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How To Make Your Hiking Trip Comfortable and Safe

Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities. With thousands of trails to choose from across the world, hikers will never get bored. The most popular destinations include Penine Way in England; the Pyrenees and the Alps; nature reserves and parks, for example Rocky Mountain National Park in North America; and many trails in South Africa.

Once you have decided which trail you will be following, you will need to plan your hike. It is always worth checking the map, planning the route in detail and making sure that you are comfortable taking compass bearings before you set off. You do not want to end up lost and confused. It is also prudent to be aware of the nearest shelter and emergency points along the way, as you will most likely find that you do not have reception on your mobile phone. That said you should still make sure you know the local emergency number, especially if you are abroad.

Once you are comfortable with the route and your map reading skills, you will need to decide what to take with you. There are a few items that are absolutely essential. The first of these are of course your map and compass. A pair of binoculars can also be useful for double checking the route ahead and making sure you are aware of your surroundings. Binoculars will also come in handy if you happen to spot any interesting wildlife, particularly birds.

The next essential item is a water bottle. Spending the day walking is going to make you extremely thirsty, especially if it is a warm sunny day. You will need to make sure you have plenty of water with you to prevent dehydration. The minimum daily water intake is recommended to be 2.5-3l of water a day. When exercising or if it is a warm day, this number will of course increase significantly. If you are not able to carry enough water for the duration of your journey, then make sure that you know where you will be able replenish your supplies.

Other important items include matches and a penknife. They are small and lightweight items that can be extremely useful, especially if you are going to be camping at any point along the way. Lastly you will need a good backpack to keep carry all your supplies. This should be a decent sized waterproof bag, with thick comfortable straps.

Having decided what to take, now you need to find something to wear. Once of the most important things to remember is to try and wear outdoor clothing. It may be tempting to just chuck on your usual trousers and jumper, however, if the weather turns cold or it starts to rain you will find yourself cold and wet. Hiking books, a waterproof jacket and a good fleece are essential and it cannot hurt to carry a pair of waterproof trousers in your bag. That way if the weather does turn you will stay warm and dry. This is especially important if there are long distances between the nearest shelter points.

Two of the most popular brands in the UK are Berghaus and
North Face. Both offer extensive ranges of outdoor clothing for both men and women.

When you choosing your hiking boots you will need to forget fashion and look for warm and comfortable boots that fit you well. Otherwise you will quickly find yourself in pain, blistered and uncomfortable. They should also be made of materials that are durable, breathable and waterproof; ideally look for Gore-Tex items where all of these qualities are guaranteed.

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