The Ultimate Guide to Hiking For Women: Everything you need to know

We have created this extensive guide about hiking for women to support each other on the trail and hopefully make your experiences in the outdoors even more epic. 

Whether you are a first timer, or a more experienced hiker, we aim to provide useful information for all hikers and fitness levels. 

Therefore, do not be intimidated by the sheer volume of information in this guide. 

Skim through and find what is relevant to you and your ambitions. 

Happy trails!

Plan your Hiking Trip

Two hikers in the mountains

Anything that requires getting out of your house will require planning, if you really think about it. But when you are ready to explore something new, something that’s different from the ordinary, you need to plan more carefully.

Don’t worry; planning is not boring; it’s actually fun to think about activities that you are about to perform.

Things you need to plan prior to your hiking trip:

How long is your hike? And what are the routes you decide to take?

Hiking in the wilderness is not something you can get up and go. You need to get things planned. How long would you want your hike to be? Decide how many hours you are capable of spending in the wilderness. If it’s your first time, you should choose less time. Because once you get used to it, you can start extending it; if not, it’s getting hard, and you’ll have a bad first experience. 

Routes are another major aspect. You’ll need to determine the type of route. Is it easy to take? Or is it challenging? How secluded is the route? Is it safe?

Only when you have definite answers to these questions are you truly ready to take up the hike.

Group hikes are fun, and you can have good company when you go hiking to places that are not filled with people.

How to Choose a Hiking Trail?

Choosing a route can be challenging, so we put together a few points to teach you how to choose the hiking trail. 

1. Find out the seasonal constraints

Learning about the weather conditions of the route will keep you prepared. Is the route very sunny? Does it rain? If you are going in winter, check for snow and rain to dress well and carry the right gear.

Before going on your hike, always check the weather.

2. Spend a lot of time to cover your hike 

Don’t choose trails that take longer to finish. Always go for the shorter ones and enjoy nature’s beauty to the fullest.

When you have a shorter trail to cover, you’re most likely to have a greater experience.

3. Find out if the hiking areas need any passes or permits 

Some of the trails have restrictions. They either limit some of the areas or pose a permit for the hikers. It’s necessary to research all of this before your hiking day.

You can easily lookup on the internet. Sometimes the permits are readily available to book online too.

4. Know your navigation

This is an important part. Suppose you are not sure of the place; you must always read the maps. Reading and understanding navigation is important as you might get lost in the wilderness.

Also, learn about parking; the trailhead parking is very popular, so you’ll need to get there early if you want to get a good parking spot.

How to Get Ready for Your Hike?

Hiking is a remarkably great nature activity, and you must be well prepared to experience it to the fullest.

To make your experience worthy, here are some tips to prepare yourself before you hike.

1. Practice walking or running

Yes, you’ll be doing a lot of walking on your hiking day, but you are practicing endurance when you are practicing walking before your hiking day.

If you start walking a lot all of a sudden, there are great chances that you will cause an impact on your health.

So practice walking or running a few days prior.

2. Strengths training 

Strength training is another aspect that you need to draw your attention to. Hiking and climbing will require strength in muscles and legs.

Carrying your backpack will also need strength. Practice strength training at home.

3. Yoga and Stretching are great for your health 

Stretching is good for your muscles, while Yoga benefits your body and mind.

Yoga enhances better stretchability and can actually make your life simple.

4. Go on shorter hikes

If you plan to go on a strenuous hike; It’s best to practice by going on many shorter hikes. It will build up the endurance little by little and prepare you for longer distances and more challenging hikes.

What to Pack for Your Hiking?

Once you have planned out your hiking trail, prepare yourself days before the hiking day; you will finally reach the packing day.

Packing is not as easy as it looks. It’s very important to pay close attention to the things you are about to pack.

Missing any of these could cause more significant consequences, so make sure to note down the essentials and check twice after you pack.

It is important to remember that you need not pack a lot; pack only what’s important and necessary.

Here’s a list of the top 10 essential aspects you shouldn’t miss on your hiking trip.

1. Navigation

The first and foremost is navigation; you definitely need to download navigation, carry maps or a GPS with you. Wilderness hiking isn’t as easy as it might seem.

