Things to prepare for a hiking trip
Recently I about an accidental hiker in the news. Every few months I get this news:”German tourist on Tenerife killed in an accident”,”German hikers rescued on La Gomera”, etc. This is tragic and sad for all those involved and the relatives of the victims. And I keep asking myself why? How did this happen? Seems like carelessness? Overestimate? Bad preparation? On a hiking trip I regularly meet so-called “pseudo-hikers” or “would-be-experienced”, to whom you can immediately see their amateurism when it comes to hiking. Reason enough for me to share some advice here.
- The right footwear! Depending on where and how intensively you hike, you have to choose the footwear. If there are stony paths and/or many vertical meters, therefor a high shaft is recommended to protect the ankles. The shaft also offers you good support and you won’t bend away so quickly. This is especially useful on longer tours, because after some time the concentration decreases. Personally, I’m not a big fan of suede. At least if you know that it can get a little wet. Smooth leather is easier to clean, making it easier to care for and thus more durable. But that may also be a matter of taste. On shorter tours or on less demanding hikes, half high hiking boots or sneakers are also suitable.
- Never go hiking alone! Something can always happen. You fall or you lose your way. In twos or in a larger group, it is much safer.
- The so called Onion look: You can’t go wrong with the onion principle and are well prepared for weather changes and higher altitudes! In general, you should be comfortable in your hiking clothes and be able to move well. If you’re taking a break, get dressed immediately. If the top is sweaty, take it off for the break, put it in the fresh air or if possible in the sun and put on a dry warm jacket (also in summer!). When you need to dry quickly, put on a new shirt and the wet one on top of it. Then put on your jacket and your body will work like a heater.
- The onion look leads us straight to No. 4: NEVER underestimate the altitude temperatures on your hiking trip and take weather forecasts seriously! On average, it gets 0.6 degrees Celsius colder per 100 metres of altitude difference.
- Take plenty to drink with you! Especially water. For example, I have a practical Camelbak, because I want to drink a sip of water every now and then without having to bother digging the water bottle out of my backpack ;). A bottle holder, which can be attached to the backpack by means of a carabiner, is also practical.
- Orientation is important. In additon think of maps, a GPS device or better yet, a compass. You don’t always have a good cell phone network. And the good old orientation school can be a lot of fun!
- Protect yourselves from the sun: Head and neck covers are an absolute must, especially in summer or in southern countries! The higher up, the more important. After all, UV radiation increases per vertical meter. Sunburn is one of the most common injuries during a hiking trip… And finally also remember to apply a good sunscreen first.