Hiking: 5 Tips To Prepare Your Hike
For a successful hike, it is not enough to walk. You must also be well prepared! The organization before the departure is essential, in particular if you have planned a trek of several days. Here are 5 tips to prepare your hike.
1- Form or join a group
The first thing to do when organizing a hike is to choose your traveling companions. In medium and high mountains, it is recommended to always go with several, even in summer, because an accident happens quickly.
The first of our 5 tips for preparing your hike is therefore to choose the people (friends, family, association) with whom you will form a hiking group.
You can also join a group that is already organized, especially within clubs affiliated with the FFRandonnée.
If, in spite of everything, you decide to go alone, be sure to always warn at least one relative of your intention to go walking, of the route you plan to take and of the date of your return.
2- Define your itinerary
An important part of organizing a hike is defining the route you will take and cutting it into doable stages based on your physical fitness.
The second tip for preparing for a hike is to be well informed about the trails and local geography well in advance.
If you plan to do a hike of several weeks in France or abroad, you will need several months of preparation:
- to plan the stages
- to get information about the places you will cross
- to get in touch with other hikers who have already followed this route.
For your hikes in France, your preparations will be facilitated if you decide to take the GR (the famous long distance hiking trails). These trails are 'great classics' and it is easy to find all the useful information on the Internet, especially on the website www.mongr.fr (see the link at the bottom of the page).
3- Book accommodation
If the nature of your itinerary allows, you should also find and book accommodations at each stage of your roaming. Sleeping in mountain lodges or refuges will save you from having to carry a tent and will allow you to lighten your backpack.
Local guidebooks and tourist offices can help you find accommodations near the hiking trails.
The third tip for preparing your hike is to book these accommodations well in advance. Indeed, on the mythical GR trails like the Santiago de Compostela trail or the Mont Blanc tour the available accommodations can quickly be full. This is why you must contact them at least 6 months before the planned departure date.
4- Plan the supply
To avoid overloading your backpack, it's a good idea to find out ahead of time what food sources are available on your route or nearby. This is something we don't always think about when preparing for a hike, but it can save you a mile-long detour once you get there.
So the fourth tip for preparing for your hike is to recognize ahead of time the convenience stores and bakeries available at each stop on your adventure.
For this type of project, it helps to be well organized: this way you can take less food with you (a few snacks like dried fruit or cereal bars) and complete your picnic by shopping on the spot.
5- Bring a first aid kit
In addition to the hiker's basic equipment of good shoes and clothing suitable for both good weather and rain, it is very important to always carry with you a first aid kit.
The last of our 5 tips for preparing your hike is to plan the necessary to treat small injuries.
To help you not forget anything, here is a list of things that might come in handy during your hike:
- bandages and patches for blisters
- insect bite cream
- a mosquito repellent
To be noted: if you are on long-term medical treatment, you should also remember to bring all your medications for the duration of the hike. It is even better to take a little more, in case your stay should be unexpectedly prolonged.