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What Are the Best Tips for Mountain Hiking?

Hiking boots.
The packing list for a day mountain hike can be relatively short, depending on the weather and the length of the hike.
A hiking backpack.
A backpack will allow you to carry all of the gear you need.
The Matterhorn is one of the most famous -- and deadliest -- peaks in the Alps.
A trekking pole, or hiking staff, is essential equipment for a mountain hiker.
Staying hydrated is important during a mountain hike.
Hikers should always keep an eye out for approaching weather systems.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 July 2014
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Mountain hiking is a great way to get in shape and enjoy the outdoors, but the activity does take some preparation. Depending on what kind of mountain hiking one is doing, the preparations may include choosing the correct equipment, purchasing and reading a map to be sure of a route, buying food and tools with which to cook it, knowing where to get drinking water and how to purify it correctly, and preparing for unforeseen accidents or injuries. The most important tip for mountain hiking is to be prepared and know the area in which the hiker will be hiking.

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The term "mountain hiking" can refer to several different types of hiking, from day hiking to backpacking, or even trekking. Each type of hiking has its own necessary preparations; day hikes are relatively short, and they can be done in a day or part of a day. Backpacking trips are multi-day trips on established trails, often leaving the hiker far away from cities and towns and leaving him or her to cook for himself, set up camp, and address emergencies such as accidents or injuries without the help of emergency services. This type of hiking takes more preparation and knowledge of backcountry skills than day hiking. Trekking can be done two ways: a hiker can sign up for a trekking tour, in which assistants carry the bulk of the equipment over long stretches of land, or it can be done solo, with the trekker hiking both on and off trail and living off the land.

Depending on the type of mountain hiking the hiker intends to do, he or she should be sure to research the terrain to be hiked as well as the weather conditions he or she will encounter. This may dictate the type of clothing that needs to be packed. Choose clothing carefully, as it can be the difference between a comfortable trip and a painful one. Look for moisture-wicking fabrics and sturdy hiking shoes that will keep the body dry and protected through inclement weather and natural sweating.

Pack a good first aid kit for a mountain hiking trip. Just the basics will do for most hikers, but if the hiker plans on spending several days or weeks in the woods, it is a wise decision to stock a thorough first aid kit that can handle a variety of injuries — especially injuries that may be specific to a region, such as a venomous snake bite or cactus spine removal.

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Discuss this Article

bythewell
Post 3

When I was a kid, my favorite kind of book was the type like Hatchet, or like Robinson Crusoe, where people would be trapped in the wild and would have to survive with their guts and intelligence.

So, when I was a kid I always thought hiking would be like that, and that I would never have to worry about survival because I could just improvise if something went wrong.

But we recently heard about a man I thought of as an expert hiker, who got caught out by very bad weather and froze to death. It can happen to anyone. So, my best tip is to be as prepared as you can, and as cautious as you should be. Have fun, but remember it isn't a game, and at any time something can go wrong and threaten your life.

croydon
Post 2

@irontoenail - The only "mountain hiking" trip with my father that I can remember was hiking in the Smoky mountains. My father had a friend who said we could use his "cabin" in the woods up there. We thought it was going to be a literal cabin, just a one or two room hut with bunk beds and so forth. Turns out it was a two story house with TV and a dishwasher.

We had a lot of fun venturing out to see the rivers and hillsides, and watched the bats at night, and then I made dad tolerate Sex and the City.

So, I guess the best mountain hiking tip my dad ever taught me was, make sure you make friends with the guy who has a two storey "cabin" in the woods!

irontoenail
Post 1

One of my vivid memories from when I was a little girl was going on a hiking trip with my family up Fisher's Peak which is in Colorado.

I had seen this mountain (it was only a little mountain) out my window for months and was really excited to climb it.

Unfortunately, the path my father chose was quite a difficult one for pre-teen girls and we started to slip in the shale and we all got a bit scared. I remember dad taught me how to angle my feet so they were perpendicular to the slope, and that stopped me from slipping. It's something I'll always remember and it's my favorite tip for mountain hiking.

Then, my sister became too scared to move and we had to coax her off the mountainside. Dad picked the easy way down after that.

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