2. Torch or a Head Lamp

If you are still hiking in the dark, then a torch is very much essential. Don’t forget to take extra batteries. A headlamp is also a great choice.

3. Sun Protection

Hiking in the sun will leave you with a lot of sunburns. But don’t let it ruin your hiking trip. Carry a hat with you and also don’t forget the sunscreen

4. First aid kit

A first aid kit is very much necessary. Even if you are going on a short hike, you must carry a first aid kit. We can’t predict what nature might bring to us.

5. Sanitizer

While you are in the middle of the wilderness, you can’t always access fresh water to wash your hands if they are dirty. Carrying a sanitizer is a wise idea.

6. Take Extra food

More food is always good. But remember not to overeat while hiking, as you will keep walking. Munching on snacks is good or if you wish to rest up for a while, it is good to eat well, rest and then move on.

7. Extra water

Water is a top priority. Hiking is tiresome, and you will get thirsty as you walk longer. It’s best if you carry water that is more than enough for you. You can’t rely on water that’s found outdoors.

Also, you must keep yourself well hydrated while hiking.

Carrying a reservoir is a good idea. It holds a good amount of water. Find a more accessible tank to take.

8. Spare clothes

In case your clothes get dirty or damaged, taking spare clothes is a great idea.

Also, if the weather becomes cold, you can have an extra layer to keep yourself warm.

Carry a raincoat or a warm sweater.

9. Knife and other small tools

Carrying a pocket knife can be handy. Also, small tools, including tape, glue, etc., will help you in any emergencies or repairs.

10. Shelter

At times your hiking trip could take longer. And if you wish to rest up in between, a tent or a hammock is the best. Choose lightweight shelters to carry along on your hiking.

Get a durable backpack

Once you are ready with all the essentials, you’ll need a good backpack to pack them all. 

You need a backpack that is strong and comfortable. Strong enough to hold on to your things and comfortable enough for your shoulders as you’ll be carrying them throughout the hiking trip.

When you carry a backpack, remember to distribute the weight evenly on both sides to keep your shoulders less strained.

If you are capable, get an ideal hiking backpack that is specifically designed to make hiking easier.

What to Wear on Your Hiking Trip?

A hiker walking on the rocks

Remember to dress comfortably on your hiking trip. You’ll need breathable clothes and a good pair of hiking shoes; once you get to choose the right ones, you are good to go.

T-shirts or workout tops

Don’t choose anything flashy. Also, you need not buy hiking clothes just yet. With the casual garments from your closet, you’ll be able to make a good hiking outfit.

Avoid heavy clothing. Just remember- breathable workout tops are great. Choose clothing that doesn’t absorb sweat. Avoid cotton t-shirts.

Lightweight pants

Pants are an excellent choice for hiking. Go for lightweight pants or leggings. It has to be comfortable for you to walk.

Pants will protect you from bugs, insects, plants that can irritate, and so on. The pants should allow you to be flexible. 

No matter how casual it might seem, don’t wear jeans for your hiking trip.

Raincoats and jackets 

It’s good to carry a raincoat or a jacket to keep yourself protected from sudden showers.

Take a waterproof jacket along; it will be handy at times.

Warm coats

If you predict that the weather is cool, choose materials such as Merino wool or Fleece Layer. These keep you very warm and are also odor resistant.

Hiking boots or shoes

The footwear plays an important role too in making your hiking trip more easy and comfortable. 

If you are just beginning, you don’t have to buy hiking shoes or boots. A good pair of sneakers will do the job.

But once you are used to hiking and ready to take up rougher hiking, you can get your hiking boots or shoes. It’s going to be very helpful then.

Staying Safe While Hiking

Safety is always a concern when it comes to outdoor activities. Hiking is even more challenging as you are walking through the wilderness. You must be cautious and have safety gear ready. Though there are fewer chances of danger, the chances should make you alert.

Here’s a quick safety check run, make sure you carry them all with you:

1. First aid kit

We’ve already mentioned it before, but it’s worth a second mention. Carry all the medical requirements and also don’t forget all that’s mentioned in the preliminary list. They are all equally essential and will be your safety gear.

