How to Prepare for Long Hikes or Overnight Hiking Trips

July 23, 2019
Hiking woman

Living in Colorado and Utah truly inspires an appreciation of the outdoors and all the adventure and recreational activities it offers. If you’ve been bitten by the hiking bug, you’ve probably already hit a few really amazing local trails around South Jordan and Salt Lake City, or the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge north of Denver.

If that’s the case, maybe you’re ready for something more challenging — like an all-day hike or even an overnight camping trip. It may seem daunting, but with the right training and preparation you can conquer any trail you set your mind to, no matter your age or experience. Read on to find tips and advice on how to take that first step towards a major trekking trip.

Safety First

Make sure you research your trail online before you depart by printing out maps, reading trail reports, and checking weather reports. Tell someone where you’re going — even if you’re hiking with a group — and what time they can expect you back. Leave early enough that you have as many daylight hours as possible to explore, but also pack a headlamp in case you get lost and are out past sundown. Learn to use a compass. And always, always pack a first aid kit.

Build Endurance

If you’re new to hiking, start training with a few weeks of daily walks while wearing a backpack, and then slowly increase your distance — be sure to carry water and add additional weight to your backpack as your mileage grows. Combine this with strength training exercises at the Spring House fitness center or The Club or add our yoga classes to your daily routine. If you’re already a regular hiker, find trails that are more cardio-intense than what you’re used to and work on building your lung capacity.

Pack the Right Gear

In addition to the 10 essentials every long-distance hiker should carry, you should definitely wear comfortable, broken-in hiking boots and wool socks. Bring an extra pair of socks (or two) in case you trek through water and your feet get wet. Always be sure to carry layers — you never know what the weather will do. Don’t worry: This doesn’t mean you have to run out to REI and start draining your bank account on expensive hiking and camping supplies — you might be able to borrow gear and equipment from friends or neighbors for your trip.

What to Eat

If you pack enough food you won’t have to desperately forage for non-poisonous mushrooms and berries in the deep forest. Light, compact, and nutrient-dense food is your best bet — we’re talking foods like instant oatmeal, peanut butter sandwiches, and chickpeas that can all help you maintain the energy you need to complete your trip. As cliché as it sounds, trail mix is a must for any hike. You can even make your own mix with your favorite combination of ingredients!

Hiking Etiquette

It’s pretty simple: Don’t disturb the wildlife and other nearby hikers or campers. Don’t play loud music, put your fire all the way out, and don’t let your dogs go wild. Also, give uphill hikers the right of way.

The world is always more fascinating for those who seek adventure, and the gorgeous outdoor landscape around SpringHouse Village and Fairway Villas is a welcome mat to explore the world while challenging yourself. These experiences are the real treasure in life, and we always encourage you to find them here at OakwoodLife.