that gives you time to get close to nature. Below are 6 key tips for beginners.
1. Choose Short & Easy Trails
For first-time bushwalkers, it’s highly not recommended to exhaust yourself with a long and unmapped trail. While it’s good to be weary and eager for more after your first bush-walk, you wouldn’t want to feel shattered and even dread to do it again. That said, to start out, picking the right trail that suits your level of fitness is essential. For beginners, trails that can be done in less than a day or those that last 3 to 5 hours is a good start.
2. Pick Sturdy Shoes
Shoes are your most important piece of equipment for bushwalking. Thongs and sandals are inappropriate as they don’t offer a good grip on the ground, and thus there’s a high chance that you can get injured. A pair of heavy duty runners with rigid sole will suit most beginners. You don’t need to spend on expensive bushwalking footwear yet. As you increase the distance of your hikes, do more reading and research to know what suits you the most. Heavy leather boots would probably be something to consider by then.
Two most important things to consider are your shoes need to be comfortable and suited to the terrain of your bushwalking areas. It’s also recommended to pick enclosed shoes as they prevent injury from sharp sticks and rocks.
Beginners might wear new shoes because this probably is your first time to bush-walk. However, it’s better to pick worn-in shoes as blisters can turn the joy of bushwalking into a nightmare. So, shop for shoes of choice, but get familiar with them at least a few times.
3. Start Your Walk Early
As a beginner, you’ve chosen an easy trail to start out and assume that you don’t have to wake up at 6 AM. Starting your walk early, however, is a better choice. The reason is that a trail that is supposed to take about 3 hours might end up taking you 5 hours to complete because of the rough terrain. Simply put, plan ahead to avoid walking during noontime which means it’s the hottest time of the day. Similarly, proper planning would help to stay away from danger due to walking in the dark.
4. Never Walk on Your Own
Because it’s dangerous if anything happens while you’re out there on your own. It’s best to buddy up with a group. There’re different bushwalking groups, catering to various types of walkers, from beginners to medium and advanced levels. Joining these groups is also an excellent opportunity to make friends with the like-minded.
An ideal group should have about 4 to 8 members. You might not want to join a larger group as your experience with the natural environments might diminish. You can’t hear the birds singing and you can’t capture your favourite flower swaying around in the breeze when there’re too many people around you. It’s always best to enjoy the wilderness with a small group.
5. Bring Enough Water
Even though this might seem to be a common-sense for many people when getting out there in nature for a few hours, it’s still often overlooked. Water is just as important as an appropriate pair of shoes when it comes to bushwalking. So, walkers need to make sure that you drink enough water to avoid getting dehydrated.
Depending on the weather condition on the day of your walk, half a litre for every hour is a rule of thumb. Keeping yourself well-hydrated during your adventure is crucial as water helps to regulate your body temperature and lubricate your joints. Your water needs are generally higher than usual on physical activity-based excursions. During hot days, pack plenty of water as the lack of fluids during these days can quickly result in tiredness and muscle cramps.
As weather can be unpredictable, bringing an insulated eco-friendly bottle is a smart choice. It allows you to keep your water warm or cold as you wish. This bottle is also super convenient for bushwalking in different seasons of the year.
6. Snacks to Carry with You
Water is heavy enough for first-time bushwalkers, so opting for lightweight but nutrient-dense healthy snacks is highly recommended. Here are a few simple suggestions:
- Fruits: bring 2 or 3 apples or bananas with you. Apples are high in nutrition and low in calories while bananas are an excellent source of carbs to boost your energy levels. These two types of fruits are a great choice to refuels your body during bushwalking.
- Nuts like almonds, walnuts, seeds or nut bars. They’re rich in good fat, protein and carbs. Alternatively, granola bars are also convenient, on-the-go snacks.
- Dried fruits and veggies: they’re nutritious, rich in fibre and antioxidants. But, they’re also high in sugar, so it’s best not to consume them in excess.
Perishable foods are not recommended. However, if you’re keen on bringing in your favourite sandwiches make sure to have them kept chilled.