People hike for a number of different reasons. Some people are attracted by the allure of the great outdoors, a chance to reconnect with nature and spend a few days or weeks among the various flora and fauna that they have access to. For others it’s a chance to escape the humdrum of big city life and take to the trails to experience some solitude and, in the words of Robert Frost, take the road less traveled.
However, this isn’t a task that should be taken lightly. Long-distance hiking requires a lot of preparation and planning and, if not done correctly, can often be dangerous.
You need to think about the weight and durability of your kit, how long your supplies will last, and when you’ll be able to stock up on fresh supplies again. Below, we’ll look at some of the most crucial things to consider before heading out on a long distance hike.
What Consider For Your Long Distance Hike
While not a physical item, resupplying is one of the most important considerations when hiking for a long period of time. Food, a new pair of boots or some fresh clothes – these are all perishable in the long run and need to be replaced.
Thankfully for travelers, ecommerce has changed the game and we’re seeing a lot of online shops appear due to software like this, which means we can get some great items from places other than Amazon, for once!
There are many different online companies with an abundance of food and other products geared specifically towards hikers. Don’t spend big money buying things last-minute at your local shops, instead, plan way ahead and get the best prices online.
Often one of the heaviest items in your pack, these are also the most vital. You cannot cut corners when buying hiking boots no matter how much they weigh. They’re the first line of defense between your feet and the forest or mountain terrain. And since you’re depending on your feet to get you through the hike come rain or shine, it’s really important that your feet are well supported and protected.
Your choice of boots should depend on the terrain you’re looking to tackle and how well maintained your trail is. For a comprehensive look at the best boots on the market, switchbacktravel.com has a decent list here.
Hiking all day is a full-body workout, and your body is going to expend a huge amount of energy to keep you going. This means you’re going to need to eat a massive amount of calories just to meet the energy needs that hiking demands, as well as maintaining the proper balance of nutrients that your body requires.
You’re also going to want to have foods that you can eat on the go, as stopping to prepare meals not only requires heavy cooking equipment, it’s a waste of valuable light and time. Dehydrated fruits and vegetables and prepackaged and freeze-dried foods are the way to go.
Businesses such as Greenbelly have created food specifically with backpackers in mind, meaning you can eat calorie-dense food without sacrificing on nutrients or stopping to cook food.
When it comes to planning on what clothes to bring, the thing to think about is versatility. You’re going to need only a few changes of clothes to keep your weight down, but they’re going to have to be adaptable to all types of conditions. Consider long pants that can cover your legs when walking through long grass or cold weather, but that can zip off to become shorts when the weather is hotter.
You’re also going to want a wind or rain shell, a hat for the sun and a down jacket for the cold. If possible, try to get most of your clothing made from synthetic materials that dry fast and don’t hold an odor; you’re likely not going to get to wash your clothes very often, so you want them to be as bearable as possible.