The About.com 2012 Reader’s Choice Winners are in, and hiking takes first place in the Favorite Camping Activity and Outdoor Recreation categories. Hiking is a great sport for individuals of all activity levels because of the different types of trails available. This activity can be as simple as walking on a flat path in a wildlife sanctuary to testing your balance on steep, rocky trails. With a bit of planning and the right equipment, you, too, can be ready to hit the trails in no time.
Reasons Why People Love to Hike
- You can explore and exercise at the same time.
- It’s a great way to exercise your pets.
- Hiking is a good family activity.
- Camping and hiking go hand-in-hand.
- Hiking doesn’t have to be hard or take all afternoon.
- Other than the occasional park entrance fee, it doesn’t cost any money to hike.
Things to Take on Your Hike
- Pair of supportive hiking boots
- Backpack with a CamelBak-type device for water, or include enough room for water bottles
- LED flashlight
- LED headlamp
- Extra batteries for the flashlight and headlamp
- Charged cell phone
- Map of the trails
- Lightweight waterproof clothing
- First aid kit
- List of emergency contacts
- Hiking partner
Planning Your Hike
- Look for a park, campground or wildlife reserve with an established system of trails.
- Plan your hike the night before so you can highlight your trail, plan for the weather, know the location of ranger stations and can have a good sense of how long the hike will take.
- Give a copy of the hiking map to a family member or friend, and highlight the trail you’ll be trekking.
- Make sure the batteries in your LED headlamp and LED flashlight work.