Are you planning on traveling to ‘hard to reach’ places or an outdoor trekking adventure on foot? As a newbie to this, where do you start? What gear do you need? What are some easy trails to get you primed? Here’s a list of eight easy walks and hiking gear essentials including what to wear.
Who’s This For?
Anyone intending to venture outdoors hiking to capture amazing landscape views or just for the heck of it — an “escape”. This might mean you are going on…
- Guided or self-guided ventures
- Multiple day hikes
- Day hiking or night hiking or both
- Otherwise: trekking trips, hiking expeditions, trekking trails, or tramping (other names for hiking) to new (or old) places
Why is This Important?
Walking is the easiest and healthiest way to explore the world and capture outstanding views. But there’s more…The incidental benefits include:
- Improved mood and nourishment from the sunshine (Vitamin D), fresh air, and breathing in phytoncides (wood essential oils).
- Exercise. Walking provides a well-paced exercise. Walking is great for getting oxygen to the brain. Science tells us that walking produces retrograde wave-like pressure pulses from foot impacts that dynamically improve blood circulation¹ – a type of hydraulic effect that benefits our brain.
- Anti-aging. Benefits of walking include firming up glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, shins, and foot muscles. Improving fitness levels.
- Space to reflect, and allow intuitive and creative thought. Escape from internal worries. Find inner peace and well-being.
- New friends and new perspectives. Belonging to a group of enthusiasts with common interests.
- Finding out about new cultures and stimulating places
- Seeing things that are impossible to see from a vehicle
- Making a difference through charity walks, e.g. Fred Hollows Foundation raising funds through Coastrek for restoring sight to millions of needlessly blind people
So it’s important to be prepared for it to get the most out of it.
How to Prepare for a Trekking Holiday
The movie ‘Wild‘ is about one woman’s reason to embark upon a great walk. Her experiences, her struggles, and her self-realization through this very experience are captured by this movie. It’s worth viewing if you’re considering walking and camping along trails.
There are heaps of magnificent places for a day hike, hiking holidays, or other treks, which are rated as tough because of high altitude or steep slopes.
For such long distance walks, you might want to start with something easy so you can last the duration. This would mean nothing too strenuous or too harsh, and mostly gentle grading.
Here are some hiking tips to prepare yourself for trekking trips. Try to focus on improving your walking durability leading up to your adventure.
You can start by gradually getting into a routine of walking 3 miles a day and increasing that to walking 5 miles a day, and so on.
But, it’s a good idea to go walk, especially a brisk walk to build up endurance and to wear those walking boots in so that you don’t experience blisters on your long distance walks when trekking overseas or on walking holidays at home.
What to Wear Hiking?
You will need hiking clothing to suit the weather and conditions of where you intend going. In very wet conditions, you may need rain pants as well as a rain jacket. Hiking shoes with a good pair of merino wool hiking socks are recommended. Get yourself a set of hiking pants that allow ventilation if expecting warm weather. For cold weather, consider a thermal base layer. Make sure to include sun protection. This can include a long sleeve shirt with a high sun protection factor, a hat, and sunscreen lotion.
The following table has some hiking gear essentials…
In Australia? Get these direct from helinox.com.au
In Australia? Check the Scarpa Unisex Boots at Wild Earth
In Australia? Check these out at Wild Earth
Clean Water on the Go
Also: Sea to Summit Water Bladder (Wild Earth Australia)
Bulk Water Carriage
In Australia? Check out Osprey Backpacks at Wild Earth
In Australia? Check out Dueter at Wild Earth
In Australia? Check out the 300 lumen version at Wild Earth
JETBOIL ZIP COOKER (Amazon)
In Australia? Check these out at Wild Earth Australia
In Australia? Check out the Camp Stove 2 at Wild Earth Australia
Tip: Consider weight when purchasing and packing. More weight will slow you down.
List of 8 Easy Walks
The following is a list of eight easy hiking places to start your adventures with great walks.
These range from England walking tours to tramping in New Zealand to hiking in Canada. There’s even a trek with wild animals in Africa and a coastal hike through fishing villages of Italy.
