Hiking is fun when you are in the company of family and friends. Strangers, too, leave an enduring taste in your mouth once the hike is complete. However, nothing is easy-peasy.
Poor preparations can turn your hiking experience into a nightmare which is why you must familiarize yourself with the different types of hiking to avoid embarrassment.
For the record, hiking involves more than walking. This post will look at the different types of hiking and talk about their benefits as well.
Benefits of Hiking
Hiking is ideal for people of all ages. Heck, toddlers too can go on a mountain climb. But what makes hiking so sensational? All this and more…
- It creates a bond between family and friends – Hiking allows you to spend more time with the ones you love. For your information, some of the most memorable moments you can have in life come because of mountain climbing.
- Hiking gives you time off a rather stressful schedule – Let us face it. There are no breaks in life. You, because of the many commitments you have end-up stressed and depressed. You are likely to fail without a release. Painful right? Amazingly, hiking helps take the edge off giving you more than enough time to gain new perspectives in life.
- Mountain climbing offers you and your family an opportunity to learn – The universe is a big mystery box that no brilliant mind can unravel. However, hiking gives you more than an opportunity for you and your children to learn about everything that nature has to offer.
- Hiking is good for your health – Living in an urban jungle makes you weak and unhealthy. Anyhow, a hike takes you to the natural environment where you have to endure through some rugged terrain for you to reach the finish line. You, while at it exercise your mind, body, and soul leaving you refreshed.
Main Types of Hiking
In short, hiking is not just but an activity but a social phenomenon that can heighten your spirits and lengthen your lifespan. Thus, you must familiarize yourself with the different types of hiking to avoid getting enlisted in the hall of shame. The main types of hiking beginners should look for include:
- Easy walks and hikes
- Moderate hikes
- Challenging hikes
- Multi-day hikes
1. Easy walks and hikes
Easy walks and hikes hardly take your mind, body, and soul to the limit. They are ideal for people of ages given that there is little work involved. Kids, too, can participate in this one.
This type of hiking compels hikers to go through a selection of trails; trails that rarely get vertical. To top it up, the terrain is super easy to maneuver through and movement more of a walk in the park.
Travelers also get to enjoy great panoramic views given that some of the trails occur on the high ground. To be on the safe side, however, you need:
- Plenty of water with you
- A sweater or jacket to protect you from extreme weather
- A paper map for orientation
- Wet wipes for sanitation purposes,
- Some band-aid
- A little cash
- Snacks, beverages, or packed lunch
- A fully charged phone
How you dress matters. Easy walks and hikes despite being one of the easiest types of hiking, compels you to dress comfortably. Recall, walking on flat ground for hours is not as easy as it seems.
Therefore, having the right shoes and pants will make your adventure easy and memorable. Finally, you need to let someone know about your whereabouts and for how long you intend to stay in the jungle.
Remember, bad things happen all the time and geographical awareness can help save your life especially if an accident occurs.
2. Moderate hikes
Moderate hikes are just but that. They, unlike easy climbs, cause enough strain and stress to your body.
However, they are not as energy intensive as challenging hikes are meaning you do not have to rely on your upper body strength for movement.
However, you should always keep an eye for steep sections and downhill descents because there will be many of these along the way.
The hilly terrain you must go through during a moderate hike gives you plenty of time to enjoy the scenery that characterizes hills and mountains.
Such an elevated front can turn out to be a memorable moment given that you are able to capture highly captivating panoramic scenes.
That settled, you need to carry supplies with you; equipment that helps you get home safely. Supplies you need include:
- Good hiking shoes to ensure you do not injure your feet
- Plenty of water or a non-alcoholic energizing beverage
- A sweater or jacket
- Food or snacks e.g. chocolate bars, groundnuts,
- Some bandages
- Wet wipes
- A map to protect you from getting lost in the wilderness
It does not end there. You also need to carry an inhaler with you especially if you are an asthmatic. Remember, moderate hikes push your body to the limit meaning you are prone to asthmatic attacks when you are walking on higher ground.
Letting your guardian know about your whereabouts can also help keep you alive whenever there is a need for emergency evacuation.
3. Challenging hikes
The challenging nature trail tops the list out of the many types of hiking. Challenging hikes take your body to the limit, forcing you to master all the strength at your disposal for survival.
You, from the onset, go through highly difficult terrains; landscapes that are steep whether you are climbing up or down.
Additionally, challenging hikes force you to walk for long distances with larger routes stretching for over 20 kilometers.
