How To Plan And Prepare For A Hike

How To Plan And Prepare For A Hike

There is no better feeling than getting back to nature and hitting the trails for a fulfilling hiking experience. However, appropriate preparation can oftentimes be overlooked in the excitement to get back to nature. While hiking is not an extreme sport, such as parachuting, it still requires an intermediate level of planning and preparation, due to the inherent dangers of entering and exploring nature.

Appropriate preparation can mean the difference between an exciting experience or a terrifying ordeal. Follow these steps to ensure you are well-prepared for your outdoor adventures.

Location and Trail Mapping

The first step to preparing for a hike is deciding where to venture. Knowing the location of hiking trails is required, and it is important to choose an area that is marked out. As stated on, many national parks and hiking trails will have their websites, such as Great Falls in Virginia. Choosing a well-known and informative website to help you get used to the area is a great step to preparing for a hike.

Having a map, with the trails and routes to be taken appropriately marked is a must. It is recommended to have a paper map of the area, rather than relying on electronic GPS or maps on a smartphone. Hiking is inherently about leaving the hustle and bustle of modern life behind and relying on an electronic device that can easily die, malfunction or become damage is foolhardy. 

A paper map, as well as the knowledge required to read it, will allow you to pinpoint the location in the worst-case scenario of being lost in the wilderness. Never rely on a gadget that requires connectivity to tell you where to go. This one small item can save your life should something befall you, and is incredibly important to your survival.

Packing Appropriate Gear and Survival Aids

When commencing a hike it is important to carry all the tools and provisions you will need, plus an additional supply of food, water and emergency supplies to help you survive, should you become lost or injured during your hike.

Utilizing a checklist for packing is strongly recommended. While the nature of hiking is to engage with nature and leave the city behind, it is also paramount to recognize the risks involved and ensure you have the appropriate equipment to assist in all scenarios.

What you carry in your backpack could mean the difference between life and death should something unfortunate befall you when you are in the middle of nowhere. Hiking trails don’t generally have 24/7 McDonald’s along the trails, remember to take enough food and water, clothing and first aid equipment to last for more days than you are anticipating being on the trails.


By thoroughly researching and understanding the location of your outdoor adventure, and ensuring you are carrying all of the essentials, you can easily prepare for a safe and fun time embarking on an adventure and immerse yourself in nature!