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Top 10 Hiking Tips

Have you ever had a backpacking trip that was a disaster – even though you brought everything you needed? Maybe you had matches, but couldn’t get that fire going. You need more than good gear to assure a safe and enjoyable wilderness experience. You need to know how to do a few things. Here are my Top 10 hiking tips, to get you started.

#1. Learn fire making.

Practice in your back garden if you have to, try to start that fire with one match. Try it the next time it’s raining too. Try to start a fire using a ferro rod.


How to start a fire when camping

#2. Learn to pitch a tent.

Do it wrong and the rain will come in, or the wind will tear the tent open. Tents should be pitched right and tight, and you should be able to set your tent up in a few minutes. Practice this in your back garden before you set off on your trip. If you`re new to hiking and camping, I strongly advise this.

Learn to pitch a tent

#3. Learn how to stay warm.

Practice camping in the back garden. See how blocking the wind, wearing warm clothes, and eating fatty foods before hitting the sleeping bag, can keep you warmer. Remember, hiking can make you damp, without you even realizing it. Remove those cotton socks and replace them with woollen ones.

How to stay warm when camping

#4. Learn to cook over a fire.

It’s not as easy as it seems. Block the wind, cover the pan, keep the fire small and concentrated, practice. It’s always possible your stove will break, so knowing how to start and cook on a camp fire, could be crucial.

When cooking on a camp fire you want to rely on the red coals for best results and don`t` forget to wrap potato`s or corn in foil before placing on the fire. You can even make very nice crusty bread as well, the list is endless. Don`t forget though,  when you leave your campsite, make sure the fire is well and truly extinguished.

Cooking on a camp fire

#5. Learn about edible plants.

Knowing how to identify cattails and three or four wild edible berries can make a trip more enjoyable, especially if you ever lose your food to a bear. Cattail can be good for starting fires.

Learn about berries

Learn about cattails

#6. Learn how to walk.

Learning how to pace yourself and how to move comfortably over rocky terrain means you will be less tired, and less likely to twist an ankle or injure yourself. Take your time, don`t rush, the last thing you want is to injure yourself on the very first day, especially if you`ve been planning your trip for a while.

Learn how to pace yourself when hiking

#7. Learn about animals.

Can you tell if a bear is bluff charging or stalking you? If it’s the latter, playing dead will make you a bear’s dinner. Lots of noise usually means he just wants to frighten you, but you need to read up on this one. Always carry bear spray just in case, and don`t bother climbing a tree, this won’t help. You will be caught by the bear before you even get to one. If you do manage to climb a tree and faster than a bear, (which is highly unlikely), then you will have to sit there for a long time with the bear below. Big bears can shake or even knock smaller trees down.

Learn to avoid bear encounters

#8. Learn to watch the sky.

Is that a storm coming or not? It might be useful to know when the weather is going to change all of a sudden. Learn the basics of predicting weather, and you will be a lot safer. You can prepare yourself in advance. Try to be one step ahead.

Learning the signs

#9. Learn basic first aid.

Can you recognize the symptoms of hypothermia? Do you know how to properly treat blisters? These are good things to know. Take the time to learn the basics in first aid, it could save your life.

Basic first aid

#10. Learn navigation.

Maps don’t help if you don’t know how to use them. The same is said for compasses. Learn how to use these items together and you will never get lost. There are videos on You Tube about how to do this, or research online.

How to use a map and compass


You don’t need to be an expert in wilderness survival to enjoy a safe hiking trip. It can help to know a little more than you do though. Use the backpacking skills listed above, and learn something new. Remember, be safe and enjoy yourself.

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