First time hiking: what to keep in mind

What should you consider when you go out for the first hike? What do you have to pack besides your camera equipment?

Good equipment will make the job a lot more fun, but don’t take too much when you go out into nature. Besides, the equipment must match the weather and temperature of your excursion.


Safety is important when moving around in nature. Many are afraid of bears and wolves, even though the greater risk is to hit your toes with the ax or cause a forest fire through careless fire treatment.


To make the hike meaningful, look at the goals of the hike and if they match goals of yours. For example, if you want to spend a lot of time on photography, then you might not want to join a hiking group where no one else wants the same.

It is also good to think ahead of time if you are ready to adapt to the decisions of the tour leader and the group, as soloing can ruin the journey of others.

The better you know yourself, your character and your goals, the better you can think in advance what kind of expedition and group will suit you.


However, remember, even if well prepared, you stumble into situations that you can’t prepare in advance.

What’s worse than going miles far from home and experiencing an emergency. Whether you’re out of food, lost, in bad weather, or something else, hiking with equipment that is not good is never fun.

For a photographer, an emergency is that you forgot to take the fully loaded extra batteries for your camera, or you go out without a memory card. That can happen, so always check these before you leave.

But here we talk more about hiking related stuff that you need to consider.

Whether you’re exploring the Appalachian Trail or planning a short trek with your household, there are some pieces of the trekking equipment you ought to remember. Your gear will of course always differ by the type of trekking trip you are preparing.

Food and water

You need to carry food and water, no matter how long or short you are hiking. For longer trips take around a gallon of water per individual every day. For shorter hikes around 30 ounces of water per person should be enough depending on the weather. 

To keep your energy levels up, have some treats, like trail mix or jerky. 

Get some extra food in case things take longer than planned. For overnight trips have food for an extra day. For day hikes have food for both lunch and supper.


Never leave without a little flashlight. Flashlights and headlamps are great when you set up a camp during the night. They can be helpful on day hikes too if you are trekking at sundown.

Shoes and Socks

Proper hiking footwear is essential, regardless of how long and where you are going. Select trekking shoes suitable for the terrain you typically trek. 

Never go for a longer hike with new shoes. Make sure shoes are a comfy fit before heading out.

Use high-quality trekking socks too, cushioned for additional support. To get the best fit for your shoes, buy your trekking socks initially and use them when you buy your trekking boots.


You need a rugged camera backpack or a hiking backpack to carry your gear. If any of your walkings are brief and you rarely plan to stay overnight, a little day pack is all you need. 

If you are going for longer journeys, try to find a backpack with plenty of compartments and sufficient room for all your stuff and food. And check that it fits comfortably on your back.


An emergency kit should be always with you. Pack something for insect bites, minor scrapes, blisters, thorns, and other typical trail injuries. 

Lip balm, sunscreen, and insect repellant are must-haves in your trekking emergency treatment bag.

Don’t go out without additional clothes like rain gear, specifically in locations with changing weather. A light-weight raincoat with a hood is the best protection from the rain. 

For more extreme hiking, emergency shelter and an emergency blanket may be needed.

Whistle for emergencies might good to have, along with rain and wind-resistant matches, and a multi-tool or multi-purpose pocket knife. Those don’t weight too much. 


Always have a compass and a map of the area you are hiking. A digital compass with altitude reading is excellent equipment for backcountry hikes. 

Trail maps are usually available at the ranger station for many national and state trekking path systems.

Other Gear

Some extra equipment might be useful, like binoculars, depending on your interests.

You may want to have some support, depending on your walking, as a form of a trekking pole.

Longer journeys will require additional equipment, as will trips in extreme weather. 


Hiking offers many opportunities, but it also has its own challenges.

Cold, wind, rain and snowy conditions can challenge you beyond the wicked weather. Good accessories keep the hiker warm even when the weather is bad.

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