On foot, you can explore nature and have adventures with your family you’ll never forget. The key is to stay safe and by following these 20 family hiking tips you cannot go wrong.
“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.”Famous novelist Paulo Coelho.
So, go and experience the world, have adventures, create memories, but most importantly stay safe.
1. Consult a trail expert
If you and your family are planning a hike, consult a trail expert. They will help you pick the perfect hiking route suitable for you and your family. They’ll also tell you about the numerous nuances and encounters your trail provides. Enabling you to be trail savvy from the start.
2. Prepare your mind
Ensure that you and your family know what is involved when hiking. Hiking is as much a mental challenge as it is physical. As many studies have shown, those who haven’t prepared mentally will often struggle the most.
3. Train for the hike
Physical strength is an essential asset for a hike. There are different ways to improve physical health, like going to the gym, eating healthy food, and going on lengthy power walks. If you or someone in your family isn’t physically fit, consider shorter hiking trails that have more frequent stops.
4. Choose smaller trails
If you are new to hiking, we strongly advise you to pick a shorter trail first.
“If you start small and slow, you’ll enjoy it more, and that will keep you going back out there.”Christine Hoyer, a ranger at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
If you try and tackle a difficult hike first, then there is a chance you’ll never experience the full trail and likely never go on another hiking adventure.
5. Group hikes
Hiking’s not just for you and your family, it is perfect for friends too. Going with people you trust is the key to safety. With friends and/or family you eliminate the risk of being stranded alone. Plus in case of injuries, there will be someone who can assist. Last but not least, you’ll enjoy hiking more with others.
6. Hiking outfits
A hiking outfit depends on three main factors, safety, comfort, and versatility.
- When considering safety, pick sturdy items that’ll last wear and tear. Always include lightweight essential camping gadgets just in case things go awry.
- Comfort is about being able to move without being hindered. The last thing you want is an uncomfortable hiking experience.
- Finally, your outfit must be versatile and adaptable if conditions change.
7. Hiking clothes
When it comes to clothing, always consider the weather. Wear lightweight clothes and avoid cotton suits because they get damp very quickly and become uncomfortable. Dress in layers so that you can easily adjust according to the temperature and take extra clothes in a reliable backpack.
8. Hiking gadgets
Hiking gadgets can give you a fall-back plan if something bad happens. From first aid kits to overnight shelter. Always consider the following, first aid kits, instant tents, flashlights, sleeping bag, pocket blanket, camp stove, survival kit, and power banks for phones.
9. Hiking merit badge
If you’re serious about taking your kids on a hiking adventure why not enlist them in the scouts first? As part of the scouts, your children will learn essential skills, including a hiking merit badge, which requires a 20-mile hike, plus four other hikes that are 10-miles and more each.
10. Always put safety first
Remember, the primary purpose of your hike is to create a family memory. So don’t take unnecessary risks. Follow the safety precautions given by trail guides and make sure everyone in your party knows that the risks are real.
11. Tell people about your hike.
Always tell friends and family who are not going on your family hike about what you’re doing. Give them your itinerary, so if you don’t return by a certain date they know something is wrong.
12. The second half of the hike
Remember that most accidents take place during the second half of a hike. This is when energy levels are low and shortcuts are taken. So, make sure you’re extra vigilant and have plenty of breaks, food and drink on your hike.
13. Check for weather
Always check for weather conditions before going to a hike. Even a slight change in temperature can turn a trail into a hazard. So, make sure the weather is suitable for your Hike.
14. Always be prepared for emergencies.
Planning to deal with emergencies should be your main priority. Know what you’ll do if someone gets injured. Know who to, and how to contact emergency services if something goes wrong. Make sure you have solutions to these before setting out on a family hiking adventure.
15. Hiking snacks
Hiking snacks should be lightweight but pack plenty of healthy fats and natural sugars. Prevent taking any oily and unhealthy food. Dry fruits, nuts, peanut butter, beef, veggies, etc. are healthy and nutritious snacks.
16. Stay hydrated
Always carry extra water bottles with you and know where you can refill water bottles during the hike. Remember, dehydration is one of the leading causes of death during hiking.
17. Hiking essentials
There are several essentials that your party should carry. These are, a first aid kit, a map, compass, GPS, sunscreen, hat, flashlight, raincoat, lighters, tape, knife, and bandages.
18. Stay on trail
The chances of getting yourself into trouble and encountering dangerous obstacles increases when you venture from the trail. If you stay on the trail, then park rangers and other tourists can find you in case of any problem. It is essential to stay on the trail and avoid unnecessary risks.
19. Be ready to turn back.
Don’t be afraid of turning back from your family hiking adventure. When you feel tired or feel that the hike is trickier than expected, return instantly. Remember, the primary purpose of the hike is to enjoy creating positive memories, not a hateful experience.
20. Leave no trash
Leave no trash. Make sure the trail is left beautiful for other family hiking adventurers.