Hiking FAQ: Common Questions and Beginner Advice

Hiking FAQ Common Questions and Beginner Advice

If you’ve just started hiking or you’re interested in starting you probably have lots of questions ranging from how, when, where, what gear do I need, how difficult is it, etc.

As with most hobbies, there is a pretty steep learning curve at first and lots of information to take in.

If you’re like me however you benefit most from asking questions and taking a methodical approach to finding out exactly what you need to do and how to do it.

Which is why I’ve put together a list of some of the most common hiking questions newbies, and even some experienced hikers ask.

So, if you’re wondering how to stop getting blisters, the easiest way to keep hydrated, how to find trails and hiking buddies, and anything in-between then read on, I’m sure there is some information you’ll find helpful.

Hiking Questions, Answers, and Advice

Do You Need Expensive Gear to Go Hiking?

No, not at all. Sure, there are plenty of expensive hiking gear items that will make your hikes easier and more enjoyable, but as for starting out, you can do it on a budget.

The main items to invest in quality are the shoes and clothing. Blisters and sore feet can turn a hike into a nightmare, as can being too cold or uncomfortable.

So, I’d focus on shoes and clothing first. Especially while you are still new to hiking and finding out how seriously you’re going to take it.

Do I Need to Be in Great Shape to Start Hiking?

No, absolutely not. One of the main reasons people start hiking is to improve their health, right? So, you’ve got to start somewhere.

Always hike at your own pace. It’s good to push yourself but do so at a pace that’s fun and doesn’t risk injury or leaving you shattered the day after.

You’ll see and feel hiking getting easier the more you do it. Getting in better shape is a great added benefit enjoying the outdoors.

Do I Need to Use Hiking Poles?

There is a stigma around hiking poles that they are for the elderly or people with injuries etc. It’s not the case.

I’m not saying you need them, but it’s worth trying some out if you get the opportunity. They help you balance, take some of the strain off your knees and ankles, and are a hiking aid for all ages.

Best Way to Keep Hydrated While Hiking?

The best and easiest way to keep hydrated while hiking is by using a hydration bladder. Bottles are great, but bladders allow you to drink hands-free.

If you’re after a hydration bladder check out our Crystal Creek hydration bladder. It’s a high quality, durable, bladder at a great price and is a perfect companion to keep you hydrated while hiking.

What Should You Drink While Hiking?

I hear people asking this and the best answer is that it’s up to you and what you enjoy drinking.

Sure, fresh water is the best option but does get a little boring. Energy drinks are great to give you a boost or fresh juice.

What’s the Average Distance If I’m New to Hiking?

The average distance someone new to hiking will cover is around 9-10 miles a day, walking at a pace of about 2 miles per hour.

You’ll be traveling upwards of 10 miles per day when you have a few hiking trips under your belt no problem and a pace of 3-4 miles an hour easily.

What Are the Best Meals to Make When Hiking?

It’s important to plan what you’re going to eat and make sure you get plenty of good fuel-food on board when hiking.

Snacks are easily available to munch on while hiking, and cooking on a backpacking stove is convenient and easy.

Freeze dried food or meals that just require warming up are quick and easy. Foods like rice, pasta, potatoes are also easy and contain plenty of carbs to keep the energy levels up.

Best Way to Purify Water from Streams?

If you want to travel light the first thing to leave at home is your water supply. There are several ways to purify the water you find outdoors so if you know your trail well you can plan ahead.

I covered some of the most popular methods of purifying lake water here. Using filters, tablets, or boiling the water are some of the easiest methods.

How Can I Find Other Hikers to Hike With?

Maybe you like hiking alone to enjoy having some quiet time with just you and your thoughts, I can relate to that sometimes.

But it’s also fun when you have someone else to talk to and push you further if you’re working on your stamina.

If you can’t persuade friends to come along try searching for forums online, check out the American Hiking Society, or Meetup is a good resource for finding groups and people with similar interests.

How Can I Find New Hiking Trails?

There are various sites that list trails across the country. Hiking Project is an excellent resource and I recommend checking them out.

The list trails and include information like the distance, ascent, and descent, a map and even a virtual tour for some so you can check them out visually to see if it looks like a trail you want to hike.

How Do I Stop Getting Blisters Hiking?

Something as small as a blister can be the difference between a fun hike and a painful nightmare.

There are plenty of things you can do to minimize the risk of getting a blister however, and it’s definitely something to be proactive about rather than trying to deal with afterward.

Try some of the following if you’re blister-prone:

  • Try different hiking boots
  • Wear thicker socks
  • Band-aid or tape areas on your feet that will be rubbing
  • Soak and massage your feet when you get chance

Should I Take a First Aid Kit in My Backpack?

Yes, I always recommend you have a small first aid kit at the very least. You never know when or if you’ll need medical assistance, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Just throw a small kit into your backpack and make sure you check it and replace any items you use at regular intervals.

Why Am I Finding Hiking So Difficult?

This is a question a lot of first-timers ask, and there are some potential reasons outside of just your general physical condition.

Check the elevation gain the trail you hiked had. It’s much more difficult to hike a trail with elevation as you’re effectively going uphill, even if it’s so slight you don’t realize it.

It’s surprising how weather conditions can make a hike a lot more difficult too. You might be setting great times on the treadmill in the gym, but try hiking against the wind, in heavy rain, or across hard frozen terrains.

It puts extra strain on your muscles and makes you push your cardio harder. Across a few hours, it’s going to feel so much more difficult than a hike in dry, sunny conditions.

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