9 hiking tips for beginners

Do you have a desire to hike in nature? Very good, we say! But you have no idea what to look out for and what the most important things are for you as a beginner? We will give you some tips and tricks for hiking. We want to help you that nothing stands in the way of your hikes outside in nature and also explain to you a little the right hiking equipment. Sitting on the couch is also boring…. With our 9 tips for hiking for beginners, you can’t do too much wrong anymore and nothing stands in the way of your tour!

1. Begin slow as a beginner!

It makes absolutely no sense to start with tours of 30 kilometres and more the first time. It doesn’t have to be the 3000m in the Alps. You immediately lose the fun of hiking. Such long and exhausting tours are only recommended for hikers with some experience and training. The body is not accustomed to this strain at first and will recognise it accordingly.

Choose small hikes near you and see if hiking is really the right thing for you. At the beginning, 5 to 10 kilometres are enough. The pure walking time is between two and three hours.

2. Eating and drinking while hiking

The energy turnover during migrations should not be underestimated. Depending on the intensity and duration of the migration, 350 to 550 kcal can be used per hour. And, of course, the energy stores also have to be replenished. You should not start walking without eating first. For breakfast we recommend easily digestible carbohydrates such as muesli, (wholemeal) bread with jam, honey or sausage and a cup of tea or coffee.

If you are out and about, you should pack carbohydrate-rich food (chocolate, fruit, student food or wholemeal bread). You should take the first break from eating after two hours at the latest, then eat something every one to two hours.
On average, trained hikers lose about 0.6 litres of fluid per hour. To compensate for this loss of water, you need to drink about 2 to 4 litres of liquid a day. For this purpose, normal water or slightly sweetened herbal or fruit teas and juice spritzers are suitable. For juice spritzers, you should mix the juice with water in a ratio of 1:1 or 1:2.

If you are on the road, you should pack carbohydrate-rich foods (chocolate, fruit, student food or wholemeal bread). You should take the first break from eating after two hours at the latest, then eat something every one to two hours.
On average, trained hikers lose about 0.6 litres of fluid per hour. To compensate for this loss of water, you need to drink about 2 to 4 litres of fluid a day. For this purpose, normal water or slightly sweetened herbal or fruit teas and juice spritzers are suitable. For juice spritzers, you should mix the juice with water in a ratio of 1:1 or 1:2.

This will give you an isotonic drink. Ever heard of it? Probably. The whole thing simply means that the ratio of nutrients to liquid corresponds to that of human blood and the nutrients can, therefore, be absorbed particularly quickly by the body.

3. Observe weather forecast

Even if bad weather should not keep you from a hike, a look at the weather forecast should always be there. It is important to know if the weather is likely to change and how it will change during the day. You can choose your route accordingly, e.g. don’t even walk during thunderstorms, go to shelters when it rains or choose your clothes accordingly.

Especially in the mountains, it is very important to react correctly to the weather. But we are not in the mountains yet, we are on your doorstep. Therefore we skip the meteorology in the mountains (but not yet!).

Either this sentence indicates that there are only good weather hikers or that a thunderstorm is harmless. Choose something, there will be no change in the fact that the weather is always a danger.

Pay attention to the available daylight in winter. It gets dark very quickly, and you should take that into account, but rather go out in the morning so as not to run the risk of standing in the middle of nowhere in the dark.

4. The right hiking boots

You will always come across hiking boots with hiking tips. There is hardly anything more important than a pair of hiking boots that fits well and is comfortable to wear. There are countless different shoes on the market, there is something for every purpose.

As a beginner for a small round, especially if you are not quite sure whether you will learn to love hiking, your sports shoes or running shoes will suffice. You don’t have to buy the most expensive shoe. Just make sure the sole is profiled and non-slip.

But be careful: as soon as you are ready for longer hikes, change your shoes as soon as possible and adapt them to the trails, terrain and weather. Then running shoes are definitely not enough! And to buy the shoes, you should go to a specialist shop and test them.

But before you undertake long hikes and trekking tours such as the Eifelsteig, which we hiked, your shoes should also have shrunk – blisters on your feet are no fun!

5. Tips for hiking equipment

There is no bad weather, just wrong hiking clothes and a wrong attitude, which is a striking hiking tip. But well, there is not much more to say here… That is of course nonsense! The topic can cover a whole own article. Functional underwear, fleece or insulation jacket, hiking trousers: everything is arranged according to the onion principle and you are ready for almost all weather conditions.

A perfectly fitting backpack should not be missing either, your back and shoulders will thank you for it. We have written down a few tips in more detail in our preparation for the Eifelsteig. In no case should you forget your raincoat, at the beginning an umbrella is enough, but you have to protect yourself from the rain? Wet to the bone, hiking is no fun, neither as a beginner nor as a professional.

The hiking equipment will play an even more important role in more demanding tours.

6. Planning a hike

Nowadays there are so many different ways to plan tours. The classic is of course still the hiking map where all the trails are marked. The disadvantage is of course that for each area a new hiking map must be obtained. For beginners, however, the map is sufficient for your hiking region. Remember, always start slowly!

Alternatively, you can also download a hiking app (we have tested some here) on your smartphone and plan your tours using the app or fall back on community tours and simply “hike” them. The offer is great and there are countless hiking routes, guaranteed in front of your door!

7. Don’t get lost: Navigation in nature

The hiking apps can also be a great help here, as they navigate you reliably to your destination – provided the battery of your smartphone holds. This means that if you use a hiking app, make sure you have a fully charged mobile phone before the tour and take a power bank with you, then you can charge your mobile phone in the meantime! Especially if you take photos and videos of your tour, the battery suffers extremely. Another option is of course a GPS device, such as the Garmin GPSmaps 64s, which is specially designed for outdoor conditions. But honestly, this is absolutely not necessary for the beginning.

But you don’t want to fall back on GPS navigation via mobile phone or GPS device? Then the compass and map will help. But be careful: you also have to learn how to use a compass and map. However, we simply claim that you can make your tour on your doorstep without much help – we believe in you! Nevertheless we recommend to download one of our tested hiking apps for the beginning, so that you don’t stand completely disoriented in the forest.

8. Multi-day tours for beginners

A detailed article will follow shortly (UPDATE: to be found here), what is important on a multi-day tour and what you can neglect. Until then read our two articles “Eifelsteig – Planung und Vorbereitung” and “Eifelsteig – unsere Ausrüstung unterwegs” and have a look at the packing list of the tour. Then you already have an idea of what to expect. More detailed tips for longer hikes can be found here.

You’ve been gripped by the wanderlust? Very good! And you’re just thinking, why a 1-day tour, when you can also go hiking for several days? Also good! But then be aware that tours such as our Eifelsteig tour require more detailed preparations than a 1-day tour. Somewhere this is logical! It starts with the physical condition, continues with the thorough planning and ends with much more equipment you need compared to day hikes.

Take a look around for guided hikes. There you usually have very experienced hiking guides at your side, who will also give you small but important things in advance.

9. Have fun! Have fun!

That’s all there is to it…

In that sense, what are you waiting for? Out with you!

Author: George T. Carico

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