2. Inform someone about your hiking trip

Informing your plan, the time it takes, the place you are going, and the people you are going with to a friend or a family member is important. In case you encounter any danger and can’t reach out, they can take action.

3. Leave your details in your car

If you don’t return to the trailend on time, the rangers can check your car and find out which way you took. If there’s an emergency, they can come and get you.

Always follow the routes of your plan. Never go for surprises, no matter how much fun they seem to be. 

When you neglect safety and go beyond the limits, that’s when things will turn dangerous and risky. It’s never great to make risky decisions when it comes to nature.

4. Always carry a map

While on the trail, almost everything will look the same, and then you’ll get confused a lot.

Carrying a map is very much essential, also keep a check on how far you are going. Notice things around you.

You don’t have to carry a physical map; we live in modern times, and gadgets seem to be a better option. However, it’s good to have a physical map alongside. We can never tell when the battery of the electric devices might shut down.

Google maps are great if you are using your mobile on your hiking trip.

If you are reading the conventional map, learn the spots thoroughly before heading on to your journey.

How to Respond in Case You Encounter Wildlife 

Wildlife is the biggest fear to a lot of women and men, too.

Remember, don’t panic; the animals would be as shocked and terrified as you are. You need to avoid them, don’t cause any ructions. 

Don’t be startled if you encounter any animals, bears, deers, and other small animals that could come on your way. (or should we say that humans go in the way of the animals?)

You’ll need to set your mind from the start not to panic when you look at the animals. A calm mind will help you think of possible ways.

In case you want to keep avoiding them from the start, here are a few tips:

  1. Make noise while you walk- Sing or talk loudly, this will alert the animals, and they will not come in your way. Animals are as terrified as humans.
  2. Give animals their space- If you find an animal, move far away from them; this will help the animals to move away from the area.

Basic Hiking Etiquette

Don’t scream or shout- Unless it’s an emergency, it’s not good to scream or shout. Shouting to keep the animals always should be different, don’t scream help unless you really require help

Don’t play music while you hike – Nature is your music; leave the world’s music aside when you are with nature; when outdoors, try to avoid technology as much as possible.

Allow other hikers to pass by if you stop- If you take a short break or stop to catch up breathing, let the other hikers move forward. Don’t block their way. 

Don’t pluck flowers or leaves. Remember not to destroy the surroundings.

Do you Know the Leave No Trace Principle?

This is an important principle that showcases the responsibility of the hikers.

Leaving no mark as a responsible hiker and not leaving any impact on the nature of the trail is what an ultimate hiker needs to do.

Try to go hiking when there are not many people. It’s more pleasant, and you get to really spend time with nature.

The best way to avoid crowded hiking is to wake up early in the morning and to get on.

Disposing waste properly

When you are amidst nature, it’s essential for you not to leave anything on your way. Carry back any waste. It’s good to have disposable polythene to store all the waste. This way, you’ll be doing a great favor to nature.

The wilderness is a place for animals; it is not right to exploit or pollute. Please remember to carry back any waste. Especially the plastics. 

You should also carry back food waste like peels and seeds.

Dig a hole if you need to poop and cover it up with the soil. You should not bury any toilet paper or female hygiene products.

Don’t feed the animals; they can turn aggressive and might attack humans for food. Keep a relative distance from them and don’t try to interact even if they seem friendly.

If you are taking your pet on a walk, keep them on a leash. Hiking in the active wildlife is risky, especially with pets. It will get hard to find them if they are lost.

Keep your pets away from the other hikers. Some might like pets, while some might be afraid of them. So keep your pets under control.

Remember these tips, and you are ready to go hiking without any trouble.

Hiking is a fun activity, and at the same time, it’s risky. We can’t reasonably predict what nature will bring to us, so it’s better to be fully prepared before you embrace hiking to the fullest.

Bottom Line

We made sure to give you a thorough guide on hiking. As women, we are capable of taking up activities by ourselves. Still, if you are starting, it’s advisable to have someone go along with you until you are familiar with everything about hiking. 

Hiking could be healing and relaxing. When you practice by going on a hike now and then, you will become a professional soon. And then you can take up more challenging hikes.

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