Tips for Your First Overnight Hike
Hiking is an incredible way to get active, feeling the fresh air on your face and the muscles working hard in your calves. To allow you to immerse yourself in an even richer hiking experience, an overnight hike gives you the opportunity to get even closer to nature and take your adventurous side to the next level. If you’re thinking about taking the step, preparation is key and therefore, we’ve put together some tips for your first overnight hike.
Choose An Easy Destination
For your first overnight hike, you won’t want to push the boundaries; if the hike is too advanced, it could ruin your experience. We recommend taking it slightly easier on the first day so that you aren’t too tired when you reach camp as well as choosing a place which is popular for hikers. Not only will this make you feel safer, but you can pick up some tips from experienced hikers!
Regarding elevation, when it comes to an overnight hike, you’ll want to aim for a few hundred feet, compared to what you’d usually do on a day hike. Carrying a heavier bag than usual on your back can take its toll, so our top tip is to pick a shorter trip with less elevation, you’ll then be able to build upon your ability.
Layering up your clothes is essential; it allows you to adapt to the changing conditions which come with hiking. When it comes to deciding what to wear and pack for your trip, it’s best to think in layers. There are three main layer types; base, insulation and outer, ensure you have options for each layer.
Invest In Footwear
Our feet ground us; they’re what we use to carry the weight of our backpacks and explore this wonderful world. A good pair of hiking boots is essential; they allow us to achieve a good grip and protect us from cuts and blisters. Here at LOWA, we have a fantastic range of shoes and boots, including our range of Gore-Tex hiking boots, which will support your ankles and keep your feet dry throughout your hike.
Ensure You Have The Right Gear
Everything you require for your overnight hike will need to be as lightweight as possible, as you’ll be carrying it all on your back. Firstly, you’ll want to think about the backpack. A day bag won’t cut it; therefore, you’ll need to invest in one that’s comfortable yet compact and around 40L. The straps should feel secure on your hips and shoulders and feel snug enough for a long expedition. Our top tip is to load your backpack up with weight and go for a test hike to ensure you’ll be comfortable on your trip.
Your safe haven for the night, finding the perfect tent for your first overnight hike is essential. Your tent needs to be weightless, sturdy and compact; pop-up tents are seamless for an overnight trip. In addition, a sleeping bag is also essential. There’s the option of a down or synthetic sleeping bag with different temperature ratings, so do your research!
Think About Food & Water
Experienced overnight hikers will be equipped with a stove to rustle up some meals; these do come with additional weight. Therefore, on your first hike, you could prepare food in advance and introduce a stove on your second or third overnight adventure. Food like pasta, nuts and energy bars are perfect; you can read our blog about the essential foods for long hikes.
Staying hydrated is essential; however, it’s not recommended to carry two days’ worth of water on you, as this can be quite heavy! The key is to have a safe water source. Research whether your route has a reliable water source, and if not, you can pack equipment such as water purification tablets, a lightweight water purifying system or a water filter bottle to keep you hydrated.
Plan, Plan, Plan!
Research and planning are key, and there will be numerous questions you’ll want to be answered before you set off. Such as; how difficult is the trail, what are the conditions of the trail, and what will the weather be like. By planning you’ll make your first overnight trip almost a walk in the park!
Tackling your first overnight hike can be a little overwhelming. Hopefully, this article has given you some top tips on how you can prepare and enjoy your first overnight hike. Here at LOWA, we’re advocates of getting to grips with nature, and our range of high-quality hiking boots are perfect for any trip; from a stroll in the hills to an expedition over ice-covered mountains!