- Features: rainforest, crystal-clear lakes, colored sands, and vast sand dunes
- 6–8 days
- up to 90 km
- camping areas
Hadrian’s Wall Path in the UK – a Walkopedia favorite walk
- Features: villages, Roman temples, ‘Robin Hood Tree’, and more
- 5-day to 11-day hiking tours
- 44 – 137 km
- B&B’s and Inns
- features: walking safari style, the raw wilderness of Kruger National Park
- trails depend on check availability
- 3 – 4 days guided
- ~42 km
- camp/hut accommodation
- features: golden sand beaches, Cleopatra’s Pool, a beautiful inlet to Falls River, and a 47 m suspension bridge + fur seals/kekeno
- 3 – 5 days
- 60 km
- 4 huts and 19 campsites
- Features: diverse landscapes, vegetation, and wildlife, captivating stories of the original Māori and early pioneers
- 3 day guided
- 44 km
- lodge accommodation
- Features: historical, cultural, landscape and environmental of these islands in the Mediterranean Sea
- 2 – 35 miles of easy walking – self-guided
- 1 – 8 days
- hotels, guest houses
- features: Burgess Shale fossil beds – Trilobites, the stilt-walking Hallucigenia, lakes, falls, rock formations
- 1 – 2 days
- 55 km
- rooms at Tea House, private camping, guest houses, luxury lodges
- features: centuries-old seaside villages, vineyards, sanctuaries, sweeping sea vistas
- 1 to several days, with the stretch from Manarola to Corniglia (2 km) the easiest to hike
- path network is up to 120 km with varying degree of ease
- village accommodation
More Great Walks1001 walks you must do before you die, by Julia Bradbury and Barry Stone generously illustrates and features 1,001 scenic walks throughout the world in both natural and urban settings. This huge reference provides selections that allow you to go at your own pace, savor local sights. There is an increasing number of trails converted from former canal towpaths and railway lines, like New York’s High Line, into mixed-use walkways. It covers numerous routes from coastal to historic trails to those of natural charm, including California’s John Muir Trail, the Miami Beach Art Deco walk, Hadrian’s Wall and Offa’s Dyke paths in England, the Italian lakes. The range of walks varies from easy jaunts to more rugged hikes. Each entry provides essential details, including start and finish points, overall distance, difficulty rating, maps, and likely duration. Read the reviews[/one_second][one_second]
The Website Live Once Live Wild provides Complete Guides on the National Parks of Northern America with a list of trails and natural sights to see. It offers information on “off the beaten path backpacking trips, to hidden waterfalls that no one knows about, part of the wonder of exploring our national parks is finding places and treasures that are uniquely your own.” See more here.
What’s your favorite walk, be it big or small?
Let me know in the comments below.
- Beginners Guide to Night Sky Watching
- Connect with the Wild All Year Round
- 8 Magic Ways to Connect With the Wild
- Experimental Biology 2017. “How walking benefits the brain: Researchers show that foot’s impact helps control, increase the amount of blood sent to the brain.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2017. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170424141340.htm
Dwyer T, Pezic A, Sun C, Cochrane J, Venn A, Srikanth V, et al. (2015) Objectively Measured Daily Steps and Subsequent Long Term All-Cause Mortality: The Tasped Prospective Cohort Study. PLoS ONE 10(11): e0141274. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141274
Amy A. Hakim, et. al. “Effects of Walking on Mortality among Nonsmoking Retired Men.” New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 338:94-99, January 8, 1998, Number 2.
Tang R, Wang JY, Lo SK, Hsieh LL. “Physical activity, water intake and risk of colorectal cancer in Taiwan: a hospital-based case-control study. International Journal of Cancer. 1999 Aug 12;82(4):484-9.
Rozenn N. Lemaitre; David S. Siscovick; Trivellore E. Raghunathan; Sheila Weinmann; Patrick Arbogast; Dan-Yu Lin. “Leisure-Time Physical Activity and the Risk of Primary Cardiac Arrest.” Archives of Internal Medicine, 1999; 159:686-690