Thinking about ditching your desk and heading for the hills? Hiking is the ultimate way to escape the daily grind and deep dive into nature. But if you're new to the hiking scene, don’t sweat it. We’ve all been there, that's why we created this guide. In it we’ll cover all the essential basics so you can conquer the trails with confidence.
Ready to hike on?
What is hiking
At its core, hiking is all about getting outside and walking in nature. It could be anything from meandering through a local park or pushing yourself to climb a peak.
Hiking is a great way to break away from your daily routine and rediscover the beauty of nature. Or as we like to call it, therapy for the soul (and a chance to step in some mud without judgement).
How to pack a hiking pack
When it comes to packing for a hike, you want to be prepared for whatever comes your way, without being weighed down by unnecessary gear. Here are some must-haves to consider:
- A backpack: You want to look for one that is comfortable and sturdy. A well-fitting backpack will help to distribute weight evenly so you can hit the trails without breaking a sweat.
- Water and snacks: Think of them like little morale boosters for your taste buds.
- A first aid kit (and toilet paper): Prepares you for any unexpected injuries or worse, unexpected toilet stops…
- Map or GPS: Mobile reception can be as unreliable as a 7-day weather forecast so make sure you have a map, compass or GPS device to keep you headed in the right direction.
- A lightweight rain jacket: No matter how dry the conditions seem, a lightweight rain jacket can protect you from not only unwanted rain but can also block out the breeze when the wind picks up.
- Sun protection: A must in Australia’s harsh UV conditions, your pack isn’t complete until you’ve packed a hat and sunscreen.
What to wear hiking
What you wear hiking can be the difference between feeling like a rugged explorer or soggy mess. So leave the jeans at home and gear up with the right clothes to take on whatever Mother Nature throws at you, because really, she can be a bit of a fashion critic.
Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to help keep you dry, even on those extra sweaty days. This is especially important in colder conditions, helping you stay drier for longer.
Next, layer on top a breathable mid-layer that provides insulation without adding bulk and top it off with a weather-resistant outer layer that holds up against the wind and rain.
When it comes to your feet, you’ll want a pair of hiking boots that provide grip on rocky or wet terrain and offer extra ankle support. And don’t forget to wear hiking socks. Merino are best since they are breathable, odour-resistant and thermo-regulating.
Often forgotten but also crucial, let’s not forget the accessories. Make sure you have a hat handy to protect you from the sun’s rays and sunglasses to keep the glare out. If you’re heading out in the cooler months, packing a pair of lightweight gloves can also be a life saver. Merino liners or wind-proof gloves are a good place to start.
Now you know what to wear hiking, you’ll be ready to tackle any trail brimming with confidence.
Choosing a hiking route
We Aussies are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a hiking route. From the rugged coastline of Tassie’s Overland Track to the iconic Uluru Base Walk, there are so many scenic trails to choose from, it’s almost overwhelming.
When you’re picking a hiking route, it’s always a good idea to consider your fitness level and experience. If you’re a complete newbie, it’s best to start with shorter, easier trails before you think about taking on more challenging ones.
Another thing to think about is the time of year. We have a very diverse climate across our varying states so make sure to consider weather patterns before stepping out to conquer a track.
No matter which trail you choose, always remember to leave the trail cleaner than you found it, or else Mother Nature will come knocking at your tent flap.
Hiking for beginners
Now you’ve got all the necessary gear and insider knowledge, you’ll be ready to conquer the trails like a pro.
Don’t forget, when it comes to hiking it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Soak up those jaw-dropping views, breathe in that fresh mountain air, and always be on the lookout for the elusive yowie…
Can’t wait to see you out there. Happy hiking!