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Diary of a Newbie Hiker - A 5 Tip beginners guide to hiking

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

Hiking trail by the sea with blue sky

Are you new to hiking? Do you like the idea of hiking but haven't yet started and don't know where to start?

This guide will run through my top tips for starting out hiking and reveal some of the things that I have learnt since starting out myself. A lot of what is in this guide comes from my own experiences and findings all in once place to get you on your journey.

Tip #1 - You don't need all the gear

This is definitely my biggest tip.... When I first started out, I was looking at different blog posts and Instagram accounts etc and seeing everyone kitted out in top of the range equipment and apparels. I am quite an impulsive person so straight away, I started looking for all of the bells and whistles. After looking at my bank account and then realising I would be a dead man if I spent all of that money, I thought, "do I really need it?" The answer...... NO.

Now depending on where you are planning to go or start out, there will be some things that you need. For example, if you plan on going for a few hours, then definitely take a backpack of some kind so that you can take any additional layers to put on if there is a change in the weather (or take off layers and carry them if you get too warm), snacks, water and anything else you want to take with you. Even if it is just a sports type rucksack that you have knocking about to begin with. I recently tested out a backpack which I found was ideal for beginners if you didn't have one around to use. You can take a look for yourself at Fast Fitness (use code LADVENTURE10 for 10% off of all orders)

I would also recommend a pair of hiking or walking boots for longer distances, as these are just much kinder on your feet. Again though, you don't need to pay through the roof for them. I literally got a pair of second-hand boots, that were in very good condition, off of Vinted for just 6 quid!!!!!!! They were already broken in, a decent brand and also meant I didn't have to worry about them getting dirty or battered.

If you are planning shorter hikes that aren't going to be too boggy, then just a pair of trainers will suffice.

Personally, I would go out a few times and see if it's for you before investing in anything too heavily.

Tip #2 - Route Planning

Now, you can just as easily stick a pair of trainers on and head out for a stomp. For me though, I wanted to add in a bit of adventure and wanted some actual hiking trails that offered something a bit different to my normal walk. I came across an app/website called AllTrails.

This was perfect as you can look for specific types of walks with different variants like easy, moderate or difficult, but also woodland, hill walks and different locations etc.

You can see actual planned routes with reviews, pictures, distances, approximate completion times and the absolute game changer of a GPS map that can guide you in real-time on the trail or be downloaded should you venture to a location lacking in mobile signal.

For me this was ideal as then I knew I wouldn't have to worry about getting lost, taking wrong turns, or choosing a completely rubbish trail that did nothing for me.

I would highly recommend

Tip #3 - Solo or one of the crowd

Personally, I am generally quite extrovert and definitely a sociable character that likes to be around and amongst people, However, when it comes to this newfound hobby, it appears that I am a "Billy no mates." My wife and my boys aren't really interested, which is fair enough. Some of my friends are definitely interested, but we all have families, different things going on and just life in general so it can be difficult to find time when our schedule's align.

SOD IT..... I'll give it a go by myself.

For me, this has been another game changer!!!!! So far I have been a complete solo hiker and I have to say, I'm loving every minute. I go at my own pace, in my own company (which is unusual for me) and to be honest, it has allowed me to completely zone out from everyday distractions like work and stress etc.

I pop my headphones in and usually find a podcast to listen to and take in. I absolutely love my music and if I am driving to work, at the house, in the garden or chilling out, I will generally have music playing. However, I find a podcast a lot more relaxing. Lately I have been listening to the Jits into the Sunset podcast. It is a travel and adventure podcast by a couple of vanlife YouTube film makers that I have followed and watched for a couple of years and I love all of their content. You can check them out here:

Or search Jits Into The Sunset from wherever you listen to your Podcasts.

If you don't feel comfortable in tackling this by yourself, then be part of the crowd. You can ask your partners, children, family members or friends. If like mine, they're all bloody lazy then what I have found is that there are actually a number of hiking groups of all abilities EVERYWHERE.

Since I have started this venture and blog, my eyes have been truly opened to how much of a sense of community there is for hiking and adventure and everyone that I have engaged with have honestly been really nice and welcoming people. Put yourself out there!!!

"All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tip #3 - Trust me - You don't need to be an athlete

One of the reasons that I started hiking was that I needed to get back to being active. I have always been quite active and as a child, teenager and young adult, I was always been involved in various sports.

After 2 knee operations from playing football and then writing off my knee to the point of no return back in 2014 when I decided to train and run a marathon, I have been somewhat inactive for the past 9 years. Without boring you all to death, I now have arthritis in my right knee and have been told I need a knee replacement which isn't offered until I'm at least 55. It is something that I have now learnt to live with and manage.

I have never really enjoyed cycling and I also find going to the gym quite mundane (I may have little bursts of going back but it's never really given me the bug).

Like with anything, I started out hiking small. My initial hike was about 2.5 miles. It was on quite flat but uneven terrain. I came through it completely unscathed and was surprised at how much I had left in my legs. My next hike, I found a route that was a mile longer and so on. Don't get me wrong, I have had to build myself up to longer and more moderate hikes BUT it's been quite easy in all fairness - Literally anyone can do it. You can go at YOUR pace and to YOUR limits and each hike gives you a sense of achievement.

Tip #4 - Hiking for Health and Wellbeing

Fitness and physical wellbeing aside, the benefits of hiking, walking, and just being in nature are just phenomenal for your mental state.

In it's simplest form, just breathing fresh air makes all the difference. If you find that you spend large amounts of time indoors or in an office-style environment at work, you are also spending a lot of time breathing recycled air. Getting outdoors and amongst nature is a surefire way of getting the freshest and best quality O2 into your body.

Tranquility - If like me, you lead quite a busy life, you can find yourself constantly in fast-paced and often stressful environments. Being on a hike, in the right setting, instantly opens you up to more peaceful and relaxed feelings.

Another factor, is that you can integrate hiking with other interests that you may not usually get to fulfill. For example, do you like photography but never get the time or opportunity to take beautiful pictures of your everyday surroundings?

Personally, I enjoy writing and engaging my brain to write about things that interest me. I don't get to do this in my "normal" life. This is why I have chosen to blog my hikes and adventures and I am loving every minute. It's not about the likes, the follows and the monetisation. It's purely the satisfaction of being able to put it all down and post it.

Tip #5 - GO FOR IT!!!

My final tip is a simple and obvious one but actually very important....... What are you waiting for?

As I have pointed out in this mini guide, anyone can do it and you can start at anytime so don't wait until tomorrow, don't keep overthinking it and putting it off until something else comes along.

Get yourself out there, no matter how big or small the route or hike is. Go and see for yourself what it is all about, how it makes you feel and how rewarding it is....... I promise you'll have no regrets.

"Don't let what you can't do, stop you from doing what you can do." - John Wooden

Thank you for reading along. I hope that you have found this useful and I would love to hear about your journey. Please leave a comment on this post or become a LadVenture Member and subscribe.

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May 08, 2023
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

A good blog for a newbie hiker. I’m going to give the podcast a listen


May 08, 2023

As always a great read, but also great advice and encouragement for new aspiring hikers to get started.

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