For the record, challenging hikes are a preserve of the few. They are only ideal for people who are physically fit, individuals who are not scared of height.
Indeed, challenging hikes take you to places where only a few individuals would go. Anyhow, you do not have to use climbing rope.
Supplies needed for this exercise are:
- Significant volumes of water
- A bag pack
- Hiking boots
- Comfortable pants
- A map
- A warm blanket
- A waterproof jacket
- Camping gear
As you can recall, challenging hikes take your body to the limit. Therefore, you may not be able to make it down a cliff on time.
That said, it is important that you carry some camping gear with you because you never know where you will spend your first night. Having a compass helps you from getting lost in the wild.
4. Multi-day hikes
You need, before you ever go hiking, identify the perfect spot. Finding the right hiking location not only guarantees you a lifetime of fun but also determines the number of nights you can spend in the same spot.
Multi-day hikes, unlike all other types of hiking, encourage you to carry more than enough supplies with you. You also need to carry the right camping equipment especially if you are to spend your nights outdoors.
Anyway, you do not always have to carry camping gear with you in cases where accommodation gets offered.
Other Types of Hiking
Different people classify hiking in different ways. Here are several other types of hiking that are typically used.
So, what entails each of the above?
1. Day hiking
Have you ever spent time in the wild during the day? Trust me; the experience is something worth remembering. Daytime hiking not only allows you to select the best spots to visit but also enables you to enjoy the scenery from close and far.
So captivating is the experience that you can even capture panoramic images of the natural environment with your camera.
Armed with a bag pack and a few supplies, day hiking is only supposed to be a daytime affair. You, after climbing and descending through terrain have to spend your night at home.
Anyhow, you can sleep in a lodge or campground right in the center of the hiking facility.
Something big must be brewing when you go backpacking. Backpacking, to the average Joe, refers to the process of hiking and camping along a nature trail.
This type of hike compels you to carry more than enough supplies with you, supplements sufficient to take you through your hiking expedition.
Unfortunately, many people fail to realize that there are many types of backpacking. These are namely:
- Through hiking – Requires you to walk from one point of a nature trail to the other. Essentially, you have to cover long distances before arriving at the intended destination. The nature of the hike, to say the least, forces you to carry enough supplies with you. However, you can always replenish your stock in small towns located along the way.
- Section hiking – Allows you to complete the entire length of a nature trail in phases. This comes in handy especially for people who cannot complete the entire length of a trail in one sitting.
- Slackpacking – Are you aware that you can hike in phases? An organized hiking service provider picks you up from your hostel or sleeping quarters and transports you right to the point where you finished your last hike. That is not all. Your supplies get replenished every morning meaning your expedition gets organized into sizeable milestones.
3. Lodge-to-lodge hiking
It is best to go hiking in a remote setting. However, you have to endure long, cold, and wet nights especially if you are walking along an extensive trail.
The good news, however, is that you do not have to sleep outdoors with lodge-to-lodge hiking because hikers get served with the best huts or lodges as they journey on.
Trekking is one of the most challenging types of hiking you can participate in and I will tell you why.
As a trekker, it is mandatory that you embark on a long journey that takes weeks or months to complete.
You then have to spend your nights along the trekking trail, primarily in lodges, villages, or camping areas located along your path.
Finally, you must carry enough supplies that can last for a day with you. Porters are necessary because they help carry your sleeping gear.
Animals like horses and donkeys can also chip in when you are going off-road given they help you carry more load.
Hiking is For Everyone!
Many people, particularly in this day and time shun the idea of walking. Little do they know that trekking can help strengthen their social ties and lengthen their lifespan.
Additionally, they fail to understand that hiking is not just a recreational activity but also a workout. Heck, even children can hike. Therefore, there is no reason in the world that can prevent you from hiking given that the activity is cheap to initiate and the experiences breathtaking. All you need is to take a step of faith and walk the talk.
However, it is important that you exercise caution as you plan for a hike whether you are a novice or veteran. Recall, hiking without a plan can work against you and all you hold dear.
Thus, it is important you familiarize yourself with the different types of hiking to ensure you carry the right gear with you. A traditional map is also necessary because it helps protect you from getting disoriented.
In a nutshell, hiking is ideal for people of all ages and races. You, as a budding mom or dad get encouraged to carry your children with you because the hiking experience is not only memorable but also educational.
After all, you are the biggest winner in this equation.