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5 Tips on how to prepare for your FIRST overnight hike!

For us outdoor-lovers there are few things as magnificent as spending a night outside, under the stars, away from the city light and noise. Wiggling your cold body into your snug sleeping bag and falling asleep to the rustling sounds of the wind moving through the trees. It’s magic.

Overnight hiking is hands-down one of the most rewarding experiences you can ever give yourself. Whether you end up loving or hating it, your first overnight hike will be memorable and an experience you’ll be proud of forever.

But before we get all excited about how amazing you’re going to feel afterward, it’s also important to know about all the tips and tricks to help you feel amazing during the hike.

1. First up, get those cardio and strength training sessions in.

It’s no secret that hiking is up and down and up and down and up again, so the number one thing that you could do to make your experience as enjoyable as possible is to make sure that you are physically fit.

Overnight hikes are on average around 20+km (over 2 days), which means your body will have to be used to it so that you don’t injure yourself. Whether you walk or run, as long as you get the kilometers on your legs you’ll be good to go.

2. Pack your bag, then take everything out, half it, and pack it again.

You never need as much as you think you do and when you carry everything on your back, every gram counts. Remember less is more!

3. Make sure your hiking boots are worn in!

There is nothing worse than being on the mountain, your feet covered in blisters, and you still have a whole day of hiking ahead of you. Blisters are considered a rookie mistake but it happens to a lot of first-time hikers when their brand new shoes are not worn in.

Sometimes you’re lucky with your first pair of hiking boots and you fly through the mountain, injury-free. Other times, like me, you have to work through a few pairs and a few not-so-pleasant overnight hikes before you find the boot for you.

As long as you make sure you wear your shoes as much as possible before the hike, you should be good to go!

4. Be prepared!

As much as some people love a spontaneous trip, being unprepared for an overnight hike is a nightmare.

Read up about the hike, what to expect, what to pack, and even what the rules are. Check what the weather will be like to help guide you on what to pack.

It’s also important to find out how long the hike each day is estimated to take and where the best rest and lunch stops are to ensure that you reach your destination timeously and long before the sun starts to set.

Other things to consider, are there camping fees? Do you need hiking permits? Where should you leave your car? These are important things to know.

5. And lastly, get familiar with your gear.

Don’t let the actual overnight hike be the first time you wear your backpack, pitch your tent or use your gas cooker. The more familiar you are with your gear, how it works, and what it feels like, the better the experience will be for you.

A first time out in the wild, with everything you’ll need on your back is a daunting experience. However, if you are well prepared you are bound to have the most incredible experience up in the mountains.

Sho, all this overnight hiking talk has made me keen for some exploring myself!

So I guess I’ll see you on the trails?


Guest author:
Annéne Maré


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