How to Prepare for a Successful Hike: A Beginner’s Guide

girl hiking

Going hiking is an excellent way to satisfy your need for adventure and meet your health goals. As you get your heart rate up and work out your lungs, you can also boost your brainpower. Additionally, you can relieve your stress and enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors. But before grabbing your water bottle and backpack and heading out on the trail, you have to be fully prepared. This is especially important if you are just a beginner. To jumpstart your hiking journey, here are some tips for a successful hike:

Choose a beginner-friendly location

Not all hiking trails are the same, so make sure you choose one ideal for beginners. Do your research using the Internet or hike trail apps. Here, you can filter locations by difficulty, length, type of route, and elevation gain. A good rule of thumb is to pick a hike that is considered easy to moderate, under five miles, and does not involve much climbing.

After choosing a route, familiarize yourself with it before hiking. You also need to learn how to read a map and find a way to reference the trail while you are out there. You can even take an introductory course from your local hiking club to learn more about hiking basics and even meet fellow hiking buddies.

Research the weather and area

It’s exciting to explore unfamiliar places like the forest, desert, and mixed terrain areas, especially when you’re just starting out in the world of hiking. But if you are unfamiliar with their weather, wildlife, and potential hazards, you can suffer from injuries and other accidents.


The best way to prepare before a hike is to get a sense of your surroudings. For example, check whether there are bears or rattlesnakes or if they experience rock falls or flash floods. Spend time researching, and don’t forget to check the weather forecast to plan accordingly.

Invest in the right gear

Gathering all the gear can be confusing when you’re first getting into hiking. You need proper hiking footwear, hydration packs, rain protection, and more. While these can be helpful, there are only several items you need when you’re just getting started.

If you are a beginner, you need to invest in the best hiking shoes, boots, or sandals. Proper footwear is a must for hiking because your feet are heavily involved with the activity. You also need comfortable clothes that are easy to move in. Instead of cotton that can cause irritation and chafing once it gets damp from sweat, opt for synthetic materials. 

Another hiking must-have is a hiking-specific backpack. Look for one with external pockets and padded shoulder straps so you can easily access your snacks and water bottle and avoid shoulder and back pain.


As a beginner hiker, you will likely make a lot of mistakes. The good news is that by remembering and following the tips listed above, you will be able to prepare better for a successful hike. You may also feel nervous out there during your first few hikes, but try to be more mindful of your surroundings. Take a break once in a while, look around you, and just enjoy the experience.

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